Treasure

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Treasure of Villena, one of the most important prehistoric golden tableware findings in Europe. Tesoro de Villena.jpg
Treasure of Villena, one of the most important prehistoric golden tableware findings in Europe.

Treasure (from Latin : thesaurus from Greek language θησαυρόςthēsauros, "treasure store") [2] [3] is a concentration of wealth — often originating from ancient history — that is considered lost and/or forgotten until rediscovered. Some jurisdictions legally define what constitutes treasure, such as in the British Treasure Act 1996.

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The phrase "blood and treasure" has been used to refer to the human and monetary costs associated with massive endeavours such as war that expend both. [4]

Searching for hidden treasure is a common theme in legend; treasure hunters do exist, and can seek lost wealth for a living.

Burial

Treasure of Maruttu is recovered by army of Yudhistira Mahanidhi.jpg
Treasure of Maruttu is recovered by army of Yudhistira

Buried treasure is an important part of the popular mythos surrounding pirates. According to popular conception, pirates often buried their stolen fortunes in remote places, intending to return for them later (often with the use of treasure maps). [5]

There are three well-known stories that helped popularize the myth of buried pirate treasure: [6] "The Gold-Bug" by Edgar Allan Poe, "Wolfert Webber" by Washington Irving and Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. They differ widely in plot and literary treatment but all are derived from the William Kidd legend. [7] Stevenson's Treasure Island was directly influenced by Irving's "Wolfert Webber", Stevenson saying in his preface "It is my debt to Washington Irving that exercises my conscience, and justly so, for I believe plagiarism was rarely carried farther.. the whole inner spirit and a good deal of the material detail of my first chapters.. were the property of Washington Irving." [7]

Howard Pyle illustration of pirates burying Captain Kidd's treasure, from Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates Pyle pirates burying2.jpg
Howard Pyle illustration of pirates burying Captain Kidd's treasure, from Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates

Although buried pirate treasure is a favorite literary theme, there are very few documented cases of pirates actually burying treasure, and no documented cases of a historical pirate treasure map. [8] One documented case of buried treasure involved Francis Drake who buried Spanish gold and silver after raiding the train at Nombre de Dios—after Drake went to find his ships, he returned six hours later and retrieved the loot and sailed for England. Drake did not create a map. [8]

The pirate most responsible for the legends of buried pirate treasure was Captain Kidd. The story was that Kidd buried treasure from the plundered ship the Quedah Merchant on Gardiners Island, near Long Island, New York, before being arrested and returned to England, where he was put through a very public trial and executed. Although much of Kidd's treasure was recovered from various people who had taken possession of it before Kidd's arrest (such as his wife and various others who were given it for safe keeping), there was so much public interest and fascination with the case at the time, speculation grew that a vast fortune remained and that Kidd had secretly buried it. Captain Kidd did bury a small cache of treasure on Gardiner's Island in a spot known as Cherry Tree Field; however, it was removed by Governor Bellomont and sent to England to be used as evidence against him. [9] Over the years many people have tried to find the supposed remnants of Kidd's treasure on Gardiner's Island and elsewhere, but none of the above has ever been found. [8]

Maps

Map created by Robert Louis Stevenson for his 1883 novel Treasure Island Treasure-Island-map.jpg
Map created by Robert Louis Stevenson for his 1883 novel Treasure Island

A treasure map is a variation of a map to mark the location of buried treasure, a lost mine, a valuable secret or a hidden location. One of the earliest known instances of a document listing buried treasure is the copper scroll, which was recovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls near Qumran in 1952. More common in fiction than in reality, "pirate treasure maps" are often depicted in works of fiction as hand drawn and containing arcane clues for the characters to follow.

Treasure maps have taken on numerous permutations in literature and film, such as the stereotypical tattered chart with an oversized "X" (as in "X marks the spot") to denote the treasure's location, first made popular by Robert Louis Stevenson in Treasure Island (1883) or a cryptic puzzle (in Edgar Allan Poe's "The Gold-Bug" (1843)).

See also

Related Research Articles

William Kidd Scottish sailor tried and executed for piracy after returning from a voyage to the Indian Ocean

William Kidd, also known as Captain William Kidd or simply Captain Kidd, was a Scottish sea captain who was commissioned as a privateer and had experience as a pirate. He was tried and executed in London in 1701 for murder and piracy.

<i>Treasure Island</i> Novel by the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson

Treasure Island is an adventure novel by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson, telling a story of "buccaneers and buried gold". It is considered a coming-of-age story and is noted for its atmosphere, characters, and action.

