Collections: Why Roman Egypt Was Such a Strange Province

Welcome back! We are back from our November hiatus and thus back to regular weekly posts! This week we're going to answer the runner-up question in the last ACOUP Senate poll (polls in which you too can vote if you become a pater aut mater conscriptus via Patreon). The question, posed in two different ways … Continue reading Collections: Why Roman Egypt Was Such a Strange Province

Collections: Teaching Paradox, Crusader Kings III, Part III: Constructivisting a Kingdom

This is the third part of a four part series (I, IIa, IIb, III, IV) examining the historical assumptions behind the popular medieval grand strategy game Crusader Kings III, made by Paradox Interactive. In the last part (in two sections), we discussed how CKIII attempts to model decentralized political power in the fragmented polities of … Continue reading Collections: Teaching Paradox, Crusader Kings III, Part III: Constructivisting a Kingdom

Collections: Teaching Paradox, Crusader Kings III, Part IIb: Cracks in the House of Islam

This is the back half of the second part of a four part series (I, IIa, IIb, III, IV) examining the historical assumptions behind the popular medieval grand strategy game Crusader Kings III, made by Paradox Interactive. Last time we looked at how the game tried to mechanically simulate the internal structure of the highly … Continue reading Collections: Teaching Paradox, Crusader Kings III, Part IIb: Cracks in the House of Islam

Collections: The Roman Dictatorship: How Did It Work? Did It Work?

This week, we're taking a break from the modern world to tackle the 'runner up' question from the first ACOUP Senate poll: How did the Roman dictatorship work and was it effective? This is one of those questions that seems very simple but isn't. After all, what most people know about the Roman dictatorship is … Continue reading Collections: The Roman Dictatorship: How Did It Work? Did It Work?

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: The Queen’s Latin or Who Were the Romans? Part III: Bigotry and Diversity at Rome

This is the third part (I, II, III, IV, V) of a series asking the question "Who were the Romans?' How did they understand themselves as a people and the idea of 'Roman' as an identity? Was this a homogeneous, ethnically defined group, as some versions of pop folk history would have it, or was … Continue reading Collections: The Queen’s Latin or Who Were the Romans? Part III: Bigotry and Diversity at Rome

Collections: The Queen’s Latin or Who Were the Romans? Part I: Beginnings and Legends

Who were the Romans? How did they understand themselves as a people and 'Roman' as an identity? And what were the implications of that understanding - and perhaps more importantly the underlying reality - for Roman society and the success of the Roman Empire? This is the first part of a series (I, II, III, … Continue reading Collections: The Queen’s Latin or Who Were the Romans? Part I: Beginnings and Legends

Collections: That Dothraki Horde, Part III: Horse Fiddles

This series is now available in audio format. You can find the playlist here. This is the third part of a four part (I, II, III, IV) look at the Dothraki from George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire and HBO's Game of Thrones. We’re looking at, in particular, the degree to which … Continue reading Collections: That Dothraki Horde, Part III: Horse Fiddles

Collections: Bread, How Did They Make It? Part II: Big Farms

Thanks to our helpful volunteer narrator, this entire post series is now also available in audio format! This is the second part (I, II, III, IV, A) of our look at the basic structure of food production (particularly grains to make bread) in the pre-modern world. Last week, we began by looking at the great … Continue reading Collections: Bread, How Did They Make It? Part II: Big Farms

Collections: Bread, How Did They Make It? Part I: Farmers!

Thanks to our helpful volunteer narrator, this entire post series is now also available in audio format! This essay will hopefully be the first post in a series (II, III, IV, A) covering some of the basics of how things in the past, particularly in the ancient world, were made. This isn't a how-to guide … Continue reading Collections: Bread, How Did They Make It? Part I: Farmers!