Collections: Bread, How Did they Make it? Part III: Actually Farming

As the third part (I, II) of our look at the basic structure of food production in the pre-modern world (particularly farming grain to make bread) we're going to finally look at how one actually farms grain to make bread. Now that we have all of our farmers in place, both the big ones and … Continue reading Collections: Bread, How Did they Make it? Part III: Actually Farming

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

This is the second part (I, III) 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 majority of our rural population, the little farmers. Now I know everyone is eager to get to the mechanics of … Continue reading Collections: Bread, How Did They Make It? Part II: Big Farms

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

This essay will hopefully be the first post in a series (II, III) 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 (we're not going to go into that much depth) but instead intended as a window into the many tasks … Continue reading Collections: Bread, How Did They Make It? Part I: Farmers!

Collections: The Fremen Mirage, Part I: War at the Dawn of Civilization

This week's post is the first in a four part series (II, IIIa, IIIb, interlude, IV) looking at what I'm going to term the Fremen Mirage (a play on Le Mirage Spartiate, which we've already discussed in some detail), a term I'm creating to encompass a set of related pop-history theories which are flourish, evergreen … Continue reading Collections: The Fremen Mirage, Part I: War at the Dawn of Civilization

Collections: This. Isn’t. Sparta. Part IV: Spartan Wealth

This week, we're looking more at what life was actually like in Sparta, this time focusing on wealth and property. Last time (here), we looked at the question of daily life for women in Sparta and concluded that the oppression faced by the vast majority of women in Sparta - the female helots - far … Continue reading Collections: This. Isn’t. Sparta. Part IV: Spartan Wealth

Collections: This. Isn’t. Sparta. Part III: Spartan Women

Today, in part III of our seven part look at Sparta (I, II, IV, V, VI, VII) we're going to take a close look at the role of women in Spartan society, keeping in mind the Spartan social hierarchy we established last time. Sparta has a reputation - often aided and abetted by textbooks - … Continue reading Collections: This. Isn’t. Sparta. Part III: Spartan Women

Collections: The Lonely City, Part II: Real Cities Have Curves

Last week, we looked at a model for what the countryside around an 'ideal city' might look like. Today we're going to introduce some complications to that model (you will recall, our ideal city existed in a perfectly flat plain of uniform fertility) and see how they change the patterns of land use which in … Continue reading Collections: The Lonely City, Part II: Real Cities Have Curves

Collections: The Lonely City, Part I: The Ideal City

This week and next, we're going to look at an issue not of battles, but of settings: pre-modern cities - particularly the trope of the city, town or castle set out all alone in the middle of empty spaces. Why does the city or castle-town set amidst a sea of grass feel so off? And … Continue reading Collections: The Lonely City, Part I: The Ideal City