Collections: Teaching Paradox, Europa Universalis IV, Part I: State of Play

This is the first post in a series that will be examining the historical assumptions of Paradox Interactive's grand strategy computer game set in the early modern period, Europa Universalis IV. And this series will in turn be part of a larger series looking at several of Paradox's games and how they treat their historical … Continue reading Collections: Teaching Paradox, Europa Universalis IV, Part I: State of Play

Collections: Clothing, How Did They Make It? Part IVa: Dyed in the Wool

Third is the fourth part of our four part (I, II, III) look at the production of textiles, particularly wool and linen, in the pre-modern world. Last time, we spun our wool and flax fibers into thread and then wove that thread into fabric. And in doing so, we mostly discussed household production. This week, … Continue reading Collections: Clothing, How Did They Make It? Part IVa: Dyed in the Wool

Collections: Clothing, How Did They Make It? Part III: Spin Me Right Round…

This is the third part of our four part (I, II, IV) look at the production of textiles, particularly wool and linen, in the pre-modern world. Last time, we processed our raw fibers, removing extraneous material and getting them ready to be turned into thread. Today we're going to continue with that next step, spinning … Continue reading Collections: Clothing, How Did They Make It? Part III: Spin Me Right Round…

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: The Universal Warrior, Part IIb: A Soldier’s Lot

This is the continuation of the second part of a three part ( I, IIa, IIb , III) discussion of the notion that there is a 'universal warrior' - a transcendent sameness about either the experience of war or 'warrior values' which might provide some sort of useful blueprint for life generally or some sort … Continue reading Collections: The Universal Warrior, Part IIb: A Soldier’s Lot

Collections: The Universal Warrior, Part IIa: The Many Faces of Battle

This is the second part of a three part (I, IIa, IIb , III) discussion of the idea of a 'universal warrior' - the assumption that there is a transcendent sameness about either the experience of war or 'warrior values' which might provide some sort of fundamental truth for understanding war, either in the past … Continue reading Collections: The Universal Warrior, Part IIa: The Many Faces of Battle

Miscellanea: Insurrections, Ancient and Modern (And Also Meet the Academicats)

So this week I want to talk about how what I know a historian influences how I am interpreting what I am going to call the Capitol Insurrection that happened on Wednesday, January 6 instead of taking the week off as I had originally planned. Since that is a really heavy topic, I am also … Continue reading Miscellanea: Insurrections, Ancient and Modern (And Also Meet the Academicats)

Collections: That Dothraki Horde, Part III: Horse Fiddles

This is the third part of a four part (I, II, IV) look at the Dothraki from George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire and HBO's Game of Thrones. 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 of steppe … Continue reading Collections: That Dothraki Horde, Part III: Horse Fiddles

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: 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