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This article is about the rules and guidelines among pirates. You may be looking for the book with the code's bylaws written in it.

The cover of the Pirata Codex.

"The Code is the law."
Captain Teague[src]

The Code of the Pirate Brethren, also known as the Code of the Order of the Brethren and commonly referred to as the Pirate's Code or simply the Code, was a code of conduct used among pirates. These revered collection of rules were chronicled in the hallowed Pirata Codex, which was kept at Shipwreck Cove.

Made up of the great Pirate Lords, the Brethren Court was a governing council with the power to change or add to the Code. The original Pirate Code was set down at the second meeting of the Brethren Court, which included the pirates Morgan and Bartholomew. However, despite the importance many pirates placed on the Code, some saw it as a set of "guidelines" rather than actual rules.


Creating the Code[]

"At any rate, the second Brethren Court drew up the Pirate Code which has served us well. Two of the Pirate Lords, Morgan and Bartholomew, figured it out and wrote it down, and that's what we've all lived by ever since."
Hector Barbossa[src]

The Code was set down in the classic age of piracy[1] by Morgan and Bartholomew,[2][3] during the second meeting of the Brethren Court.[4][5] It was chronicled in a large book, the Pirata Codex, which would be kept within Shipwreck Cove and protected by the Keeper of the Code.[6] One of the requirements to become the Pirate King was that the applicant must swear by the Code.[3] Following the Second Court, the Pirate's Code was used as a code of conduct among pirates.[2]


"According to the Code of the Brethren, set down by the pirates Morgan and Bartholomew, you have to take me to your captain."
"I know the Code.
Elizabeth Swann and Pintel[src]

Captain Teague, Keeper of the Code.

Despite governing all pirates, and drawn upon by the Pirate Lords themselves,[6] the Code was seen more as guidelines than actual rules by certain pirates. Hector Barbossa in particular held this belief, though he tended to honor the Pirate Code only when it suited him and further his own ends.[7] Elizabeth Swann would later adopt this viewpoint, and recited it to Joshamee Gibbs aboard the Black Pearl. Gibbs in turn cited this philosophy to Jack Sparrow.[2]

Jack's father, Captain Teague, took the Code more seriously as Keeper of the Code. Teague insisted that the Code is the law, and would shoot anyone who spoke against it. However, deep down he knows that the real code is in a pirate's heart and comes down to one thing: what a man can do, and what a man can't do, a philosophy he passed on his son.[1]

The Pirate's Code[]

"There's the Code to consider."
"The Code? You're pirates. Hang the Code, and hang the rules! They're more like guidelines anyway.
Joshamee Gibbs and Elizabeth Swann[src]

'...parlay with shared adversaries...'.

Known rules and guidelines of code from the Pirata Codex:

  • Rule one, befriend others wisely.
  • The Right of Parlay.[1]
  • Whenever a pirate is to be marooned, they are to be given a loaf of bread or hardtack, a bottle of water (if any exist), and a pistol loaded with a single shot.[8]
  • Artycle II, Section I, Paragraph VIII (sharing of the spoils).[1]
  • Artycle II, Section II, Paragraph I (whoever first spotted a treasure-laden ship could choose the best pistol for themselves).[1].
  • Every crew member is to have an equal share in any treasure found.[2]
  • Any man who falls behind is left behind.[2]
  • An act of war can only be declared by the Pirate King, who would parley with shared adversaries. The King could only be elected by popular vote by all nine Pirate Lords.[6]
  • Any person who refuses to serve aboard a pirate's ship must die.[9]
  • Trading for products fair and square mean the seller can do as they like, including resell at profit.[10]
  • The Code calls for pirates to respect their fellows on the account. Knowingly targeting and sinking other pirate ships is strictly forbidden.[11]
  • Killing a surrendered enemy is not allowed.[12]

The Code also contained strict regulations on eyepatch color and peg leg size[13] as well as implying that a pirate never gives another away.[14]

Behind the scenes[]

  • The Code of the Brethren is partly based on the real ship's articles used by the pirate crews during the 17th and 18th centuries. However, all of the rules and guidelines depicted in Pirates of the Caribbean are entirely fictional.
  • The name "Code of the Pirate Brethren" came from one of the previous versions of the official POTC website. Like the Pirata Codex, it was mainly referred to as the "Pirate's Code" or simply the "Code".
  • The mention of the Code in the Pirates of the Caribbean video game is anachronistic because the game is set in 1630, several decades before the Code was made.



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