• Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

volksmarschall

NE PLVS VLTRA
31 Badges
Nov 29, 2008
5.808
260
littales.com
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • March of the Eagles
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Victoria 2
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Darkest Hour
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
Chapter 4

The warfare of the Italian Wars, as I said, was an important in the evolution of Western warfare. While tradition weapons likes lances, pikes, halberds, crossbows and swords were still commonplace for the fighting, the Italian Wars marked the beginning of the rapid and large employment of firearms, even if primitive. Matchlock firearms, wheellock pistols, and great artillery pieces were widely used as well, and especially by the French, who loved cannons ever since the weapon’s invention. While personal weapons common of the medieval era were still widely used, and indeed, remained widely used until the onset of the eighteenth century when the final disappearance of pole-arms from infantry formations was completed – the extensive use of firearms and a general, albeit slow to evolve, reliance upon mobility in campaigns became the norm upon which future wars would be fought.

The basic style of fighting in Renaissance Italy was with mass bodied infantry, often in squares, armed with pikes protecting the more exposed musketeers. Matchlock firearms, although deadly at close range, lacked the range of crossbowmen and other archers – at least in terms of their effectiveness and accuracy. Rather than being cut down by the enemy cavalry, it became important to protect these fire-armed units with pike-men and halberd infantry. As for the infantrymen, the majority were equipped with pole-arms, sometimes a shield and sword, and a breastplate of armor for protection. Fighting would often take place between the infantry in brutal hand-to-hand fashion after several volleys of musket fire or arrows. Artillery would be used to pound the enemy infantry into submission, and in the face of breaking, or in retreat, the heavy cavalry would be unleashed to mop up and cause most of the casualties. The key to warfare in the Italian Wars a unique variation of defense, offensive mobility, open fighting to actualize the effectiveness of firearms and cannons, as well as the more ancient but still deadly knights. The old castle defenses of the Middle Ages were otherwise useless, except for the large and “impregnable” city defenses that could hold out much longer than the smaller and isolated castles of the past.

After the battle of Lake Constance, and the abandonment of Milan to the French, the Spring and Summer Campaign in Italy was an absolute disaster for Matthew and the Imperial Army, and that would be putting it nicely. After his victory over Matthew, Duke Jules de la Porte crossed the Austrian Alps into Italy from the north, after defeating Emperor Matthew once more at the Battle of Leinz, with King Louis marching eastward from Milan. They hoped to entrap the fleeing Imperial Army of Italy somewhere in Venice. Venice, which had deceitfully allowed for the Imperial forces to move through their territory, declared war along with Naples, who would come up from the south like a vicious storm. The war was taking shape: France, Provence, Milan, Savoy, Tuscany, Venice, and Naples (the anti-Habsburg Italian alliance, now including France) against the states of the Holy Roman Empire loyal to Matthew – Austria, Hungary, Alsace, the Palatinate, Salzburg (the German States) and the Kingdom of Castile-Aragon.


The defeat at Leinz, immediately after the defeat at Lake Constance, meant that the French armies were on the verge of linking up in Italy. Right, an image of French troops passing through an occupied Austrian village.

The French movement early in the war was splendid, and remarkable. Jules de la Porte crossed over the Alps, like Louis, and screamed south. Near Treviso, the Imperial Army of Italy encamped itself, with nearby reinforcements from Hungary and Alsace. Count Leopold Meinl was confident of his defensive position, and wrote back the Matthew that he was gathering the Imperial Army, totaling over 50,000 troops with the allied additions, and prepared to strike back against the French. It is here that the French maneuvering was both a curse and blessing at the same time. Jules de la Porte had not linked up with the advancing Franco-Venetian army under the command of Bernard de Bonnefoy. Bonnefoy, not having expected De la Porte’s rapid movement and crossing of the Alps, had pressed on by three days’ time. The Franco-Venetian Army numbered around 40,000 men, but could have been as high as 70,000 men had they had better communications with De la Porte and had waited a few days for him to arrive and unite. Instead, Bonnefoy was outnumbered.

