I am a fan of the Hardcore Histories podcast, the menagerie of topics covered has been a fascinating trawl through captivating stories from history. Dan Carlin does a wonderful job of executing, his points well stated, thoughtful and poised for effect.
The latest episode is an epic, over 6 hours in length it delves into the story of the Roman conquest of Gaul. The history is fascinating, the delivery striking, the discussion thought provoking.
I'd strongly recommend anyone who is a fan of history subscribe to this podcast, and this latest episode had me by the throat. Not simply because I am a fan of the period and story covered; Caesar's conquest of Gaul is one of the great tales of generalship from history. But also because it made me think of the conquest of Gaul in a different context. It drew comparisons to the conquests of other peoples. It asked if the phrase, "Give me liberty, or give me death!" had ended with death, but not just death: with dissolution. A death so complete and far reaching that whatever spirit had urged the words was broken by it.
Carlin asked, what would we sacrifice ourselves for? Then deepened the question by asking what would we sacrifice? What are the things we would die to protect? Our families? Our homes? Our goods? Our liberty? But deeper - what of those would we watch burn in the fires of conflict for another? Would we sacrifice our families for liberty? Our children? It is a question that made me think, not just about the Celts of Gaul facing an implacable and feared general, but about the refugee families and children in my classroom. These are people, here in my class, whose families have stood at the crossroads, be it Damascus or Mosul, and faced the question: what would we sacrifice? I cannot imagine.
The history itself, of the Roman capabilities, force projection and organisation, the Celtic story of defiance in the face of a foe unrelenting and well organised, is thrilling. Carlin does an excellent job of painting the scene and asking questions that have you examining the conflict from multiple sides. I thoroughly recommend it.
|The Ludovisi Gaul|