Friday, 18 July 2014

Show Down: The Latest in Millenia of Conflict

While the world watches the debris of the Malaysia Airlines 737 smolder in the Eastern Urkrainian, I'm reminded of my recent reading.

Item:  Tolstoy--and I'm three-quarters of the way through Anna Karenina and read several of his short stories last winter--served in the Russian Caucasian wars.  That conflict saw Tsarist Russia impose its will on the territory which is now Ukraine and further south in the high country between the Black and the Caspian seas.

Item:  In The Horse, The Wheel and Language, historian and anthropologist David Anthony argues that wheeled chariots and tamed horses by the residents of the grasslands north of the Black and Caspian seas were major advances in warfare that set the stage for the advance of Indo-European languages throughout Eurasia and Europe. 

Item: the Sinashta Culture, unearthed in the Ural mountains of southern Russia, appears to offer evidence of this kind of warring as early as 2100 BCE.  This incredibly rich archeological site includes many maces--a weapon has not other use than bashing people's heads in. 

Moral: like the mountains of Afghanistan and the waters of the Jordan Valley, this region has known conflict for millenia, and maybe we ought not to be surprised. 

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