However, he noticed a problem in the Imperial camp. The Imperial troops, for reasons unknown, had not completely linked up, and were divided at different locations on the field based on ethnicity. At sunrise, 22 July, Bonnefoy launched his attack against the isolated and exposed soldiers from Alsace, commanded by Graf Leopold von Pfasttatt. In the early hours of the morning, the rumbling of French artillery shook the battlefield. Catching the Imperial Army by surprise, Bonnefoy launched a heroic and magnificent cavalry assault on the unsuspecting troops.

“Around daybreak we were ordered to strike the enemy. Many of them were still asleep, and those awake were cooking breakfast. I prayed to the Virgin Mary for protection, but we could hardly believe our luck. With a thunderous roar of our cannons behind us, we galloped forth – about 3,000 of us, bursting down the hill with a loud cry to install fear into the enemy. When we reached the camp, the enemy were disconnected and not ready for combat. We ran over them like flowers on the field. In minutes, the entire camp had been broken, we lost but 30 men in the first minutes of the fighting – causing unmeasurable damage upon our enemy.

After chasing them from the field, we could not believe our luck – truly the Holy Mother was on our side this day. A German artillery camp was spotted, with about 6 cannons limbered and without infantry protection. After chasing off the German troops, we rushed the artillery, taking all six guns captive, along with the artillerists. In the span of less than 30 minutes, we had chased some 4,000 Germans from the field, and captured 6 guns.”

-French Knight’s memoirs of the battle.

The disastrous start to the battle was amended by 8 o’clock. The Imperial Army had formed up and counter-attacked the French positions. Hungarian and Italian soldiers, the Condottieri, had managed to ford the River Sile, and strike the French from the rear. By 9 o’clock, the battle seemed to be turning to Imperial favor. Captain Otto Minucci, an Imperial Condottiero, and the leader of the Imperial Italian mercenaries wrote:

“We crossed the river with the Hungarian cavalry, and took the French and Venetians by surprise. They had not expected us to attack from the rear. He routed the Venetian rearguard, and could see the panic look upon their forces. At that time, some of the men lost their composure. They began screaming and chanting prayers – giving thanks to the Holy Mother for the victory won. De Grunn, [one of the German mercenary captains] had joined with us,but lost control of his men. Believing the battle to be over, they began to loot the French and Venetian treasures back at their camp. I must also confess, I and my men had felt the same spirit.”[1]

For whatever reason, the decision to raid the French camps and rear luggage for loot had terrible consequences for the Imperial Army. The French regrouped, and at noon, launched a vicious counter charge against the Hungarians and Italian condottieri serving in the Imperial Army. Like the charge in the morning, the weight of 5,000 French knights crushed the Imperial forces, which broke and scattered minutes after being struck with the mighty blow. In their hasty flight back across the Sile, several thousands of men drowned in the river while being pursued by the French. The collapse of the Imperial right flank was about to cause a major defeat that could not be afforded.

Realizing that his right flank was about to be enveloped, Meinl order his reserves to the Sile to halt the French attack. This he did, and the French cavalry were repulsed at great loss. However, the decision to pull the reserves to block the French counterattack exposed the Imperial Center. Some 50 French cannons trained all of their attention onto the Imperial Army. By 3 o’clock, the French batteries had pummeled the Imperial center into pieces. Meinl then ordered his men to withdraw by four, using his cavalry to protect the retreating infantry. The Battle of Treviso ended in defeat, and the Imperial forces lost 13,000 men, of which 4,000 were captured. The French and Venetians also suffered heavy casualties, about 15,500. However, the French remained on the field and had forced the expulsion of the Imperial Army from Italy – one of the most remarkable feats in military history in that – in two battles and a few minor engagements, the French had expelled the feared Imperial Army of Italy. With the Imperial Army repulsed from Italy, Louis XIII turned south and captured Ferrera. By the end of August, 1511, in just a matter of months, the Imperial Army had been driven from Italy, and dark clouds over the Habsburg Monarchy had yet to dissipate.


The Battle of Treviso, 22 July 1511 had ended in disaster for the Imperial forces. They were soon to be driven out of Italy by the French. Right, a depiction of the French counter attack at the apex of the battle.

