Huge pirate fleets were able to threaten mighty kingdoms and capture fortified cities.
Great Pirate Expedition
Terror! Death! Plunder! The pirates have gathered! Who out there is brave or insane enough to face them? Cities bar their gates, farmers flee from their coastal fields, sailors refuse to leave fortified ports, and merchants pray to their Gods. Will somebody ever be wealthy and determined enough to field a fleet capable of crushing these “locusts of the sea”?
Historically, pirates were usually groups of poor people living on the coast who, using small vessels, attacked lone merchant ships sailing along the coast. Most pirate ships were very light, as they were usually hidden from view on land, behind bushes and other vegetation. But under the leadership of powerful men, pirates sometimes gathered together in huge fleets and were able to blockade sea trade, raid coasts, and even storm fortified cities. These fleets often used bigger ships but sheer numbers were their main weapon against a proper navy. Lembos and liburnae are examples of pirate ships that became very popular and were adopted by major navies.