Monthly Archives: April 2012

Blood Diamond (The Movie)

The movie, Blood Diamond, is about the controversy that surrounds what known as the conflict, or blood diamonds.  The movie begins with a scene where Solomon is waking his son up to go to school.  As he wakes him up he says, “Maybe someday you will be a doctor and be able to get out of this place.”

The year is 1999 and there is a civil war going on in the country of Africa.  The Rebels are making slaves of the villagers.  Mining diamonds, and using the money to fund the conflict.  Solomon’s village, including his family is attacked by rebels who are looking to make the men into slaves and the children into soldiers. Solomon’s son is taken, but he does not know it at the time.

There is a scene where Danny who is a smuggler meets with Colonel Zero concerning payment for some guns.  Zero tries to short him on the payment pay Danny insists that he pay the full price.  While trying to smuggle the diamonds out of the country, which are sewn into goats. Danny is arrested for smuggling.

The government comes into the mining operation and arrests all of the rebels as well as the slaves who were mining for them. Just before the soldiers come to arrest everyone, Solomon finds a large diamond and is able to hide it.  When Solomon and the guy who was in charge of the minors are in jail, the guy starts calling out to Solomon, asking where is the stone that he found.  This gets the attention of Danny who is also in jail.  When Danny gets out of jail he arranges to have Solomon bailed out.

This movie is about the adventures and conflicts that arise while Solomon and Danny are trying to get to the diamond.

Another key player is the woman reporter that Danny meets in the bar, where he goes to have the bartender score a gun for him.  The reporter wants to expose the true story about what is happening in Africa, and how the Van Decamp Corporation is secretly funding it because they are buying the diamonds.

Eventually, Danny and Solo come to an agreement about the diamond and set off to find it.  There are many people who die in this movie as a result of the conflict that is going on in the country of Africa.  The woman reporter helps Danny in exchange for the details about the Van DeCamp Corporation’s secret support of the diamond trade in Africa.  She distracts a soldier so that Danny can raid the supply tent for the supplies that he and Solomon will need on the trip to get the diamond.  They both see the diamond as a way for them to escape the conflict that is going on in their country.

On the way to the spot where Solomon has buried the stone, they are almost killed several times including the time when Solomon tries to rescue his son from the rebels.  He is captured and they try to make him find the diamond.  But, the colonel who is Danny’s associate intervenes and they get away.  Danny has been shot, so he sends Solomon and his son on to the place where a plane was to pick them up and take them to safety.  He gives them the woman reporter’s information and when they leave he calls her himself, to be sure she will help Solomon when he gets in touch with her.  Solomon is reunited with his family and money in exchange for the stone. The woman gets her story and Van DeCamp Diamond is exposed for what they are doing(Zwick.2006).

In April of 2003, The Kimberly Act was signed.  It prohibits the sale of diamonds that have not been certified by the Kimberly Process. The movie gives a very good depiction of the difficulties that many innocent Africans are going through because of the rebels who are enslaving people to mine the diamonds so they can fund the rebellion against the government.

References

Zwick, E. (Director). (2006). Blood Diamond [Motion Picture].

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The Sea! The Sea!

As the Greeks approached the Carduchian mountains, they were cautiously optimistic mixed with a little pride.  They had managed to survive and escape from the threat of Tissaphernes’ clutches.  The Persian satrap had given up perusing them because he thought that few of them would emerge for the treacherous mountains, but they would make through them. Since the Greeks had never subdued the Carduchians there was the threat of an encounter with the mountain tribes.  The mountains were covered with snow and when the tribes saw the army they took to the hills with their families.  This left no hope for neutral reception (Waterfield, 2006).

According to Xenophon the Carduchian tribes left the houses with plenty of food and bronze utensils.  The Greeks did not pursue the Carduchian people or take any of the bronze utensils.  They did however out of necessity take any provisions that they found. The Carduchians did not respond when the Greeks cried out to them.  At dawn the Greek generals met and decided to carry on with only the essential and strongest yoke animals, they would abandon the rest along with the recently captured slaves.  Their thinking was that many of the men were not able to fight because they had to care for the slaves and the animals and also they would need double the provisions for all of those people. The mountains would be hard to pass through and there could be attacks from their enemies.  Sure enough a there was a wintery storm followed by and attack were just a couple of men lost their lives (Xenophon, 2009).  The Greeks battled their way through Armenia and its wintery mountains.