Gardiners Island Island off the coast of New York, United States

Gardiner's Island is a small island in the Town of East Hampton, New York, in Eastern Suffolk County. It is located in Gardiner's Bay between the two peninsulas at the east end of Long Island. It is 6 miles (9.7 km) long, 3 miles (4.8 km) wide and has 27 miles (43 km) of coastline.

Buried treasure Literary trope

Buried treasure is a literary trope commonly associated with depictions of pirates, criminals, and Old West outlaws. According to popular conception, these people often buried their stolen fortunes in remote places, intending to return to them later.

Villena City in Valencian Community, Spain

Villena is a city in Spain, in the Valencian Community. It is located at the northwest part of Alicante, and borders to the west with Castilla-La Mancha and Murcia, to the north with the province of Valencia and to the east and south with the province of Alicante. It is the capital of the comarca of the Alto Vinalopó. The municipality has an area of 345.6 km² and a population of 34,928 inhabitants as of INE 2008.

Captain Flint Fictional pirate in Stevensons Treasure Island

Captain Nathaniel J. Flint is a fictional 18th-century pirate captain who features in a number of novels, television series, and films. The original character was created by the Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–1894). Flint first appears in the classic adventure yarn Treasure Island, which was first serialised in a children's magazine in 1881, and later published as a novel in 1883.

Caja de Muertos Island on southern coast of Puerto Rico

Caja de Muertos is an uninhabited island off the southern coast of Puerto Rico, in the municipality of Ponce. The island and its surrounding waters are protected by the Caja de Muertos Nature Reserve, because of its native turtle traffic and ecological value of its dry forests and reefs. Hikers and beachgoers are often seen in the island, which can be reached by ferry from the La Guancha Boardwalk sector of Ponce Playa. Together with Cardona, Ratones, Morrillito, Isla del Frio, Gatas, and Isla de Jueyes, Caja de Muertos is one of seven islands ascribed to the municipality of Ponce.

Golden Age of Piracy Maritime piracy from the 1650s to the 1730s

The Golden Age of Piracy is a common designation for the period between the 1650s and the 1730s, when maritime piracy was a significant factor in the histories of the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, the Indian Ocean, North America, and West Africa.

<i>Treasure Island</i> (1972 live-action film) 1972 live-action film adaption of Treasure Island

Treasure Island is a 1972 adventure film, based on the 1883 novel by Robert Louis Stevenson. The film stars Orson Welles as Long John Silver, Kim Burfield as Jim Hawkins, Walter Slezak as Squire Trelawney, Rik Battaglia as Captain Smollett, and Ángel del Pozo as Doctor Livesey.

Treasure map Map to find treasure

A treasure map is a map that marks the location of buried treasure, a lost mine, a valuable secret or a hidden locale. More common in fiction than in reality, "pirate treasure maps" are often depicted in works of fiction as hand drawn and containing arcane clues for the characters to follow. Regardless of the term's literary use, anything that meets the broad definition of a "map" that describes the location of a "treasure" could appropriately be called a "treasure map."

<i>Treasure Island</i> (1950 film) 1950 Disney adventure film directed by Byron Haskin

Treasure Island is a 1950 live-action adventure film produced by RKO-Walt Disney British Productions, adapted from Robert Louis Stevenson's 1883 novel. Directed by Byron Haskin, it stars Bobby Driscoll as Jim Hawkins and Robert Newton as Long John Silver. Treasure Island was Disney's first completely live-action film and the first screen version of Treasure Island made in colour. It was filmed in the United Kingdom on location and at Denham Film Studios, Buckinghamshire.

Pirates in the arts and popular culture Representations of pirates in fiction or literature

In English-speaking popular culture, the modern pirate stereotype owes its attributes mostly to the imagined tradition of the 18th century Caribbean pirate sailing off the Spanish Main and to such celebrated 20th century depictions as Captain Hook and his crew in the theatrical and film versions of J. M. Barrie's children's book Peter Pan, Robert Newton's portrayal of Long John Silver in the 1950 film adaptation of the Robert Louis Stevenson novel Treasure Island, and various adaptations of the Middle Eastern pirate, Sinbad the Sailor. In these and countless other books, films, and legends, pirates are portrayed as "swashbucklers" and "plunderers". They are shown on ships, often wearing eyepatches or peg legs, having a parrot perched on their shoulder, and saying phrases like "Arr, matey" and "Avast, me hearty". Pirates have retained their image through pirate-themed tourist attractions, film, toys, books and plays.

