At one point Thucydides wanted to understand why his homeland, despite the evolution of its civilization, after yet another and endless war, was in disaster. Thus, he sought the truth, on the events of the Peloponnesian war, in Greece, that he saw the "democratic" Athens and the "conservative" Sparta opposed. He described the facts available to him and tried to explain them rationally; to do so he sought responsibility through the chronological examination of events, and he did it in the most possible way uncritical, as most recognize.
However, with the passing of time, this system of estimation showed limits, so much so that those who approached the matter were not allowed to evaluate the history of humanity properly, both from the point of view of the duration of the event to be estimated, and always having to consider all the events, from the day of creation up to the moment of interest.
It must be said that, at the beginning of the modern world, albeit with a thousand difficulties, historians such as Machiavelli were not prevented from evaluating spaces, even chronologically restricted, but still crowded with men and things. In short, to understand something, it was necessary to draw from the dust of the centuries, the only common criterion for evaluating the intensity of the passions that move men, and included among the extremes of torment, to ecstasy; this was done systematically, gradually focusing and illuminating events located in a given historical moment.
It resulted in those times, through which, as in our day, the whole of more or less civilized human society has passed and passes, that the only common denominator of the dynamics of man's life, which are activated, are his immutable passions, which remained and still remain today more evident and "strong" if belonging to peoples rich in their own individuality; passions that finally do not allow those peoples to decay.
Throughout history, the passion of men and peoples and the result of their behaviors has been written and also sung in ancient times, as well as by oral traditions, in Homeric odes, with signs on vases, writings on marbles, papyri, and flourishing on the speeches, and on the "cries", the passion in synthesis was flaunted on the insignia, on the drapes, and also on sumptuous clothes, on the uniforms worn and weapons and flags raised. Even today, human "passion", which is on a global level and reaches us in real time, thanks to all the existing modern communication systems, is revealed, as in the past, in a faster and more immediate way, with all the characteristic signs that have distinguished it over the centuries, always aimed at making people understand the typology of the relationship that the man or the people examined in a given moment wants to have with others.
It is evident that in mind, of the principle that war is nothing but the continuation of politics by other means, it is reasonable to think that passion, both a status that since the initial moments in which it begins to manifest itself in men, dominates and often overwhelms them with feelings stronger than their thoughts.
So it was in Lepanto where the intensity of hatred for a sign could be measured, by someone who knew how to be challenged by men determined in their actions, as Jacques Mordal tells us in "Twenty-five centuries of war on the sea." - Murcia : .. abruptly the lord of Algiers (Ulugh-Alì) made his woods reverse the wheel and rushed towards the fray, in the centre, before Doria had time to understand what was happening. Ten Turkish galleys rushed at the Knights of Malta, the most hated of their opponents. Already Ulugh Ali's men had killed or wounded a good number. The banner was in their possession and things were going badly when the Marquis of Santa Cruz arrived with reserves.
With a move, Ulugh Ali commanding the Turkish right wing at Lepanto, abandoned the possibility of clashing with the Genoese galleys of the Doria (left wing of the Christian alignment) to throw himself with the Algerian galleys of the Turkish fleet against the hated Knights of Malta, embarked on three galleys, including the Captain of the Italian prior and admiral Pietro Giustiniani, who for the record was shot by 6 arrows and captured alive, with the conspicuous official banner of the hated Order of the Knights of Malta and its gold. The only survivors of the Capitana, in addition to Giustiniani, were a Catalan knight and a Sicilian, mistaken for dead.
Who does not remember among the "insiders", the television footage in real time, of the Royal Navy naval squadron, departing from Portsmouth, sent by the British government to the Falklands Islands, in the South Atlantic?
The islands were occupied at that time by the Argentine troops of gen. Galtieri, while a signal with international flags of the code of signals, spontaneously placed by ordinary citizens on the docks of the port, greeted the departing fleet, transmitting the historian: “England expects that every man will do his duty”, and with which they expressed all their desire to revanche against the occupants of the distant islands.
That signal: "England expects everyone to do their duty" it was the same signal raised by Nelson on the mast of HMS "Victory" at Trafalgar to instigate his men to battle ... (last three letters, ndd)
What about the flag of the International Code of Signals, letter "Z", which was used as a special instruction for the fleet to signify to the Fleet that “The rise or fall of the Fatherland depends on this battle. Each pledges every strength of him ”; it was erected on May 27 - May 28, 1905 in the Tsushima Strait by Admiral Togo Heihachiro of the Mikado Imperial Navy. As we know, the day that followed the epic battle highlighted, if anything were needed, the stoic and heroic character of the Russians and the passion to divine wind Samurai post on the sea, against a dragon who blew spirals of black smoke from hundreds of funnels and promised death from his cannons approaching from distant Europe..
In remembrance of the passions of men, that "Z" flag was then hung in the Togo Jinja Shrine in Tokyo, and is raised on the IJN battleship "Mikasa" all the anniversaries of the event.
Again, the same signal of the "Z" flag of Togo, seems to have been raised by Admiral Chuichi Nagumo of the Imperial Navy, on the aircraft carrier Akagi at the time of take-off of the first wave of aircraft that would have attacked the US base of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on the morning of December 7, 1941*.
Nowadays, in 2022, a letter "Z" which does not exist in the Cyrillic alphabet, we have seen drawn, on Russian trucks and tanks on the steppe, and it is the most widespread symbol in our eyes, by the media to illustrate the passion of some placed in the clash of peoples against other peoples.
Some well-informed coachman flies explain that symbols such as the Z, and also the V, were used by the soldiers to understand where one of their vehicles was headed. The letter was drawn just before an attack so as not to reveal the direction of the vehicles to the enemies and in particular "Z" stood for Zapad (west) and “V” for Vostok (east) even if with the predominance of the movements towards the West, the "Z" took more hold.
Even more recently, the "Z" born within national borders, seems to have become a real symbol of even greater global passions that agitate world civil society. No longer a word shouted for or against the war in a square of a nation of the world, but a voice, to define in the broadest and most generalized way, parts of our human society, made up of people interested with repetitive passion in distinguishing themselves from others people. Nothing new under the sun..
As proof, an FM radio that calls itself "Radio Z", today croaked in the car, calling as loudly as possible to rally the so-called "Zeta generation", composed, according to the well-informed and an influencer, by young people defined as determined, passionate, who challenge stereotypes and climate change, and who fight for a more green and peaceful.
The Don always seems to flow placidly...
Dimitri del Don
* see A. SANTONI, General history of war in Asia and the Pacific (1937-1945), I, Modena, STEM Mucchi, 1977, p. 131.
Dear Dimitri del Don, Thank you for sharing such interesting and particular historical details.
Regarding the most recent events, the only combination I would make is the one with the Z of "caZZata", if only the invasion of a sovereign state weren't a "minor" mistake.
Russia has triggered a global war whose consequences it has misjudged. This unlike those who have set - together with their next enemy - the trap, have Artificial Intelligence (with "predictive" analysis capabilities), and today in fact have the country at their feet even richer...
Meanwhile the carnage continues and conflicts inevitably spread like wildfire.
In the dictionary "Z" is defined: symbol of 'end', as opposed to the A symbol of 'beginning'. The world we knew has ended.
In Italy, after 14 months, have we understood this?