Toward the end of their march, the men were actually staggering.  Days had stretched into weeks and the journey had taken its toll on everyone.  At Gymnias the local ruler had promised them a guide who would take them in five days to a place where the sea would be visible.  The men were full of optimism and hope that the long ordeal would finally come to a close (Waterfield, 2006).

Somehow the men managed to fight and pillage their way through the next four days.  On the fifth day they reached the mountain they called Theches. When the men arrived a huge cry went up.  Xenophon and the rearguard thought that they were being attacked.  The cry kept getting louder and nearer until it was apparent to Xenophon that something of significance was happening.  He mounted a horse and took Lycius and the calvary to lend assistance.  As they approached the front they could make out what the men were shouting.  They were shouting “The Sea! The Sea!”, everyone fell into each-other’s arms as they and even the company commanders and generals had tears in their eyes (Xenophon, 2009).

This marching republic had at last managed to reach the shores of the Black Sea at Trabzon.  This meant that they were at last among Greek cities.  It was not the last of their journey, which included a period of fighting for Seuthes II of Thrace, and ended with their recruitment into the army Thibron a Spartan general. (Anabasis (Xenophon), 2012).

Below is a map of the route that The Ten Thousand took during their march (Persian Empire, 2009).

Works Cited

Persian Empire. (2009, Aug 27). Retrieved Apr 23, 2012, from http://www.wikipedia.com: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Persian_Empire,_490_BC.png

Anabasis (Xenophon). (2012, Apr 20). Retrieved Apr 24, 2012, from http://www.wikipedia.com: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anabasis_(Xenophon)

Waterfield, R. (2006). Xenophone’s retreat, Greece, Persia and the end of the golden age. Cambridge: Havard University Press.

Xenophon. (2009). The expedition of cyrus (2 ed.). (R. Waterfield, Trans.) New York: Oxford University Press.

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Xenophon is Elected to Serve as a General

The Greek mercenaries were a long way from home.  With Cyrus dead the victory belonged to the king.  Cyrus’ Asiatic troops had fled or deserted.  The Greeks found themselves isolated and in a strange land surrounded by the thousands of men they had just tried to kill.  Their baggage train had been ransacked, so they were low on supplies.  The defeat prompted a change of motivation for the mercenaries.  They missed their families and lacked the safety and self-enrichment that Cyrus had promised after he would take the Persian throne (Waterfield, 2006).

Meanwhile, a messenger from Artaxerxes arrived and demanded their surrender. The king had ordered that they surrender their weapons. The Cleaner of Arcadia who was the oldest man there said that he would rather die than surrender their weapons. To surrender the weapons, would possibly mean that they would lose their lives.  So the message was sent to the king that they would be worth more as friends with weapons in their hands rather than someone else’s and they would be more effective enemies with their weapons in their hands rather than someone else’s’ (Xenophon, 2009).

Although the king had sent a message to surrender the previous day, he sent heralds at sunrise to negotiate a truce.  The messengers asked to speak to the Greek leaders.  At this point the men were getting hungry because they had nothing to eat.  Clearchus  told the messengers that they must fight first before the truce because the men had nothing for their morning meal.  The messengers’ road away and came back with guides that could show them were they could get provision. They made their way to the villages where the men said they could get their provisions (Xenophon, 2009).

Days became weeks and eventually the generals of Cyrus’ army were arrested and slaughtered.  After considering the reasons which he had joined the army Xenophon has a dream in which his father’s house was struck by lightning and burst into flames—a sign that Zeus would illuminate his household.  Upon awaking he delivered a speech that blended encouragement with a bid for generalship.  The decision was unanimous and Xenophon was elected a general.  Other generals were also elected to replace the ones who had been lost in battle as well (Waterfield, 2006).

Unanimous assemblies were not always the norm, but the Ten Thousand maintained a hierarchy of generals, officers and men.  The most urgent need of the men was always food, and to find a way home.  There was a variety of other people who had lower ranks that comprised the camp followers and slaves.  Some of them were women or elderly.  This must all be taken into consideration. The camp was basically like a small city.  The minority view was not widely accepted in the middle of a unanimous assembly.  The Greeks demonstrated from time to time intolerance for minority view.  They would even resort to exile without appeal (Dalby, 1992).

