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A look at history and popular culture

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2022-09-23 15:30:22

Collections: Teaching Paradox, Crusader Kings III, Part IIa: Rascally Vassals

This is the second part of a four-part (I) series examining the historical assumptions of the popular historical grand strategy game Crusader Kings III, by Paradox Interactive. Last time we opened by discussing how CKIII attempts to simulate and represent the distinctly personal character of rule and decision-making in the Middle Ages and how this … Continue reading Collections: Teaching Paradox, Crusader Kings III, Part IIa: Rascally Vassals

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2022-09-16 15:55:33

Collections: Teaching Paradox, Crusader Kings III, Part I: Making It Personal

This is the first post in a four-part series examining the historical assumptions of Crusader Kings III, a historical grand strategy game by Paradox Interactive set during the Middle Ages and covering Europe, North Africa and both West and Central Asia. This is also the continuation of a larger series on Paradox’s historical grand strategy … Continue reading Collections: Teaching Paradox, Crusader Kings III, Part I: Making It Personal

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2022-09-09 14:11:51

Fireside Friday, September 9, 2022

Fireside this week! I’m back home now from PDXCON2022 so it is back to work. I know there have been a number of requests to know if the historians panel with Eleanor Janega and myself was recorded; it was and the recording is set to be uploaded shortly, but there are a number of turning … Continue reading Fireside Friday, September 9, 2022

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2022-09-02 19:34:19

Gap Week: September 2, 2022

Hey everyone! This week is going to be a gap week as I am currently at PDXCON 2022, possibly playing the Victoria III preview as you read these very words. I expected there to be no posts this week but controversy overtook that plan so there was something, albeit not the normal fare. Fear not, … Continue reading Gap Week: September 2, 2022

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2022-08-29 20:40:14

New Acquisitions: On the Wisdom of Noah Smith

I generally try to avoid having Twitter disputes spill on to the blog. Generally what happens on Twitter is best left on Twitter and in some cases not even that. However this past week I was pulled into a Twitter debate with Noah Smith about the validity of the way that historians offer our knowledge … Continue reading New Acquisitions: On the Wisdom of Noah Smith

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2022-08-26 14:16:48

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 did 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?

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2022-08-19 16:24:50

Collections: This. Isn’t. Sparta. Retrospective

This week I want to do something we haven’t really done before and look back at one of the older series, This. Isn’t. Sparta. (I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, Gloss., Retrospective), as I write this now reaching its three-year-anniversary, which seems a good time to make that sort of a retrospective. In particular … Continue reading Collections: This. Isn’t. Sparta. Retrospective

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2022-08-12 16:24:41

Collections: Logistics, How Did They Do It, Part III: On the Move

This is the third part of a three part (I, II) look at some of the practical concerns of managing pre-industrial logistics. In our last post, we outlined what ‘foraging’ actually entailed – how armies got supplies both from friendly populations but also from neutral or hostile populations. In particular, we focused on the considerable … Continue reading Collections: Logistics, How Did They Do It, Part III: On the Move

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2022-08-05 05:35:21

Fireside Friday, August 5, 2022

Fireside this week! We’ve just moved and I am settling in to my new home office, but the slow process of unpacking all of my books has delayed Logistics, Part III. I can, however, give you a picture of the new Fireside, albeit unlit because it is Augustus in the Carolinas and that means it … Continue reading Fireside Friday, August 5, 2022

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2022-07-29 06:50:52

Collections: Logistics, How Did They Do It, Part II: Foraging

This is the second part of a three part (I) look at some of the practical concerns of managing pre-industrial logistics. In our last post we outlined the members of our ‘campaign community,’ including soldiers but also non-combatants and animals (both war- and draft-); they required massive amounts of supplies, particularly food but also fodder … Continue reading Collections: Logistics, How Did They Do It, Part II: Foraging

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2022-07-22 08:07:35

Fireside Friday, July 22, 2022

Fireside this week! I had hoped to have the next post in the logistics and foraging series ready to go for this week but we are also moving house next week and a number of things related to that have gotten in the way. One of those things was Ollie: For this week’s musing, I … Continue reading Fireside Friday, July 22, 2022

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2022-07-15 05:41:19

Collections: Logistics, How Did They Do It, Part I: The Problem

In this series we’re going to be bowing to reader demand and taking a close look at the nuts and bolts of maintaining an army in the field.  In our last series, after all, we noted that before gunpowder the ability of a general to affect the course of a battle after it had begun … Continue reading Collections: Logistics, How Did They Do It, Part I: The Problem

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2022-07-08 06:05:36

Collections: Is the United States Exceptional?