Nearly a month later, just north of same spot where the First Battle of Treviso was fought, Matthew gallantly led a foolish “delaying” action to protect his army of Italy so it could retreat to Istria and recover. Shadowing Jules de le Porte’s army, and hoping to prevent it from countering into Istria, Matthew foolishly gave battle to a superior French army and was promptly routed form the field in a mere matter of hours. Having lost another 6,500 to only 1,800 French, Matthew wrote a nervous letter to his younger brother, Archduke Charles, “I wish to inform you that we have been defeated, alas, crushed. I request your immediate assistance if we are to salvage the situation in Italy.” Archduke Charles was in Moravia, rallying a new army for the 1512 campaign, but it was clear that he might need to leave for Italy understrength just to help save Matthew’s disastrous campaign.

The disastrous Italian Campaign of 1511 had come to an end, and France was the undisputed master of Northern Italy, having driven off the Imperial Army, and routing them in their first three major engagements. However, Louis XIII had to hand over the Italian Campaign to his Italian allies to counter the Castilian invasion of Southern France. At the same time, Leopold von Waldenstein, an elite Austro-German cavalry commander, came to the rescue of the Imperial Army. Taking over commanding from the aging Count Meinl, Waldenstein prepped the troops for the future Campaign of 1512, in which only a small attachment of French soldiers, commanded by the Duke Jules de la Porte, would provide assistance to the Venetian and Neapolitan Army. For Matthew, his hopes of becoming master of Northern Italy had seemingly vanished. Yet, he received the most benevolent Christmas present, a large loan, equivalent to over $4,000,000 (USD) today, from the Medici Bank – bankrolling the rest of the Italian Wars for the Habsburgs.

Fearing that the French would sweep south passed Ferrera, Pope Julius and the Curia had even abandoned Rome and fled into exile, temporarily, into the safe confines of the Monastery of Monte Cassino, where they would remain until the end of the war. Indeed, upon hearing the news that Rome had been abandoned, King Louis led a detachment of his favorite troops into the city – and sacked the city. For the Habsburgs, their defeat in Northern Italy and allowing for the sacking of Rome to happen was a major blow to their prestige in Italy – and as defenders of the Catholic Faith.

Map 1.1: The Battle of Treviso.

The map was drawn as accurately as possible through MS Paint, using google earth.


>>> Continue​



[1]Mercenary behavior in battle, like the one I described here, was common place during warfare in Renaissance Italy. Mercenary units were not just hired as part of their payment (that would have been too expensive), instead, they were also promised that they would keep all loot during any of their campaigns. There are many accounts of mercenaries, in the middle of battle, looting the enemy camp instead of continuing the fight. In many cases, the enemy would then regroup and win the day. One of the greatest examples of this behavior was at the Battle of Fornovo, 1495, when Italian mercenaries, fighting the French, decided to raid the French baggage train, allowing French knights to countercharge. In part, that account of Fornovo served as inspiration for the Battle of Treviso.
 
Last edited:

GulMacet

Colonel
35 Badges
Sep 24, 2010
1.061
214
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • BATTLETECH
  • Victoria 2
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Cities: Skylines - Green Cities
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife Pre-Order
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Imperator: Rome Sign Up
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Stellaris
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Darkest Hour
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II
Ah, the age-old Austrian problem - the soldiers don't even speak a common language. How can they be expected to win when they don't even understand each other? Start your own imperialism to counter French Imperialism! (also, some military ideas are needed, yesterday if possible!)
 

Metternich30

Private
3 Badges
Mar 16, 2014
19
0
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Victoria 2
In the real world, Treviso would seem quite the Pyrrhic victory for de Bonnefoy, given that he sustained more casualties than the Austrians despite roughly equal numbers.
 

