We're going to be a bit silly this week (in part because the ending of this compressed semester has left me with little time) and talk about the recently released historical action-RPG computer (and console) game, Assassin's Creed: Valhalla, set in 9th century Norway and England. And, as with the last time we did this, … Continue reading Collections: Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla and the Unfortunate Implications
This week, we close out our four(and a half)-part (I, II, III, IVa, IVb) look at pre-modern iron and steel production, although I ought to note that there will be at least one addendum discussing pre-modern cast iron and crucible steel (Wootz) production. Last week, we looked at the processes used to create steel from … Continue reading Collections: Iron, How Did They Make It, Part IVb: Work Hardening, or Hardly Working?
This is is the sixth part of a series taking a historian’s look at the Battle of Helm’s Deep (I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII. VIII) from both J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Two Towers (1954) and Peter Jackson’s 2002 film of the same name. Last time, we looked at Saruman's siege tactics and found them … Continue reading Collections: The Battle of Helm’s Deep, Part VI: Is This a Good Sword?
This is actually a neat kit review to pick up with after the last one, since this is essentially a more successful effort to construct a fantasy panoply for a plate-armored common infantryman. Today we're looking at the Gondor Heavy Infantry from Peter Jackson's adaptation of Return of the King. Compared to the Lannister armor … Continue reading Collections: Gondor Heavy Infantry Kit Review
Dear readers! Alas, no regular post this Friday, for it is conference season. In particular, this is the weekend of the Joint Annual Meeting for the Society of Classical Studies and Archaeological Institute of America (Classics represent!), where I will be giving a short paper detailing some of my current research. One function of these … Continue reading Miscellanea: SCS-AIA Conference, 2020!
This week, the part you have all been waiting for - we're going to look at how the Spartans fought. This is part six of our series (previous parts I, II, III, IV, V, VII) looking at Sparta and its place in cultural memory. As we discussed briefly before, there are two core myths in … Continue reading Collections: This. Isn’t. Sparta. Part VI: Spartan Battle
This week, we're going to look at how the effectiveness of arrow fire - especially against armored targets - varies over distance. This is, in a sense, a continuation of my previous post on armor penetration, "Punching Through Some Armor Myths," so you may want to refer back occasionally. This is going to be a … Continue reading Collections: Archery, Distance and ‘Kiting’
This week, we're going to talk about armor effectiveness, comparing the value of body-armor before gunpowder with what gets portrayed in fiction and broader pop culture. What does it take to defeat armor? What weapons were effective at defeating armor - and what kinds of armor were they effective against? I should note that I … Continue reading Collections: Punching Through Some Armor Myths
In the last post, here, we talked about some basic rules for what parts of the body are likely to be more armored - either armored first, or exclusively, or more intensely. Now comes the fun part: being excessively judgemental about some examples from popular culture! Lets start with the most obvious one: Viggo Mortensen's … Continue reading Collections: Armor in Order, Part II
Evaluating armor designs, especially in works of fantasy or speculative fiction, can be a tricky business. Often times, we can see a design and know something is off about it, but not quite what. Or alternatively, fans and internet commentators will blast this or that design in TV or a movie simply because it does … Continue reading Collections: Armor in Order, Part I