It is the week of July 4th and so I hope that everyone will once again forgive me for taking a break from our normal fare to write out an argument that I’ve had brewing for quite some time. I especially beg the indulgence of all of my international readers since I am once again … Continue reading Collections: Is the United States Exceptional?

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2022-07-01 06:03:16

Collections: Total Generalship: Commanding Pre-Modern Armies, Part IIIc: Morale and Cohesion

This is the conclusion of the third part of our series (I, II, IIIa, IIIb) looking at the role of the general in commanding pre-gunpowder armies in battle. Last time we looked at how junior officers, when empowered to act independently, could give armies a degree of flexibility and reactiveness on the battlefield but didn’t … Continue reading Collections: Total Generalship: Commanding Pre-Modern Armies, Part IIIc: Morale and Cohesion

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2022-06-24 05:37:17

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

This is the continuation of the third part of our four(ish) part (I, II, IIIa) 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 expand the … Continue reading Collections: Total Generalship: Commanding Pre-Modern Armies, Part IIIb: Officers

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2022-06-17 16:59:08

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

This is the third(ish) part of our four(ish)-part (I, II) 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 films and video … Continue reading Collections: Total Generalship: Commanding Pre-Modern Armies, Part IIIa: Discipline

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2022-06-10 14:32:10

Fireside Friday, June 10, 2022

Fireside this week! I expect to lean a bit more on Firesides than in the next few months as I am hoping to use the summer to make progress on my book project, which of course is going to impact the speed with which I can deliver you all the 5000-9000 word essays that tend … Continue reading Fireside Friday, June 10, 2022

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2022-06-03 06:36:55

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

This is the second of a four-part (I) 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 the broadly omniscient generals … Continue reading Collections: Total Generalship: Commanding Pre-Modern Armies, Part II: Commands

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2022-05-27 05:53:43

Collections: Total Generalship: Commanding Pre-Modern Armies, Part I: Reports

This week we’re going to start a four-part look at the role of the pre-modern general or army commander, particularly in the context of a pitched battle. This is of course a vast topic, but we are going to focus not on tactical or strategic questions but on a lot of the nuts and bolts … Continue reading Collections: Total Generalship: Commanding Pre-Modern Armies, Part I: Reports

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2022-05-20 06:32:29

Fireside Friday, May 20, 2022

Fireside this week! Next week we’ll be diving into a series (I am imagining four parts) on pre-modern generalship (with a particular emphasis on the broader Mediterranean world in classical antiquity and the middle ages) and the ways that it was shaped by key constraints which are often removed in modern imaginings of command (particularly … Continue reading Fireside Friday, May 20, 2022

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2022-05-13 06:25:05

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

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2022-05-06 19:45:41

Collections: When is a ‘Tank’ Not a Tank?

This week we’re going to look at everyone’s favorite kind of armored fighting vehicle, the tank. In part this is a response to my frustration – one shared by, it seems, quite a few people – at the continued inability for journalists in particular to correctly identify what is and is not a tank. But … Continue reading Collections: When is a ‘Tank’ Not a Tank?

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2022-04-29 17:18:40

Gap Week, April 29, 2022

Hey everyone! This week is going to be a gap week, as I am attending the annual meeting of the Society for Military History which happened to come at the same time as finals and the end stages of some other projects. Unfortunately since I’m not presenting (I am chairing a session), I don’t have … Continue reading Gap Week, April 29, 2022

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2022-04-22 17:30:02

Fireside Friday, April 22, 2022

Fireside this week! We’re in the last few weeks of the semester, but semesters tend to ‘crescendo’ rather than ‘wind down’ so there has been a lot going on. I’ll probably be posting a gap week for next week (Friday, April 29) because I’ll be at the annual meeting of the Society for Military History … Continue reading Fireside Friday, April 22, 2022

