Many of the “conflicts” that took place between states or statelings were between professional soldiers, often mercenaries, and much of the population was unaware of the “wars”
Peace: Neither Ink nor Blood
Nassim Nicholas Taleb

I have difficulty imagining that: armies lived “on the field” meaning foraging from farms and villages. Aside from the taxes raised to pay armies, the sicknesses brought by large armies packed closely and unhealthily, etc. And I believe unarmed civilians have always been a easy prey to rob, rape, enslave. Conclusion: bigger states make bigger wars, and total war may have been theorized by Clausewitz, it’s not new at all.

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