Methods, Economics, and Strategy in Ancient Greek Warfare

The scale and scope of warfare in Ancient Greece changed dramatically as a result of the Greco-Persian Wars, which marked the beginning of Classical Greece. Introduction Warfare occurred throughout the history of Ancient Greece, from the Greek Dark Ages onward. The Greek ‘Dark Age’ drew to an end as a significant increase in population allowed urbanized culture to be restored, which led[…]

The Long History of Women Warriors

Women as warriors—or certainly hunters and not simply gatherers—have a long history reaching back thousands of years to pre-history. The American experience with true women warriors—not just our wonderful Hollywood Wonder Woman—has only recently begun. However, with the benefit of recent archaeological discoveries and re-examinations, we can say that women have been warriors—or certainly hunters—for[…]

A ‘Measure of Retaliation’: The Burning of Washington in 1814

President James Madison, military officials, and his government evacuated and were able to find refuge for the night. Introduction The Burning of Washington was a British invasion of Washington City (now Washington, D.C.), the capital of the United States, during the Chesapeake Campaign of the War of 1812. To this date, it remains the only[…]

Concussion History from World War I to the Present Day

You might know the term “concussion” in some capacity. Even if you don’t know too much about them, you at least know that it’s a word the medical community uses to describe a head injury. You also might know there are more and less serious ones. In this article, we’ll delve into concussion history, from[…]

A History of the Mexican-American War

A forgotten war with unforgettable consequences. Introduction A tourist visiting the National Mall in Washington, D.C. today is likely to see monuments commemorating American involvement in several foreign wars, including the striking Vietnam Memorial, with its reflective surface naming the war dead, or the squadron of stainless steel soldiers honoring veterans of the Korean War.[…]

The ‘Equites Legionis’ and the Roman Cavalry

A view on the Roman cavalry forces, especially the equites legionis. By Dr. Stefan Zehetner Institut für Alte Geschichte und Altertumskunde, Papyrologie und Epigraphik University of Vienna Introduction A view on the Roman cavalry forces, especially the equites legionis. The article describes a possible organizational chart of the legionary cavalry formation in imperial times. By[…]

Phalanx Transformation of Ancient Greek Warfare, 431-331 BCE

From simple, organized Greek farmers to a powerful, flexible army. By Ian Joseph BA Cultural Anthropology, The University of Chicago MBA Pepperdine University Mantinea Introduction Three great battles—Mantinea (418 BCE), Leuctra (371 BCE), and Gaugamela (331 BCE)—demonstrate the development of Greek and Macedonian warfare from the simple hoplite phalanx employed by Greek farmers defending their fields, into[…]

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,[…]