Chaircat Meow

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About Chaircat Meow

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    70% wrong 30% right
  • Birthday 08/18/1989

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  1. I'm afraid he means he might revise or change anything not already published in one of the books, not that people should go rummaging through his descriptions of clothes/armour/discipline trying to prove him wrong when he's gone on record to clarify something.
  2. The author is more or less on record saying you're wrong, so ... You may think you understand his book better than he does but I don't.
  3. It is a mistake to try to hunt too hard for consistency in GrrM's description of military affairs.
  4. You can't you judge how well disciplined he infantry were from the battle of the Green Fork as there is not enough detail provided there. And certainly not enough to conclude the northern infantry were as well disciplined as Tywin's, which contradicts the author's own statements. Not everyone fits the description of a farmboy with a hoe but it gets across the idea that much of the infantry is not well armed, trained or disciplined. I don't think the two armies did perform the exact same manoeuvres either. The northerners advanced and stood to receive a cavalry charge (in Tyrion's part of the battlefield) while Tywin expected Kevan's infantry to wheel during the battle and catch the troops the Starks were supposed to commit to exploit the crumbling Lannister left. As it happened they never did but I think you can see from that that the Lannisters were capable of sophisticated manoeuvres.
  5. I have to say I agree with Bernie Mac on the question of the discipline/training of westerosi infantry. The author has said in no uncertain terms that the bulk of the westerosi infantry are poorly trained and lacking in discipline and singled out Tywin's forces as the exception. You can't just write this off because it doesn't square with your views of medieval warfare. Same goes for the Meribald speech.
  6. Man for man Tywin's army was superior to Robb's, because Tywin was unusually diligent in training his infantry during peacetime. See GrrM's comment on the superiority of the Lannister infantry vs the Stark. So, even though Robb had more men he could well have lost a pitched battle against Tywin near Harrenhal. Also, it looked like Renly or Stannis might finish Tywin off, so no reason to expose the Stark forces to him in one winner takes all engagement.
  7. "nothing but “two armed-mobs” running around the countryside and beating each other up, from which very little of military utility could be learned" Helmuth von Moltke (the elder) on the American civil war
  8. Yeah, although things seemed to get a lot worse after Heraclius took over before they got better. The Romans suffered a major defeat in Cilicia, under Heraclius's leadership, in 613/14 and after that the massive territorial losses started rolling in; Jerusalem in 614, Egypt in 618/19 and Constantinople was besieged in 626. Phocas was executed in 610 and it is a bit murky from extant sources how bad things had gotten by that point. Personally, I think there is a good case to have Heraclius, or his son, Constans, as the last Roman Emperor (as opposed to Romulus Augustulus and Constantine XI). It is hard to regard the rump state that survived the Muslim conquests as the Roman Empire, so that's when I start calling it Byzantium.
  9. Perhaps, but Justinian’s reconquests ensured that the Mediterranean was a Roman sea again, and sea power gave the Romans a major advantage over their great rivals, the Persians. Until the coming of the railroad being able to link your empire together by sea was a source of great strength. It ensured the Romans had strong internal lines of communication and trade which the Sassanians, a land power, did not possess. The Eastern Roman Empire was more powerful than the Persian, in economic and military terms, in no small part because of this fact. Driving the Vandals out of North Africa, and the Ostrogoths out of Italy could be thus said to have strengthened the Empire by once again making Rome dominant in the Mediterranean. There are signs that the two empires recognised how much Rome benefited from its control of the seas. During Justinian’s reign the Persians attached a great deal of importance to getting a toehold in the western Caucasus, in Lazica (now western Georgia). Fighting actually continued there after the Romans and Persians made a truce across most of the border between their two empires. The reason appears to have been that securing the seaboard there would have allowed the Persians to build a fleet in the Black Sea and menace Constantinople and the northern flank of Anatolia. Enormous Roman resources were thrown into this theatre to prevent this from happening. The downfall of the ERE probably has little to do with Justinian or the great plague. It came about because of the slow escalation of hostilities between the ERE and the Persians culminating in the unusually long and destructive final Roman-Persian war of 602-628, combined with the fortuitous timing of Muhammand's endeavours in Arabia. Rome and Persia were actually at peace (more or less) for over a hundred years, from the defeat of Julian