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Aldarion

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  1. Maybe not. From a purely strategic perspective this is correct - Riverlands are nearly indefensible. But from a political perspective - well, his mother is a Tully, who are Lords Paramount of Riverlands. If he abandoned Riverlands, he would be abandoning his familial ties and duty... I don't think anyone would have trusted him after that. He could as well give up not just crown but being a lord.
  2. And armies could only remain in the field because Roman diplomacy worked. Situation for Rome was bad enough that had her allies rebelled en masse, like they did in the Social War, there would have been nothing to be done - it would be the end of the Republic. It is a possibility. But I still think that Unsullied are supposed to be Spartans, with some Janissaries thrown in. "Training from hell" creating supposedly badass soldiers, short spear, short sword plus shield, lack of organic combined arms... all of that is part of the Spartan mythology. You even have the equivalent to the last stand of the 300. When taken all together, I can only conclude that the Unsullied are plagiarized Spartans. By comparison, Macedonian phalanx is nothing like the Unsullied - or Spartans. It never got a famous "last stand" like the 300 / 3000. It is an organic combined arms operation, unlike Spartans and Unsullied who are shield-and-spear heavy infantry with maybe some auxilliary troops tacked on. It never had stupidly lethal training procedure. And so on. I know. I am however still hoping that it is a setup for them being wiped out in Westeros. Especially since it is Jorah Mormont who hyped them, and him and reality... aren't exactly on talking terms. Agreed. She will have to face a choice between using the dragons in a way she originally rejected and losing the throne, or gaining the throne and losing herself. That is a really GRRM conundrum.
  3. Unsullied a) do not use pikes, b) do not have plate armour, c) tend to use passive tactics from what we know and d) will not be familiar with terrain of Westeros. Look at Manzikert: all it took was for Byzantines to botch a single maneuver, and then what was not even all that heavy cavalry penetrated into their formation and things fell apart. And seeing how Byzantines - who had experience dealing with Persian, Arab and Turkish cataphracts, for centuries - could not easily defeat 11th century Norman knights, why do you think the Unsullied, who have inferior equipment, inferior tactics, inferior force structure and likely inferior (though more intense) training, will be able to defeat what is 14th-15th century cavalry? 15th century heavy cavalry was capable of penetrating into and defeating pike squares if properly deployed with missile and/or artillery support. Yes, Westerosi heavy cavalry is in many ways significantly inferior to actual 15th century heavy cavalry (Martin doesn't really have a clue about history), but the gap is still too large. I mean, look at how a Ghiscari legion, which is explicitly identical to Unsullied except for discipline, fight (from TWOW spoilers): "Barristan has reached the Harridan, but a Ghiscari legion six thousand strong has lined up to protect the huge trebuchet. They are six ranks deep -- the first rank kneels and holds their spears pointing out and up, the second rank stands and holds their spears out at waist height, and and the third rank holds the spears out on their shoulders. The rest have small throwing spears and are ready to step forward when their comrades fall." Three ranks of spearmen. Three. And these are spearmen, not pikemen, and even pikemen never deployed in such a shallow formation. As a matter of fact, 15th century pike formations tended to be fifteen deep. Compared to the Macedonian phalanx, Unsullied will be using formation that has one-sixth spear depth and likely one-third overall depth, with spears that are likely one-third to maybe one-half the length of Macedonian pikes. In other words, inferior formation with inferior weapons and inferior tactics. Unsullied are basically Spartans, except they are eunuchs which means they are physically weak and vulnerable to disease. Westerosi heavy cavalry will defeat them. Westerosi pikemen will defeat them. Westerosi archers will defeat them. And god forbid if enemy commander has all three of those, or even worse, knows how to use them in a combined-arms employment. Except she is using discount versions made in slave-run sweatshops. An umbrella may resemble a sword, but that does not mean it will be as effective as one. Yeah. Talk about autodestruct mode... Actually, diplomacy was precisely what made crucial difference. Hannibal knew that he could not defeat Rome by simply killing their armies. His entire strategy was based on the idea that, if he deals Romans several massive defeats, Roman allies will back the winning side, Rome will be denuded of its economic and manpower base, and it will fall. But this did not happen: Roman allies were not interested in abandoning the Rome (with the exception of few Greek cities which were quickly subdued), and so Hannibal spend most of his stay in Italy essentially confined and isolated in the southern Italy. He may not have been defeated in the field, but he was no longer a threat. And then Romans invaded Africa, and Zama happened. Just look at the battles: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_battles_of_the_Second_Punic_War Hannibal defeated whoever opposed him... but Romans did not need to oppose him to defeat him. Because their allies stayed loyal, they could simply wait out Hannibal, destroy other Carthagenian armies not commanded by the supergenius, and then force a battle on their terms. Which is exactly what happened. And then completely misunderstand and misrepresent them precisely because you isolated them.
