An English In Kentucky


















Thursday May 30th 2019Tim Candler9


    Rome was sacked in 1084 by a Norman army. Everything was going fine, Norman leadership had achieved it's goal, deposed a king, but Roman citizens had an objection, which resulted in a riot, and this riot resulted in Norman leadership losing control of their army and the result was days of pillaging, killing and acts of appalling brutality by Romans and by Norman soldiers. Rome was again sacked in 1527, this time a combination of a French, Spanish, German and Italian armies that had been engaged by The Holy Roman Emperor Charles V to demonstrate his control over the Italian Peninsular in a debate he was having with the Pope. Initially there'd been no intention to go anywhere near Rome, but unfortunately funds were short, the soldiers weren't paid, they mutinied and decided to just go ahead and attack Rome, which was the richest city in Europe. And again things went further awry and Rome was very badly sacked. Charles V was horrified and Martin Luther gave what I guess these days would be called a "No Comment." In a sense, I'd argue, there's a certain amount of pillaging of the US Constitution going on at the moment. Not outright sacking, more like that tipping moment when a commander loses authority over his or her soldiers.   



   Duke of Wellington lost control of his army once. The town of Badajoz on the Spanish side of the border with Portugal. The year was 1812. The siege of Badajoz had been very difficult. For high command it was deemed a critical victory against Napoleon that would enable British forces to advance into Spain. Wellington could have chosen a more tactical way to take the town, siege engines, sappers and engineers. Instead he basically chose to us the bayonet. For the soldiers it was a bloody waste of life and once victory had been achieved the soldiers lost it, they ignored their officers, killed some of their officers and then they went wild. Wellington let the process of drunkenness, rape and pillage run a while before he put a halt to it. Men were flogged, gallows were erected, but not a soldier was hung. In studies of riots, it's a little thing here, a big thing there and before you know it people are doing things they'd never dreamed of doing, it's a social phenomenon. There was a riot at a pop festival once because a town ran out of beer. Generally, unless it's part of a cultural tradition, where it's pretty much formalized Saturday afternoon activity, riot is a mood that sort of flashes, loses touch with normality, it's hugely emotional, sometimes exciting and afterwards people engaged in riot feel the combination of dumb, stupid, very relieved, rather full of themselves, angry or sorry. It's those who don't, those who quench their thirst, get a thrill from it, you got to worry about, and best to give them a Saturday afternoon somewhere. In the end if you don't know what to do, a  manual of some kind is useful.


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