Xenophon and the Spartan General Chrisophus would lead the retreat of The Ten Thousand who were trapped deep in the Persian Empire. The group would travel along the Tigras, across Armenia to Trapezus and then on to the Black Sea (Xenophon, 2004).

Below is a map of the shows the route of The Ten Thousand from the beginning of the journey to the end when they arrive at the Black Sea (Persian Empire, 2009).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Persian_Empire,_490_BC.png

Works Cited

Xenophon. (2004). Retrieved Apr 23, 2012, from Encyclopedia of world biology: http://encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3404706983.html

Persian Empire. (2009, Aug 27). Retrieved Apr 23, 2012, from http://www.wikipedia.com: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Persian_Empire,_490_BC.png

Dalby, A. (1992). Social organization and food amoung the ten thousand. The journal hellenic studies, 112, 16-30. Retrieved Apr 23, 2012, from http://www.jstore.org/stable/632150

Waterfield, R. (2006). Xenophone’s retreat, Greece, Persia and the end of the golden age. Cambridge: Havard University Press.

Xenophon. (2009). The expedition of cyrus (2 ed.). (R. Waterfield, Trans.) New York: Oxford University Press.

 

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The Battle of Cunaxa

In late September, 401 BCE, the two huge armies engaged in The Battle of Cunaxa.  The plain was dusty and had been baked hard by the sun most of the summer on the eastern bank of the River Euphrates, in what is now Iraq.  Although the exact location of the encounter remains unknown, it was named after the nearby town Cunaxa (Waterfield, 2006).

According to Xenophon, midday came and there was no sign of the enemy, but by early in the afternoon there was a cloud of dust that appeared.  At first it looked like a white cloud in the sky, but it turned into a huge black smudge on the plain.  As the enemy drew nearer they could see the flashing of sun upon their bronze armor.  Before long the enemy drew closer and the tips of their long spears could be seen.  The divisions of the enemy army could be clearly seen.  On the left the cavalry under the direction of Tissaphernes; next to them were foot soldiers with wicker shields and long spears.  There were also heavily armed troops that were rumored to be from Egypt.  They had long wooden shields that reached down to their feet. There were also more cavalry units with arches. They also had scythe-bearing chariots which were designed to cut down anything in their path.  The plan was to use the chariots to break up the line of Greek lines (Xenophon, 2009).

The image below represents the way a Persian soldier would have looked (Rise of Persia, 2002)

 

http://www.riseof perseia.com/forums/viewtopic.php?=712

Cyrus knew that his brother the king was approaching he had his men draw up in an army array.  He placed the Greek mercenaries near the river and they were further supported on their right by some 1000 strong calvary.  This was the traditional battle order of the day, so for the Greeks it was a place of order.  Cyrus was in the center surrounded by 600 body guards to the left of the mercenaries.  His Asiatic troops were on the left flank (Battle of cunaxa, 2012).

Cyrus was riding past, looking in both directions he could see both his enemies and his friends on either side.  Xenophon spotted him, road up to him and asked him if he had any instructions.  It was at that point that Cyrus reined in his horse and told him to spread the word that the sacrifices and the omens were favorable.  The three or four stades separated the two phalanxes when the Greeks struck up the paean and began to advance against the enemy.  The broke into a run and cried out the war-cry to Enyalius.  Some say they frightened the enemy horses by clashing the shafts of their spears on their shields. The enemy chariots that were abandoned hurled through the ranks of both enemy and Greeks but the Greeks made a path for them to go by (Xenophon, 2009).

Cyrus, still surround by his 600 body guards waited to see what the king would do.  The king was also surrounding by his 6000 men, but he still found himself to the left of Cyrus, so he had his men change direction to try to out flank his opponents.  It was at this point that Cyrus spotted him and hurled a javelin, striking him in the chest and injuring him. However, Cyrus was struck by that eye with a javelin, and fell to the ground.  This is how Cyrus died (Xenophon, 2009).

