Tuesday, March 11, 2008

the rulz of war

the rulz of war.

I was watching a documentary the other night about a city that was taken by force in the 12th century somewhere in Europe. Can't be arsed, as my British pals would say, to look it up, but I will, I promise.
Anyhow - there were rules.
The army first surrounded the city and began a siege. Then it attacked, and when it entered the town, the army slaughtered 20,000 of its 35,000 inhabitants.
The rules were:
You (the soldier) could kill anyone you wanted. You could pillage the town. You could take prisoners for ransom. The ransom and booty was your pay if you were a mercenary soldier. Any soldier could steal and keep any sort of treasure they found. Women and children were not spared.
But - this pillage could only last three days. After that, anyone who had taken refuge in the church or hid away could come out again and be safe. The mercenaries and army had to leave the (sacked and destroyed) town so that the inhabitants could build it up again. Chances were, the invading army would draw up a trade agreement with the town, and soldiers and mercenaries would then become merchants and traders, working with the town.

My thouoghts as I watched this documentary: Could we still do this today? What about attacking Monaco? Three days to pillage the city? And, it's probably a good thing I wasn't queen of France.

My son's remark: They don't have anything worth stealing. What are you going to do, pile casino chips in a fake Ferrari and drive off?


Gabriele C. said...

Well, we could lock St├ęphanie up in a dungeon so we don't need to see her face in the media ever again. :)

Kate R said...

And here we are spared that particular branch of royalty. We just get Chuck and Di's kids' faces in our news. And I don't think Jenna and Barbara Bush count as royalty.

Was it coincidence that you wrote that post near the five year anniversary of the start of the latest Gulf war?

Anonymous said...

I remember my history prof discussing negotiation of terms of seige and warfare...they didn't fight on Sundays, on certain Saint's days, on the pope's birthday...sounded like boys making rules in the alley...no fighting on bikes, the dog is on my side, and we get 5 minutes more after mom yells for dinner.

And as for Kate's comment: I wonder how much oil the US could pump in 3 days...

Jennifer said...

Gabriele - good point!

Kate - I suppose we could always invade Texas...And yes, it was a total coincidence, as that is one anniversary I'm not going to celebrate. *sigh*

Seeley - HI!!!!! Yes, a bit like a kids' fight - no throwing rocks and the swingset is homefree...
In three days? Hmmm. Not enough, I guess, which is why this whole darn thing is dragging on so long.

Travis Erwin said...

And I thought .. All is fair in love and war.