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  1. #1
    Senior Member Iron Loki's Avatar
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    need help from history buffs

    summative season has hit my pretty hard. months ago several things where assigned, and with less then a week to do them i've started, and ancient civ is getting to me. i can't find the stuff i need and i'm freaking out. if anyone can point me in a good direction, key words, specific examples, whatever, i'd be amazingly thankful. here's what i need to find (the essay needs to be handed in thursday, oi). anything before the 1600's will do:

    i) examples of low class citizens (peasents, surfs) aspiring to join the military to gain a 'better' life outside of the farm or whatnot.
    ii) slave armies. i thought both Egypt and Rome had them, but i can't seem to really find anything on them.
    iii) examples of the 'officer class', or just generaly the more rich and powerful that are involved in war being excused from the brutal fighting the common grunt has to go through.
    iv) any government/noble/king/etc that has no sence of war, yet repeatedly took a hand in military affairs, and caused a lot of problems by doing so.
    v) armies that made a specific point of burning/salting/looting/destroying everything they took over.

    note i'm not asking for anyone to do research for me, just if anyone reads one of those 5 and thinks, "political fools that screwed over their army? sounds like so-and-so from where-ever in the what-ever hundreds who blah-blah-blah". great! perfect! just a sentence is all i ask. gimme anything to work with and i'll scamper off to look into it. much thanks to anyone who can help, and even those who can't, but read 'help' in the title and bothered to read this.

    that's the thing about perfection, it can only get worse.

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  3. #2
    LO Zealot Bawdymonkey's Avatar
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    This is a good place to start with all things relating to classical stuff: The Oxford Classical Dictionary. I think its third edition now. Anyway, it has everything and an excellent bibliography.

    I. Roman citizen Marius. Reformed the roman army to take in more than just land holders. Any roman could join. At the end of their term they were given farms as a pension. Look into the Marian Reforms as its a good starting place.
    II. Slave armies are hard but later on during the Muslim expansion the Mameluks were slave warriors in Egypt that eventually took political power. Same with the Jannisaries and the Turks. Sparticus also led a rebellious slave army in northern Italy.
    III. Sorry nothing specific comes to mind.
    IV. Once again, its hard to think of one because military success entails political power. Try looking at Xerxes the Persian King who fought Alexander the Great.
    V. Carthage after Scipio defeated Hannibal at the Plains of Zama. Right before the Romans broke through the walls, the Jewish zealots in Masada killed themselves rather then be enslaved. I am not sure there are any armies that consistently destroyed everything because that was simply not done. Maybe you could talk about King Archidamus in the Peloponnesian War. He led the Spartan armies yearly in thoroughly ravaging Attica from 431 to 427. the Athenians were avoiding orthodox battle by hiding behind the Long Walls.
    “Cry ‘Havoc’ and let slip the dogs of war!? - Julius Caesar, Act III, Scene I

  4. #3
    Senior Member Iron Loki's Avatar
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    o man, already a reply and a really good one to. much thanks. looking into Marian Reforms, Mameluks, and Xerxes.
    some refining points to be a bit more specific, i'm looking into the bad points of military. i'm hoping for more on the military being some 'last resort', 'cause life is so bad already. good points on war should be disregarded, for example Napoleon. for the purposes of this essay, there was no Napoleon.
    to make III more specific, i'm doing a lot of comparisons, and the recent-times comparison is sam huges. if your not canadian you prolly won't know him. he was minister of militia though he made a lot of mistakes, and nobody could get him outta office. his most famous concept was the ross rifle. given to canadian troops in WWI, was orignaly a hunting rifle thought to be much better then the british, lee-enfield was it? it was kinda delicate though, and would jam from the smallest things, so in the muddy trenches, blah. it became common to keep your head down, wait for a british soldier to be shot then take his gun. though once the brits got wind of this they where sympathetic and started trading surplus lee-enfields for anything canadians could offer. then sam huges got wind, and ordered all the units to get freash ross rifles, with so many modifactions (about 120 i think) that it was now larger, heavier and less acurate then the lee-enfield.
    any stories like that, where there were huge blunders from decisions made by those who had no lot in war. think egotism and over-estimating their own self worth.
    again much thanks, and sorry for needing such specific examples (i think that's what's screwing me over in my research).
    that's the thing about perfection, it can only get worse.

