• Piracy
  • 1 min

By Crusader1307

In the parlance of the day to "Parley" was to request a meeting between combatants. Derived from the French word "Parlez" or to "speak", the custom goes far back into The Middle Ages. Battlefield Commanders could send Messengers under their personal "Colors" or Royal Standard and request a meeting. These meetings could be anything from offers of capitulation to threats of impending reprisals for violations of pre-established rules. In Naval terms, "Parlez" involved the display of a Black Flag by the Ship requesting a meeting. The same rules for ground warfare applied. The bastardized phrasing of "Parlez" came to be used as the word "Parley" - no doubt by illiterate Seamen (thus Pirates). However, as with the Naval tradition, both Parties had to immediately cease fighting and meet with "honor".  Pirates used "Parley" as a ruse. When the opposing force sent it's Officers to meet or stop firing their guns - they would strike! Often, when Pirates would request "Parley" among themselves, it was meant to convey either "Mercy" or to "debate" a violation of Ship Code. Most times, Pirates requesting "Parley" of Spanish and British ships were ignored.