<i>Treasure Island</i> (1990 film) 1990 television film by Fraser Clarke Heston

Treasure Island is a 1990 British-American made-for-television film adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1883 novel of the same name, written and directed by Fraser Clarke Heston, and also starring several notable British actors, including Christian Bale, Oliver Reed, Christopher Lee, Julian Glover and Pete Postlethwaite.

Piracy in the British Virgin Islands Piracy in the Caribbean

Piracy in the British Virgin Islands was prevalent during the so-called "Golden Age of Piracy", mainly during the years of 1690-1730. Privateering was also widely practised in the jurisdiction throughout frequent colonial wars, not least by emancipated slaves who, with in preference to back-breaking labour in the fields for pitiful wages, took enormous risks to capture fortunes on the seas with the sanction of the Crown. In 1808, Patrick Colquhoun, a prize agent for the Territory spoke of "the most daring outrages which are frequently committed by people of colour."

José María Soler García

José María Soler García was a Spanish archaeologist, historian, researcher and folklorist. He is one of the persons who most deeply studied Villena and its surrounding area, since the vast majority of his research was focused on what concerned his hometown.

Quedagh Merchant, also known as the Cara Merchant and the Adventure Prize, was an Indian merchant vessel famously captured by Scottish privateer William Kidd on 30 January 1698.

Ben Gunn (<i>Treasure Island</i>)

Benjamin "Ben" Gunn is a fictional character in the 1883 Treasure Island novel by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson. The irony is that although he has wealth within reach, he cannot use it; he yearns for something he cannot buy.

Treasure of Villena Archaeological treasure trove found in 1963

The Treasure of Villena is one of the greatest hoard finds of gold of the European Bronze Age. It comprises 59 objects made of gold, silver, iron and amber with a total weight of almost 10 kilograms, 9 of them of 23.5 karat gold. This makes it the most important find of prehistoric gold in the Iberian Peninsula and second in Europe, just behind that from the Royal Graves in Mycenae, Greece.

Treasure of El Carambolo Treasure hoard

The Treasure of El Carambolo was found in El Carambolo hill in the municipality of Camas, 3 kilometers west of Seville, on 30 September 1958. The discovery of the treasure hoard spurred interest in the Tartessos culture, which prospered from the 9th to the 6th centuries BCE, but recent scholars have debated whether the treasure was a product of local culture or of the Phoenicians. The treasure was found by Spanish construction workers during renovations being made at a pigeon shooting society.

References

  1. [Spanish] Culture and Education Ministry (26 February 2003). "RESOLUCIÓN de 7 de enero de 2003, de la Dirección General de Patrimonio Artístico de la Consejería de Cultura y Educación, por la que se incoa expediente de declaración de bien de interés cultural a favor de la colección arqueológica del Tesoro de Villena" [January 7, 2003, RESOLUTION of the General Direction on Artistic Heritage of the Culture and Education Council, which opens a file on the declaration as Good of Cultural Interest (BIC) the archaeologic collection known as Treasure of Villena](PDF). Boletín Oficial del Estado (in Spanish). Madrid: Spanish Government (49): 7798–7802. Retrieved December 6, 2009. Desde el punto de vista histórico, artístico y arqueológico, el Tesoro de Villena constituye un «unicum», un depósito no normalizado, por su peso y contenido (A. Perea). De hecho, se trata del segundo tesoro de vajilla áurea más importante de Europa, tras el de las Tumbas Reales de Micenas en Grecia (A. Mederos). (From a historic, artistic and archaeological point of view, the Treasure of Villena constitutes a "unicum", a non-normalised deposit, according to its weight and content (A. Perea). In fact, it is the second most important golden tableware finding in Europe, after that of the Royal Graves in Mycenae in Greece (A. Mederos))
  2. "treasure" – Online Etymology Dictionary
  3. θησαυρός, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus. The word has a Pre-Greek origin (R. S. P. Beekes, Etymological Dictionary of Greek, Brill, 2009, p. 548).
  4. Lichfield, Gideon. "A history of the "blood and treasure" phrase Trump keeps using about the war in Afghanistan". Quartz. Retrieved 2020-06-20.
  5. Stewart, Charles (December 2003). "Dreams of Treasure". Anthropological Theory. 3 (4): 481–500. doi:10.1177/146349960334005. ISSN   1463-4996. S2CID   61425777.
  6. Paine, pp. 27–28
  7. 1 2 Paine, pg. 28
  8. 1 2 3 Cordingly, David. (1995). Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates. ISBN   0-679-42560-8.
  9. The Pirate Hunter: The True Story of Captain Kidd, pg. 241, The Pirate Hunter: The True Story of Captain Kidd, pg. 260