  5. #4
    LO Zealot Bawdymonkey's Avatar
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    Okay then I can work with that. Look into Alcibiades and the Athenian campaign in Sicily. He was one of the two generals leading the doomed expedition. When he got wind that he was going to face trial for impiety back in Athens and probably executed (in a drunken rampage he defaced a bunch of Herms) and went over to the Spartan side and basically sold out the Athenians who numbered I think about 34,000. Im not sure if that helps but Im sure you could find an angle.
    “Cry ‘Havoc’ and let slip the dogs of war!? - Julius Caesar, Act III, Scene I

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    sorry cant help you there im studying 1600-1700 in england sorry.

  7. #6
    Ayatollah Moomintroll Hard A**'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Loki
    i) examples of low class citizens (peasents, surfs) aspiring to join the military to gain a 'better' life outside of the farm or whatnot.
    ii) slave armies. i thought both Egypt and Rome had them, but i can't seem to really find anything on them.
    iii) examples of the 'officer class', or just generaly the more rich and powerful that are involved in war being excused from the brutal fighting the common grunt has to go through.
    iv) any government/noble/king/etc that has no sence of war, yet repeatedly took a hand in military affairs, and caused a lot of problems by doing so.
    v) armies that made a specific point of burning/salting/looting/destroying everything they took over.
    Purely off the top of my head :

    i) I would say the English/Welsh Longbowmen (archers) of Henry Vs campaign in France 1415AD. They were the most devastating troops in Europe at the time, and were so highly regarded by their leaders that they actually had 'expense accounts' as they marched across Southern England towards the Channel ports. Of course, the plunder (particularly after the battle of Agincourt) from the noble French knights that were killed etc. must have set up many a peasant for life. Incidentally, the well known gesture of the 'V' sign made with the fingers - a peculiarly English gesture of distain, is believed to have dated from this era, as the French would chop the two index fingers off the right hand of a captured Longbowman to render him useless before releasing him. However, the victorious English would display their two fingers to any captured French to humiliate them.

    ii) The Ancient Persians had very reluctant spearmen, basically a recruiting Officer would arrive in a village before a campaign, and just 'press-gang' all the men into the army. They were issued rectangular wicker shields, and poor quality spears, and were often chained at the ankle to stop them running away too quickly. The Persian noble Cavalry did most of the fighting on the battlefield, needless to say. Look into the Persian battles of Belisarius (500-560?AD) for examples of these being used on the battlefield, although I think they were used for about a thousand years before this too.

    iii) Officer Class. Look into the Housecarls of the Norse, Viking and English/Saxon armies of about 600-1100AD. They COULD be kept as a kind of bodyguard for the King/General. Its difficult to think of any specific instance where they were not committed into battle at some point though. Look at the battle of Hastings (1066AD). Also, the classic Roman army (pre-100 BC IIRC) was divided into Hastati (light skirmishing troops, basically youths), Principes (the main body of troops, fighting men) and Triarii in the rear line (mature and tough veterans, who were only committed to battle in extreme situations). Check out this> link <for more details as to their deployment.

    iv) Heh, several. Gaius Caesar (Caligula) for example with his pantomime campaigns against the sea (in lieu of Brittania) and the Germans. Belisarius and the problems imposed upon him by the jealous Emperor Justinian.

    v) The Romans destroyed Carthage (their most important trade rival) in 146BC, and 'sowed their fields with salt'. Also look into the Vikings and other Norse invaders of Northern England in the 'Dark Ages'.

    I hope this helps.
    Last edited by Hard A**; May 10th, 2005 at 13:55.
    Ryan Dancey, Vice President of Wizards of the Coast, believed that TSR failed because of "...a near total inability to listen to its customers, hear what they were saying, and make changes to make those customers happy." Are you listening, Games Workshop ?