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2022-04-15 08:47:03

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

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2022-04-08 06:56:10

Fireside Friday, April 8, 2022

Fireside this week! It’s been a while, eight weeks in a row without a fireside. For what’s coming up in future weeks, I’m working on a longer discussion of Expeditions: Rome and how it treats Roman history. After that, we’ll have a look at the art of pre-modern generalship as compared to the remarkably ‘frictionless’ … Continue reading Fireside Friday, April 8, 2022

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2022-04-01 18:34:08

Collection: Total War’s Missing Infantry-Type

This week, we’re going to take a break from the more serious topics to look at infantry tactics and compositions in the Total War series, particularly in the light of the recent Total War: Warhammer III, a real-time strategy game set in a late-medieval/early-modern high fantasy setting (the Warhammer setting) and how well (or poorly) … Continue reading Collection: Total War’s Missing Infantry-Type

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2022-03-25 06:45:13

Miscellanea: A Very Short Glossary of Military Terminology

For this week, I wanted to expand a bit on a comment I made on Twitter expressing some frustration at the failure of journalists attempting to cover the war in Ukraine (and thus interpret military experts for a lay audience) to master some of the key military terminology being used and to convey its actual … Continue reading Miscellanea: A Very Short Glossary of Military Terminology

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2022-03-18 15:54:30

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?

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2022-03-11 19:47:28

Collections: Nuclear Deterrence 101

This week I wanted to expand on something I touched on only briefly in our ‘explainer’ on Putin’s War in Ukraine: the “delicate balance of terror” of nuclear deterrence. Of course this is a complex and much debated topic, so what I want to provide is an introductory overview of the concepts of the sort … Continue reading Collections: Nuclear Deterrence 101

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2022-03-03 23:29:45

Collections: How the Weak Can Win – A Primer on Protracted War

This week, in an effort to fill in some of the theoretical basis for thinking about how weaker powers think about fighting against or defending themselves from stronger powers, I’m going to give you all a basic 101-level survey of the theory of protracted war (also called People’s War), which tends to be one of … Continue reading Collections: How the Weak Can Win – A Primer on Protracted War

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2022-02-25 06:29:49

Miscellanea: Understanding the War in Ukraine

This week, I want to break from our usual format and respond to the fairly unusual global events. I expect a lot of my readers are trying to get a grasp on what is happening right now in Ukraine and in my own experience the traditional news media often struggles to adequately explain complex issues … Continue reading Miscellanea: Understanding the War in Ukraine

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2022-02-18 16:24:38

Miscellanea: Thoughts on CKIII: Royal Court

This week, we’re going to be a bit silly and talk about the recently released Royal Court, a DLC expansion for Paradox’s medieval grand strategy game Crusader Kings III, because I think it is attempting something fairly interesting that relatively few strategy games do. This isn’t going to be a review – there are a … Continue reading Miscellanea: Thoughts on CKIII: Royal Court

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2022-02-11 16:07:22

Collections: Rome: Decline and Fall? Part III: Things

This is the third and final part (I, II) of our series tackling the complication and still debated question of ‘how bad was the fall of Rome (in the West)?’ In our first part, we looked at the question through the prism of ‘words’ – language, culture, religion and literature. There we found a lot … Continue reading Collections: Rome: Decline and Fall? Part III: Things

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2022-02-04 06:02:44

Fireside Friday, February 4, 2022

Fireside this week! I am still working on “Decline and Fall?” Part III and should have that ready for you all next week. Part III is going to deal with economics and demographics (and also briefly, the question of non-elite literacy), which will hopefully make a lot of you happy since questions about those issues … Continue reading Fireside Friday, February 4, 2022

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2022-01-28 18:09:41

Collections: Rome: Decline and Fall? Part II: Institutions

This is the second of a three part (I) series tackling the complicated and still very much debates question of ‘how bad was the fall of Rome (in the West)?’ In the last part, we looked at ‘words’ – culture, literature, language and religion. What we found is that in these aspects, signs of sharp … Continue reading Collections: Rome: Decline and Fall? Part II: Institutions

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2022-01-21 05:50:03

Fireside Friday, January 21, 2022 (On Public Scholarship)

Fireside this week! The Spring semester is now in full swing and – knock on wood – so far seems to be proceeding without too much in the way of disruption. I’m hoping to have part II of “Decline and Fall?” for you all next week but in the meantime I wanted to take a … Continue reading Fireside Friday, January 21, 2022 (On Public Scholarship)

