R. Alan Lewis
President, Ground Zero Books, Ltd.
Caesar was a warrior, but he is not the reason, or at least not the sole reason, to consider March as the Warrior Month. What do armies do? They March. The goal is to go forward to Victory. Marching backward is not only physically difficult to do, but it also signifies a retreat—and not the kind that results in peaceful contemplation.
Time marches on. Troops march on. Thus, time and troops are similar? Perhaps so—they both can have rhythm. Day follows night follows day, and so forth. Troops march in cadence—and thus an important genre of martial music was born. Night and Day was a song by Cole Porter. Armies, especially British and French units in colonial Africa, used porters. See, it all fits—or gives some of us fits.
Marches were not only troop movements, but they were also ‘things,’ or geographic areas. The Lord Warden of the Marches was an office in the governments of Scotland and England. The holders were responsible for the security of the border between the two nations, and often took part in military action. They were also responsible, along with ‘Conservators of the truce’, for administering the special type of border law known as March law.
The Marches on both sides of the border were traditionally split into West, Middle, and East, each with its own warden answerable to the Lord Warden-general. The English Western March was based on Carlisle and the Eastern March on Berwick-upon-Tweed. Middlemarch became a novel by George Eliot. It is true that these Lord of the Marches used some animals militarily, such as steeds for knights in armor. However, it is not true that the militarized rabbits turn into March Hares! Rather, scientists have noted that the hare will behave strangely and excitedly throughout its breeding season, which in Europe is generally the month of March. This odd behavior includes boxing with other hares, jumping vertically for seemingly no reason and generally displaying abnormal behavior—in short, they act in a manner similar to many recruits going through basic training.
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