Medieval Mongol Warfare

Ultimately, the Mongols would establish the largest empire the world had ever seen. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction The Mongols conquered vast swathes of Asia in the 13th and 14th century CE thanks to their fast light cavalry and excellent bowmen, but another significant contribution to their success was the adoption of their enemies’ tactics and[…]

Art of Conflict: Portraying Native Americans, 1850–1900

How did U.S. and Native American artists portray Indian peoples of the West in the late nineteenth century? Introduction Images of American Indians became widely popular with American and European audiences in the mid-nineteenth century. From watercolor and pencil sketches, to oil paintings, prints, and photographs, visual representations of Indian peoples were increasingly in demand[…]

Why Medieval Weapons Are Popular Among American Collectors

The medieval period is often described as the “time of ignorance and superstition”. The king, his knights, and people were very superstitious. Anything out of the ordinary would draw superstition. While superstition played a major role in the people’s lives of the medieval period, safety was always a concern. Only the soldiers, archers, and knights[…]

Ancient Parthian Warfare

Parthia controlled territories that stretched from the Mediterranean in the west to India and China in the east and were even a match for the Romans. Introduction Parthian warfare was characterized by the extensive use of cavalry and archers. Coming at enemy troops from all directions Parthian riders created confusion and wreaked havoc. They even[…]

Siege Warfare in Ancient India

Capturing forts was necessary as enemy capitals were usually fortified and no invader could proclaim victory without these strategic strongholds. Introduction Forts and sieges held a key position in ancient Indian warfare. Built on considerations of strategic location, topography, and the natural advantages provided by the site, forts would be heavily supplemented with man-made fortifications. They[…]

Naval Warfare in Ancient India

The ancient Indian naval ships protected trade and carried troops to war zones. Introduction The navy in ancient India carried out three roles: it was used to transport troops to distant battlefields, participate in actual warfare, and was primarily meant for protecting the kingdom’s trade on sea and navigable rivers and the maritime trade routes.[…]

The Battle of Carhae: A Roman Catastrophe, 53 BCE

Carrhae proved to be a complete disaster from its beginning. Introduction The Battle of Carrhae in 53 BCE was one of the greatest military catastrophes in all of Roman history when a hero of the  Spartacus  campaign, Marcus Licinius Crassus (115-53 BCE), initiated an unprovoked invasion of Parthian territory (modern Iran). Most of the information concerning the battle and its aftermath[…]

The Celtic Invasion of Ancient Greece

While in the Balkans, Celtic tribes managed to conquer several Greek, Illyrian, and Thracian armies, carving out territories in short order. By Jeffrey KingHistorian Introduction Between the 5th and 4th centuries BCE, Celtic tribes moved en masse into southern Europe, intent on seizing land and wealth to feed their swelling numbers. As these tribes began[…]

How the Bloodiest Mutiny in British Naval History Helped Create American Political Asylum

Outrage over the revolt that spurred the U.S. to deliver on a promise of the Revolution. The United States has a special history, and thus bears a unique stake, when it comes to the flight of foreign refugees, particularly those seeking sanctuary from oppression and violence. Political asylum has long been a defining element of[…]

The Strength and Structure of the Ancient Persian Army

The Persian Army became a multi-cultural force consisting of a fusion of soldiers from Persia or the Medes, as well as various warriors from all subject nations. By Michelle Chua Introduction No ruler can expand his territory without an army. The massive Persian army, reported by Greek historian, Herotodus, to be about 2,641,610 warriors strong[1] during the invasion of[…]

France, 1693: The Year of Battles under Louis XIV

Louis XIV repeatedly reminded his commanders that 1693 had to be viewed as the year of decision. After blundering into the Nine Years War in 1688, it took Louis XIV almost another two years to build the most extensive coalition of opponents he would ever face. Increasingly desperate, the king implemented a variety of strategies[…]

Medieval European Warfare: Technological, Social, and Cultural Developments

Developments forced a dramatic transformation in the character of warfare from antiquity, changing tactics, weaponry, and fortifications. Strategy and Tactics De re militari Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus wrote De re militari (Concerning Military Matters) possibly in the late 4th century.[2] Described by historian Walter Goffart as “the bible of warfare throughout the Middle Ages”, De re militariwas widely distributed through the Latin West.[…]

Castrum: Ancient Roman Forts

Although given basic defensive features, forts were never designed to withstand a sustained enemy attack. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction The Roman army constructed both temporary and permanent forts and fortified military camps (castrum) across the frontiers of the empire’s borders and within territories which required a permanent military presence to prevent indigenous uprisings. Although given[…]

The Battle of Zama – The Beginning of Roman Conquest

The Battle of Zama not only ended the Second Punic War, it also established the Roman army as the greatest fighting force since the armies of Alexander the Great. Introduction The Second Punic War (218-202 BCE) began when the Carthaginian general Hannibal attacked the city of Saguntum, a Roman ally, reached its height with the[…]

Sitting on a Scoop: The Story behind the V-E Headlines of May 1945

As we commemorate Memorial Day, the drama behind the headlines announcing Germany’s surrender in World War II. There’s quite a story behind the story of the end of the fighting in World War II in Europe. As we observe another Memorial Day, it is worth remembering the events of that busy May of 1945, when[…]

‘Werre’: Warfare in the Ancient World

Throughout history, individuals, states, or political factions have gained sovereignty over regions through the use of war. Introduction The word ‘war’ comes to English by the old High German language word ‘Werran’ (to confuse or to cause confusion) through the Old English ‘Werre’ (meaning the same), and is a state of open and usually declared[…]

Accounts of PTSD in Warfare from Homer to the Middle Ages

PTSD is a relatively modern term, but the symptoms are as old as civilization itself. In the BBC’s Bodyguard, Richard Madden plays a police protection officer and veteran soldier who is exhibiting signs of PTSD. In episode three he tries to strangle the woman he is supposed to be safeguarding. Later, a friend suggests he seek counselling. This image of the[…]