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Magister Wigbold

German pirate
The basics
Date of birth
Date of death 1401 Hamburg, Germany
The details

Magister Wigbold (1365–1401), (alternative spellings: Wygbold, Wycholt) was the name given to Bertram Wigbold, also called “Master of the Seven Arts”. He was a German pirate who belonged to the famous Likedeeler pirates of Klaus Störtebeker who were active in the North and Baltic seas. Wigbold was one of the most noted Likedeeler, along with Gödeke Michels and Störtebeker. The nickname Wigbold comes from wig (strife) and bold (courageous, bold). His real name is unknown.


The early life of Wigbold is poorly documented. He is said to have entered a monastery, where he learned various skills. However, he was expelled under unclear circumstances. He may have studied at what is now the University of Rostock, and then supposedly attended university at Oxford. He was often described as the brains behind the pirate band. Unlike Michels or Störtebeker, Wigbold did not seek battles but preferred to negotiate a surrender and reduce casualties.

The Likedeelers robbed ships on the "Western Sea" (today North Sea) until the Hanseatic League sent a sizable military force to smash the group. Michels and Wigbold escaped at first, but after the death of Störtebeker in 1401, they were finally captured and were executed on the Grasbrook in Hamburg.


  • Matthias Blazek: Seeräuberei, Mord und Sühne – Eine 700-jährige Geschichte der Todesstrafe in Hamburg 1292–1949. ibidem, Stuttgart 2012, ISBN 978-3-8382-0457-4.
  • Thomas Einfeldt: Störtebekers Kinder. Ravensburger Buchverlag, Ravensburg 2002, ISBN 3-473-58200-X.
  • Gustav Schalk: Klaus Störtebeker. Ueberreuter, Wien 2002, ISBN 3-8000-2876-X.
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