Ancient Chinese Warfare: Confucianism and Absence of Glory

The absence of a glorification of war in China was largely due to Confucian philosophy and literature. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction In ancient China warfare was a means for one region to gain ascendancy over another, for the state to expand and protect its frontiers, and for usurpers to replace an existing dynasty of rulers.[…]

Behind the Rocket Cat: Animals in Warfare from Hannibal to World War One

War animals have been with us for a very long time. There’s a good chance you’ve come across the bewhiskered warrior above on the web: it’s been featured on the Guardian and ABC News. And for good reason: the image is the best combination of cats and history since those inky pawprints on the medieval manuscript. The so-called “rocket[…]

‘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[…]

The Napoleonic Wars

The Napoleonic wars illustrate how warfare, seemingly the most conventional object of history, defies history’s most conventional questions. Abstract Trying to locate the Napoleonic Wars as an event, or a constellation of events in time and space, only reveals the historical dislocations produced by war on a global scale. Like many of the wars of[…]

The History of Body Armor, from the Medieval World to Today

There has been a true arms race, where every advance in body armor has required a more penetrating round to overcome it, before these more powerful rounds are again defeated by better body armor. By Sam BocettaProfessor of EngineeringAlgonquin Community College Introduction When writing about the history of military weapons and equipment, most people tend[…]

Siege Warfare in Medieval Europe

Siege tactics were a crucial part of medieval warfare. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction Siege tactics were a crucial part of medieval warfare, especially from the 11th century CE when castles became more widespread in Europe and sieges outnumbered pitched battles. Castles and fortified cities offered protection to both the local population and armed forces and[…]

Greek Fire: A Byzantine Weapon Lost to the Ages

The weapon ceased to exist by the time the Ottoman Empire finally conquered Constantinople in 1453. September 1, 718. With the clear motivation to defend Constantinople, Byzantine ships filled with anxious soldiers were surrounding the mainland. On the horizon, Arab Muslim forces, bringing with them a fleet of large and robust wooden ships, started to[…]

War Machines of Archimedes

One area in which Archimedes excelled was in the design and construction of great war machines. By Martyn ShuttleworthHistorian of Science Introduction Archimedes (c. 287 BCE – c. 212 BCE) was a truly great inventor, mathematician and philosopher, writing many insightful and extensive treatises on geometry and applied mathematics. His work on pulleys and levers[…]