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Jace, Basilissa

History Thread!

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4 minutes ago, Pony Queen Jace said:

Poor Heraclius, he broke that Persian threat so bad that he lost Egypt to the followers of Muhammed.

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. 

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15 minutes ago, Chaircat Meow said:

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. 

Hey, Constantine pt.11 went out like a fucking boss man!

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Didn't want to go off on a tangent in the U.S. Politics thread. But McClellan should've won the war in '62 when he was on the peninsula. 

Edit: He didn't because he was dumb enough to continuously overestimate the numbers the Confederacy could bring to the field.

Edited by A True Kaniggit

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There were some big institutional changes (such as the increased prominence of the themata) after the losses in the 7th century, but I think the eastern Roman Empire after that was contiguous with the one that had existed before - even if it was drastically shrunken in territory and resources.

1204 is the better date, with the Empire being broken up into successor kingdoms. One of them managed to capture Constantinople and claim it was the restored Empire on a fragment of its former territory, but then in four decades it lost basically everything except a small amount of territory around and across the strait from Constantinople (it's hard to call it even a restoration). 

4 hours ago, A True Kaniggit said:

Didn't want to go off on a tangent in the U.S. Politics thread. But McClellan should've won the war in '62 when he was on the peninsula.

Antietam alone was a colossal screw-up on his part. He literally had Lee's plans handed to him, and he still wasn't able to turn that into a smashing victory against the latter's army. 

More on the Romans - 

I've been reading Fate of Rome, about the role that climate change and disease played both in the fall of the western Roman Empire and the ultimate failure of Justinian's reconquest. Yersinia Pestis (the disease that was both the Plague of Justinian and the Black Death) was an even nastier piece of work than I thought. Other epidemics tended to hit the cities hardest while taking a relatively lighter touch on rural areas due to how they were transmitted, but not Y.Pestis. Even in places where it wasn't being spread by trade networks, it just slowly ground its way across 6th century Europe. And then it came back again and again in successor waves. 

The author had a phrase that's stuck with me:

Quote

Most histories of Rome’s fall have been built on the giant, tacit assumption that the environment was a stable, inert backdrop to the story. As a byproduct of our own urgent need to understand the history of earth systems, and thanks to dizzying advances in our ability to retrieve data about the paleoclimate and genomic history, we know that this assumption is wrong. It is not only wrong— it is immodestly, unnervingly wrong. The earth has been and is a heaving platform for human affairs, as unstable as a ship’s deck in a violent squall. Its physical and biological systems are a ceaselessly changing setting, and they have given us what John Brooke calls “a rough journey” for as long as we have been human.

That fits with some of my other readings recently. 

 

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12 hours ago, Chaircat Meow said:

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. 

The Empire after the Muslim conquests, and the collapse of the Danube frontier, was essentially Anatolia, Thrace, Sicily, the Aegean Sea, the heel and toe of Italy, and various outposts in Greece, the Black Sea, and the Adriatic.  It was overwhelmingly Greek-speaking, and most of the old Roman institutions were scrapped.  Urban life almost disappeared for a couple of hundred years, so I'd agree with you that that is when the Empire became something different to what had gone before.

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On 1/9/2018 at 3:17 PM, Clueless Northman said:

As Garavorkin said, there is something extra legal when you overstep your duties and length of office. Dictator is at most a 6-months long tenure. And usually shorter, a dictator supposedly resigning once the crisis he's supposed to deal with is over. Some lasted a few weeks, if I remember my Livy correctly.
Still, Caesar wasn't the first dictator to stay in office longer than legally allowed. Sulla was supposedly and extra-legally granted no term limit, but he eventually resigned dictatorship - and eventually all powers - and didn't keep that position outrageously longer than expected. Of course, Caesar never had any intention to resign and him being proposed as wannabe-king wasn't a mere accident, he definitely wanted to be the autocrat for life - something some of his backers possibly didn't expect.

Brutus , Cicero and company's stated  goal was to restore the Republic by getting rid of Caesar.  It seems to me that their real goal might have been to to eliminate Caesar before he decided to eliminate them first.  

Edited by GAROVORKIN

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On 1/9/2018 at 8:29 PM, A True Kaniggit said:

Didn't want to go off on a tangent in the U.S. Politics thread. But McClellan should've won the war in '62 when he was on the peninsula. 

