The tough training that turned the Spanish Tercios into the Roman legions of their era

Manuel P. VillatoroManuel P. Villatoro



We remember them as the best troops of their era. Like a kind of faceless fighters – perhaps with some badly trimmed imperial-style beard – who breathed their last breath in contests the size of Rocroi or Empel. And yes, it is true that they were all of this, but also that, behind the pikes, arquebuses and rodelas, the soldiers of the Spanish Tercios were human beings. Poor children who abandoned their family in Castile to defend the Hispanic Monarchy on the other side of Europe, men already talluddled desires to see their family again, or even old men with years of fighting behind their backs whose only desire was to spend the rest of his days serving in an Italian prison to leave this world rested. Therefore, the new work of the historian Juan Victor Carboneras, «Spain my nature. Life, honor and glory in the Tercios »(Edaf, 2020), is key. Because the also president of the «Association January 31 Tercios» has managed to narrate, from the most human point of view, the life of these soldiers.

What is the objective of your work?

Know the day to day of the soldiers. Humanize their figure and show that they were a key part of the social and economic fabric. Sometimes it seems that they were just military machines, but they were much more than that: they were men of their time. They were not bloodthirsty dogs, as the Black Legend has passed down, but neither were they invincible. It all depended on the circumstances.

In addition, the book seeks to reflect everyday life. Bringing many realities that had been hidden. How the fledgling soldier lived the first moments, what his day was like, what kind of training he received, how he was transferred to Flanders, what the battles were like or what his end was like if he became old. All this related to their ideals, the health of the moment, religiosity and their values.

How was the training of the fledgling soldiers?

When I started researching, after having read a lot about thirds, several questions arose. How did they learn to pick up a sword, load a musket, or handle a pike? I found hardly any information about it. In the end, after studying the subject, I have come to the conclusion that they had no formal training. But, through chronicles of the time, relationships or warnings we can conclude that there were different systems for soldiers to acquire this knowledge. In the texts, for example, it is explained that the captain went out every eight days to train his men. During them, the fledgling soldier was taught basic concepts such as position in battle, fife and drum beats, etc.

On the other hand, I have come across relationships like those of Francisco de Valdés, in which it was specified that they learned to fight with large wooden staves that doubled the weight of normal weapons. There are also vintage engravings that show troops training with specific devices that prepared them physically. In the end, it is true that there was no “military”, but the new recruits were gradually joining military life and based, among other things, on the teachings of the veterans.

What were the early days of the recruits like?

The newly recruited soldier usually learned in his early days what military life and discipline were like. But also to march and the profession of arms. Furthermore, if he enlisted in areas such as Castilla, he would interact with his new companions, comrades, and officers on the journey to his new destination. That generated very important ties of friendship. But we must be clear that for him it was complex. He didn’t know what was going to happen to him in the long run. He had just left home, which was traumatic, and it was unusual for him to be able to return home.

How important were the officers within this framework?

Much. At the time, it was intended that soldiers feel the military, discipline and religion as essential parts of their life in the army. During leisure time (when they ate, for example), the captain treated them like a father. He approached them, gave them advice, spoke to them about the rules and why they should not break them, put the ideas of desertion out of his head, told them God’s rules … The officers tried to make the soldier perfect from the point of view discipline. They used all these premises so that they went to battle convinced and determined.

What motivated a soldier to enlist?

Each one joined the military for a different cause. The peasant could go out of necessity, but that did not prevent him from feeling a staunch devotion to God or defending the King. It is a field that has been studied very little. In the end, the mentality of the time, that of society, prevailed over them.

Detail from & quot; The last third & quot ;, one of the many paintings on this subject by Augusto Ferrer-Dalmau
Detail of “The last third”, one of the many paintings on this subject by Augusto Ferrer-Dalmau – Augusto Ferrer-Dalmau

What types of enlistment were there?

