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willowfall

Senator
This sort of thing happened at least as late as 1756 when Frederick the Great conscripted defeated soldiers of Saxony to form 10 regiments under Prussian officers. However as you pointed out if they had the native lingo they had the opportunity to desert, which opportunity most of these reluctant Prussians availed themselves of.

Fighting for 'your country' is a very recent mindset. In almost any war prior to WWI you will find solders fighting for whomever they find will pay them the most or are ideological compatible with. The famous Swiss Guards and the Gurkha units of both the British and Indian armies are remnants of a time when it wasn't uncommon for soldiers to fight for someone else as regular soldiers (as defined separate from mercenaries). For several centuries the royal French Army fielded several "Irish" regiments which were consistently used against the British Army (who of course was fielding Irish regiments of their own).

The Mexicans recruited a unit of Catholics from their POWs during the Mexican War (1846-1848) to fight against the 'Protestant' US.

It also happened during WWII as the German and Japanese recruited among their POWs for units in the their armed forces. The Germans "promised" the western allied soldiers they recruited that they would only fight against the Soviets and sent the recruited Soviet soldiers to fight in the west. The Japanese recruited locals (mostly Indian and other southeast Asian POWs) to help 'liberate' their homeland.

And of course the Roman wholesale enlisted defeated 'barbarians' (the original definition of that word is people who did not speak Greek) as auxiliaries.

And to bring it back to slavery there are many examples of units that were constructed of 'slaves' to be used against the enemies of their enslavers. The most famous are probably the Ottoman Janissaries (1380ish-1826), but you also have the Mamelukes (9th Century to 1811) in Egypt and the Brazilian Empire may have used slave soldier as late a the War of the Triple Alliance (1864-1870).

Another case where you had manpower intensive situations that technology had not yet replaced.

kisses

willowfall
 

Loxuru

Graf von Kreuzigung
Fighting for 'your country' is a very recent mindset. In almost any war prior to WWI you will find solders fighting for whomever they find will pay them the most or are ideological compatible with. The famous Swiss Guards and the Gurkha units of both the British and Indian armies are remnants of a time when it wasn't uncommon for soldiers to fight for someone else as regular soldiers (as defined separate from mercenaries). For several centuries the royal French Army fielded several "Irish" regiments which were consistently used against the British Army (who of course was fielding Irish regiments of their own).
There was indeed an element of soldier's loyalty, but loyalty to 'a country' is practically not older than the French Revolution. Before, there was loyalty to the king, or to a landlord who had sworn loyalty to another landlord, who had, nearly on top of the pyramid, sworn loyalty to the king or the emperor. The system was not fail-safe, since, when an usurper claimed himself, say, the real king of France, then nobles who had sworn oath to 'the king of France', had a pretext to switch loyalty to the usurper, without compromising their oath.

In Roman times, we see often that legionaries were first of all loyal to their legion commander, who was supposed to be loyal to the emperor, but such was often very futile, when the legion commander had himself higher ambitions. But his soldiers always followed him.

More recently... some 10-15 years ago I saw an interview with a former RAF pilot, a veteran of the Battle of Britain, who asked how he conceived the fact that he actually had shot down and killed German pilots, made this remarkable statement : "I had nothing against them personally, but they were the king's enemies, so I had to do my duty!" The man perceived himself clearly first of all as a 'soldier to the king', rather than empasising on fighting for his country.
 

willowfall

Senator
More recently... some 10-15 years ago I saw an interview with a former RAF pilot, a veteran of the Battle of Britain, who asked how he conceived the fact that he actually had shot down and killed German pilots, made this remarkable statement : "I had nothing against them personally, but they were the king's enemies, so I had to do my duty!" The man perceived himself clearly first of all as a 'soldier to the king', rather than empasising on fighting for his country.

I think that in the case of the modern British psyche the Monarch is the representation of the country\population as a whole as opposed to a person to which one owes individual loyalty. Unlike say Richard the Lionheart during his time when personal loyalty to an individual was paramount.

Before the French Revolution your unit commander had a much bigger impact on your life\existence than a monarch or government did. This is essentially so during Rome because a lot of legionaries were not "Roman" nor even Italian and quite possibly had never even been to Rome (or Italy since the Legions for the most part were stationed on the borders). You saw your commander on a daily\weekly basis, the Emperor was 'some guy' far away.

