Hey folks, no post this week. My schedule got disrupted this week by some unexpected stuff (nothing terribly bad, but time sensitive and pressing), so I don’t have anything new for you just yet. I am currently working on what will be next down the pipline, which will be a (three part, I think) look at some of the historical assumptions behind Paradox Interactive’s grand strategy game Europa Universalis IV (to be followed at some later point by taking similar looks at some other Paradox games).
If you are just desperate to read more of my writing though, I should note that I did have an article appear earlier this week in Foreign Policy, discussing why the U.S. military in particular needs citizen-soldiers, rather than the ‘warriors’ that it keeps discussing in so much of its recruiting and internal messaging. Though fair warning that I think that article may be behind the subscriber-paywall over there. Nevertheless, I think it is a conversation about organizational culture within the U.S. military which needs to happen, for the reasons I lay out.
I’ll also note that, looking at my view statistics, a lot of you haven’t necessarily yet read some of the older posts, particularly the “A Trip Through…” posts which take a look at short passages from historical primary sources and discussing the significance of the ideas and values presented there. We’ve had five of these so far, and if you haven’t read them, check them out. They are:
- A Three-piece set on the values of medieval mounted aristocrats (read: knights, but also knight-like aristocrats from places that aren’t western Europe), from the writings of three members of mounted, medieval aristocracies:
- Dhuoda of Uzès, laying out court values for how aristocrats interact with each other in a 9th century Christian royal court.
- ‘Antarah ibn Shaddad setting out one version of mounted military manliness, rooted in the military culture of 6th century Arabia, but also prized as a great warrior-poet subsequently.
- Bertran de Born, laying out another version of mounted military manliness, rooted in the military culture of late 12th-century France.
- We also looked at Thucydides, laying the foundations for the international relations theory of ‘Realism’ in his history of the fifth-century BCE Peloponnesian War (in which he participated).
- And also Cicero, discussing natural law theory, on which the modern concept of human rights is based.
Finally, I was amused to see that my series on Sparta has apparently been memed by the jokesters over at r/HistoryMemes. Seeing that was an amusing experience, because I saw the hits coming in from reddit and looked to see where they were coming from (assuming it was, as it usually is, someone just dropping a link to something in the comments) only to read the meme and recognize the references to the twin myths of Spartan military excellence and Spartan equality and the complaint about Spartan logistics (which might as well be my signature). Low and behold, the original poster noted “This. Isn’t. Sparta” as the inspiration. So that’s cool!
And because everyone loves cat pictures, here are our redoubtable feline research assistants, taking a well-deserved break from their busy work schedules:
So that’s it for this week. Next week though, we should start into our look Europa Universalis IV. Also, I think our first guest post will be coming up in the next few weeks as well and I am so excited about it.