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2022-01-14 20:24:51

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

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2022-01-07 08:38:25

Fireside Friday: January 7, 2022

First fireside of the new year! For this week’s musing, I’m in a mind to talk about the tension between preparing for different kinds of war, in particular between counter-insurgency (COIN) and large-scale combat operations (LSCO), in part because that tension is animating a lot of security discourse in the United States, with the US … Continue reading Fireside Friday: January 7, 2022

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-12-31 06:29:42

Collections: Fortification, Part V: The Age of Industrial Firepower

This is the final part of a five part (I, II, III, IV) series covering some of the basics of fortification, all the way from ancient city walls to modern anti-access/area denial systems. Last week, we looked at the changes which gunpowder-based weaponry enforced on fortification design in Europe, leading to the emergence of the … Continue reading Collections: Fortification, Part V: The Age of Industrial Firepower

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-12-24 18:20:31

Gap Week: December 24, 2021

Season’s Greetings! I’m taking this week off for the holidays, but here are some pictures of the AcademiCats getting into the Christmas Spirit: We’ll be back on the 31st to end the New Year by finishing out our series on Fortifications. In the meantime, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Io Saturnalia and a Happy New Year … Continue reading Gap Week: December 24, 2021

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-12-17 07:44:51

Collections: Fortification, Part IV: French Guns and Italian Lines

This is the fourth part of a five part (I, II, III) series covering some of the basics of fortification, from city walls to field fortifications, from the ancient world to the modern period. Last week, we set out an overview of fortifications in medieval Europe, with particular focus on the strategic role of castles … Continue reading Collections: Fortification, Part IV: French Guns and Italian Lines

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-12-10 05:39:58

Collections: Fortification, Part III: Castling

This is the third part of a five part (I, II) series covering some of the basics of fortifications, from city walls to field fortifications, from the ancient world through to the modern period. Last week, we used the Romans as an example to see how the needs of a given fortification changed its structure … Continue reading Collections: Fortification, Part III: Castling

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-12-03 22:13:36

Gap Week: December 3, 2021

Hey folks! I know I was hoping to have Fortifications, Part III out this week, but in the inevitable bustle of the end of the semester combined with a few other pressing commitments, it just didn’t quite work out. Alas, as much as I love ACOUP, it must play third fiddle to my teaching and … Continue reading Gap Week: December 3, 2021

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-11-26 05:56:45

Fireside Friday: November 26, 2021

Fireside this week! I had hoped to have the next part of the fortification series done by now (its coming along), but between the ends of semester crunch, a few unexpected time-sensitive projects and it being the week of Thanksgiving, that will have to wait. For this week’s musing, Thanksgiving seemed an appropriate time to … Continue reading Fireside Friday: November 26, 2021

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-11-19 06:49:45

Referenda ad Senatum: November 19, 2021: Hidden String-Pullers, Falling Empires and Tactics Against Horse Archers!

Welcome! As we’ve done once before, this week I am going to take a chance to answer a number of shorter questions by my patrons over at Patreon who are at the Patres et Matres Conscripti tier, which entitles them to a seat in the ACOUP Senate (and for those of you who are in … Continue reading Referenda ad Senatum: November 19, 2021: Hidden String-Pullers, Falling Empires and Tactics Against Horse Archers!

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-11-12 22:17:50

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

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-11-05 16:33:40

Miscellanea: Reflections on the Sands of Dune (2021)

Since I finally got out to see Dune (2021), I wanted to take a chance to share some of my reflections on it and this week was a good time because I had nowhere near enough time otherwise to get the next Fortifications post ready. So first I want to give my own reaction to … Continue reading Miscellanea: Reflections on the Sands of Dune (2021)

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-10-29 20:18:20

Collections: Fortification, Part I: The Besieger’s Playbook

This is the first part of a planned five-part series covering some of the basics of fortifications, from city walls to castles and field fortifications! We are going to discuss what fortifications were for and how their design changed in response both to different strategic and operational conditions and also to changing technology. Throughout this, … Continue reading Collections: Fortification, Part I: The Besieger’s Playbook

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-10-22 05:18:06

Gap Week: October 22

Hey all! This week is going to be a gap week; I have quite a bit of teaching related work along with several projects all coming together at once and something had to give. With luck, next week we’ll start a series on the principles of fortifications. In the meantime, of course, I wouldn’t leave … Continue reading Gap Week: October 22

