Collections: How the Weak Can Win – A Primer on Protracted War

Thanks to our volunteer narrator, this post is now available in audio format. This week, in an effort to fill in some of the theoretical basis for thinking about how weaker powers think about fighting against or defending themselves from stronger powers, I'm going to give you all a basic 101-level survey of the theory … Continue reading Collections: How the Weak Can Win – A Primer on Protracted War

Collections: Rome: Decline and Fall? Part III: Things

This is the third and final part (I, II) of our series tackling the complicated and still debated question of 'how bad was the fall of Rome (in the West)?' In our first part, we looked at the question through the prism of 'words' - language, culture, religion and literature. There we found a lot … Continue reading Collections: Rome: Decline and Fall? Part III: Things

Collections: Rome: Decline and Fall? Part II: Institutions

This is the second of a three part (I) series tackling the complicated and still very much debated question of 'how bad was the fall of Rome (in the West)?' In the last part, we looked at 'words' - culture, literature, language and religion. What we found is that in these aspects, signs of sharp … Continue reading Collections: Rome: Decline and Fall? Part II: Institutions

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