Turning Victory into Conquest
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Categories: Ancient, Medieval, Modern

Turning Victory into Conquest

a colour photo of a piece of wood 85 cm long and 2.5 cm thick clamped in a vice being sawed lengthwise
I am not conquering this offcut of wood as I turn it into two laths for a scabbard core but I hope to get something lasting and valuable out of it

In 2023, Assyriologists specialized in the Achaemenid and Neo-Assyrian empires such as Christopher W. Jones and historians of warfare since 1500 such as Wayne E. Lee are interested in the mechanics of conquest. In the USA this may grow out of their failed adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan (link), while in Europe its part of the attempt to build support for the study of the ancient world. This post contains a bibliography on how people try to turn military success into lasting gains, whether by conquering and governing new subjects, terrorizing the inhabitants into giving periodic tribute, depopulating an area and settling it with their own people, or carrying off slaves and precious goods.

Bret Devereaux’s forthcoming monograph on Roman imperialism

Frahm, Eckart (2023) Assyria: The Rise and Fall of the World’s First Empire (I have not seen this)

Gyucha, Attila / Lee, Wayne E. / Rózsa, Zoltán (2019) “The Mongol Campaign in Hungary, 1241-1242: The Archaeology and History of Nomadic Conquest and Massacre,” Journal of Military History, Vol. 83 No. 4 pp. 1021-1066 https://www.academia.edu/40926370/

Jones, Christopher W. (2024) The Structure of the Late Assyrian State, 722-612 BC (Society of Biblical Literature Press)

Lee, Wayne E. (2018) “Reaping the Rewards: How the Governor, the Priest, the Taxman, and the Garrison Secure Victory in World History,” talk for the Institute of World Politics, 11 March 2018 https://piped.mha.fi/watch?v=4I8kic8xZh8

Lee, Wayne E. (2021) “Conquer, extract, and perhaps govern: organic economies, logistics, and violence in the pre-industrial world.” In Erica Charters, Marie Houllemare, and Peter H. Wilson (eds.), A Global History of Early Modern Violence. Manchester, England: Manchester University Press pp. 235-259. https://doi.org/10.7765/9781526140616.00022

Lee, Wayne E. (2023) The Cutting-Off Way: Indigenous Warfare in Eastern North America, 1500–1800 (The University of North Carolina Press) https://uncpress.org/book/9781469673783/the-cutting-off-way/

Smith, Michael E. (2016) “Ramses II vs. Pericles, or Darth Vader vs. the Rebel Alliance,” Wide Urban World, https://wideurbanworld.blogspot.com/2016/12/ramses-ii-vs-pericles-or-darth-vader-vs.html

Michael J. Taylor’s Soldiers and Silver

I welcome further suggestions! I hope to add some of the papers by Assyriologists in the coming months.

I have not mastered the art of turning excellence into lasting gains either. If you can, please share a link or support this site.

(scheduled 21 May 2023)

Edit 2023-05-24: added Smith

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2 thoughts on “Turning Victory into Conquest

  1. rusell1200 says:

    Wayne E. Lee I only recently discovered.

    I have the Eckart Frahm book, but haven’t had a chance to pick it up yet.

    You would hope the US post WW2 failure to consolidate much in the way of initial military successes would drive people to seek better resources.

    1. Sean says:

      Canada does not really have pundit-historians and pundit-classicists like VDH, Edward Luttwak, Donald Kagan, and BoJo, or a widespread belief that ancient history and classics make one an authority. Our military interventions overseas don’t seem to be based on any rigorous strategic theory or deep knowledge of the target country and the nature of force, but mainly on pressure from US officials, polls of voters, and vibes in the Prime Minister’s Office.

      I would like to read Rupert Smith’s “The Utility of Force” at some point.

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