Overall three. The first was through a commission model, the most typical in the peninsula. In it, a captain obtained a patent, arrived at a town, planted the flag and enlisted combatants. But there was also the seat model, very common in other regions of the Hispanic Monarchy such as Italy. It was characterized because a specific person was commissioned to recruit a number of men in a given time. In return, he was paid an amount. The assentist was obliged to fulfill the contract.

Ultimately, as early as the seventeenth century, forced conscription began. The monarchy divided the number of soldiers it needed between different geographical areas and forced men of a certain age to join the army. So ruffians, thieves …

It is striking that only 12% of the soldiers of the Tercios were Spanish …

The reality is that the Spanish were a minority in front of a great melting pot of nationalities. But they were considered the central axis of all stake. They were the first to storm the fortresses and were always in the front line during defenses. They had a predominant condition compared to the rest. An example is that they considered it a disgrace that the Italians attacked before them. They were always the elite.

And the rest, did they feel Spanish?

They did not feel Spanish as such, but they were participants in the daily realities of our country. Traditional religious customs such as the Holy Week processions, which were implemented in Italy, were reflected in the daily life of the soldier. And it’s only an example. This happened because the combatant owed his loyalty to the king and his relationship with the Hispanic Monarchy was very close. Furthermore, it is surprising that the Portuguese and Sardinians were considered Spanish.

«The Spanish were a minority in front of a great melting pot of nationalities. But they were considered the central axis of all stake »

Can you make a typical portrait of the soldier of the thirds?

The truth is that no. Each one was a world. When you study each soldier you realize the sea of ​​adventures he went through and how different he was from his partner. They came from different trades, they were of multiple ages … And the same thing happened with social class. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, for example, peasant soldiers, from the third state or plain state of the Modern Age, stood out. By then the participation of the nobility was less and less important because they knew that they no longer had to fight to maintain their status.

He states in his work that the thirds were a kind of army of the people …

The Reconquest process served for the common people – the Castilian, the Aragonese … – to get involved in the militia. Of course weapons continued to be related to nobles, but the paradigm changed. This modification within the Hispanic Monarchy allowed for more soldiers and was a democratizing element. Shoemakers, bakers … All of them could be promoted by war merits without having to be hidalgos and reach a semi-private status.

Were the thirds pioneers in this and other ways?

They formed the first professional army of the Modern Age. And they were born out of necessity. When Carlos I found himself in Italy with an infinity of enemies (French, Turks or Berbers) he was forced to organize the units to make the most of them. This is how the first thirds were lit, which were permanent. That changed the paradigm. Before, during the Middle Ages, a series of soldiers were recruited on a provisional basis who would go to battle without specific equipment, in any way.

How was the relationship of the soldiers with the civilians?

If they were not in the field, they did not live in camps far from the city. It was customary for them to stay with civilians. At this point there is a problem: most of the documentation tells us about the confrontations between the soldiers and the population of towns and cities. But it is normal and has an explanation. In the first place, the arrival of the military meant for them the breakdown of normality. In turn, only the documents that speak of the complaints and claims have been kept in the archives because they were processed at the official level. However, there are other realities that are not reflected at first sight and that denote the good relations between both worlds.

The Miracle of Empel
The Miracle of Empel – Augusto Ferrer-Dalmau

For example?

An example that shows that Spanish customs were adapted to other territories are marriage certificates. Between 1625 and 1647, 527 marriages of soldiers took place in Flanders, 60% with Flemish women. This indicates that the relationships were cordial. The fact that Holy Week was celebrated there also tells us about how the military penetrated into society.

He dedicates part of his book to analyzing the importance of logistics in thirds

Yes. It is reflected in the Spanish Way, a logistical prodigy that lasted two centuries. We must understand that bringing 9,000 soldiers and 7,000 civilians from Spain to the Netherlands was an incredible achievement. Each night, this large contingent had to spend the night in a town that, moreover, was adapted to the needs of a large army. At a time when communications were very precarious, it was an administrative trance. To understand it, it is enough to know that quantities of millions of kilos of bread were shuffled.

