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

New Acquisitions: How It Wasn’t: Game of Thrones and the Middle Ages, Part III

The following is the third part of a three part series where we look at the question "how medieval is Game of Thrones?" and - if not the Middle Ages - what period of European history does Game of Thrones most draw from? This part will look at the political (and to a degree) economic … Continue reading New Acquisitions: How It Wasn’t: Game of Thrones and the Middle Ages, Part III

Collections: The Siege of Gondor, Part IV: The Cavalry Arrives

This is the fourth part of a six part series taking a military historian's look at the Siege of Gondor in Peter Jackon's adaptation of Return of the King. Part I, II and III can be found here, here and here. Last time, we looked at Mordor's siege tactics in attempting to breach the city. … Continue reading Collections: The Siege of Gondor, Part IV: The Cavalry Arrives

Collections: The Siege of Gondor, Part I: Professionals Talk Logistics

This is the first part of a six-part series I expect to roll out taking a historian’s look at the Siege of Gondor in Peter Jackson’s Return of the King.  We’re going to discuss how historically plausible the sequence of events is and, in the process, talk a fair bit about how pre-gunpowder siege warfare … Continue reading Collections: The Siege of Gondor, Part I: Professionals Talk Logistics