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

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