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Thucidydes, Jünger, and the fall of the Spartans
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storm Offline
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Thucidydes, Jünger, and the fall of the Spartans
It is a well known fact that the civilization of Sparta was destroyed because their population declined. Over the course of many years of war their numbers dwindled. Finally, at the Battle of Leuctra, they were only able to field some a few thousand soldiers (out of their ten thousand there, only a minority were actual Spartans), the large majority of which were killed. Their population never recovered, and Sparta was annexed by Rome and turned into a tourist destination.

I have heard it argued that the Napoleonic wars took two inches off of the height of Frenchmen.

I am reading Jünger's memoirs of trench warfare in the first world war and am impressed by his hard work and ingenuity even in those pits. While the allies pummeled them with shrapnel and snipers shot soldiers seemingly at random, the Germans tirelessly built trenches, tunnels, decoys, wires, all manners of industriousness. These men returned from America, from France, volunteered for the trench away from philosophy positions. They found their country worthy to fight and die for. Where in the west today would you find such a cause? [1]

Could the wars of the middle ages and the two world wars lead to a similar result in the West? Are we doomed to become tourist destinations for foreign powers as our own population dissipates?

Or is there something more subtle at work here? If so, what is it?

1. As an aside, does anyone suggest a non-western war memoir?

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04-13-2016 10:26 AM
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Comte De St. Germain Away
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RE: Thucidydes, Jünger, and the fall of the Spartans
If you're looking for an interesting time period to study about in terms of warfare, philosophy, patriotism, and Civil War I would look no further than the Romance of the Three Kingdoms period in Chinese History.

Lots of interesting stuff and brilliant philosopher generals from that time period. I can't name any books off the top of my head that I can recommend(other than the book Romance of Three Kingdoms), but that entire period was chock full of interesting events.

It's a great case study on when a central government loses its capability to lead and near all of its authority. I feel/fear that this is what's going to happen to the United States after it should fall to Barbarians as there's still the right amount of xenophobia and patriotism here for a similar course of events(though not in the name of the Emperor/Mandate of Heaven but in the name of Democracy).

Regardless of how many foreigners are imported there's still a deep entrenched belief in Democracy and "freedom"(granted freedom is a more loaded term in this era as there's much debate as to what it means, but still an underlying belief in it).

"Until the day when God shall deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is summed up in these two words,— 'Wait and hope'."- Alexander Dumas, "The Count of Monte Cristo"

Here lies a ghost from a place long gone. It was not a good place and it was not a bad place. But it was ours. May it and I rest in peace.
(This post was last modified: 04-13-2016 10:37 AM by Comte De St. Germain.)
04-13-2016 10:34 AM
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RE: Thucidydes, Jünger, and the fall of the Spartans
(04-13-2016 10:34 AM)Comte De St. Germain Wrote:  If you're looking for an interesting time period to study about in terms of warfare, philosophy, patriotism, and Civil War I would look no further than the Romance of the Three Kingdoms period in Chinese History.

Hi, specifically I am looking for memoirs, diaries, and other nonfiction. Reading novels to get an insight into a common man's life seems a bit naive.

I did read what was available to me from the records of the grand historian (the Shǐjì, or 史記). But such things are heavily censored. There are letters available from egypt which have been found, but they are all from Greek egypt. Has someone compiled and translated something like this for a nonwestern source (specifically I am looking for the far east, but something like persia is fine).

If you're going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It's the only good fight there is.

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04-13-2016 10:56 AM
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Comte De St. Germain Away
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RE: Thucidydes, Jünger, and the fall of the Spartans
(04-13-2016 10:56 AM)storm Wrote:  
(04-13-2016 10:34 AM)Comte De St. Germain Wrote:  If you're looking for an interesting time period to study about in terms of warfare, philosophy, patriotism, and Civil War I would look no further than the Romance of the Three Kingdoms period in Chinese History.

Hi, specifically I am looking for memoirs, diaries, and other nonfiction. Reading novels to get an insight into a common man's life seems a bit naive.

I did read what was available to me from the records of the grand historian (the Shǐjì, or 史記). But such things are heavily censored. There are letters available from egypt which have been found, but they are all from Greek egypt. Has someone compiled and translated something like this for a nonwestern source (specifically I am looking for the far east, but something like persia is fine).

I imagine there are Korean and Japanese sources on the events of the Three Kingdoms that are translated. There was a lot of overlap and knowledge from those sources, but I'll look into it and get back to you.

