Collections: Why No Roman Industrial Revolution?

This week we are taking a look at the latest winner of the ACOUP Senate poll, which posed the question "Why didn't the Roman Empire have an industrial revolution?" To answer that, we need to get into some detail on what the industrial revolution itself was and the preconditions that produced it, as well as … Continue reading Collections: Why No Roman Industrial Revolution?

Collections: Total Generalship: Commanding Pre-Modern Armies, Part IIIb: Officers

This is the continuation of the third part of our three(ish) part (I, II, IIIa, IIIb, IIIc) series looking at the role of the general in commanding pre-gunpowder armies in battle. Last time we looked at how an army's discipline could limit or expand the options available to its general: drill creating synchronized discipline could … Continue reading Collections: Total Generalship: Commanding Pre-Modern Armies, Part IIIb: Officers

Collections: Total Generalship: Commanding Pre-Modern Armies, Part IIIa: Discipline

This is the third(ish) part of our three(ish)-part (I, II, IIIa, IIIb, IIIc) look at the role of the general in the command of pre-modern armies, particularly in the context of a pitched battle. Last time, we looked at the limits on the ability of the general to communicate his orders to his army. While … Continue reading Collections: Total Generalship: Commanding Pre-Modern Armies, Part IIIa: Discipline

Collections: Total Generalship: Commanding Pre-Modern Armies, Part II: Commands

This is the second of a three-part (I, II, IIIa, IIIb, IIIc) look at the role of the general in a pre-modern army, particularly in the context of a pitched battle. Last week, we looked at the information a general might have before and during a battle. What we found was that, in contrast to … Continue reading Collections: Total Generalship: Commanding Pre-Modern Armies, Part II: Commands

Collections: Ancient ‘Tanks’? Chariots, Scythed Chariots and Carroballistae

Building on last week's post on tanks and a few of the comments there, this week I wanted to talk about the ancient (and medieval) weapon-systems often analogized to tanks and the degree to which they had a role similar to tanks. I have lost count of how many times I have seen in this … Continue reading Collections: Ancient ‘Tanks’? Chariots, Scythed Chariots and Carroballistae

Collections: Expeditions: Rome and the Perils of Verisimilitude

This week we're going to take a long look at Expeditions: Rome, a turn-based tactics RPG by developer Logic Artists, set in the first century BC Late Roman Republic. In particular, we're going to look at how the game both constructs and uses its historical setting. This is a particularly important topic to discuss because … Continue reading Collections: Expeditions: Rome and the Perils of Verisimilitude

Collections: The Roman Dictatorship: How Did It Work? Did It Work?

This week, we're taking a break from the modern world to tackle the 'runner up' question from the first ACOUP Senate poll: How did the Roman dictatorship work and was it effective? This is one of those questions that seems very simple but isn't. After all, what most people know about the Roman dictatorship is … Continue reading Collections: The Roman Dictatorship: How Did It Work? Did It Work?

Collections: Rome: Decline and Fall? Part I: Words

This week we're going to start tackling a complex and much debated question: 'how bad was the fall of Rome (in the West)?' This was the topic that won the vote among the patrons of the ACOUP Senate. The original questions here were 'what caused the loss of state capacity during the collapse of the … Continue reading Collections: Rome: Decline and Fall? Part I: Words

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