The Persian Wars and the Maritime Supremacy of Ancient Athens

Figure 1: Greek Colonization of western Asia Minor / Image by Alexikoua, Wikimedia Commons The development of naval supremacy and of democracy became interdependent. In the period of about 600–480 BCE, Ionian colonists emigrated from Attica to the Aegean coast of Asia Minor, which is modern Turkey [1]. There they inhabited a narrow coastal strip from[…]

Yaoyotl: Aztec Warfare

An almost life-size terracotta Aztec Eagle Warrior, one of the elite warrior groups in the Aztec military. 13-15th century CE, from Tenochtitlan. (National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City) / Photo by Dennis Jarvis, Flickr, Creative Commons The military commander-in-chief was the king himself, the tlatoani. By Mark Cartwright / 03.18.2015 Historian Introduction The Aztecs engaged in warfare (yaoyotl) to acquire territory, resources,[…]

Horse Armor and Warfare in the Medieval Islamic Middle East

Examining the available evidence for the use of horses and armor for them in medieval Islam warfare, with particular reference to the Arabian Peninsula and neighboring regions. By Dr. David Nicolle / 06.30.2017 Visiting Research Fellow University of Nottingham Abstract The widely held view that horse armour was not used in the early Islamic Middle East is[…]

‘Charge of the Light Brigade’: The Defeat of Lord Rogan at Balaklava

1904 reunion of survivors of the Charge of the Light Brigade / Wikimedia Commons A misinterpreted order, near slaughter, and casting blame. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 11.12.2018 Public Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Prelude to the Charge Introduction The Battle of Balaklava is remembered primarily for the Charge of the Light Brigade. However, there were other[…]

Xenophon’s Anabasis: Historical Context

  A brief historical context of Xenophon’s Anabasis By Ian Joseph BA Cultural Anthropology, The University of Chicago MBA Pepperdine University The Anabasis by the Athenian soldier, historian and philosopher Xenophon, also known as The Anabasis of Cyrus, The March of the Ten Thousand and The March Up-Country, describes the events of 401 BCE when ten thousand Greek mercenaries joined the army[…]

Conflict, Violence, and Conflict Resolution in Hunting and Gathering Societies

April 1562, The Timucua, an indigenous tribe in Florida, shoot burning arrows into the village of a rival tribe. The huts, made of dry palm branches, burn quickly and the attackers could escape unpursued. Original Artwork: After an engraving by Jacques Le Moyne. (Photo by Three Lions/Getty Images) Conflicts prior to the development of agriculture which[…]

A History of Gunpowder

Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence, recent site of gunpowder factory. / Photo by Cheungkkanthony, Wikimedia Commons Gunpowder was invented in 9th-century China and spread throughout most parts of Eurasia by the end of the 13th century. Edited by Mathew A. McIntosh / 10.27.2018 Public Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Introduction Gunpowder, also known as black powder to distinguish it from[…]

Metallurgical Evolution in Ancient China

This elaborate set of ritual bronzes, consisting of an altar table and thirteen wine vessels, illustrates the splendor of China’s Bronze Age at its peak. Shang dynasty–Western Zhou dynasty (1046–771 B.C.). / Metropolitan Museum of Art China witnessed a sudden surge in mining, smelting, refining, and casting after a lengthy period of incipient development. By Dr. Ralph[…]

Visible Violence: Head and Face Wounds in Early Medieval Europe to 1000 CE

An unhealed gash on the forehead suggests that the man died a violent death, perhaps in battle. / Photo by Mauro Rubini, Creative Commons Head and facial trauma were the most serious of injuries in early medieval society due to their very visibility. By Dr. Patricia Skinner Professor of Early and Middle Medieval Europe Swansea University[…]

Medieval Tools of Warfare

A 1540s depiction of a judicial combat in Augsburg in 1409, between Marshal Wilhelm von Dornsberg and Theodor Haschenacker. Dornsberg’s sword broke early in the duel, but he proceeded to kill Haschenacker with his own sword. / Bayrische Staatsbibliothek Cod. icon. 393, Wikimedia Commons Warrior aristocrats dominated medieval society. By Dr. Hans Peter Broedel Graduate[…]

Genocide in the Ancient World

Brysa Hill ruins / Creative Commons Genocide is often viewed as a particular feature of our own current age.  Nothing could be further from the truth. By Gerard Mulligan / 01.27.2013 Introduction Genocide is often viewed as a particular feature of our own current age. This perception largely stems from the terrible events which took[…]

Evidence of a Prehistoric Massacre Extends the History of Warfare

Skeletal remains of a group of foragers massacred around 10,000 years ago on the shores of a lagoon is unique evidence of a violent encounter between clashing groups of ancient hunter-gatherers, and suggests the “presence of warfare” in late Stone Age foraging societies. The fossilised bones of a group of prehistoric hunter-gatherers who were massacred[…]

The Knights of the Front: Medieval History’s Influence on Great War Propaganda

A knight fighting a dragon, 15th-century woodcut / Rauner Special Collections Library, Wikimedia Commons The emergence of medieval imagery in the First World War propaganda. By Haley E. Claxton This article focuses on the emergence of medieval imagery in the First World War propaganda. Examining several specific uses of medieval symbolism in propaganda posters from[…]

A History of War as Culture

Image by Ancient Origins, Wikimedia Commons Ultimately, there is only one warrior culture. Its evolution and transformation over time and place, from our beginnings to arrival in the contemporary world, is the history of warfare. By Sir John Desmond Patrick Keegan Military Historian Easter Island Easter Island is one of the loneliest places on earth,[…]

The Religious Wars of Europe, 1524-1648

Battle of Rocroi, 1643, attributed to Augusto Ferrer-Dalmau / Wikimedia Commons During the period of 1524 until 1648, Europe was plagued by wars of religion. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 07.29.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief During the period of 1524 until 1648, Europe was plagued by wars of religion. It is important to recognize, however, that[…]

China’s Semilegendary Period: Preliminary Orientations and Legendary Conflicts

King Zhu of the Shang Dynasty Lights the Signal Beacons, a Perspective Picture / Museum of Fine Arts Boston Archaeological discoveries over the past several decades have suddenly infused life into previously shadowy remnants of ancient Chinese civilization. By Dr. Ralph D. Sawyer Senior Research Fellow University of Massachusetts Introduction When warriors battle over territory,[…]

The Year The World Almost Blew Up – And Nobody Noticed

By Taylor Downing / 05.27.2018 Historian On November 9th 1983, the leadership of the Soviet Union nearly ordered a full pre-emptive nuclear strike against the US and Western Europe. The entire Soviet nuclear arsenal was readied. Huge SS-19 intercontinental ballistic missiles in their silos were put on standby. SS-20 mobile missile launchers deployed to their[…]

Early Modern Islam-Christian Transfers of Military Technology, 1730-1918

Château de Coussac-Bonneval / Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Virginia H. Aksan / 01.14.2011 Professor Emeritus of History McMaster University Introduction Contained after 1700, the Ottoman threat to Europe evolved into an Austro-Russian-Ottoman struggle for hegemony over the remaining frontiers of the Danube, the Crimea and the Caucasus. The era from 1700 to 1900 is generally[…]

Medieval and Early Modern Warfare and Cultural Transfer, 1450-1789

By Dr. Aaron Graham / 09.22.2015 Professor of History University College London Abstract Warfare was one of the few experiences between 1453 and 1789 that almost every European had in common. Although new causes and technologies emerged during this period there were also strong continuities, and although it caused death and destruction warfare could also[…]