Works Cited

Rise of Persia. (2002). Retrieved from Joombla: http://www.riseofpersia.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=712

Battle of cunaxa. (2012, Feb 7). Retrieved April 23, 2012, from http://www.wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Cunaxa

Waterfield, R. (2006). Xenophone’s retreat, Greece, Persia and the end of the golden age. Cambridge: Havard University Press.

Xenophon. (2009). The expedition of cyrus (2 ed.). (R. Waterfield, Trans.) New York: Oxford University Press.

 

 

 

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Xenophon and the Rest of the Army

Most of the army came in ready-made units, most of them mercenaries, led by the men who had recruited them.  It was not the mere size of the army that made Tissaphernes suspicious, but the composition of it.  He took a troop of 500 cavalry and fled to inform the king about Cyrus’s expanding army.  This is the army that Xenophon had decided to join.  He did not come as a soldier, commander or mercenary.  He was there because of the request of his friend Proxenus.  It was said that there was an army and then there was Xenophon. He was motivated by the sense of adventure that the journey would provide (Waterfield, 2006).

Xenophon arrived just as the army was about to set out and just in time to be introduced to Cyrus.  By now the size of the army and the diversity of the troops were beginning to cause chaos on the outskirts of the city were they were camped.  They had already formed themselves into units. Xenias was to command 4000 hoplites, Sophaenetus another 1000 and Socrates another 500; Proxenus’ unit consisted of 1500 hoplites and 500 peltrasts, and Pasions 300 hoplites and 300 peltrasts (Waterfield, 2006).

When the army began their march, it is said that they spread across the land for many kilometers.  As they marched along through different towns, they continued to increase in numbers.  By the time they were fully assembled the men were owed over three months’ pay.  Cyrus kept them at bay with his promises of a wonderful future full of the rewards of the impending war (Xenophon, 2009).

The men were beginning to think that Cyrus was not being forthright concerning his motives for the march.  When accounting for the various nationalities separately, the Arcadians formed the largest contingent.  Xenias, Sophaenetus and Agias are among the original generals in the beginning of the march.   Xenias was one of the earliest to desert, and Agias was entrapped and   killed at the Great Zab (Radin, 1911).  It was Sophaenetus who was with the army the entire time.  In spite of some deserters the men continued their march to the inevitable battle that was to come.

The image below illustrates the size and reach of the Persian Empire at the time of Xenophon’s march up country The black broken lines indicate the the route the army took on the march. (Cyrus the younger, 2012).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyrus_the_Younger, Image of the Persian Empire at the time of Xenophon's March

Works Cited

Cyrus the younger. (2012, Feb 12). Retrieved from http://www.wikipedia.com: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyrus_the_Younger

Radin, M. (1911, Nov). Xenophon’s ten thousand. The classical journal, 7(2), 51-60. Retrieved April 23, 2012, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3287118

Waterfield, R. (2006). Xenophone’s retreat, Greece, Persia and the end of the golden age. Cambridge: Havard University Press.

Xenophon. (2009). The expedition of cyrus (2 ed.). (R. Waterfield, Trans.) New York: Oxford University Press.

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Trajan’s Column: Boats

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Scene 79. Trajan Standing aboard a Trireme. Used with permission. Copyright Peter Rockwell. Via http://www.stoa.org/trajan/images/hi/1.85.h.jpg

Boats were an important part of Trajan’s campaign. The first task of the campaign was to cross the Danube and fortify it against the Dacians. The Danube would be frozen solid in the winter so the Dacians could cross on foot or summer when the water was low and easy to cross (Jones). The boats helped prevent the Dacians from raiding across the Danube and they also helped Trajan’s army get across it safely. The boats were also used to help aid the building of the bridge across the Danube.

The naval fleet employed by Trajan during the Dacian wars was the Classis Moesica (Matyszak) and they controlled the lower Danube and the opening of the Black Sea. A typical Roman boat would have oars the most common type having three rows of oars called Trireme. Trireme’s also had sails so according to Trajan’s column, the Classis Moesica had some triremes as well as smaller river boats that did not need sails called a liburna.

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Scene 87. Seagoing Ship. Used with permission. Copyright Peter Rockwell. Via http://www.stoa.org/trajan/images/hi/2.7.h.jpg

The liburna’s were used to transport most likely used for raids and patrolled the river and coast for Dacians as well as transported the troops up and down and across the Danube. (Wikipedia). In this section of the Column we can see the Horses being prepared for a trip either across the river or down it.

