Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: between work and sleep
I see. Perhaps the pirate-kings were no different from the bandit-kings on land (in essence), both drew the desperate, whether good fighters or not, and both needed open lawless territory to maneuver in. Thus the frontiers of the Empire and the Sea were great places. However, I would think that bandits rarely got away with amassing as large numbers as the Chinese pirates did...
It would probably be impossible to know, but did some pirate kings have a state-style rule over their crew and subjects? Or was it just everyone for themselves, and the king was just the most ruthless and influential of them all, feared enough to be obeyed? Or was it a system of patron/client, the pirates would obey the pirate-king's orders so long as the king provided for them well-enough and demonstrated peerless tactics/courage/benevolence/legitimacy/ruthlessness etc. - a buccaneer's version of the mandate of heaven I suppose...?