the Apostate in Mesopotamia in 363 AD until the Sixth Century. However, beginning in 502, or thereabouts, hostilities commenced again, and the Sixth Century saw four major Roman-Persian wars. The final Roman-Persian war lasted a quarter of a century, and began at the start of the Seventh-Century, in 602. During the course of this conflict something happened which had not happened previously, and the Empire was gripped by a major civil war while embroiled with the Persians. The reigning Emperor, Phocas, was opposed by Heraclius, the son of the governor of Africa, and the disorder this caused seems to have prevented the Empire from mounting a strong defence. By the time Heraclius deposed Phocas and took the offensive against the Persians, Khosrau II had made substantial gains in Mesopotamia and Heraclius initially met with disaster trying to throw him back. Unlike his predecessors, Khosrau II also seems to have taken the prospect of reviving the old Achaemenid Empire very seriously, and wanted to continue the war long after he could have probably extracted humiliating terms from the Romans (as previous Persian kings might have done). The inability of the Romans to oppose him effectively seems to have spurred him on, and the war ended up lasting 25 years, with the ERE close to destruction. It appears that Khosrau II overreached though, and Heraclius, supported by Turkish allies, eventually invaded Mesopotamia while Persian forces were practically at the gates of Constantinople, inspiring a palace coup in Ctesiphon. Remarkably, after a war lasting a quarter of a century, and which almost saw the ERE destroyed, the two empires reverted to status quo ante. All of this ensured that Rome and Persia were both exhausted and denuded of revenue and martial vigour. The war of 602-628 was considerably longer and bloodier than any previous conflict. In particular, it had brought the ERE almost to the brink of annihilation, something which had never happened before. And it just so happened that Muhammad had chosen this moment to decide he was the seal of the prophets and unite Arabia under what was likely an apocalyptic cult. Neither Rome or Persia proved able to resist the early Muslims and this was surely because of Muhammad’s remarkable timing. It is likely there was never a moment when both major powers of the Near East were so weak as they were in 632-640, and their populations so dispirited. Given how utterly the Muslim conquest of the Near East reshaped the history of the world, the 602-628 war, the final Roman-Persian war, ought to be recognised as just as momentous and epoch-ending a conflict as WWII.
  10. Thank you.
  11. Why bother having a National Assembly if you're not allowed to debate important issues? Pathetic. The Brexiteer argument was that the UK, because it has been an EU member for 40 years, is more closely aligned to the EU in regulatory terms than Canada or any other EU trade partners so a more comprehensive deal would be easier to reach. So it's not special status, just a reflection of the preexisting harmony between the EU and UK legal/regulatory systems.
  12. I think the Secret History is great too. But I also think that if Procopius were around today he might well have a slot on the Alex Jones show ... In terms of entertainment value I don't think there is a better hatchet job but it is so over the top you have to eventually question how serious it is. Even if you believe in demons, passage like the below just sound insane. ''Indeed, how was this man likely to be anything but an evil spirit, who never knew honest satiety of drink or food or sleep, but only tasting at random from the meals that were set before him, roamed the palace at unseemly hours of the night, and was possessed by the quenchless lust of a demon?'' I think pretty much every Roman Emperor would come across like a bloodthirsty tyrant if judged by the standards of most of present day Europe, so Justinian coming over as an inhuman monster to you isn't that surprising. You don't even need the Secret History to see this, Justinian's brutal suppression of the Nika revolt (egged on by Theodora) is recorded in Procopius's 'official history.' Clearly Justinian's wars and rebuilding projects required vast amounts of money, hence his extortion from the nobility and the churches. Procopius is picking up on all the discontent being felt over what was almost certainly a corrupt and rapacious tax regime. Justinian's wars also left parts of the Empire's borders undermanned. One of his solutions was to pay certain barbarian tribes for peace, which Procopius inveighs against, saying Justinian liked nothing better than pouring all of Rome's wealth into the lap of foreigners, but there was clearly some sense to the policy. The ability of the Persians to rampage over the Empire's holdings in modern day Syria/Iraq were also likely due to the needs of the Emperor's western wars. It should be said that the Persians failed to make any major strategic gains here, because the Romans stopped them gaining a foothold in the crucial region of Lazica which borders the Black Sea. Procopius also blames the Emperor for all the natural disasters of the reign, the chief of which was the Great Plague of 540-41, from which the Emperor himself almost died. Obviously this is unfair ...