"Until the day when God shall deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is summed up in these two words,— 'Wait and hope'."- Alexander Dumas, "The Count of Monte Cristo"

Here lies a ghost from a place long gone. It was not a good place and it was not a bad place. But it was ours. May it and I rest in peace.
04-13-2016 11:12 AM
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churros Offline
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RE: Thucidydes, Jünger, and the fall of the Spartans
Jünger is fantastic, everyone should also read "The Worker" in addition to his book about the war, which made him famous.

I remember being in class, and the teacher asked: who here would die for their country? Not one person put their hand up. "I want to be an architect, daddy".
04-13-2016 12:06 PM
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Leonard D Neubache Offline
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RE: Thucidydes, Jünger, and the fall of the Spartans
It is my personal belief that the western elites have engaged in constant warfare since Vietnam not only because it's good for big business but because it's a simple and effective means to kill or cripple the alpha male bloodlines of the lower to middle classes.

In other words, it's a pressure relief valve to prevent rebellion.

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04-15-2016 01:47 AM
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Max Henrich Offline
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RE: Thucidydes, Jünger, and the fall of the Spartans
Most western Europeans haven't witnessed a real war. So what does that mean for the western European population?
08-26-2016 05:01 PM
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da_zeb Offline
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RE: Thucidydes, Jünger, and the fall of the Spartans
(04-15-2016 01:47 AM)Leonard D Neubache Wrote:  It is my personal belief that the western elites have engaged in constant warfare since Vietnam not only because it's good for big business but because it's a simple and effective means to kill or cripple the alpha male bloodlines of the lower to middle classes.

In other words, it's a pressure relief valve to prevent rebellion.

Given the West's overwhelming military superiority in nearly every war they've fought and the consequent low casualty counts it would seem to be a failed strategy. Especially since not every soldier is necessarily an alpha male.

As a comparison - there were more Allied KIA on D-Day alone than the suffered by Coalition forces in Afghanistan since 2001.
08-28-2016 07:04 AM
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Comte De St. Germain Away
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RE: Thucidydes, Jünger, and the fall of the Spartans
Turns out there is a Records of the Three Kingdoms, but it might be a bit bland aside from the biographies as a lot of the characters of the times were written about elsewhere with their own cults of personality emerging/fictionalized biographies.


So truth is somewhere between the Records and the Legends. The list of books in the Records are in the table.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Records_of...e_Kingdoms

"Until the day when God shall deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is summed up in these two words,— 'Wait and hope'."- Alexander Dumas, "The Count of Monte Cristo"

Here lies a ghost from a place long gone. It was not a good place and it was not a bad place. But it was ours. May it and I rest in peace.
(This post was last modified: 08-28-2016 08:35 AM by Comte De St. Germain.)
08-28-2016 08:34 AM
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robreke Offline
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RE: Thucidydes, Jünger, and the fall of the Spartans
(04-15-2016 01:47 AM)Leonard D Neubache Wrote:  It is my personal belief that the western elites have engaged in constant warfare since Vietnam not only because it's good for big business but because it's a simple and effective means to kill or cripple the alpha male bloodlines of the lower to middle classes.

In other words, it's a pressure relief valve to prevent rebellion.

Interesting theory. How did you come to this belief? Are there certain books you read that lead you to this conclusion?

- One planet orbiting a star. Billions of stars in the galaxy. Billions of galaxies in the universe. Approach.

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08-28-2016 08:44 AM
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MajorStyles Offline
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RE: Thucidydes, Jünger, and the fall of the Spartans
(04-13-2016 10:26 AM)storm Wrote:  It is a well known fact that the civilization of Sparta was destroyed because their population declined..is there something more subtle at work here? If so, what is it?

In Parallel Lives by Plutarch, he discusses the unconventional mating practices of the Spartans. He mentions that it was a "free love" society that condoned open relationships. When Sparta took over ancient Greece, the women became even more spoiled and intemperate. We know how that turned out...it was a quick nose dive to the bottom. Even Aristotle believed that one of the primary downfalls of Sparta was their inability to control their women (I'm paraphrasing here, of course).

So if we're looking for modern equivalents, I think we need look no further than male/female dynamics. An empire, the United States, carved by the hard work of patriarchal warriors. Then, they hand it over to women and the empire starts to circle the drain. And it happens fast! The more things change, the more they stay the same.

I think it's worth noting that academia (as well as modern historical analysis) has tried to downplay the role of women in Sparta's decline. It flies in the face of the "girl power" narrative that dominates Western intellectualism. So they highlight a host of tangential factors on the topic - anything to keep the matriarchal circle jerk alive.

"Action still preserves for us a hope that we may stand erect." - Thucydides (from History of the Peloponnesian War)
(This post was last modified: 08-30-2016 09:34 PM by MajorStyles.)
08-30-2016 09:30 PM
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