Thursday, January 21, 2010
Bring Me the Head of Klaus Stoertebeker!
The 600-year-old skull of a famous medieval German pirate has been on display at the Museum for Hamburg History since 1922. Or at least it had, until this month.
Authorities report that the skull of Klaus Stoertebecker was stolen from the museum on January 9th.
In the late 1300's, Klaus was the leader of the Victual Brothers, a band of privateers fighting the Danish and bringing supplies to the besieged city of Stockholm. After the war, they continued capturing merchant ships for their own enrichment, calling themselves "Likedeelers," which means "equal sharers."
Like many pirates, Klaus was eventually captured and executed by the authorities. His severed head was nailed to the wall of the Hamburg Town Hall as a deterrent to would-be miscreants.
Klaus' colorful nickname, Stoertebeker, means "drains the cup in one gulp."
So if you should happen to run across a 600-year-old pirate skull in your travels, please pour a mug of beer in it for old time's sake.