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Italy Invades

How Italians Conquered the World

Italy Invades

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A few years ago a son asked his father, “Dad, how many countries have we invaded?” Stuart Laycock, the father, having studied Classics at Cambridge, wrote a book to answer the question properly All the Countries We’ve Invaded…And the few we never got around to. Laycock’s book documented how Britain managed to invade or fight conflicts in nearly 90 percent of the world’s countries over the course of its history. It offered a chapter on every country in the world and a short summary of Britain’s military involvement with its territory.
I read Stu’s book, reviewed it and forwarded him the review. We met for a pint in London where we both live and became friends. As an American, I was curious about how America would compare to Britain, when considering the topic of invasions. We co-authored, America Invades, in which we demonstrate that Americans have invaded about 45 percent of the world’s counties but have been militarily involved with nearly all the rest. America is a military superpower that straddles the globe with alliances and complex relationships.
Stu and I each have strong personal connections to and affection for Italy. Stu learned Latin, studied Classics at Cambridge, has visited Italy many times and has published several works on Roman Britain. My wife is an Italian-American with roots in Calabria, (I have a holiday apartment in Florence and my children are half-Italian?)
Italy has been the eternal birthplace of invading Empires. Ancient Rome was a great world empire and had a profound influence on all those that flowed in her wake – just think in terms of architecture, government and language. How many countries did the Romans invade?
Niccolo Machiavelli was the philosopher of invasions. He offered this advice to future princes: “A ruler, then must have no other aim or consideration, not seek to develop any other vocation outside war, the organization of the army and military discipline. This is the only proper vocation of the man in command.” Just how many countries has Italy invaded?
Start raising these questions and you will likely raise many an eyebrow as well. Perhaps a snicker as well. Italian fighting spirit has been much maligned over the years. It’s time for a re-evaluation.
Italy Invades: How Italians Conquered the World is that re-evaluation.

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