  8. #7
    Son of LO Wolf_Pack's Avatar
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    the most notable noble to have taking warfair without any good judgement in the matter would be the Last Tzar of Russia, Nicolas Romanov II, but I guess this is in the close past. YOu might also look for all the french and english kings who where manipulated by the queens and courts, really interesting stuff really

    Burning salting raping?
    Ghengis Khan and is band of mongol raiders.
    Best Regards,
    Wolf_Pack

  9. #8
    Ayatollah Moomintroll Hard A**'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf_Pack
    the most notable noble to have taking warfair without any good judgement in the matter would be the Last Tzar of Russia, Nicolas Romanov II, but I guess this is in the close past. YOu might also look for all the french and english kings who where manipulated by the queens and courts, really interesting stuff really

    Burning salting raping?
    Ghengis Khan and is band of mongol raiders.
    He did say prior to 1600AD.

    I agree about Ghenghis Khan and the Mongols, and the Huns would also be a candidate for a destructive ancient/dark ages army.

    With my Mod hat on - please address your spelling and capitalisation, by the way. Kindly take more care.
    Ryan Dancey, Vice President of Wizards of the Coast, believed that TSR failed because of "...a near total inability to listen to its customers, hear what they were saying, and make changes to make those customers happy." Are you listening, Games Workshop ?

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    LO Zealot Addoran's Avatar
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    1/As mentioned earlier I think, the use of Roman Auxilliaries. They were recruited from non-citizens and outsiders, with the reward of their service being the aquiring of citizenship for themselves and their families. They could also gain their citizenship as a result of heroism. They were an irregular fighting force unlike the legions, often unarmoured fighting with slings and rocks.
    2/The Janissaries, the elite troops of the muslim Ottoman empire ironically were largely captured ex-Christians who were made into an elite fighting core. They were unable to wear beards, as these were the sign of a 'free man'.
    3/ It's a hard question. It's a pity you asked for ancient examples, as the only example I could think of was Vietnam.
    4/Croesus, the king of Lydia. He's the king that asked the Oracle is he should try going to war. The Oracle answered that he would destroy a great empire. She was right, he was defeated and Lythia invaded and conquered.
    5/ The third Punic war. After they captured Carthage they burned the land for several days, and then salted the soil to make it infertile. Carthage was Rome's ancient nemesis, Rome made sure she would never rise again.

  11. #10
    Consumate professional Sir Theobold the Lame's Avatar
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    i) examples of low class citizens (peasents, surfs) aspiring to join the military to gain a 'better' life outside of the farm or whatnot.
    ii) slave armies. i thought both Egypt and Rome had them, but i can't seem to really find anything on them.
    iii) examples of the 'officer class', or just generaly the more rich and powerful that are involved in war being excused from the brutal fighting the common grunt has to go through.
    iv) any government/noble/king/etc that has no sence of war, yet repeatedly took a hand in military affairs, and caused a lot of problems by doing so.
    v) armies that made a specific point of burning/salting/looting/destroying everything they took over.


    The English armies of the 100 years war were built on the power of the longbow- which were more or less exclusively used by serfs- it was not unknown for troops to rise up the ranks during this conflict and lead bands of archers and even men at arms of their own. In the biography 'Hawkwood', about sir john Hawkwood- a leader of the free companies who went off to fight in italy after peace broke out between france and england, there are several examples of men who 'bettered' themselves in this way. This war was also one which frequently saw a lot of scorched earth policy- particularly from the smaller english armies. In fact this conflict should provide lots of examples of most of the things your after- being a particularly brutal medieval war! For example at the battle of Agincourt the french nobles ignored the battle plan of the marshal of france (a career soldier who had himself come up from ignoble birth- very rare in france) and launched the series of spectacular charges that were destroyed by the bows of england.

    If your looking at pre-1600 there will be few european examples of a lot of the things you asked about due to the fact there were no standing armies in most of the countries until the 17th century...I'm sure other people can tell you more about non-european examples though?
    PLAN CLAN MAN!!

    He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man- S. Johnson

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