to the idea of the migratory cities. In Caesar's commentary on the Gallic wars, he wrote that the Germanic tribes kept in a perpetual state
of war-readiness by assigning each clan a different tract of farmland each year, and each farmer was alloted a different strip. This kept individual
soldiers from forming a close-knit feeling for either neighbors or real estate.
How about getting rid of the sales tax, and taxing property at rate based on how long one owner has it? Just an idea. . .
In my spare time I've been reading up on the history of dueling. The primary consideration before c. 1870 was not skill, but honor. Honor meant
sparing an opponent if possible, and giving them a chance to back down. At all costs, to be fearless, and to be a gentleman, even when furious or
The goal of a duel was not victory, but to demonstrate that one was willing to risk life and limb for the sake of one's reputation for integrity.
Swords and pistols were so dangerous that even a skilled master could be felled by a lucky opponent. Pistols especially contributed to the decline of
dueling. Saber duels were only rarely fought to the death, and the refusal of quarter was far more damaging to one's good name than losing.
I wouldn't take this argument too far, but before about 1800, wars were somewhat less about economics and attrition than about personal conduct.
Particularly during the High Middle Ages, it is odd how many seiges ended with a banquet before the surrender, and the beseigers invited into the
castle and the discussion of terms was had over dinner.
Many readers of "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" will remember the seige of the Cathar castle in Languedoc (the name escapes me). The Cathars were offered
the chance to leave unmolested, even the adult males, and take their weapons with them, only leaving their treasure. They refused and were
Or think of the Christmas Truce of WWI, when Brits and Germans crawled out of their trenches and played soccer and sang "Silent Night," even trading
mailing addresses for after the war. Such an attitude is unthinkable in the modern age when honor means nothing, economics is the world religion, and
the dollar is GOD.
Imagine a class of men and women who despised riches, but held their honor and good conduct as their most precious treasure. If you made an enemy of
someone like that, you couldn't buy them off or bully them with threats of legal action. People like that might end up running the society.
Incedentally, there is a group of German Fraternities that still practice a form of duel with razor-sharp blades and quilted padding, called
Here are a list of sites, all of 'em auf Deustch, but you can breeze through and look at the pictures to get the drift.
They are pretty low-key about the whole thing, and don't show any live shots. I gather it is a pretty controversial thing in German-speaking
nations, seen as a barbaric holdover from a jingoistic past.
Anyway, interesting the way our pastimes influence our values, and vice-versa. What would it look like if a celebrity challenged paparazzi to a duel,
instead of suing them? ? ??
Now, which one of you called me FAT ??!?!?!?!