If you ask a modern soldier who they are fighting for they will often reply that it is for the men in their unit, the people they live (and die) with everyday. A government, cause or a flag becomes an abstract.

In some ways you can see the same force at work in a slave society. The desire of a slave to be free (or at least free of a specific owner) depended an awful lot on what your lot in life was like (or had been previously). If you were decently treated, had a warm place to sleep and enough food what is the incentive to go out and risk everything in a world where starvation, death and oppression were real threats? And if you don't want to accept this (it hard for the modern psyche to understand this point of view) have you ever stayed in a job not because you loved it or liked it but because it met your needs and wasn't that oppressive. Those 2 things are NOT that far apart.

What is amazing about the history of slavery is not that there were slave revolts but considering the time span of the existence of slavery coupled with the number of enslaved is that there were relatively few.

kisses

willowfall
 

Loxuru

Graf von Kreuzigung
If you ask a modern soldier who they are fighting for they will often reply that it is for the men in their unit, the people they live (and die) with everyday. A government, cause or a flag becomes an abstract.
Maybe this applies to professional soldiers. In case of conscription - so obligatory service - this could be different. Conscription became widespread in revolutionary France in 1792. The cause was : 'you are granted liberties, so you should be prepared to fight for them'. The same cause -defending liberties - was a major issue during the cold war conscription, and a matter of discussion for those (including me) facing it. Are you prepared to sacrifice a year for that?
 

willowfall

Senator
Maybe this applies to professional soldiers. In case of conscription - so obligatory service - this could be different. Conscription became widespread in revolutionary France in 1792. The cause was : 'you are granted liberties, so you should be prepared to fight for them'. The same cause -defending liberties - was a major issue during the cold war conscription, and a matter of discussion for those (including me) facing it. Are you prepared to sacrifice a year for that?

This mindset happens with conscripted soldiers WHO SAW COMBAT. Yes a government will tell you you are fighting for your freedom and your way of life (actually you are fighting for them to stay in power but whatever) that is the official version. And soldiers who never have to fight will say "King, Country, God".

That said I have known a lot of WWII, Korean and Vietnam combat vets and they pretty much said the same thing ...... 'I fought for the man to my right and the man to my left.'

And despite the "revolutionary conscript army" of the French Revolution notice how fast Napoleon was able to turn it against the same government it was supposed to represent and defend.

We as humans all love things that go our way. We are ego centric (which is different from being self-centered) so if given a choice we usually pick the one most beneficial to us. I don't think I was there (I do believe in reincarnation) but I'm fairly sure the offer to those 2 Roman Legions went something like this ....... 'Listen, you can come work for us, we'll give you land and control over the locals but you'll be far to the east... refuse and we'll kill you all right now...... What do you say?'

kisses

willowfall
 

Naraku

Draconarius
I believe, based on my readings (and some actual experience), that slavery was actually a very sustainable institution until the industrial revolution got into full swing.

For example in the production of cotton in America it was picked by hand and then the fibers were separated from the seeds by hand. Extremely low skill labor intensive (one reason why cotton was not a yeoman farm product). Along comes the cotton gin and BAM you have a machine doing the labor of dozens of workers, doesn't get sick and doesn't need a day off to recuperate. Then they invent the mechanical cotton picker and more laborers are out of work.

In my own experience I have used horses to plow fields and harvest corn. The miracle of the 2 bottom sulky plow pulled by a team horses allowed a farmer to put a lot more land into crops cultivation than they could using a single bottom plow pulled by a single horse (or ox or humans). The same thing with a corn harvester. A single harvester can do in minutes (cutting and binding the corn into bundles) what might take a 10 person crew a couple of hours to do.

And the above are 19th century inventions, so it took 1500 years to move agricultural technology significantly beyond what Ancient cultures were capable of and start to replace manpower with mechanical power in agriculture (the worlds biggest industry at that time).

Then of course there is labor issue. Prior to WWI (and even somewhat WWII) even in the western world most people were involved as labor in agriculture. And often a 'farm worker' and their family(s) lived with the farmer as part of their compensation. The difference between a 'farmer' and a 'farm laborer' was who had the ability to own land, not a level of skill or knowledge. Realistically the difference between a pre-modern employee and a slave was whether or not one could leave your employment or not. The "costs" were not significantly different.

