Collections: Clothing, How Did They Make It? Part I: High Fiber

This week we are starting the first of a four (?) part look at pre-modern textile production. As with our series on farming and iron, we are going to follow the sequence of production from the growing of fibers all the way to the finished object, with a focus not merely on the methods of … Continue reading Collections: Clothing, How Did They Make It? Part I: High Fiber

Collections: That Dothraki Horde, Part II: Subsistence on the Hoof

This is the second part of a four part (I, III, IV) look at the Dothraki, the fictional horse-borne nomads of the A Song of Ice and Fire / Game of Thrones series. We're looking at, in particular, the degree to which George R.R. Martin's claim that the Dothraki are "an amalgam of a number … Continue reading Collections: That Dothraki Horde, Part II: Subsistence on the Hoof

Collections: Iron, How Did They Make It, Part IVb: Work Hardening, or Hardly Working?

This week, we close out our four(and a half)-part (I, II, III, IVa, IVb, addendum) 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 … Continue reading Collections: Iron, How Did They Make It, Part IVb: Work Hardening, or Hardly Working?

Collections: Iron, How Did They Make It? Part II, Trees for Blooms

This week we continue our four-part (I, II, III, IVa, IVb, addendum) look at pre-modern iron and steel production. Last week we prospected our iron ore and extracted it from the ground and did some initial mechanical processing (washing, sorting, crushing). This week, we're going to make our way from just rocks to an actual … Continue reading Collections: Iron, How Did They Make It? Part II, Trees for Blooms

Collections: Bread, How Did They Make It? Addendum: Rice!

As an addendum on to our four-part look at the general structures of the farming of cereal grains (I, II, III, IV) this post is going to briefly discuss some of the key ways that the structures of rice farming differ from the structures of wheat and barley farming. We'll start with some of the … Continue reading Collections: Bread, How Did They Make It? Addendum: Rice!

Collections: Bread, How Did They Make It? Part IV: Markets, Merchants and the Tax Man

As the fourth and final part (I, II, III) of our look at the basic structure of food production in the pre-modern world (particularly farming grain to make bread), this week we're going to look at how at least some of the delicious food we made in the last post might make its way into … Continue reading Collections: Bread, How Did They Make It? Part IV: Markets, Merchants and the Tax Man

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

As the third part (I, II, III, IV, A) 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 … 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, 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 majority of our rural population, the little farmers. Now I know everyone is eager to get to … 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, 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 (we're not going to go into that much depth) but instead intended as a window into the … 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