Hey folks! Fireside this week. Next week, we're going to start a two-part 'Trip Through' looking at medieval martial poetry, first by the 12th century Occitan troubadour Bertran de Born, and then by the sixth century Arab warrior-poet Antarah Ibn Shaddad. The sword is a modern replica I've had for a number of years. I … Continue reading Fireside Friday: April 3, 2020
This week, we're taking another trip, this time through a medieval author, in this case looking at a selection of passages from Dhuoda of Uzès, Duchess of Septimania's Liber Manualis ("Handbook") for her son William and discussing the model of noble relationships it presents. Dhuoda is a fascinating figure both for the ways she is … Continue reading Collections: A Trip Through Dhuoda of Uzès (Carolingian Values)
This week, we're going to talk briefly about why 'we' - and by 'we' here, I mean the top-tier of modern militaries - have generally eschewed the systematic or widespread use of chemical weapons after the First World War. And before you begin writing your comment, please note that the mountain of caveats that statement … Continue reading Collections: Why Don’t We Use Chemical Weapons Anymore?
This is going to be a bit of an unusual post, but with things moving so rapidly, it didn't seem to make sense to wait for a break in the normal schedule. Don't worry, this Friday's normal post (a Collections on chemical warfare and doctrine) will appear on Friday as scheduled. But it felt irresponsible … Continue reading New Acquisitions: Hoplite-Style Disease Control (March 17, 2020)
Welcome! Fireside again this week (but Collections next week!). Pull up a chair. The Classicist in his natural environment: hiding behind a small mountain of Loebs, OCTs, Teubners and Cambridge Green-and-Yellows. I actually don't own any Budés, which are much like the Loebs, but in French (published by Les Belles Lettres), but they're also very … Continue reading Fireside Friday: March 13, 2020
Alright folks, grab a seat, get warm. Let's chat. Yes, that is me. Yes, that is actually how I look. I'm sorry too. We're now looking at the tenth month of A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry. As with any new project, no plan quite survives contact with the enemy. As I write this, we've just … Continue reading Fireside Friday: March 6, 2020
This is Part IV of our four-and-three-quarters part series (I, II, IIIa, IIIb, interlude) on the Fremen Mirage. We began by sketching out the basic outline of this pop theory of history: that a lack of wealth and sophistication leads to moral purity, which in turn leads to military prowess, which consequently produces a cycle … Continue reading Collections: The Fremen Mirage, Part IV: Desert Power