link dump

Link Dump

A round, domed wicker shield with a spiked steel boss and a cloth-bound rim.  Three short scimilars hang behind it with their handles up and blades crossed at the middle.
A Turkish target and three Turkish scimitars from the late sixteenth or early seventeenth century in the second armoury, Schloss Ambras. Photo by author, October 2015.

(Due to some events in my private life, this post is late and pulled out of my file of drafts)

Gui Minhai, a Chinese Suetonius who did not wait until his targets were safely dead, was disappeared in October 2015. In January 2016 he appeared on Chinese state TV to make a confession then vanished again.

A character sketch of Edward Luttwak, another of those curious American academics-cum-policymakers whom my readers may know for his Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire and Grand Strategy of the Bzyantine Empire.

A watercolour of Innsbruck in 1495 courtesy of Albrecht Dürer. He sat to sketch a little bit downstream from Conrad Seusenhofer’s house.

In December 2015, Steven Payne made a pilgrimage on foot from Southhampton to Canterbury in fourteenth-century kit.

L. Sprague de Camp’s historical novels set in the Mediterranean between the fifth and the second centuries BCE have been reprinted in codex and ePub by Phoenix Pick. One of them imagines the events which might lie behind the very detailed description of an elephant in Aristotle; readers who enjoy stories about the gifting of large animals over long distance might enjoy reading up on the elephant Harun al-Rashid gave to Charlemagne, the elephants Nadir Shah sent to St. Petersburg for Emperess Anna of Russia, or the giraffe which Sultan Faraj of Egypt sent to Samurkand for Tamurlane.
Read more


Link Dump

A plywood wheel like a waterwheel with angled bookshelves in place of the buckets
An overwhelming flow of information is not a new problem: a bookwheel inspired by ones from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries at the Hauptbibliothek Neubau, Universität Innsbruck. Made 2008? Photo by author, October 2015.

German for Classical Studies at the University of Cologne, free course June/July 2016, application deadline 30 November 2015 (link: warning, Facebook!)

The academics in Ghana went on strike again over nonpayment of their book allowance in August 2015 (link). As often with news from Africa, this has not received much attention in Europe and North America, even though its hard for any academics at universities in Ghana to work if they can’t buy books and journals.

Meanwhile, historian Alice Dreger has resigned from her post in Illinois after a dispute about whether a glossy magazine with her university’s logo was research (protected by academic freedom) or publicity (overseen by the university administration) revealed a deeper difference about what sort of institution she was working for (her public statement on the subject and her resignation letter). This issue has received a great deal of attention on the Anglophone internet.

The Carmarthenshire Archives in Wales are being devoured by mould, and a Freedom of Information request by J.D. Davies has revealed some disturbing facts about how the local authorities are responding to this crisis.

Some people with more money than sense decided to see what happens when you throw a human-weight or hobbit-weight mass of organic material into a pool of lava. There are videos.
Read more


Link Dump

A votive statue of Chai-Hapi (a thousand of bread, a thousand of beer, a thousand of all good things to him!) excavated from the remains of Roman Vienna. Carved from gneis. In the style of late 19th Dynasty Heliopolis. Wien, Kunsthistorisches Musem, Ägyptische-Orientalische Sammlung, Inv. Nr. Äs 64. Photographed on special... Continue reading: Link Dump

Link Dump

On the Internet as in a cavalry fight, there are too many things flashing in front of your face. Unknown painting of an incident in the Thirty Years’ War, Heeresgeschichtliche Museum, Wien. A village in France has preserved the bedroom of a young officer who died in the First World War... Continue reading: Link Dump

Three Links

A recent editorial reminded me of the problems of estimating army sizes. Many ancient armies were not divided into neat units of uniform size, they did not have a central quartermaster’s service or staff which tracked numbers, and as Thucydides reminds us everyone lied about the strength of their own forces. Reporters who want to estimate the size of a demonstration face similar problems and rhetorical pressures (chose a high number to shock, or a low one to dismiss? Trust the police or the protestors? Base it on whether the crowd seemed larger or smaller than one whose size you ‘know’?) Like ancient historians, modern reporters don’t always give a source for their numbers, but when people ask them they tend to be frank:
Read more