The pink legend does the thirds no favors. They had outstanding victories, but also defeats »

Why do you give so much importance in your book to the license of soldiers?

The license concept is key. It was the document by which they allowed him to return to civil life. Obtaining it was difficult. To such an extent that there were soldiers aged 70 and 75 who continued in the army. And achieving it was no guarantee that things would go well. Many testimonies tell us of soldiers who lost everything and spent their last days begging at church doors. Others, if they were lucky, could find an administrative position, which guaranteed them a decent life. Lastly, it was not uncommon for them to join a religious order to atone for their sins on the battlefield.

I have found veterans who longed for the long-awaited license in one form or another. Julián Romero wanted her to return to Spain, but the years passed and he did not succeed. Soldiers like Diego de Cañete were seeking retirement in Italy. They longed to be sent to a prison because they knew they would not fight that way.

Are the thirds surrounded by a certain “pink legend”?

Yes. We live in a golden age for the thirds from the historiographical point of view and, sometimes, they fall into the error of thinking that they were invincible, almost gods. And they weren’t. When you read their testimonies, you realize that they were men of their time, with their fears and their obsessions. The pink legend does them no favors. They had outstanding victories, but they also reaped defeats.

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Hubertus Heil on the home office debate: “A very clear message”

Hubertus Heil

The Federal Minister of Labor says: “I am serious about proposals.”

(Photo: dpa)

Berlin Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) has urgently appealed to employers to allow home offices wherever possible. “This is not just any appeal, but a very clear message from the federal and state governments to the economy,” said the SPD politician in an interview with the Handelsblatt.

Many companies acted responsibly. But there are also those who arbitrarily refused to work on the move. “That is irresponsible,” said Heil.

The request to work from home if possible is also directed at the employees – even if he understands that many would like to see their colleagues again. But it is a question of responsibility, and the employees are also deceived.

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Corona: Economist Straubhaar criticizes the chaos of measures

Thomas Straubhaar

“Extreme solutions are always extremely questionable.”

(Photo: Frank Siemers for Wirtschaftsclub and Handelsblatt)

Düsseldorf It has been almost exactly a year since the first Corona case in Germany was recorded on January 27 at the Bavarian auto supplier Webasto. Since then, on the one hand, a lot has happened when you look at the economic upheavals – on the other hand, little has happened when it comes to in-depth corona analyzes, says Hamburg economist Professor Thomas Straubhaar. His reckoning is tough.

Nobody has “even a vague idea what exactly is going on”. For this reason alone, the government should “go to work much more carefully”. The reason: “The understanding of the population and thus their ability to suffer and the silence will also reach their limits,” warns the economist in the Handelsblatt interview. Currently, around the new lockdown, “decisions are made that can hardly withstand verification”.

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Remakes don’t hit the mark

This post comes from the daily newsletter of the Culture department of Release, sent free of charge every evening.

In an interview published on Sunday in the daily the Guardian, Camille Cottin returns to the series Fly, which Canal + presented in 2019 under the paradoxical label of “original creation”. The channel’s bet was doomed in advance to sarcasm and to the disinterest of a part of the French public: Fly, indeed, was a French adaptation of the unsurpassable and venerable British series Fleabag, a creation by Phoebe Waller-Bridge in which Camille Cottin took over the role. She admits today with fair play: “When an international audience has access to the original subtitled series, one can really wonder about the relevance of the remakes.»

Adapting in one’s own country the proven theorem of a foreign fiction, the practice is as old as television. The actress is not unaware of the vein created by the French series Ten percent who the sacred star, today adapted in India, Turkey, Canada and the United Kingdom. We would be lost trying to identify the examples of remakes at the age of peak tv (paroxysm of the distribution of series produced by the ton). We hardly notice, while TF1 announces no less than nine remakes of foreign series in its catalog of novelties for 2021 (This Is Us, Luther, Liar), that the conditions of reception of these reboots are upset today.