  4. It annoys me that Spartans get all the glory for nothing, while many people don't even know about Byzantine Empire, Hungary, Wallachia, Albania, Armenia, Georgia, Szekelys, Cumans, Hussites... and dozens of other states, peoples and groups who deserve a reputation for military badassery a lot more than Spartans do. Spartans were professionals who barely broke even with amateur militia. Hussites were peasants who beat up trained knights. Yet Spartans are glorified, and more than one person on this very forum has suggested that Unsullied will win against Westerosi knights because they are based on a hoplite phalanx... when that should be exactly the reasion they will lose. This Spartan-glorifying brainwashing has to stop. As for your comment on the Pelopponesian war, I agree with it. Though I would add that in case of Sparta and Athens both, their extreme political systems may also have played the part. Athens was a victim to a baying mob pressure, whereas Sparta was an extreme oligarchy where Spartiates ruled over a very slave-intensive society. In fact, helots - who basically were slaves - outnumbered the free class to such a high point that one could say Sparta was the only real historical state that in any way resembled Slaver's Bay states: https://acoupdotblog.files.wordpress.com/2019/08/social-classes-in-sparta1.png
  5. All of that was thanks to one guy, Lysander - and even then, it would be impossible without Persian gold. But look at basically all conflicts where Lysander was not in command. For much of the Peloponesian wars, Spartan strategy consisted of basically raiding Attica and hoping it would knock the Athens out of the war. As I pointed out, it took them years to realize that to defeat Athens, they would have to defeat its army, not its olive trees. These raids were in Attica, 230 km from Sparta and 90 km from Corinth (a major Spartan ally). Every time, they leave because they had ran out of supplies. Meanwhile, Romans were able to mount operations in Spain, Sicily, Illyricum and Macedon while fighting Carthage on their own home turf - all at the same time. Medieval armies? John Hunyadi led an army, far larger and more powerful than any force any Greek polis put to the field, from Belgrade all the way to Adrianople. Yes, it ended in disaster - but not due to logistics. So Spartan logistics were crap. Now let's look at the strategy. I have already mentioned that Spartan attempts to maintain any form of alliance or Greek order were a failure whenever they could not force an issue with military force. Spartan diplomacy was, as I said, bad even by Greek standards (unless it was run by Lysander - guy was a genius). During Persian wars, Spartan planning was basically "find a choke point, fortify it, and wait for Persians to smash themselves against it". It failed at Thermopylae, and after it failed there Spartans wanted to recreate the same unsuccessful plan at the far less defensible Corinthian Isthmus. During the Peloponnesian war, both Sparta and Athens made fundamental strategic mistakes. Sparta misunderstood Athenian strategic capacity and the economic and political foundations of its power, while Athens misunderstood Spartan motivations and will to wage war. Now, such misunderstandings are nothing unusual; what is unusual here is that they happened between two powers which shared a common culture, were in geographical proximity and spent decades fighting a war. Byzantines and Crusaders did similarly misunderstand each other, but they had a cultural, theological, strategic and linguistic gap which simply did not exist between Sparta and Athens. Basically, neither Sparta nor Athens were successful at finding, let alone attacking, opponent's center of gravity - despite the fact that said centres were basically out in the open. By contrast, Arabs immediately understood the importance of Constantinople to the Byzantine Empire. No, it was not good strategy. Sparta got lucky in that they had Lysander, but Lysander's strategy was fundamentally opposed to normal Spartan strategy. And after Lysander died, Sparta went straight back to being strategically inept during the Corinthian war. During the war against Thebes, Agesilaus II gave what was basically this speech... and then Sparta promptly lost the war due to lack of allies.