GreatUberGeek

Count of the Netflix Binge-Watch
4 Badges
Aug 8, 2013
2.389
12
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Victoria 2
  • Hearts of Iron IV Sign-up
More losses!! I like the battle map for Treviso, it was very nice and suitable for a battle that large. :) Though, it seems like the French side spoke more languages-German, Italian, French-than the Austrians! (German, Hungarian. A légpárnás hajóm tele van angolnákkal, by the way.) :p
 

Idhrendur

Keeper of the Converters
96 Badges
Feb 27, 2009
9.765
994
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Sengoku
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Deus Vult
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Field Marshal
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Shadowrun Returns
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Age of Wonders III
  • Victoria 2
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • 500k Club
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Knight (pre-order)
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Tyranny - Bastards Wound
At least the French are distracted by their need to secure the Pyrenees.

Also, I believe you meant Google Earth.
 

volksmarschall

NE PLVS VLTRA
31 Badges
Nov 29, 2008
5.808
260
littales.com
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • March of the Eagles
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Victoria 2
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Darkest Hour
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
This too is going on hold, but largely because I just don't want to take the time to find nice images to accompany the pre-written text. Yeah, I know, laziness on my part! Mostly because I also have work requirements that I'm mulling through too. I'm not just a historian, but a philosopher so -- I still have to write on that from time to time. And among historical papers, I'm finally finishing a political philosophy treatise I've been working on for about 8 months.

So when all that is complete, I'll have the time, without excuse, to find the preferred images to accompany the already written text! :p

Cheers!
 

GreatUberGeek

Count of the Netflix Binge-Watch
4 Badges
Aug 8, 2013
2.389
12
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Victoria 2
  • Hearts of Iron IV Sign-up
Aw, dangit, volksmarschall! :(
Here's hoping your schedule clears up soon!
 

Idhrendur

Keeper of the Converters
96 Badges
Feb 27, 2009
9.765
994
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Sengoku
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Deus Vult
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Field Marshal
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Shadowrun Returns
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Age of Wonders III
  • Victoria 2
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • 500k Club
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Knight (pre-order)
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Tyranny - Bastards Wound
I'll miss this one while it's on hiatus, but I can understand busyness.
 

GreatUberGeek

Count of the Netflix Binge-Watch
4 Badges
Aug 8, 2013
2.389
12
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Victoria 2
  • Hearts of Iron IV Sign-up
Question, volks:what do you think of The Austrians by Gordon Brook-Shepard?(1996)
 

volksmarschall

NE PLVS VLTRA
31 Badges
Nov 29, 2008
5.808
260
littales.com
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • March of the Eagles
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Victoria 2
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Darkest Hour
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
Question, volks:what do you think of The Austrians by Gordon Brook-Shepard?(1996)
I should make note that you're asking someone who has a general dislike for 'popular' histories solely on the ground that I find them without use in my work even if they are well-written and I own a lot of them (not that I write on the Austrians in real life, even if I have about 20 books on the subject because I'm part Austrian on my father's side so I have a natural interest). I never finished The Austrians because I was put off by it, especially since the book is really only a history of Austria in the twentieth century. Two better histories that try to fill the void of popular histories of Austria/Austrian Empire/Habsburgs would be Robert Kahn's History of the Habsburg Empire (1974, 1980 reprint) which I find to be pretty good despite its age. The newer book by Benjamin Curtis The Habsburgs (2013) is supposed to be a good book, but I haven't gotten around to it, and is something like 300 pages and actually spends time prior to the nineteenth and twentieth century. Per Austrian histories (or histories that deal with Austria a lot), I would recommend all the books listed in my appendix at the end of post #2.

Frederic Morton's A Nervous Splendor and his Thunder at Twilight are my favorite histories of Austria (more specifically, he writes two histories of Vienna in the late nineteenth century and his second book is set right on the eve of 1914), but these are mostly intellectual and cultural histories which I naturally gravitate towards from my own training.

I also disliked A Mighty Fortress btw! David Blackbourn's The Conquest of Nature is the best book about Germany period! (My bias and love for the new field of environmental history, which is really a new hot subject area for us historians). I always hoped to do an environmental history AAR to expose everyone to this great new field in the history discipline, alas, that's probably never going to happen! :p
 
Last edited:

volksmarschall

NE PLVS VLTRA
31 Badges
Nov 29, 2008
5.808
260
littales.com
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • March of the Eagles
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Victoria 2
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Darkest Hour
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
Damn, just as I pop in... god speed with work volk, otherwise I'll have nothing to bloody read!
Rough, tough timing...

