Collections: Rome: Decline and Fall? Part I: Words

This week we're going to start tackling a complex and much debated question: 'how bad was the fall of Rome (in the West)?' This was the topic that won the vote among the patrons of the ACOUP Senate. The original questions here were 'what caused the loss of state capacity during the collapse of the … Continue reading Collections: Rome: Decline and Fall? Part I: Words

Collections: Fortification, Part V: The Age of Industrial Firepower

This is the final part of a five part (I, II, III, IV) series covering some of the basics of fortification, all the way from ancient city walls to modern anti-access/area denial systems. Last week, we looked at the changes which gunpowder-based weaponry enforced on fortification design in Europe, leading to the emergence of the … Continue reading Collections: Fortification, Part V: The Age of Industrial Firepower

Collections: Fortification, Part IV: French Guns and Italian Lines

This is the fourth part of a five part (I, II, III) series covering some of the basics of fortification, from city walls to field fortifications, from the ancient world to the modern period. Last week, we set out an overview of fortifications in medieval Europe, with particular focus on the strategic role of castles … Continue reading Collections: Fortification, Part IV: French Guns and Italian Lines

Collections: Fortification, Part III: Castling

This is the third part of a five part (I, II) series covering some of the basics of fortifications, from city walls to field fortifications, from the ancient world through to the modern period. Last week, we used the Romans as an example to see how the needs of a given fortification changed its structure … Continue reading Collections: Fortification, Part III: Castling

Collections: Fortification, Part II: Romans Playing Cards

This is the second part of a five part (I) series covering some of the basics of fortifications, from city walls to field fortifications, from the ancient world through the modern period. Last time, we looked as the ancient besieger's playbook (both the motives and options for taking walled cities) through a case study of … Continue reading Collections: Fortification, Part II: Romans Playing Cards

Collections: Fortification, Part I: The Besieger’s Playbook

This is the first part of a planned five-part series covering some of the basics of fortifications, from city walls to castles and field fortifications! We are going to discuss what fortifications were for and how their design changed in response both to different strategic and operational conditions and also to changing technology. Throughout this, … Continue reading Collections: Fortification, Part I: The Besieger’s Playbook

Collections: So You Want To Go To Grad School (in the Academic Humanities)?

Graduate school application season is upon us and so I wanted to take this as an opportunity to talk about it. Every year, I talk with undergraduate students who are considering pursuing a graduate degree in the humanities, who mostly come to me because they know that my graduate school experience was relatively more recent … Continue reading Collections: So You Want To Go To Grad School (in the Academic Humanities)?

Collections: No Man’s Land, Part II: Breaking the Stalemate

Last time, we introduced the factors that created the trench stalemate in the First World War and we also laid out why the popular 'easy answer' of simply going on the defensive and letting the enemy attack themselves to death was not only not a viable strategy in theory but in fact a strategy which … Continue reading Collections: No Man’s Land, Part II: Breaking the Stalemate

Collections: No Man’s Land, Part I: The Trench Stalemate

This week (and next) I want to build a bit off of our discussion of Victoria II and talk a bit about World War I and in particular the trench stalemate on the Western Front. That trench stalemate is, in many countries, synonymous with the war itself. Of course the war was much larger than … Continue reading Collections: No Man’s Land, Part I: The Trench Stalemate