Edit: He didn't because he was dumb enough to continuously overestimate the numbers the Confederacy could bring to the field.

At army  logistics. Engineering  and Administration  George  B McClellan was absolutely brilliant.  But he was not really cut out to be a battlefield general. 

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1 hour ago, GAROVORKIN said:

At army  logistics. Engineering  and Administration  George  B McClellan was absolutely brilliant.  But he was not really cut out to be a battlefield general. 

He was fine tactically as a Battlefield General. He was never routed in his battles against Lee. 

His retreats during the seven days were in many cases were based on his belief he was facing a numerically superior force.

McCellan real fault was just being overly cautious for a myraid of reasons. 

McCellan lack of stunning successes in t changed the North focus in the War and in the end made a contribution to the ending of slavery in the U.S. One of the more thornier question I ponder is what of slavery if the War ended before the Emancipation Proclamation. Would the U.S be facing a possible Civil War within a generation?

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19 hours ago, GAROVORKIN said:

At army  logistics. Engineering  and Administration  George  B McClellan was absolutely brilliant.  But he was not really cut out to be a battlefield general. 

As the saying goes, amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics. 

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52 minutes ago, Corvinus said:

As the saying goes, amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics. 

How dare You! You besmirch the already plenty sullied good name of Eric Von Ludendorff!

Defend yourself rascalluon, for while my attack may not be properly supplied or indeed have an actual defined objective I shall sweep through your lines like the devastation I wrought upon the landscape that I devastated as I shortened my line!

Also, the bulk of said attack will end up moving through that twice blasted terrain...

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On ‎1‎/‎15‎/‎2018 at 9:08 PM, GAROVORKIN said:

At army  logistics. Engineering  and Administration  George  B McClellan was absolutely brilliant.  But he was not really cut out to be a battlefield general. 

In which case, he ought to have been Chief of Staff, rather than commander.

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"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

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25 minutes ago, Chaircat Meow said:

"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

Is the takeaway from that that Moltke doesn't know what he's talking about?  Because many commanders would have done very well to apply the lessons of the US Civil War in World War I.

On 1/15/2018 at 5:59 PM, TheKitttenGuard said:

He was fine tactically as a Battlefield General. He was never routed in his battles against Lee. 

His retreats during the seven days were in many cases were based on his belief he was facing a numerically superior force.

McCellan real fault was just being overly cautious for a myraid of reasons.

"fine tactically" is pretty unimpressive considering he always had at least parity and often a numerically superior force.  And being easily fooled into believing that the enemy's force is superior is a huge shortcoming in a battle commander.  McClellan probably could have crushed the Army of Northern Virginia in the peninsular campaign, and again at Antietam, but McClellan lacked the fighting spirit to do so.  Likewise he retreated away from a superior position after Malvern Hill, embracing failure when success was as simple as staying put. 

McClellan gets a little bit of a bad reputation becuase his memoirs are actually honest rather than self serving puffery, and this opened him up for greater criticism than other generals.  But he undermined his considerable organizational and logistical talents with poor battlefield decisions, and thus his mediocre record. 

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On 1/17/2018 at 1:46 PM, Maithanet said:

Is the takeaway from that that Moltke doesn't know what he's talking about?  Because many commanders would have done very well to apply the lessons of the US Civil War in World War I.

 

Ehhh...

No one accurately understood what WWI was going to be like, and most European powers were extremely interested in the Civil War. The problem was that tech was evolving so fast that tactics couldn't keep up by the time Lincoln was murdered.

European powers were obsessive over the Russo-Japanese war for instance too, but again there was simply too much happening too fast for military minds to get a handle on tactics.

It's telling that the British were man for man the best early belligerents, because they were the only power that had really any experience using some of the newer tech like the machine gun.

John French or Douglas Haeg understood to some extent that defensive warfare had gained an incredible advantage and it's all that kept Klucke from driving the BEF into the sea when the German 1st Army ran into the two corps that were almost the entirety of England's land forces.

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On 2018-01-17 at 8:46 PM, Maithanet said:

Is the takeaway from that that Moltke doesn't know what he's talking about?  Because many commanders would have done very well to apply the lessons of the US Civil War in World War I.

