Why do you think Ondaatje says, “The last Mediaeval war was fought in Italy in 1943 and 1944”? What is he trying to convey and what supporting details does he give for his position?
Ondaatje is saying that the Axis and Allies used medieval fighting techniques adapted to the medieval buildings that they occupied as their fortresses, like villas and churches. He is trying to express that the warfare was brutal and cruel, which is a major theme he is driving throughout the book. He explains how troops “seriously considered the pouring of hot oil over battlements” and that medieval academics were flown in as military advisors because these were the techniques being used.
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