Beware the Alcibiades Point

A supposed bust of Alcibiades. Image source. I spent the later part of my teenage years in the forbidding climes of southeastern Minnesota. In those days Iโ€™d often hear a joke that I sometimes still repeat: โ€œIn Minnesota we have four seasons: near-winter, winter, still-winter,… and road construction.โ€ Minnesotaโ€™s northern reaches are pockmarked with lakes […]

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History is Written by the Losers

This post was originally published as part of the Thucydides Roundtable project over at Zenpundit. I encourage you to read all of the posts in the roundtable.Meet Sima Qian. I hold him in high regard. You could say that this was a historian with balls. Sima Qian is sometimes called the โ€œHerodotus of the East.โ€ […]

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Everybody Wants a Thucydides Trap

This post was originally published as part of the Thucydides Roundtable project over at Zenpundit. I encourage you to read all of the posts in the roundtable. All the world trembles at the dreaded “Thucydides trap.”Of late this phrase has been all the rage. It was first popularized by Graham Allison in 2012, and has only […]

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Why I Read Thucydides

Note to readers: The following post was originally published at Zenpundit as part of the on-going Thucydides Roundtable. I encourage you to follow the comment thread there and read the other participant’s posts as they are published throughout the week.On a summer night, nearly three thousand years ago, three hundred men of Thebes, wet and mud soaked, snuck into the […]

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Wanted: A Stupid-Proof Strategy For America

. “Hadrian’s wall at Greenhead Lough” by Velella,Image Source: Wikimedia In a recent War on the Rocks piece Iskander Rehman argues that the United States should not favor a foreign policy of retrenchment because United States policy makers are simply too daft and out of touch with the world to play the part of a modern day Castlereigh: […]

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A Few More Thoughts on the Terrors of Pre-Modern Battle

Image Source. Yesterday’s post, “Pre-Modern Battlefields Were Absolutely Terrifying,” has proven immensely popular. The sheer number of responses to it on social media, web forums, and other websites has been a bit overwhelming. My favorite of these was written by Lynn Rees, co-blogger over at Zenpundit. In a personal message to me he describes how […]

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Pre-Modern Battlefields Were Absolutely Terrifying

Image Source. “Man does not enter battle to fight, but for victory. He does everything that he can to avoid the first and obtain the second” –Ardant du Picq, Battle Studies: Ancient and Modern Battle, trans. John Greely and Robert Cotton (or. pub. Paris, 1870; trans. edition, New York, 1921), pg. 1. Of the many […]

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Health Isn’t Wealth, pt. II

Dolia, an example of one type of pottery common in Roman times that completely disappeared from Western Europe after the fall of the empire. “Ostia Antica Dolia” by AlMare – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.Image Source. Economic history blogger Pseudoerasmus published an interesting pair of posts earlier this month titled […]

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Notes From All Over (3/02/2014): Ghosts, Empire, and Tribal Honor

A collection of articles, essays, and blog post of merit. TOP BILLING “‘The standard of living in ancient societies: a comparison between the Han Empire, the Roman Empire, and Babylonia“ Bas van Leeuwen, Reinhard Pirgruber, and Jieli van Leeuwen-Li. Working Papers 50, Utrecht University, Centre for Global Economic History. The global and long-term development of […]

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