  6. Pelopponesian war was less won by Sparta and more lost by Athens. Behind its tyrannical behaviour which alienated allies, sacrificing navy on unnecessary expeditions, and being a pain in the butt for Persia and thus guaranteeing latter's support for Sparta, Athens basically assured its own defeat. As for Spartan "strategy", it hardly merits the title: Athens at least had some idea of using its navy (well, sometimes - other times they threw away ships on useless expeditions - see Sicily), whereas Spartan approach to warfare amounted to bashing their head against a rock and hoping the rock will break. It took years and years for Sparta to even begin to think about attacking Athens' maritime empire and colonies, despite the fact that its own allies advised them that the basis of Athenian power is its maritime empire. And then it took Persian gold to make Spartan fleet possible. It was Spartan allies and Persian gold which won the Peloponnesian war for Sparta. Spartans themselves - with few exceptions, who were promptly ostracized and in some cases chased out of Sparta - had no clue where their collective heads were. I was replying to your comment that "Romans' greatest skill was to keep raising armies". Yes to an extent, but that was merely a side effect of their diplomatic and political skill. See above. It is a meme which happens to be true. But while it is true, it is also true that reality was lot more complex than "Rome loses an army, Rome raises another army".
  7. They weren't. The reason why they are seen as superior is Herodotus, and... well, as a historian, the guy is a dilettante. And yes, Spartan phalanx was somewhat tactically better than other Greek phalanxes (though that is really a competition of cripples)... namely, it was able to do such an extremely complex maneuver as wheeling a flank... but then, Athenians did something similar against Persians, and in any case Spartan sense for strategy, operations, logistics, diplomacy, and, well, anything else other than beating a guy in front of you, was pretty much nonexistent (even by ancient Greek standards, which were low indeed when compared to something like Rome), meaning that it pretty much wiped out whatever tactical advanages Spartans did posses. Yes and no. Romans actually weren't that bad tactically, and once they switched to professional armies they could actually do some pretty sophisticated tactocs. And let's not forget that Byzantines are technically Romans too. The main Roman strength was their diplomacy - which was the reason why they could keep raising armies in the first place, but that was hardly the only case of Roman diplomacy at work. Look at Caesar's conquest of Gaul and Roman diplomacy with crossborder barbarian tribes - Greeks had nothing like that. But even during the Republic pre-Marian reforms, Roman armies handily outperformed something like a Greek phalanx. Still, their more limited tactical repertoire did prove a disadvantage against Hannibal, which is where the "keep raising armies" meme comes from.
  8. True. Even the best army can fail. My point however is that Spartans were far from the best... in fact, they were depressingly average. Depressingly average for hoplites, that is, and you have to remember that something like a Macedonian phalanx or Roman Legion would steamroll a hoplite phalanx.
  9. All of these have one in common: side being slaughtered had gotten ambushed. Even trained soldiers do not react well to ambushes, and even if they don't panic they still will not be in position to resist effectively. Off-topic, but that comparison is not exactly flattering to Westerosi soldiers. If you wanted to make a point that they are compenent, you should have compared them to Romans or later armies.
  10. I'd say Sigismund of Luxembourg would be a decent choice. While he never had to live in an actual exile, the amount of crap he had to deal with through his rule is unbelievable - rebellions, and that time when everybody thought he was dead... but more than anything else, guy was an excellent organizer. He basically placed foundations for Hungarian military system as utilized by Janos Hunyadi and Matthias Corvinus, and while they did make some improvements, Sigismund's defence system and military organization lasted until the 1526. Battle of Mohacs. And it must not be forgotten that he was a Holy Roman Emperor. While German nobles were nowhere as treacherous as Westerosi de-facto brigands with lordly titles, the political system of Holy Roman Empire was rather chaotic - yet I would still rate it as superior to Westerosi one. So between his political experience, superior political system he comes from, and military experience far ahead of any Westerosi lord - and, I would argue, far ahead of any person alive on Planetos at the time of the story - he is basically an ideal choice, as far as I am concerned. At least so long as Daenerys and Viserys still want to get back and rule Westeros. Second choice would be Emperor Heraclius, especially if he comes in the package with his father Heraclius the Elder. Their situation is similar to Daenerys' - across the sea from the place they wanted to go to, and surrounded by enemies. Emperor Heraclius also had to basically build an army from a scratch, though he had access to troops and military system far superior to anything that exists in Planetos. And he did it successfully, driving out Persians who at that point had conquered basically the entire Empire except for Constantinople.
  11. What about Federal Monarchy in the vein of Holy Roman Empire? If anything, current situation should reduce to loss of powers of the throne, since it is quite obvious there is nothing backing up Iron Throne's authority.
  12. They broke a contract because they had two competing contracts and they chose to honour the older one.
  13. I don't think so. Stannis is a legalist, he wouldn't do anything that radical. Problem is, system in Westeros is so screwed up that radical measures are pretty much necessary to make it function as intended.
  14. OP is asking about realistic population of the North, not the population implied by military strength in books.
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