School of History

HST5224 – Piracy and Civilisation: Antiquity to the Golden Age

Module code: HST5224

Credits: 15
Semester: SEM 2

Module Convenor: Dr Simon Layton

Pirates have stalked the seas from time immemorial, bearing witness to the rise and fall of the world's greatest states and empires. Their mythical presence at the margins of civilisation has enthralled, repulsed, and entertained for generations; but why do they endure in our collective memories, and how did pirates—and the concept of piracy—impact upon history? This module traces piracy’s origins and development in world history, from the Classical Mediterranean to the early-modern Atlantic and Caribbean. It engages key texts of piratical folklore, from lurid contemporary accounts to swashbuckling cinema, while exploring (through a field trip) the wider significance of seafaring within British national identity.

Assessment: Group Presentation (15 minutes) [25%] and Essay (3,000 words) [75%]
Level: 5