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-10-15 07:52:51

Fireside Friday: October 15, 2021

Fireside this week! We’re in that mid-semester crunch time with students turning in papers and exams which need grading, but fortunately Ollie is getting into the fall season: For this week’s musing, I want to discuss in a fairly brief way, my views of ‘megahistory’ or ‘cliodynamics’ – questions about which tend to come up … Continue reading Fireside Friday: October 15, 2021

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-10-08 17:45:47

Collections: Luigi Cadorna Was The Worst

This week we’re going to break from our normal fare and take a bit of a lark. I thought I ought to substantiate the nearly endless shade towards Luigi Cadorna, Italian Army Chief of Staff from 1914-1917 (though I realize after writing this that what I actually ought to have done is just told the … Continue reading Collections: Luigi Cadorna Was The Worst

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-10-01 05:47:17

Collections: So You Want To Go To Grad School (in the Academic Humanities)?

Graduate school application season is upon us and so I wanted to take this as an opportunity to talk about it. Every year, I talk with undergraduate students who are considering pursuing a graduate degree in the humanities, who mostly come to me because they know that my graduate school experience was relatively more recent … Continue reading Collections: So You Want To Go To Grad School (in the Academic Humanities)?

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-09-24 06:21:50

Collections: No Man’s Land, Part II: Breaking the Stalemate

Last time, we introduced the factors that created the trench stalemate in the First World War and we also laid out why the popular ‘easy answer’ of simply going on the defensive and letting the enemy attack themselves to death was not only not a viable strategy in theory but in fact a strategy which … Continue reading Collections: No Man’s Land, Part II: Breaking the Stalemate

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-09-17 17:37:25

Collections: No Man’s Land, Part I: The Trench Stalemate

This week (and next) I want to build a bit off of our discussion of Victoria II and talk a bit about World War I and in particular the trench stalemate on the Western Front. That trench stalemate is, in many countries, synonymous with the war itself. Of course the war was much larger than … Continue reading Collections: No Man’s Land, Part I: The Trench Stalemate

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-09-10 06:32:09

Meet a Historian: Michael Taylor on Why We Need Classics

Note from the Editor: This week, Michael Taylor joins us to present A Defense of Classics. The last decade or so has seen Classics (the study of Mediterranean antiquity or more narrowly the study of Greece and Rome) in a hard sort of quandary. On the one hand, the field faces pressure from the outside … Continue reading Meet a Historian: Michael Taylor on Why We Need Classics

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-09-03 07:06:57

Collections: Teaching Paradox, Victoria II Part III: World’s Fair

This is the third and final part of a three part series (I, II) examining the historical assumptions of Paradox Interactive’s 19th and early 20th century grad strategy game, Victoria II. Last time, we looked at how the game’s models for the industrial revolution and warfare interacted: by simulating (even in a fairly limited and … Continue reading Collections: Teaching Paradox, Victoria II Part III: World’s Fair

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-08-27 06:01:54

Fireside Friday: August 27, 2021

Fireside this week! This week was the first full week of class, so the chaos that implies has delayed the last part of our look at Victoria II, hopefully just until next week. I also wanted to note that if you have sent me a guest-post pitch, I have not forgotten it but haven’t had … Continue reading Fireside Friday: August 27, 2021

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-08-20 16:48:41

Collections: Teaching Paradox, Victoria II, Part II: The Ruin of War

This is the second part of a three part series (I) examining the historical assumptions of Paradox Interactive’s 19th and early 20th century grand strategy game, Victoria II. Last week, we looked at how Victoria II handles its central, defining theme, the industrial revolution, and the mechanics it employed. We also discussed how Victoria II … Continue reading Collections: Teaching Paradox, Victoria II, Part II: The Ruin of War

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-08-13 06:54:51

Collections: Teaching Paradox, Victoria II, Part I: Mechanics and Gears

This is the first post in a three-part series that will be examining the historical assumption of Paradox Interactive’s grand strategy computer game set in the 19th and early 20th century, Victoria II. Readers will find a number of references here to our previous discussion of one of Paradox’s other games, Europa Universalis IV, but … Continue reading Collections: Teaching Paradox, Victoria II, Part I: Mechanics and Gears

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-08-06 05:48:06

Referenda ad Senatum: August 6, 2021: Feelings at the Fall of the Republic, Ancient and Medieval Living Standards, and Zombies!