Barbed wire and machine guns weren't in use yet, and those were the main reasons for why WW1 turned out the way it did. 

In the American civil war case it probably had more to do with general lack of training and experience. If you look at European wars that took place around the same time, like the Franco-Prussian or Austro-Prussian war, they didn't play out like this at all. European warfare focused on decisive battlefield maneuvers such as encircling actions and bayonet charges, and losing army of a battle often got pursued until it dissolved or had to surrender.  

American forces on the other hand lacked the training and organization to do this (as well as the cavalry), so instead a typical battle was basically the two sides lining up and blasting the hell out of each other for a number of hours, followed by the losing side limping away and being able to regroup. Rinse and repeat for four years until the South ran out of men. 

Edited by Khaleesi did nothing wrong

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7 hours ago, Pony Queen Jace said:

Ehhh...

No one accurately understood what WWI was going to be like, and most European powers were extremely interested in the Civil War. The problem was that tech was evolving so fast that tactics couldn't keep up by the time Lincoln was murdered.

European powers were obsessive over the Russo-Japanese war for instance too, but again there was simply too much happening too fast for military minds to get a handle on tactics.

Yes, absolutely true.

To further add to this: the scale of WWI was far faaaaaaar larger than anything in the US Civil War. It's also only partly true that the frontlines could have been predicted by following the lessons of the USA. For one thing, the front between the Russian and German Empires, and the Russian and Ottoman fronts, were not stagnant trench warfare. Rather, they were highly mobile due to the defending party being far to slow to mobilise into defensive positions. Once that happened, even cavalry charges were effective in many battles.

Similarly, the machine gun's effectiveness wasn't fully understood because of how small ammunition stockpiles were when WWI broke out. The great powers had no idea just how quickly they'd run out of ammo and how manufacturing bottlenecks became a massive equalising factor in trench warfare.

Once the war became a battle of attrition on the Western Front, it's not as though that much could have been derived from the USA's civil war. Their battles were industrialised, but much more mobile in comparison. Even the idea of rotating troops to stop them getting sick (or going insane) didn't occur to WWI planners, as that wasn't a consideration that really had to have been made before.

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I think when people claim that the European powers should've taken a lesson from the U.S. Civil, they specifically mean the later battles of the war when the Union is often attacking prepared Confederate defensive positions. In battles such as Cold Harbor and Spotsylvania the Confederacy was able to inflict about twice the number of casualties they suffered, in spite of being outnumbered 2:1.

Not to mention the use of trench warfare during the Siege of Petersburg.

The problem is this war took place about 50 years before WWI. Hard to apply lessons from a war that happened half a century in the past that you weren't directly involved in.

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2 hours ago, A True Kaniggit said:

I think when people claim that the European powers should've taken a lesson from the U.S. Civil, they specifically mean the later battles of the war when the Union is often attacking prepared Confederate defensive positions. In battles such as Cold Harbor and Spotsylvania the Confederacy was able to inflict about twice the number of casualties they suffered, in spite of being outnumbered 2:1.

Not to mention the use of trench warfare during the Siege of Petersburg.

How was anybody supposed to know which battles would be forerunners to later warfare and which were specific to the political and geographic conditions of that one specific war?

As more than a few people point out above, even within WWI there was a wide variety of battles, terrains and tactics, and only some of them would have benefitted from paying heed to some specific battles of a much earlier war. And it also assumes that people have an agreed upon strategy for countering specific tactics. which they don't. Even today, historians will debate whether particular strategies (even winning ones) were the optimal decision.

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Interesting to compare the land versus sea lessons learnt from the US Civil War though.

For example the Royal Navy had observers at the Battle of Hampton Roads (Monitor vs Merrimac) and immediately and correctly deduced that the day of wooden warships was done. Other navies were not far behind. Okay, this had already been suspected, and was possibly more obvious than the defensive advantages technology was giving land based warfare ...

 

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Not to mention that the lowest approximation for the German right wing moving just through Belgium is more than than the entire traitors rebellion during the length of the American conflict.

The scale just couldn't be comprehended. Sure it sounds easy to say "more people mean more dead" but planners were struggling to understand how much staying power modern states had developed.

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