Month: November 2016

Month: November 2016

The Forces of Madness Over-Reach

The unfinished end of the sleeve of a quilted garment against a cloth background
One cuff of the doublet about to be finished by stitching cloth along the raw edges.

The forces of madness have been on an around-the-world tour, but when they got back and slept off the tasty kebabs, weak beer, and very sweet sweets they discovered that their agent in the Alps had over-reached himself. This particular style of clothing was meant to fit very closely in some areas while standing away from the body in others, and in an excess of enthusiasm, their humble servant cut too much away from the opening of the lower sleeve to finish its edges by rolling or folding and stitching down. Fortunately, there are solutions.
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Greek and Roman Military Manuals in Winnipeg

Looking east along the footbridge over the Red River at Winnipeg.  Photo by Sean Manning, October 2016.
Looking east along the footbridge over the Red River at Winnipeg. Photo by Sean Manning, October 2016.

In October I got to attend the conference on technical military writing at the University of Winnipeg. Aside from giving me a chance to have some A&W and Timbits (somehow Wienerschnitzel and Quarkbällchen are not the same) and catch up on academic gossip, I got to hear a great set of papers.

The presentations focused on Greek texts from Aeneas Tacticus and Xenophon in the early 4th century BCE to emperor Leo VI around 900 CE, with one group of three papers on Vegetius. Three others focused on Xenophon, leaving six on miscellaneous topics and authors, and one on methodology. Only two of the thirteen focused on tactical writing in any language.

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Bonus Content: How Do We Know About the Libraries of Carthage?

Issue 7 of Ancient History magazine is now heading to subscribers. It contains something which was not quick to write, but which I think is very important: a summary of some studies in German which ask how many words of text in different ancient languages survive. Do you think that there are about twice as many words of Greek because the green Loebs take up twice as much shelf space as the red ones? Or prefer ten to one like Liddell and Scott guessed? How do Egyptian, Akkadian, and Sumerian fit in? This article explores how those German researchers tried to find an answer, and what that answer is. To my knowledge, their work has never been discussed in plain language in English, so check it out! The article had to be trimmed for space, so in this post I would like to give the sources for a statement.
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Armour of the Month: Tatami-dō

A tatami dô (folding cuirass) with kon (dark blue) lacing.  In a palace in Silesia near Bielsko-Biala, Poland.
A tatami dô (folding cuirass) with kon (dark blue) lacing. In a palace in Silesia near Bielsko-Biala, Poland.

It seems like I have been making a lot of long, wordy, academic posts in the past few months. This week, I would like to focus on pictures of one of the artifacts I have seen in my travels, a Japanese armour imported into Europe at the end of the 19th century. The museum estimates that it was made between 1820 and 1840.

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Some Important New Books

Whitehead, David. Philo Mechanicus: On Sieges. Translated with introduction and commentary. Historia. Einzelschriften, 243. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2016. 510 p. € 84.00. ISBN 9783515113434. Technical military writing does not have much place in the work of ancient historians today, unless they can mine it for anecdotes (Onasander, Frontinus) or it is written by an... Continue reading: Some Important New Books


The Garden of Naumberg Cathedral

A low tree similar to an apple
The suspicious tree, in all of its autumnal glory

In the garden of Naumberg Cathedral is a peculiar tree. I think that I know what it is, but I will hide my ideas below the fold- below being a significant word, if my theory is correct.

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