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Thread: Dhoura

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    Site Moderator Sorontar's Avatar
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    Dhoura

    Discussion thread for Dhoura. If you would like to add a comment, click the Post Reply button.

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    Site Moderator Sorontar's Avatar
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    Dhoure:
    The dhoura is the favorite ship of Khinasi corsairs because its speed, mobility, capability to move without wind, and its ability to operate in shallow water -- crucial for hiding in coastal waters before pouncing on a passing ship -- make it ideal for war and piracy.
    Zebec:
    Khinasi captains greatly favor zebecs as corsairs, because they are built with a narrow floor to achieve a higher speed than their victims, but with a considerable beam in order to enable them to carry an extensive sail-plan. The lateen rig of the zebec allows for the ship to sail close hauled to the wind often giving it an advantage in pursuit or escape.
    So which one is the favourite of the "corsairs"?

    And which meaning of Corsair are you using? Just any pirate? Or a sealord who just happens to have a regent's soldiers onboard his ships (as the Ottoman lords did along the Barbary Coast), and targets the ships belonging to enemies of the regent (i.e. "sanctioned" piracy)?

    (reference: The Wordsworth Dictionary of Pirates)

    Sorontar

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    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Corsairs are sanctioned pirates. They get their name because they have a Lettre de Course issued by the crown.

    Zebecs are good ships for corsairs because as large ships effective as warships, they can attack almost anything, and being maneuverable, make good attack ships. Hence greatly favor.

    The dhoura is smaller, but capable of attacking any merchant ship. Hence the favorite.

    I can add a reference to the dhoura, in zebec, as in second only to the dhoura. A dhoura gives a better rate of return, but the only thing that would stop a zebec is a warship. So zebecs are also good against dhoura.

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    Ehrshegh of Spelling Thelandrin's Avatar
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    So, is there a difference between corsairs and privateers? Sir Francis Drake was a privateer and was effectively part of the Black Ops English navy of the time.

    Ius Hibernicum, in nomine juris. Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum sonatur.

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    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    No, a privateer is a corsair and vise versa. The British government issued a Letter of Marque and Reprisal to authorize privateers. The French issued its Lettre de Course, and so its privateers were known as corsairs. As the English would encounter other state protected privateers, it called them by the same name. So in the English world we tend to call our sanctioned merchant raiders "privateers" and call everyone else's, "corsairs" or if we intend to treat them as outlaws, "pirates".

    Drake was authorized by the crown, split his take with the crown, and represented himself as a agent of the crown. Had he been captured he would hope his letter authorizing his actions would grant him the protections as a prisoner of war, meaning he would be ransomed, traded, or released as part of a diplomatic settlement. The Spanish threatened to treat him like a pirate, placed a bounty on his head, and had nothing to gain from England by recognizing his letters of marque. At various times Drake held ranks in the admiralty (he was, for example, a vice admiral during the Armada campaign), but that had more to do with placing him in a chain of command over others than it did with extending the crown's responsibility for his actions.

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    Ehrshegh of Spelling Thelandrin's Avatar
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    You're a mine of information, Kenneth. Thanks!

    Ius Hibernicum, in nomine juris. Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum sonatur.

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    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    At 02:38 AM 7/31/2008, Thelandrin wrote:

    >So, is there a difference between corsairs and privateers? Sir
    >Francis Drake was a privateer and was effectively part of the Black
    >Ops English navy of the time.

    Corsair is used more broadly than privateer. As has been noted,
    originally it meant those who operate under official sanction, but it
    came to describe those pirates who adopted (or were seen as having
    adopted) a more swashbuckling "style" that might be considered the
    stereotypical pirate. The Barbary pirates, for instance, were
    sometimes called Turkish or Ottoman Corsairs and you can bet the
    French king never signed off on that one....

    Of course, privateers often went above and beyond the scope of their
    supposed mandate too.... Once out of sight of land captains and
    crews tend to have their own ideas about who is a fair target. From
    the POV of the merchant privateer, corsair or pirate is a matter of semantics.

    Given that we`re talking about the Khinasi, the use of the word
    "corsair" to describe a pirate ship/crew would more likely be based
    on the Barbary pirates than the French version of the idea, but even
    under the French concept, a pirate might just as well describe
    himself as a corsair in order to gain some sort of hint of
    legitimacy. Many privateers were sanctioned after the fact when they
    returned home laden with booty because few monarchs turn down a share
    of such goods when they are actually handed over. Since returning
    home with a lot of ill-gotten gains is the goal of any pirate they
    might very well hope and expect to be given such treatment. Of
    course, there`s a good chance they might also simply be hanged and (a
    portion) of their booty returned to the nations from whom it was
    stolen, but that`s the kind of risk a pirate always takes.