  13. Mmmhh ... ''Wherefore to me,- and many others of us, these two seemed not to be human beings, but veritable demons, and what the poets call vampires: who laid their heads together to see how they could most easily and quickly destroy the race and deeds of men; and assuming human bodies, became man-demons, and so convulsed the world. And one could find evidence of this in many things, but especially in the superhuman power with which they worked their will. For when one examines closely, there is a clear difference between what is human and what is supernatural. There have been many enough men, during the whole course of history, who by chance or by nature have inspired great fear, ruining cities or countries or whatever else fell into their power; but to destroy all men and bring calamity on the whole inhabited earth remained for these two to accomplish, whom Fate aided in their schemes of corrupting all mankind. For by earthquakes, pestilences, and floods of river waters at this time came further ruin, as I shall presently show. Thus not by human, but by some other kind of power they accomplished their dreadful designs. And they say his mother said to some of her intimates once that not of Sabbatius her husband, nor of any man was Justinian a son. For when she was about to conceive, there visited a demon, invisible but giving evidence of his presence perceptibly where man consorts with woman, after which he vanished utterly as in a dream. And some of those who have been with Justinian at the palace late at night, men who were pure of spirit, have thought they saw a strange demoniac form taking his place. One man said that the Emperor suddenly rose from his throne and walked about, and indeed he was never wont to remain sitting for long, and immediately Justinian's head vanished, while the rest of his body seemed to ebb and flow; whereat the beholder stood aghast and fearful, wondering if his eyes were deceiving him. But presently he perceived the vanished head filling out and joining the body again as strangely as it had left it. Another said he stood beside the Emperor as he sat, and of a sudden the face changed into a shapeless mass of flesh, with neither eyebrows nor eyes in their proper places, nor any other distinguishing feature; and after a time the natural appearance of his countenance returned. I write these instances not as one who saw them myself, but heard them from men who were positive they had seen these strange occurrences at the time. They also say that a certain monk, very dear to God, at the instance of those who dwelt with him in the desert went to Constantinople to beg for mercy to his neighbors who had been outraged beyond endurance. And when he arrived there, he forthwith secured an audience with the Emperor; but just as he was about to enter his apartment, he stopped short as his feet were on the threshold, and suddenly stepped backward. Whereupon the eunuch escorting him, and others who were present, importuned him to go ahead. But he answered not a word; and like a man who has had a stroke staggered back to his lodging. And when some followed to ask why he acted thus, they say he distinctly declared he saw the King of the Devils sitting on the throne in the palace, and he did not care to meet or ask any favor of him. Indeed, how was this man likely to be anything but an evil spirit, who never knew honest satiety of drink or food or sleep, but only tasting at random from the meals that were set before him, roamed the palace at unseemly hours of the night, and was possessed by the quenchless lust of a demon? Furthermore some of Theodora's lovers, while she was on the stage, say that at night a demon would sometimes descend upon them and drive them from the room, so that it might spend the night with her.'' I don't know whether this insane hyperbole was an acceptable rhetorical device at the time his readers would have understood or if Procopius was just a nutcase.
  14. The full alignment clause people are assuming means the UK has committed to a quasi-Norwegian style deal applies only if a satisfactory trade deal is not reached, and may well be a sop to all sides to get the negotiations moving. In the event there is actually no deal we may just find UK and EU interpretations of 'full alignment' and which rules support 'North-South cooperation' differ quite considerably.
  15. I think we need some facts about Cromwell's conquest of Ireland. 1. Cromwell himself was only in direct command in Ireland from August 1649 to May 1650, when he returned to England to lead an army against Charles II in Scotland. He was not Lord Protector at this time either, and the sovereign body was still the Rump Parliament. 2. Total civilian casualties at the two infamous sieges, Wexford and Drogheda were somewhere in the region of 2,000 or less, with the majority of the slain actually being soldiers (and some were English Protestants). Not exactly an Irish holocaust here and these places were refusing to surrender. 3. Cromwell did not treat every enemy stronghold town like the two above, but negotiated surrenders. 4. The real devastation came from the fighting that had gone since 1641 and especially after the royalist army in Ireland had collapsed in 1650 leaving Parliament faced with Irish guerrilla forces, called Tories, who could not be brought to an open engagement. This led to Parliament's forces destroying foodstocks, a tactic which the Elizabethans also used against the Irish, and the famine and consequent disease (subsonic plague) claimed many lives. 5. The Cromwellian settlement was directed against Catholic/royalist landowners not the general populace. It was relatively normal for a defeated nobility/gentry to lose lands to the victors and their financiers although the extent of the redistribution was extreme. Claims of ethnic cleansing do not make much sense given the new landowners would need labourers. 6. The transportations were not unique to the 1650s, and had been going before the outbreak of war in 1638/41 due to the need for labour in the Caribbean and because people at the time always thought the country was overrun with 'the poor.' Atlantic trade was disrupted after 1641, so they resumed following the Cromwellian conquest and were used to dispose of captured soldiers and vagrants. Obviously this was bad but it gives us some context to what happened in the 1650s. 7. The war in Ireland was much harsher than in England and Scotland but probably caused so much damage because it went on such a long time, like the 30 year war on the continent. Also not sure there is such a thing as standards of the time, because different people have different standards despite living at the same time. On the Christian Jihadist claim, I think this is pretty ridiculous. Parliament's armies did not covet death in battle, did not think sex slaves were a good idea, usually did not murder civilians as a method of war and did not seek to stamp out all religious differences (Cromwell readmitted the Jews to England, for instance). Cromwell was not trying to make a 'contribution towards democracy.'. edit: I am going to leave the typo in because it's funny