Platforms have changed the game

Behind the commonplace which consists in deploring the rehash of microwaveable recipes emerges an obvious fact: the platforms have changed the situation, the copy and paste is no longer justified as much as before the era of hyper-immediacy and accessibility of content. At the start of the 2010 decade, at the height of the series’ popularity Homeland, we were few to remember that it was an adaptation of an Israeli series, We are not dead (which is currently viewed on Arte). But if We are not dead was created today, would we have really adopted, with so much fervor, its American remake? It is almost certain that ten years ago the Spanish series The Paper House would initially have been intended for a local audience, and would have come down to us as a remake. But its surprise tidal wave on Netflix in 2017 reminded us that we now devour with an ogre appetite foreign fictions intended for a globalized audience.

Read alsoSeries and prejudices

So much so that the subject of remakes today goes beyond the somewhat consensual refrain on the studios’ lack of originality and creativity: if everyone has seen it all, what’s the point of doing the same again? A fortiori, in the same language? It’s a different kind of remake and it’s gaining ground, no doubt out of a desire for a generational update. In his days, Gossip Girl (2007) chronicled the golden youth of New York while remaining immune to the slightest concern for diversity and inclusiveness in its casting and its intrigues. Visibly more in line with the effort of representativeness of contemporary series, a remake currently under construction promises to unite with themes royally ignored in its first version, which has not necessarily aged well.

Sandra Onana


Scotiabank avoids restricting credit …

“How am I going to grow if I am not supporting the placement of credit? We also want to support economic reactivation, working closely (with clients),” said Otero.

The most recent estimates from Scotiabank’s economic studies area estimate a 3.3% recovery for the Mexican economy this year.

The manager said that from November 2019 to November 2020, the bank achieved an 8% increase in its income but its net profit fell by 50% due to the creation of preventive reserves.

Preventive reserves are resources that banks allocate to face possible defaults by their clients. Otero commented that the reserves created in the third quarter of 2020 are preventive and sufficient for all of 2021, since they represent around 1% of its total loan portfolio.

“We had to make additional voluntary reserves of 4,100 million pesos (mp) in the same period. We made these reserves with the aim of strengthening our balance sheet and being better prepared in case of possible future deterioration,” he added.

Last week, Banorte, the third largest bank in the country, announced that it will create new reserves for 2,406 million pesos to avoid a deterioration in its loan portfolio.

When questioned about the impact of the implementation of the new red traffic light in Mexico City (CDMX) and in the State of Mexico, since last December 18, the manager considered the contraction in the demand for credit normal due to the prudence of the Mexicans, but is confident in the growth of the mortgage portfolio.

Most of Scotiabank’s clients are in CDMX and Edomex, with 101,594 clients and 14,306 clients, respectively.

“Credit is falling 2% year on year; the only thing that grows is housing and we continue to grow there. We remain positive in our housing portfolio. Companies have been in a more complex environment and have been much more prudent to also combine new investments It is hitting us in the placement of credit, “he said.

In this sense, Otero said that large companies have taken advantage of the fact that the markets have stabilized to issue bonds in the market and with that money they have extended the term of their debt.

At the end of January, banks will begin to publish their results corresponding to the fourth quarter of the year, where according to some analysts, the impact of the crisis and the credit deferral programs that were granted since March 2020 will begin to be seen.


The Pope: the world needs unity and brotherhood to overcome the crisis

Interview of the Pope with the Italian channel Tg5, broadcast on the night of January 10: from the pandemic to the defense of life and the weak, and the value of unity in politics and the Church, Francis dwells on the big issues present at the beginning of the new year and invites everyone to get vaccinated and rediscover the value of faith as a gift from God.

