Montag, 24. März 2014

Why do so Many Conflicts Begin in the Spring? (+popis za reprodukciju)

The timing of recent events in Ukraine are likely no coincidence. Throughout history, many armed conflicts have often begun during the spring season. The most resent and perhaps most notable, being the conflict in Syria. However, if we take a look further back in history, there is more than enough evidence to suggest that this tactic is nothing new. Although they weren't the first to employ it, The Romans offer an excellent example for us to examine.

The Roman Empire was known for launching military campaigns against their enemies in the spring, since it is the longest possible time before more winter. Their intention was to attack in the summer, fortify in the fall and defend in the winter. A strategy which allowed them to expand their empire at an incredible rate.

In Greek mythology, Cassandra, a princess of Troy, whose name in Greek means "she who entangles men" was given the power of seeing into the future by Apollo, the god of the sun, the light, truth and prophecy, among others. In other versions of the myth, snakes lick the ears of a sleeping Cassandra, so that she could hear the future. In any event, Apollo tries to seduce Cassandra, but when she refuses his advances, Apollo gives her the curse of never being believed.

Why is this relevant? Well Cassandra once said: "With the beginning of spring, war broke out. These last years, we have been living in constant expectation of imminent war, and the periods of peace are so short that they are always transformed into preparations for a new war. We have learned to recognize the signs and words of war, we have been listening to them and experiencing them for too long a time. We are afraid every spring."

In Roman mythology, Mars was the god of war and agriculture. Many festivals were held in March and October to coincide with the beginning and end of military campaigns and farming. One festival in particular, held on March 23rd, was specifically to purify the deploying army.

Mars is where we get the word March, it comes from the Latin Martias. It's also where we get the word "martial", as in martial arts or martial law. It means "pertaining to war". Originally, March was also the first month of the Roman calendar. Mars, represented the Roman ideology that military power secures peace.

The term "history is doomed to repeat itself" gets thrown around a lot these days, and although it's not untrue, perhaps a more appropriate statement would be "history intends to repeat itself" because as we can see, spring time is war time and every year it seems we are plunged into yet another bloody global conflict.

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