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20 October 2006

The influence of the spear

There are few commentators in this new medium which pursue the examination of the rarified strata of the community and its issues. Among the more prominent in our reading lists have been the prolific authors over at GroupIntel. Now, the most vocal of these fine men has found a new home at Haft of the Spear (for reasons detailed here.)

It should be noted that the evolved form and tactics of the spear, in the incarnation of the ranked footmen armed with pikes, were critical to changing warfare in Europe in the 15th century; particularly when assembled into professional mercenary companies.

There is a parallel here, we think. As always, it is never the courts and their fops which are in a position to see the coming wave of change; but the outsiders.

There is also a warning, too: for while the mercenaries were key drivers of the revolution in military affairs which at its end would reshape the European map and the fortunes of all of the courts then extant, those who benefited from mercenary services were the first to turn against the practice once their goals had been achieved. Now as the Westphalian system continues to erode, we expect that the inner circles of the court which replaces the old order will also condemn the very instruments by which the revolution in intelligence affairs will be accomplished.

For now however, change must first be accomplished. Then the chattering classes can fight over the bones, and perhaps fortune will smile on our friends. We wish them the best in their efforts.