Vatican News

Rediscover ourselves more united, closer to those who suffer, feel like brothers to overcome together the global crisis caused by the pandemic. At the beginning of the interview with Rg5, Francisco reiterated that “one never comes out of a crisis the same as before, never. We come out better or we come out worse.” For the Pope, “everything must be reviewed. Great values ​​are always there in life, but great values ​​must be translated into the life of the moment.” He then lists a series of dramatic situations, from children suffering from hunger and unable to go to school to wars that are disrupting many areas of the planet. “The statistics of the United Nations”, he emphasizes, “are terrifying in this. He warns that, if we come out of the crisis” without seeing these things, the way out will be another defeat. “And it will be worse. Let’s see only these two problems: the children. and wars. “

Vaccination is an ethical action, not an option

The Pope then responds to a question from journalist Fabio Marchese Ragona about vaccines. “I – he says – I believe that ethically everyone should take the vaccine. It is not an option, it is an ethical action. Because you play with your health, you play with your life, but you also play with the lives of others. And he explains that in the In the next few days the vaccinations will begin in the Vatican and he has also made a “reservation” for this. “Yes, it must be done”, he repeats, “if the doctors present it as something that can go well and that does not have special dangers, why what not to take it? There is a suicidal denial in this that I cannot explain. “For the Pontiff, this is the moment to” think about the we and erase the self for a period of time, put it in parentheses. Either we are all saved with “we” or no one is saved. “On this he speaks at length, offering his reflection on the theme that is so dear to him in the fraternity.” This – he observes – is the challenge: to become close to the other, close to the situation, close to problems, to become close to people. “The enemy of closeness is” the culture of indifference “… There is talk, he points out,” of a healthy indifference to problems, but indifference is not healthy. The culture of indifference destroys, because it distances me “.

It is the “time of us” to overcome the crisis

“Indifference kills us, because it distances us. Instead, the key word for thinking about the ways out of the crisis is the word” closeness “. If there is no unity, there is no closeness, the Pope warns,” they can be created. social tensions even within the States. “Thus, he speaks of the” ruling class “in the Church as well as in political life. In this moment of crisis, he exhorted,” the entire ruling class has no right to say I … must say us and seek unity in the face of the crisis. “At this moment, he strongly reaffirms,” ​​a politician, a pastor, a Christian, a Catholic, even a bishop, a priest, who does not have the ability to say us instead of me, it is because he is not up to the situation. “And he adds that” conflicts in life are necessary, but at this moment they must lead to a vacation, “lead to the unity” of the country, of the Church, of society “.

Abortion is a human issue rather than a religious one

Francisco pointed out that the crisis caused by the pandemic has further exacerbated the “culture of discarding” of the weakest, whether they are poor, migrants or the elderly. It focuses especially on the drama of abortion that discards unwanted children. “The problem of abortion”, he warns, “is not a religious problem, it is a human problem, pre-religious, it is a problem of human ethics” and then a religious one. “It is a problem that even an atheist must solve in his knowledge.” “Is it correct,” asks the Pontiff, “to end a human life to solve a problem, any problem? Is it correct to hire a hit man to solve a problem?”

The Capitol, learning from history: never violence

The Pope does not stop commenting on the dramatic events on the Capitol on January 6. He confessed that he was “in awe”, considering the discipline of the people of the United States and the maturity of their democracy. However, he points out, even in the most mature realities, there is always something wrong when there are “people who take a path against the community, against democracy, against the common good.” Now that this has broken out, he continues, it has been possible to “see well” the phenomenon and “put the remedy. Francisco condemned the violence: “We must reflect and understand well and not repeat, learn from history”, these “para-regular groups that are not well inserted in society, sooner or later will carry out these situations of violence.”

Faith, a gift to ask the Lord

The Pope finally responds how he is personally experiencing the restrictions due to the pandemic. He confesses that he feels “caged”, stops on trips, canceled to avoid the crowds, talks about the hope of visiting Iraq. During this time, he spends more time in prayer, talking on the phone and reiterates how important some moments were for him, such as the Statio Orbis in San Pedro on March 27, “an expression of love to all people” and that makes one “see new ways to help each other.” Thus, he offers a reflection on faith in the Lord, which – he says – is above all “a gift”. “For me,” he says, “faith is a gift, neither you, nor I, nor anyone else can have faith by their own strength: it is a gift that the Lord gives you,” which cannot be bought. Taking up a passage from Deuteronomy then, Pope Francis exhorts us to invoke the “closeness of God”. This closeness “in faith is a gift that we must ask for.” The interview concludes with the hope that in 2021 “there will be no waste, that there will be no selfish attitudes” and that unity can prevail over conflict.