    Gary

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    Site Moderator Sorontar's Avatar
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    The added benefit of treating them as Barbary corsairs is because of how easy it is to link it to the Birthright way of thinking. As I indicated in my original query, the Barbary sealords were just governors of the coastal ports along the Babary Coast (North Africa). They were pretty much regents who were in their own domain, but technically they were part of the Ottoman Empire. They were expected to transport Turkish soldiers on their ships, not their own, so the sailors were not the fighters (much). To quote my reference:

    Barbary rulers treated piracy as a business, regulated through the corsair's guild (Taife Reisi). ...
    The Barbary States had a dual nature, as both corsair havens and inland empires. Power thus was shared between two groups - the Corsair's guild and the military garrison of Janissaries. Both guilds were made up of outsiders and rarely accepted local Muslims as members.
    From the beginning, the Barbary States were relatively autonomous. The sultan's authority rested in a Beylerbey sent from Istanbul. Although the sultan continued to confirm the man they nominated, the Janissary garrisons effectively controlled government and taxation from the 1590s.
    So the provincial regent is a Guilder that is a vassal of the Emperor, but the Law Holding is controlled by another regent, who is also the Emperor's vassal, but only has a working agreement with the Guilder. I believe that theoretically the Law regent had rank over the Guilder, but whether that was exercised much, I have no idea.

    Or something like that. It's a good book as a starting reference.

    Sorontar.

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    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by geeman View Post
    The Barbary pirates, for instance, were sometimes called Turkish or Ottoman Corsairs and you can bet the French king never signed off on that one....
    No, the Sultan signed off on that one.

    Quote Originally Posted by kgauck View Post
    As the English would encounter other state protected privateers, it called them by the same name.
    But as the English already had a word for state sanctioned merchant raiders, they simply applied this word to a new context.

    Turkish use of private navies extends back as far as the Turks being in Anatolia. Çaka, Bey of Smyrna built his own navy and waged his own war on the Byzantines c. 1090. They never really stopped using military entrepreneurs.

    Suleiman the Magnificent gave such a patent to Khair ad Din, known to Europeans as Barbarossa. He was supposed to build a great fleet and wage war on the Europeans (especially the Spanish and Venetians, but anyone who crossed them). His general strategy was to prey on merchant shipping, land on unsuspecting coastlines and pillage, and to sell captives into slavery. Through these means he funded a navy. In whatever time he had left over, he advanced the interests of Suleiman. But as far as the Sultan was concerned, just being a menace to Venetian and Habsburg interests was a bargain. After all, the investment for Suleiman was very small. As is frequently the case, the most successful forms of warfare pay for themselves.

    Further, keep in mind that all warfare from the medieval period to the 19th century, was essentially private contractors working under a patent from some authority.

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    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    At 06:55 PM 7/31/2008, kgauck wrote:

    >>The Barbary pirates, for instance, were sometimes called Turkish or Ottoman Corsairs and you can bet the French king never signed off on that one....
    >
    >No, the Sultan signed off on that one.


    Sure, but my point was that a lot of these folks that the Sultan (or several other Ottoman officials who did support the activities of the
    Barbary pirates) signed off on were freelance BEFORE they gained official recognition, and we shouldn't quibble about when the term "corsair" might officially apply to them because the term is used much more broadly than "privateer." Later, many of the folks called "corsairs" under the Turks would really have to be seen as the equivalent of an official navy. Several of the Barbary admirals worked their way up through a "system" of small, sometimes officially supported piratical endeavors, but once such a person is being given twelve, twenty or a hundred ships to command we`re leaving the realm of pirate raiding and are into regular naval actions. Such an admiral and his fleet are still called "corsairs" without straining the term, but one wouldn`t still see them as the equivalent of a "privateer."

    >Further, keep in mind that all warfare from the medieval period to the 19th century, was essentially private contractors working under a patent from some authority.

    "Contractors" is, of course, a very modern term for people engaging in military roles and it`s misleading on several levels, but we needn't delve too far into the semantics of current euphemisms.... Suffice it to say that what we are calling "contractors" really represent a sort of small private (corporate) standing army, while something like "corsair" is going to describe a range of naval operations from small pirate raids to full-fledged naval landing operations.

    Regardless, there have always been and still are a significant number of such fighters (a look at the number of "contractors" in Iraq right
    now makes one wonder if things have really changed all that much) but by the 17-18th century there were a lot of what we`d recognize as
    standing armies of regulars, and nobody would mistake them for mercenaries. In fact, you can find such fighters without too much difficulty going back a good 500 years before the 19th century.

    But the point is that the term "corsair" could be used to apply to what we would recognize as a standing military force engaging in commerce raiding and all the standard naval operations that any other navy engages in except the modern deployment of air power. Later the term applies even more particularly the a "style" of pirate that goes with the idea of a sort of "gentleman of the sea" to whom official recognition might or might not be of interest.

    "Privateer" is more particular. A privateer is, of course, just a pirate who works for the other side, but one should bear in mind that a privateer might just take his role as a commerce raider more seriously and abide by some sort of ethical standard. Just as likely not, but at least one has a shot at being allowed to live if faced with a "privateer" who takes the idea seriously. On the other hand, the idea of a "corsair" implies a much more unpleasant encounter. The Ottoman corsairs were often looking to loot, pillage and rape; take slaves; slaughter civilians; even engage in a war of conquest. Later "corsairs" who operate under no official sanction are simply pirates.

    Gary
    Last edited by Thelandrin; 08-02-2008 at 10:25 PM.

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