Welcome! This is going to be the first of a new sort of post we’ll do form time to time where I answer a number of shorter questions posed by my patrons over at Patreon who are at the Patres et Matres Conscripti tier, which entitles them to a seat in the ACOUP Senate (which … Continue reading Referenda ad Senatum: August 6, 2021: Feelings at the Fall of the Republic, Ancient and Medieval Living Standards, and Zombies!

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-07-30 07:19:20

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

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-07-23 06:13:57

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

This is the fourth part (I, II, III) 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’ with a … Continue reading Collections: The Queen’s Latin or Who Were the Romans? Part IV: The Color of Purple

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-07-16 07:31:59

Collections: The Queen’s Latin or Who Were the Romans? Part III: Bigotry and Diversity at Rome

This is the third part (I, II) 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 ‘Roman’ always a … Continue reading Collections: The Queen’s Latin or Who Were the Romans? Part III: Bigotry and Diversity at Rome

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-07-09 05:54:54

Fireside Friday: July 9, 2021

Fireside this week, but also some announcements! First, I have added an additional tier to the ACOUP Patreon for the patres et matres conscripti. The phrase patres conscripti was a somewhat fancy way to refer to the members of the Roman senate, literally the ‘conscript fathers.’ They were conscript in the sense that they were … Continue reading Fireside Friday: July 9, 2021

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-07-02 07:11:47

Collections: My Country Isn’t a Nation

I hope everyone will forgive me taking this week to break from our normal diet of history-and-pop-culture (though we are discussing a key historical concept here – it is me after all), but it is the July 4th weekend and I have been meaning to treat this topic for a while now. I must further … Continue reading Collections: My Country Isn’t a Nation

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-06-25 06:08:33

Collections: The Queen’s Latin or Who Were the Romans, Part II: Citizens and Allies

This is the second part (I) 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 ‘Roman’ always a complex … Continue reading Collections: The Queen’s Latin or Who Were the Romans, Part II: Citizens and Allies

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-06-18 05:12:26

Gap Week: June 18, 2021

Hey folks, no post this week. Last weekend being my anniversary, my better half and I had ourselves a little vacation and this has left me a bit behind. Unfortunately, I have a bit of scholarly writing which requires my attention and rather than defeat the entire purpose of my vacation by pulling a long … Continue reading Gap Week: June 18, 2021

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-06-11 06:35:03

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 looking at these … Continue reading Collections: The Queen’s Latin or Who Were the Romans? Part I: Beginnings and Legends

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-06-04 06:29:43

Fireside Friday: June 4, 2021

Fireside this week! A little break after wrapping up our look at Europa Universalis IV. The next things coming up on the blog are going to be a look at who the Romans were and who they thought they were and an extension of our examination of EU4 into one of Paradox’s other titles, Victoria … Continue reading Fireside Friday: June 4, 2021

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-05-28 07:53:06

Collections: Teaching Paradox, Europa Universalis IV, Part IV: Why Europe?

This is the fourth and last part of our series (I, II, III) examining the historical assumptions of Europa Universalis IV, Paradox Interactive’s historical grand strategy computer game set in the early modern period. Last time we looked at how Europa Universalis IV often struggles to reflect the early modern history of places and peoples … Continue reading Collections: Teaching Paradox, Europa Universalis IV, Part IV: Why Europe?

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-05-21 04:53:55

Meet a Historian: Robin S. Reich on Making Sense of Medieval Medicine: Humors, Weird Animal Parts, and Experiential Knowledge

Note from the Editor: I’m excited that I have our first (hopefully of many!) guest post to share with you and it is a fascinating topic to start with. The history of medicine (and the history of science more generally) is a captivating and important sub-field and a frequent reader-request, but also a place where … Continue reading Meet a Historian: Robin S. Reich on Making Sense of Medieval Medicine: Humors, Weird Animal Parts, and Experiential Knowledge

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-05-14 17:49:47

Collections: Teaching Paradox, Europa Universalis IV, Part III: Europa Provincalis