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Scene 33-34. Seagoing Ship. Used with permission. Copyright Peter Rockwell. Via http://www.stoa.org/trajan/images/hi/5.5.h.jpg

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Scene 87. Oar and Anchor of Ship. Used with permission. Copyright Peter Rockwell. Via http://www.stoa.org/trajan/images/hi/2.1.h.jpg

 

Works Cited

Brewster, Frank. “The Arrangement of Oars in the Trireme.” Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 44 (1933): 205-225. Web. < http://www.jstor.org/stable/310684&gt;.

Davies, G. A. T. “Trajan’s First Dacian War.” The Journal of Roman Studies 7 (1917): 74-97. Web. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/295582&gt;.

Encyclopaedia Britannica Online. Naval Ship. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc, 2012. Web. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/406859/naval-ship&gt;.

Jones, H. Stuart. “The Historical Interpretation of the Reliefs in Trajan’s Column.” Papers of the British School at Rome 5.7 (1910): 435-459. Web. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/40310297&gt;.

Jones, Prudence. “Juvenal, the Niphates, and Trajans Column “(Satire 6. 407-412″).” Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 100 (2000): 477-486. Web. <URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3185233&gt;.

Mason, David J.P. Roman Britain and the Roman Navy. Tempus, 2003. Print.

Matyszak, Philip. Legionary: The Roman Soldiers Unofficial Manual. London: Thames and Hudson Ltd., 2009.

Rockwell, Peter. “Trajan’s Column.” The McMaster Trajan Project, 1999. Web. <http://www.stoa.org/trajan/index.html&gt;.

Wallinga, H.T. “The Trireme and History.” Mnemosyne 43 (1990): 132-149. Web. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/4431893&gt;.

Wikipedia. Liburna. n.d. Web. 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liburnian_(ship)&gt;.

 

 

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Alexander the Great’s Army: Followers and Logistics

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Alexander the Great’s army was well, great. It consisted of more than 48,000 soldiers and at times grew to over 90,000 soldiers. The Macedonian Army under Alexander’s command embarked on the longest military expedition ever undertaken (Engels).The reason for alexander’s success on the longest military expedition was his careful watch over the provisions of his army. Most other armies that went the same way alexander did had many soldiers dying of starvation and dehydration. Because of Alexander, his army and their baggage train were able to stay well fed (Engels).

The actual size of Alexander’s army is hard to estimate because of the amount of followers and animals in addition to the number of troops already following Alexander. According to the ancient historians, Diodorus Siculus, Curtius, and Plutarch, Alexander had bodyguards, seers, soothsayers, physicians, poets, traders, musicians, courtesans and many, many, more followers with them on this large expedition. Because Alexander’s campaigns took him and his army so far away from their native land, the policy adopted by Philip, Alexander’s father and predecessor, to allow soldiers to return home periodically to visit their families, was abandoned. The soldiers were homesick and lonely so later; Alexander allowed his men to take wives of the captive which would keep the soldiers from missing their homeland too much and keep them on campaign. Because of this, the size of Alexander’s army grew adding thousands of followers to his many legions. The size of the army grew with each wife and eventually with each child that was born to the military families (Engels).

Works Cited

Adams, Colin E. P. “Supplying the Roman Army: “Q. Petr.” 245.” Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik (1995): 119-124. Web. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/20189638&gt;.

Engels, Donald W. Alexander the Great and the Logistics of the Macedonian Army. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978. Print.

Livius.org. Alexander’s Army. n.d. Web. Feb. 2012. <http://www.livius.org/aj-al/alexander/alexander_t02.html&gt;.

Loomis, R.S. “Alexander the Great’s Velestial Journey. I-Eastern Examples.” The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs 32.181 (1918): 136-140. Web. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/860584&gt;.

Plutarch. Lives, Volume VII: Demosthenes and Cicero, Alexander and Caesar. Ed. Bernadotte Perrin. Trans. Bernadotte Perrin. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1919. Web.

Siculus, Diodorus. Library of History. Trans. C. H. Oldfather. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1989. Web. <http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Diod.+15&fromdoc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0084&gt;.

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