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Ralph Dommermuth on 5G and the Dax 40

Ralph Dommermuth

The United Internet founder wants to build a 5G network in Germany with his company.

(Photo: Thies Rätzke for Handesblatt)

Montabaur Over three decades, Ralph Dommermuth established one of the most important internet companies in Germany in Montabaur. In addition to landline and later also cellular, it penetrated more and more areas.

Now the 57-year-old boss and major shareholder of United Internet is facing his most important strategic shift. In future, he no longer wants to rent into the operator’s networks, but rather to set up his own mobile network. Since he first announced the plans in 2018, the share price of his companies United Internet and 1 & 1 Drillisch has plummeted. Network construction has not yet started. Investors are getting restless.

The road to the network operator is not only long and expensive. He is also attached to important partnerships. Dommermuth needs access to existing networks, at least for a transitional period. But so far he has not been able to come to an agreement with any of the three operators – Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefónica.

He accuses them of discrimination. “None of the three established providers voluntarily sells us network capacities at prices in line with the market,” said Dommermuth in an interview with Handelsblatt. At the same time, he is aggressive: “We are decisive and are not afraid of a takeover.”

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“We will work much more productively”

Rohit Bhargava

“I don’t predict the future, but rather track down the accelerated present,” says the innovation and marketing expert.

(Photo: Microsoft)

Not only those attending the South by Southwest tech conference know the futurologist Rohit Bhargava. Wherever he appears, his lectures on “non-obvious” trends are very popular. The 45-year-old American reports that the seminars he is broadcasting via the Internet are fully booked even in times of the Corona. Nevertheless: “I miss the human contact.”

Mr. Bhargava, how important is technology for a new trend?
In my opinion, technology very rarely triggers a trend. Others have a different view of things. They say: drones or artificial intelligence are a trend. But these are just technologies. For me, drones are based on the trend towards “maximum convenience”, the speed of deliveries. But other technologies such as 3D printers also play a role.

What do you have to know about technology to see a trend?
One should be a curious observer. Nobody needs to be able to program a drone to understand its impact on business and culture. But you can’t ignore technology.

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Deroy Duarte: ‘This is West against South, as a Spartan you have nothing with Feyenoord’

Duarte wants to hurt Feyenoord with his club. He could have done that earlier this season, in De Kuip. Sparta drew 1-1, but Duarte missed a chance in the final minute. “I thought about that quite often, but you also have to keep going. It would have been nice to score in the last minute, but on Sunday a new chance.”

The Sparta midfielder is completely revived, after a lesser period. ‘But I didn’t doubt myself, I saw that as a mental test. I knew this would make me stronger and better. We succeeded “, says Duarte.

Duarte is important to Sparta. His statistics do not lie this season. “Four goals and three assists. But I want more. I’m well on my way, but I want to keep that upward trend.”


Sparta believes in a good result against Feyenoord. The team of trainer Henk Fraser has been on track in recent months. Duarte knows what it means for Spartans to defeat the townsman. “I was also sitting here in the stands when Marvin Emnes scored that winning goal (in 2008, ed.). I know how it feels.”

Duarte continues: “This is a loaded game. I have nothing against Feyenoord, but I have always been Spartan”, he says. Duarte will meet a few good acquaintances on Sunday.

Malacia and Geertruida

“Tyrell Malacia is a good friend of mine, with him I also train outside during the summer break. And with Lutsharel Geertruida I played in the youth of Sparta. There are few Rotterdammers on the field, but the feeling remains.”