This is the third part of our series (I, II) examining the historical assumptions of Paradox Interactive’s grand strategy computer game set in the early modern period, Europa Universalis IV (which is in turn the start of a yet larger series looking at several of Paradox’s games and how they treat their historical subjects. Last … Continue reading Collections: Teaching Paradox, Europa Universalis IV, Part III: Europa Provincalis

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-05-07 06:23:09

Collections: Teaching Paradox, Europa Universalis IV, Part II: Red Queens

This is the second part in a series (I) that examines the historical assumptions behind Paradox Interactive’s grand strategy computer game set in the early modern period, Europa Universalis IV (EU4). Last time, we took a look at how EU4 was a game fundamentally about states and how the decision to orient the game in … Continue reading Collections: Teaching Paradox, Europa Universalis IV, Part II: Red Queens

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-04-30 07:10:40

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

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-04-23 04:59:13

Gap Week: April 22, 2021

Hey folks, no post this week. My schedule got disrupted this week by some unexpected stuff (nothing terribly bad, but time sensitive and pressing), so I don’t have anything new for you just yet. I am currently working on what will be next down the pipline, which will be a (three part, I think) look … Continue reading Gap Week: April 22, 2021

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-04-16 08:12:58

Fireside Friday: April 16, 2021

Fireside this week! We are nearing the end of the semester and with it the seasonal crunch to get exams and papers graded and final grades submitted, which may bring somewhat more firesides than usual. That said, I hope to write out at least one addendum on the textile series (on tablet weaving and other … Continue reading Fireside Friday: April 16, 2021

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-04-09 17:38:10

Collections: Clothing, How Did They Make it? Part IVb: Cloth Money

This is the second half of the fourth part of our four part (I, II, III, IVa) look at the production of textiles, particularly wool and linen, in the pre-modern world. Last time, we looked at commercial textile workers and the finishing processes for textiles (fulling, dyeing, etc) which generally took place in a commercial … Continue reading Collections: Clothing, How Did They Make it? Part IVb: Cloth Money

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-04-02 18:28:14

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

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-03-26 06:15:49

Fireside Friday: March 26, 2021 (On the Nature of Ancient Evidence)

Fireside this week, since the last post in our series on pre-modern textile production is not quite done yet (I had a fair bit of other writing to get done this week). Before I dive into this week’s musing, I want to note two things, in case you have missed them. First, I am opening … Continue reading Fireside Friday: March 26, 2021 (On the Nature of Ancient Evidence)

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-03-19 05:36:45

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…

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-03-12 06:24:07

Collections: Clothing, How Did They Make It? Part II: Scouring in the Shire

This is the second part of our four part (I, III, IV) look at the production of textiles (particularly in wool and linen) in the pre-modern world. Last time, we took a look at the production of our two fibers, flax bast from the flax plant and raw wool sheared from sheep. This week we … Continue reading Collections: Clothing, How Did They Make It? Part II: Scouring in the Shire

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-03-05 06:19:29

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

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-02-26 05:26:53

Fireside Friday, February 26, 2021

Fireside this week, but next week we are diving into our long awaited series on pre-modern textile production, though we will be particularly focused on the most important clothing fibers in the Mediterranean world, wool and linen (rather than, say, silk or cotton). For this week’s musing, I want to expand on an issue that … Continue reading Fireside Friday, February 26, 2021

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-02-19 06:05:41

Collections: The Universal Warrior, Part III: The Cult of the Badass

This is the third and final part of a discussion (I, IIa, IIb) 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 of fundamental truth about the … Continue reading Collections: The Universal Warrior, Part III: The Cult of the Badass

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-02-12 19:13:59

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

This is the continuation of the second part of a three part (I, IIa, 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 of fundamental truth … Continue reading Collections: The Universal Warrior, Part IIb: A Soldier’s Lot

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-02-05 05:08:56

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

This is the second part of a three part (I, II) 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 or present, or … Continue reading Collections: The Universal Warrior, Part IIa: The Many Faces of Battle

From A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at 2021-01-29 07:00:46

Collections: The Universal Warrior, Part I: Soldiers, Warriors, and…

This is the first part of a three part (II, III) discussion of an idea I am going to term (borrowing from one of its proponents) the ‘universal warrior’ – the idea that there is a transcendent sameness about either the warrior experience or warrior values which provides some sort of useful blueprint for today … Continue reading Collections: The Universal Warrior, Part I: Soldiers, Warriors, and…