What made slavery unviable (it might viable today except for morality, example migrant farm workers in the US are a mobile paid unskilled labor force, other than morality what keeps them from being slaves?) is western liberal philosophical evolution. And even that was a matter of convenience. For example the British love to point out that slavery was made illegal in the UK in 1772 and take that as a moral high ground. The inconvenient fact they (often) leave out is that slavery was not abolished in the less "civilized" parts of the Empire until the 1830s. Barely 30 years before it's demise in the US.

The history of officially sanctioned economic slavery stretches back before the dawn of recorded human history. Its existence and usage is multiples in length of time of the relatively recent attempts (say 200 or so years) to outlaw it world wide.

kisses

willowfall
One minor correction: The cotton gin did not reduce the need for slavery, it increased it.
Contrary to popular belief, cotton was not always king in the South. Prior to about 1810, tobacco, rice and indigo were the main cash crops. Only short-staple cotton was being produced in quantity because it had fewer seeds and was easily cleaned by hand. However, it could only grow in a limited number of areas, main along the South Carolina coast. No amount of slave labor would have made growing the hardier long-staple cotton profitable because the abundance of seeds.
Whitney's cotton gin changed that. It allowed for the quick cleaning of cotton and that made it profitable to plant massive amounts of land with long-staple cotton which required using massive amounts of slaves to plant, tend and harvest. Cotton production went from 750,000 bales in 1830 to 2.85 million in 1850.
 

willowfall

Senator
One minor correction: The cotton gin did not reduce the need for slavery, it increased it.

I never said that the cotton gin reduced the need for slavery, I said it reduced the need for manpower for that application.

So immediately the plantation had to deploy those workers to other things (unlike workers you can lay off), which turned out to be putting MORE acreage into cotton production.

In a sort of perverse way initial industrialization of agriculture reinforced the need for slaves in certain labor intensive applications that couldn't be mechanized.

Rome faced a similar issue when very successful wars flooded the market with slaves. Even with demand high supply outstripped demand thus lowering the price. THAT made it easier for people to acquire slaves and use them as a labor force where they hadn't been used before (like helping a low income blacksmith who used to do everything himself). A glut of slaves (like what happened with mechanization) reduced the demand in the secondary market leaving the plantation owners with very little choice other than to up the production to cover costs. And then of course slaves also wore out (or got old) and there was no way to dispose of them (unlike some earlier cultures did).

It became a very vicious cycle as (western) societies became more conscious and morally upset at the unsolvable issue. Of course money played into the whole issue too. If you didn't own slaves and they were going to be released far away from you (where they couldn't compete in the labor force) just free them. If your livelihood depended on them or releasing them might push you out of a job ... then you saw it is a different light.

kisses

willowfall
 

malins

Stumbling Seeker
A recreation of the early 4th century Colossus of Constantine. There aren't that many pieces left of him
slider_2664_27894_d.jpg
so it includes educated guesses from the way similar colossal statues were made & emperors depicted although of course art was changing in this time, as seen in the way his head is sculpted, in a less physically realistic style than earlier 'classics'. And it would be the first colossal representation with a Christian message.
A curiosity is that, among the surviving fragments, two versions of the right hand were available ... probably telling us that the statue had been reworked during its lifetime. Maybe adding a more Christian pose?

the scale of the sculpture does indeed deserve the term 'Colossus'
slider_2663_27888.jpg

A video
and description of the process https://www.factumfoundation.org/pag/1890/
 

willowfall

Senator
One of the things I do love is how modern technology is allowing to learn things about Rome (and other ancient peoples) we never knew.

A GREAT example is Hadrian's Column. Because we don't have ancient documentation (early medieval is about the oldest) we always assumed the column was just made of natural stone. Then there were some theories that it might have been painted. Modern examinations have shown not only was the column painted but very vibrant colors were used which means we have to start rethinking all those bland buildings and monuments in all those sword and sandal movies.

The Ancient world was probably very colorful and maybe even a little garish by our standards.

kisses

willowfall
 
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