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Cnscription has been one of the fundamentals of many political organisation (think of the Athenian 'Pyle', the Roman farmer-soldier, the Saxon 'Fyrd', etc. Josh will probably know some better examples) Please correct me, but conscription is more ancient than the professional soldiery, which, if I remember correctly, was introduced in Rome by Marius in the second (or first?) century B.C. -- Mathijs

maybe not so much conscription as the EXPECTATION of universal service for those eligible. That seems to be true of hoplite warfare. The Romans practiced conscription in the Punic wars, though I don't know if we know how they handled it. --MichaelTinkler