Die ontstaan van 'n Westerse militere tradisie aan die Kaap tot 1795

Grobbelaar, Paul Marais (1994-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 1994.


The existence of a Greek military tradition goes back to Athens and Sparta. Its detail was handed down by Xenophon, in the 4th century before Christ and Polibios (220-160 before Christ). By 100 before Christ the historian Asklepiodotus had also made a valuable contribution. The Etruscans adopted the method of war from the Greeks as early as the 7th century before Christ. By 350 before Christ Livy was the important military historian of the Romans. By 168 before Christ Polibios was taken to Rome after the defeat of Macedonia. At the end of the 2nd century before Christ the military historians who made contributions were Tacitus, Josephus and Vegetius. During the reign of Trajan in 96 Aelian appeared on the scene. He wrote the book Tactics in 106 in which he set out the Macedonian-Hellenistic elementary tactics. The work represents a line of thought from Xenophon in 400 before Christ to Polibios in 200 before Christ to Asclepiodotus in 100 before Christ to Aelianus in 100 after Christ. After the fall of Rome in the 5th century, Byzantium inherited these military traditions. Byzantium adopted the military system practically unaltered, merely refining it. Emperor Leo VI who was ruling by 900 wrote Tactica, a collection of studies on the tactics in which he discussed the heritage from the GreekMacedonian-Hellenistic-Roman military science. This work is the most valuable contribution to military science from the Byzantine period. After the fall of Byzantium in 1453, the Byzantium heritage was transferred to Rome under the leadership of Cardinal Bessarion and his assistant Perotti. This exodus coincided with the early years of the Renaissance. Interest in the works of the Greek and Roman writers and philosophers was renewed and editions of original writings as well as translations of these writings were published. By 1559 about 7 000 soldiers of the Spanish army were deployed in The Netherlands. Poor payment of wages left a trail of destruction and led to the sacking of Antwerp by the Spanish troops on 1576. This resulted in the revolt in the provinces of the Netherlands and their own army, the Staatse Leger, was raised. The study of Aelian's Tactice and the Tactica by Leo VI, led to changes in the military philosophy of The Netherlands. The military reforms which followed were tackled by Maurice of Orange, Louis William of Nassau and John of Nassau. These reforms culminated in the Battle of Nieuport in 1600. In this battle the Greek and Roman princples were applied in modern practice. The news of the reforms in The Netherlands spread across Europe and led to the spread of the reforms to, inter alia, France, England and Germany. By means of his English translation of the Tactice of Aelian, Captain John Bingham played a major part in spreading these reforms and so did John of Nassau. The Dutch East India Company (DEIC) was entitled to raise a military system similar to the Staatse Leger in the countries where settlements were established. Should war have broken out, these soldiers could have been used by the government. At the Cape the garrison at the Fort and later at the Castle was primarily manned by German soldiers. Customs and traditions the Staatse Leger became even more part of the developing Cape military tradition when the Burgher Militia was established. The Commando system was introduced as a result of plundering and stock thefts by the Khoi. The members of the Burgher Militia were also the members of the commandos. Thus the military customs of the militia and the garrison were transferred to the commando system, although this system took on a unique and distinctive character of its own.

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