Collections: This. Isn’t. Sparta. Part VII: Spartan Ends

This is the seven (and last!) part of our seven part series (I, II, III, IV, V, VI) look at Sparta in popular memory and historical truth. Last time we talked about Sparta's battlefield record and came away noting that it was profoundly, disappointing average. Longer term readers will know, of course, that we can't … Continue reading Collections: This. Isn’t. Sparta. Part VII: Spartan Ends

Collections: War Elephants, Part II: Elephants against Wolves

Today, in Part II of our three part series on War Elephants, we're going to look at the drawbacks of war elephants. Last time (here), we discussed the factors that made war elephants so powerful on the battlefield. To recap: war elephants had a strong psychological element (they are very scary) and could drastically disrupt … Continue reading Collections: War Elephants, Part II: Elephants against Wolves

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

Collections: The Siege of Gondor: Part VI: Black Sails and Gleaming Banners

This is the sixth and final part of a six part series taking a military historian's look at the Siege of Gondor in Peter Jackson's adaptation of Return of the King. You can find the other parts linked here (I, II, III, IV and V). This time, we are going to look at how the … Continue reading Collections: The Siege of Gondor: Part VI: Black Sails and Gleaming Banners