A Conversation for The Jolly Roger

Skull and crossbones

Post 1

Cap'n BK

I found your excellent entry while browsing (under Life/work/stationery and equipment....???). Anyhow, on a visit to Dublin I was surprised to see an 18th century church adorned with stone skull over crossed bones symbols. Not being religious I thought I had stumbled upon some dark secret. On investigation, however, I found out this is very common. The skull and crossbones signified something good to Christians, though I can't remember what. It was used both inside and outside churches as well as on headstones. It seems the practice died out through association with the nastier side of things (though from your article use by pirates predated the church I saw it on). Life's peculiar, isn't it?

Skull and crossbones

Post 2

Dr Hell

When my granddad died a very intelligent friend of mine, a philosopher, told me a story about the symbology of skulls and death and all that. In medieval times people used to keep their best friends skull somewhere as a reminder that 'all things must pass' that life will end someday. There is a church in Portugal (in Evora IIRC) which is entirely made of skulls and bones. Morbid. But it reminds everyone that life is a passing thing.

On a visit to a cemetery I saw many skulls and crossbones & stuff. Same symbology. Remember life is short, carpe diem and stuff like that.

I think that skulls and skeletons and all the symbology was used by pirates because they were badass folks.


Key: Complain about this post

Write an Entry

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers."

Write an entry
Read more