The Jolly Roger (ドクロ Dokuro?), also known as a Pirate Flag (海賊旗 Kaizoku-ki?) is the traditional flag of European and American Pirates, envisioned today as a skull over crossed thigh bones on a black field. Various versions of the jolly roger existed over the course of the centuries, for example Calico Jack's jolly roger replaced the thigh bones with cutlasses.
Oda himself provided some info on the jolly roger, including three possible theorized origins that have come to be accepted by experts:
- Some say it comes from the French term "jolie rouge" or "lovely red" possibly referring to blood.
- "Roger" may have come from the word "rogue" meaning thief or villain.
- It may have come from the term "old Roger" an old fashioned name for the Devil.
The jolly roger is hugely recognized to mean "danger" worldwide. The skull and crossbones themselves are commonly used on to warn people about dangerous substances or places on signs and bottles.
There are many jolly roger flags. Jolly rogers generally help pirates determine who belongs to whose crew, or even who is a pirate in the first place. Many choose to bear their crew's flag somewhere on their personal being. Certain nations who understand the ideals of the jolly roger, or have turned against ideas of the World Government, also raise the flag.
However, raising the jolly roger is considered a huge crime by The Marines and anyone seen doing so (may it be fun or for real) will be considered criminals. The designs of the jolly roger usually reflect the interest of the captain of the crew. Other times it may be physical resemblance, a personal item they wear, or the symbols behind them.
Ideals of the Flag
All those that sail under a jolly roger are supposed to show respect for their chosen flag and honor it always, as it represents the crew itself. Once the flag is gone, the crew can no longer sail under it and therefore everything linked with the flag is gone. Different crews react differently to these ideals.
- By definition, because pirates were rogues they flew a flag of their own for various reasons; therefore the flag was significant as it represented that officially they belonged to no country and lived by their own rules.