Thursday, February 16, 2017

Why The Last Stand is a Poem

The Last Stand, an album released by the Swedish band Sabaton, takes inspiration from famous defensive battles throughout history. Of the songs in the album, "The Last Stand" is the most popular, and tells the story of the sack of Rome. Not only does the song tell us of the story of the siege, but lets us experience this heroic scene as if we were there is person, to feel what the solders defending must have felt like.

The song starts with these lines:
In the heart of the Holy See
In the home of Christianity
The seat of power is in danger
 Here, the song describes many things. First, Rome was one of the three capital cities of the Roman Empire. Thus the heart of the Holy See, as Rome was the see center of all of civilization in which Rome and its faith was spread. Secondly, around the time Christianity was spread wildly due to the rapid expansion of the Roman Empire, as so could be called the home of Christianity. Lastly, the final line here describes how the sack affected the balance of power. Before the sack, Rome was considered "the eternal city". Thus, when the walls were breached and the Romans defeated, both allies and enemies alike we shocked to see the once unbeatable Roman army defeated.  One could look at this line another way however, as the power of Christianity (currently the most influential religion at the time) was in danger as well, as the enemy was after the pope, who was currently held up in the city during the siege.
They're the 189
In the service of Heaven
They're protecting the holy line
It was 1527
Gave their lives on the steps to Heaven
Thy will be done!
In these lines, the song shows the dedication and sacrifice the defenders of Rome gave to Christianity. The defenders consisted of only 189 solders (against an army of 5000), 147 of which died, thus "Gave their lives on the steps of Heaven", were protecting the enemy from killing the pope. So not only were the solders fighting for the Christian faith, but were also fighting to protect the symbol of Christianity.

The reason I believe this song is poetry is because not only does it tell the story of the siege, but makes the listener feel some emotion towards the men defending, and how strong their faith must have been to protect Christianity to their death. Simply reading this in a history book would give you fine details of the scene, however through the use of the song you can put yourself in the soldiers' place, and for a few moments be at the siege.

1 comment:

  1. I like how you understood how it was both about an actual historical event and an experience of heroism.