[NetBehaviour] ISIS prehistory
sondheim at panix.com
Tue Sep 16 00:20:44 CEST 2014
This isn't about forgetting atrocities and I feel a bit miffed that you're
suggesting I've forgotten. This is about a particular mode of warfare that
goes back 4000 years and is followed almost to the letter by ISIS today.
I'd suggest "war criminal" is a problematic term here unless the ancient
middle east was full of "war criminals." Terms like these, suggesting
we've forgotten our own atrocities, etc., all serve to mask what is I
think a fundamental human condition that we haven't been able to rise
If you want me to be silent, I will. But if you are saying "we" are
forgetting our own atrocities - you may speak for yourself, but not for
On Mon, 15 Sep 2014, Ana Vald?s wrote:
> "One of our knights, Letholdus by name, climbed on to the wall of the city.
> When he reached the top, all the defenders of the city quickly fled along
> the walls and through the city. Our men followed and pursued them, killing
> and hacking, as far as the temple of Solomon, and there there was such a
> slaughter that our men were up to their ankles in the enemy's blood. . . .
> The emir who commanded the tower of David surrendered to the Count [of St.
> Gilles] and opened the gate where pilgrims used to pay tribute. Entering the
> city, our pilgrims pursued and killed the Saracens up to the temple of
> Solomon. There the Saracens assembled and resisted fiercely all day, so that
> the whole temple flowed with their blood. At last the pagans were overcome
> and our men seized many men and women in the temple, killing them or keeping
> them alive as they saw fit. On the roof of the temple there was a great
> crowd of pagans of both sexes, to whom Tancred and Gaston de Beert gave
> their banners [to provide them with protection] . Then the crusaders
> scattered throughout the city, seizing gold and silver, horses and mules,
> and houses full of all sorts of goods. Afterwards our men went rejoicing and
> weeping for joy to adore the sepulchre of our Saviour Jesus and there
> discharged their debt to Him. . . ."
> It was the fall of Jerusalem in the year 1099 in the hands of the Crusaders
> "The Carthaginians endured the siege starting 149 BC to the spring of 146
> BC, when Scipio Aemilianus successfully assaulted the city. Though the Punic
> citizens fought valiantly, they were inevitably gradually pushed back by the
> overwhelming Roman military force and destroyed.
> Ruins of Carthage
> Many Carthaginians died from starvation during the later part of the siege,
> while many others died in the final six days of fighting. When the war
> ended, the remaining 50,000 Carthaginians, a small part of the original
> pre-war population, were, as was the normal fate in antiquity of inhabitants
> of sacked cities, sold into slavery by the victors. Carthage was
> systematically burned for 17 days; the city's walls and buildings were
> utterly destroyed. The remaining Carthaginian territories were annexed by
> Rome and reconstituted to become the Roman province of Africa."
> Rom burning Carthage and sewing the soil with salt to not allow any grain be
> The old Testament, the Jews treating their enemies
> 13Thus says the LORD, "For three transgressions of the sons of Ammon and for
> four I will not revoke its punishment, Because they ripped open the pregnant
> women of Gilead In order to enlarge their borders.
> I wonder if speaking that way about Isis or the Assyrians we are forgetting
> our own atrocities
> . Christians, Jews, Roman, they were warcriminals as well and etablished
> their reigns with terror.
> On Mon, Sep 15, 2014 at 4:45 PM, Alan Sondheim <sondheim at panix.com> wrote:
> ISIS prehistory
> The Assyrians publicized their atrocities in reports and
> illustrations for propaganda purposes. In the tenth and ninth
> centuries BCE, official inscriptions told of cruelty to those
> captured. Most were killed or blinded; others were impaled on
> stakes around city walls as a warning. The bodies were
> mutilated; heads, hands, and even lower lips were cut off so
> that counting the dead would be easier. These horrifying
> illustrations, texts, and reliefs were designed to frighten the
> population into submission.
> [...] When surrounding the capital city and shouting to the
> people inside failed, the Assyrians' next tactic was to select
> one or more small cities to attack, usually ones that could be
> easily conquered. Then the Assyrians committed extreme acts of
> cruelty to show how the entire region would be treated if the
> inhabitants refused to surrender peacefully. Houses were looted
> and burned to the round, and the people were murdered, raped,
> mutilated, or enslaved - acts all vividly portrayed in the
> Assyrian stone reliefs and royal inscriptions in the palaces.
> The Assyrian troops regarded looting and rape of a conquered
> city as partial compensation. [...]
> The annals of Assurnasirpal II vividly described such tactics:
> "In strife and conflict I besieged (and) conquered the city. I
> felled 3,000 of their fighting men with the sword. I carried off
> prisoners, possessions, oxen, (and) cattle from them. I burnt
> many captives from them. I captured many troops alive: I cut off
> of some their arms (and) hands; I cut off of others their noses,
> ears, (and) extremities. I gouged out the eyes of many troops. I
> made one pile of the living (and) one of the heads. I hung their
> heads on tress around the city. I burnt their adolescent boys
> (and) girls. I razed, destroyed, burned (and) consumed the
> This type of "psychological" warfare was especially convincing,
> and the inhabitants, "overwhelmed by the fearful splendor of the
> god Assur," surrendered.
> From Daily Life in Ancient Mesopotamia, Karen Rhea Nemet-Nejat,
> Hendrickson, 2008
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