Collections: Fortification, Part II: Romans Playing Cards

This is the second part of a five part (I) series covering some of the basics of fortifications, from city walls to field fortifications, from the ancient world through the modern period. Last time, we looked as the ancient besieger's playbook (both the motives and options for taking walled cities) through a case study of … Continue reading Collections: Fortification, Part II: Romans Playing Cards

Collections: The Queen’s Latin or Who Were the Romans, Part V: Saving And Losing an Empire

This is the fifth and final part (I, II, III, IV) of our 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 … Continue reading Collections: The Queen’s Latin or Who Were the Romans, Part V: Saving And Losing an Empire

Collections: The Queen’s Latin or Who Were the Romans? Part IV: The Color of Purple

This is the fourth part (I, II, III, IV, V) of our series asking the question "Who were the Romans?" and contrasting the answer we get from the historical evidence with the pop-cultural image of the Romans as a culturally and ethnically homogeneous society typically represented with homogeneously white British actors speaking the 'Queen's Latin' … Continue reading Collections: The Queen’s Latin or Who Were the Romans? Part IV: The Color of Purple

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 II: Citizens and Allies

This is the second 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 II: Citizens and Allies

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: The Fremen Mirage, Part II: Water Spilled on the Sand

This is part II of our four-part series (I, IIIa, IIIb, interlude, IV) looking at what I've termed 'the Fremen mirage,' after the fiction people from the science fiction novel Dune. If you are just tuning in, we defined the core tenants of the Fremen Mirage back in more detail in the first post: The … Continue reading Collections: The Fremen Mirage, Part II: Water Spilled on the Sand

Collections: A Trip Through Cicero (Natural Law)

This week, we're taking another trip through an ancient author, in this case looking at a passage from Cicero's De legibus ("On the Laws") and discussing Cicero's vision of the origin of laws and how those ideas have found their way into current thinking. Cicero was a remarkably prolific author, and a tremendous amount of … Continue reading Collections: A Trip Through Cicero (Natural Law)

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