——— (Part One)———
——— (Once Upon a Time on Planet Earth….)
———(This is not the way things began here, this is the way things became after we hit rock bottom during the last recurring cycle, having forgotten what went before…)
——– The biggest, baddest thugs in the area would fight to the death and the winner would be declared ‘Chief’. The Chief pretty much had the power to beat anybody in his (usually ‘his’) area into submission. Somewhere along the line, a chief learned that he could share a little power. Let’s call the under-chiefs, ‘henchmen’ or ‘lieutenants’. If the Big Chief had several henchmen with slightly less power than he did, who were still afraid of him, they could keep the general population down and keep their eyes on each other to try to catch each other doing something the Big Chief wouldn’t approve of, so they could rat their fellow henchman out and gain favour in the Big Chief’s eyes. As things became slightly more ‘civilized’ the Chief could call himself ‘King’ and call his henchmen ‘Nobles’ or ‘Knights’ or something like that (but they were still the second biggest, baddest thugs in the area). After a further period of time (second, third, fourth generation?) -the King might call himself an Emperor, Overlord, or something hinting at “I have the power of life and death over you and don’t you forget it.” He might also give his henchmen titles that evolved into “Dukes”, “Earls”, “Dauphines”, whatever…
——– When the King and his ‘Ruling Class’ tried not appear so bloodthirsty and brutish, they contacted the second most ruthless gang of cutthroats, thugs, and brutes in their region; called these thugs ‘Enforcers’, ‘Constables’, ‘Guards’, or something similar and gave them the power to brutalize and terrorize the peasants to keep them in line.
——— King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, in truth, would probably make the nastiest biker gang on earth these days look like a bunch of girl guides.
——— Have things changed much in the couple thousand years that this system has been ‘evolving’?
——— How many of you know what happened to way too many of the brave sailors that saved England from the Spanish Armada? The ‘Crown’ didn’t want to part with the gold they’d promised their defenders, so they had hundreds of them locked below decks on naval ships and starved them and allowed them to die of thirst. We know this because some of them were able to claw their way through the rotting hulls of some of the ships, escape and swim to shore before they were too weak to move. They did not broadcast their presence to everyone they came into contact with. They didn’t want the Queen’s forces to hunt them down and kill them. Most of them got as far away from the coast as they could and tried to live as free as they could. Their histories did quietly survive, possibly passed down from father to son, or mother to daughter in hushed tones and cautionary warnings, “Don’t think a soldier is handsome and dashing, young lady, without knowing that he’d as soon stab you in the back and rape you as bow graciously and ask you to dance.”
———Armies. You know the glorious Roman Army marched into battle with the spears of the second rank planted firmly in the middle of the backs of those in the front rank. And the spears of the third rank were similarly placed in the backs of those in the second rank, and so on. Sargents’ duties included killing their own men from time to time to set an example for the rest. The term ‘decimated’ originally referred to the practice of Roman Officers pushing every tenth soldier in a division that lost a battle over a cliff, or having them strangled or suffer some ignoble death in the eyes of their comrades. This is what they called ‘discipline’ in those days. I hope you don’t believe that we’ve come a long way since then.
——— (to be continued)