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The Skull and Cross-Bones
Written and researched by Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewski, B.F.A.

The book called Secret Societies of America's Elite: From Knights Templar to skull and bones by Stephen Sora gives an account of the origin of the skull and crossbones and its history up until modern times.

It is thought that the French jolie rouge (red flag) is the origination of the Jolly Roger or the Skull and Crossbone. This flag originated with the Knights Templars. After they were disolved many could not make a living except as brigands and sea pirates. Other members were skilled as masons and craftsmen. Those who had no other skills other than what they were trained for (soldiers of God), took to the seas.

The flag known as the Skull and Cross-Bones was the choice of pirates long after the Crusades. The religious significance of the elite Order of the Knights Templar was turned into pirates who many feared. The skull and cross-bones signified death much like the skull and crossbones on a bottle of poison. It meant surrender to our ship or die.

The skull and two bones meant resurrection to the Knights Templar. The skull and cross-bones, alluded to Gol'gotha - "the place of the skull" - and the cross - where Jesus Christ died.

The Catholic Church taught that the resurrection of man was a bodily resurrection. The Templars, contrary to the beliefs of the Church, thought that only the skull and two bones were needed to be buried for their owners to go to heaven. The skull and crossed bones were a popular motif on the graves of their fallen. When Templars turned to piracy they flew the Skull and Cross-Bones and if the ship they wanted to plunder didn't succumb, they raised the red flag, or jolie rouge. This flag meant "no quarter, or mercy, will be granted," The Templar rogues no longer answered to the pope in Rome, Italy.

It was thought that later pirates used this symbol because the ship's log, which listed those who died on board, had the skull and cross-bones at the heading of the dead list.

Ex-Templar pirates were often of high birth. Former Knights Templars, Knights of Malta, and Teutonic Knights turned to piracy to finance their orders.

The Jolly Rogers Flag

J. Pierpoint Morgan was said to be related to Henry Morgan, the pirate. He called his yacht the Corsair and flew the Jolly Rodgers.



Yachting was a popular sport amongst the rich. Many modern day pirates prey on rich men's yacht's.


These are not written by me, so be advised that the contents might change from time to time.
I am in no way responsible for their content.

The Website of Kris Millegan, editor of Fleshing Out Skull and Bones.
About the Yale's secret society and George W. Bush, President
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Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006)
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End(NEW) (2007)
Pirate Magazine (NEW) ..... Dead Men Tell No Tales (NEW) ..... Sea Wolf (NEW)
Pirate Clothing(NEW)..... Pirate Soul(NEW)..... Port Royal Trading Company
Sykes Sutler ..... No Quarter Given Magazine
The Pirates Realm ..... Pirate Haven
Sea Shell City, Michigan ..... Pirate Oddities ..... Odin's Castle of Dreams and Legends Great site!
Great Lakes Pirate Ship ..... Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum (Upper Pennisula)
Florida Pirate Fair ..... Maps by J. White ..... Talk Like a Pirate day(NEW)
Pirates of the Burning Seas (NEW) ..... (NEW)
Renaissance Fair Reporter (NEW> ..... Under The Mystical
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This page is updated and designed by Margaret (BFA) and Matthew R. Sypniewski(BA/MA)
Last updated on October 7, 2006.