You can always stumble upon my actual work! or invite to the Capitol and have few drinks! :p
 

LanMisa

Major
48 Badges
Jun 17, 2013
649
187
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Sengoku
  • Semper Fi
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • For the Motherland
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Age of Wonders III
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Hearts of Iron IV Sign-up
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Magicka 2
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Magicka: Wizard Wars Founder Wizard
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
volksmarschall,

what do you think of counterfactual history? I love to read such books, since history was never set in stone (well, not totally, at least) and sometimes small things would have changed the course of centuries tremendously (just imagine a stray arrow killing Alexander the Great in Greece: no Hellenism in the Persian region and the Anatolian Coast! Or if one of the Mongolian Khans (don't know which one) had lived longer, the German region would have been overrun by the Asian Horde tribes, too!). Unfortunately I find it very hard to acquire new books since just a very small number of historians seems to work in that field...
 

volksmarschall

NE PLVS VLTRA
31 Badges
Nov 29, 2008
5.808
260
littales.com
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • March of the Eagles
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Victoria 2
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Darkest Hour
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
volksmarschall,

what do you think of counterfactual history? I love to read such books, since history was never set in stone (well, not totally, at least) and sometimes small things would have changed the course of centuries tremendously (just imagine a stray arrow killing Alexander the Great in Greece: no Hellenism in the Persian region and the Anatolian Coast! Or if one of the Mongolian Khans (don't know which one) had lived longer, the German region would have been overrun by the Asian Horde tribes, too!). Unfortunately I find it very hard to acquire new books since just a very small number of historians seems to work in that field...
I personally don't care for, or think highly of, counterfactual history. I'd rather read historical fiction instead (I'm not asserting that you should either, but you've asked my thoughts so here they are). My problems with it is that one cannot apply actual historical methodologies to speculative theory, and thereby I also take issue with claiming it as history. At least in the history discipline, we have established methodological guidelines in how to work and formulate historical narratives based on fact that are otherwise missing in the counterfactual field. I equally know of no historian of even modest importance who, likewise, holds the field in high regard.

It's fun and entertaining, sure. But I could just read historical fiction for that. History is not teleological (or at least we do not assume this and teleology and presentism is generally discouraged by professional historians; one of the reasons why "Whig History" is so thoroughly debase and scoffed at nowadays -- history could be teleological, but as a discipline, we don't write as if it is), but history -- as the study of past events, is set in stone per the simple fact that the past already happened. History only gets one shot, and we cannot go back and 're-run' it. What happened happened and that's it (Alexander conquered the east and the Mongols didn't conquer Germany, and Hitler lost WWII, etc.). Yeah, I get a kick out of some of the speculative ideas that pop up from time to time, and see nothing wrong with it in the realm of historical fiction writing, some of which I find very good; like Robert Harris Fatherland, or Eric Flint's 1632 series, but this is not counterfactual history but pure historical fiction.

I also find counterfactual history to be too crude. For instance, sure, killing Alexander may not have resulted in a great Hellenic Empire that stretched to the Indus River, but to claim that this would not have resulted in Hellenization is sketchy at best. Even before Alexander, the Greeks had colonies as far as Spain and as far east as Georgia; so there was already a modest "Hellenization" of the east and west already occurring before him. Greek traders also brought with them, in the regions they traded in, a form of Hellenization too. It would better to claim that Hellenization would not have had as great an impact as it did, but then this poses more questions than answers, and frankly, that's not what the history discipline is about. I'd rather just keep reading good historical fiction or alternative history.
 

LanMisa

Major
48 Badges
Jun 17, 2013
649
187
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Sengoku
  • Semper Fi
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • For the Motherland
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Age of Wonders III
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Hearts of Iron IV Sign-up
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Magicka 2
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Magicka: Wizard Wars Founder Wizard
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
I can totally see your point and there surely is nothing wrong with it. If I had decided to study history (and not math), my opinion might be the same as yours.

When I was younger, I read many history books (from the library, so it might have been popular science). Many were good, some were not. But in many of these I read at least a few times things like: "this happened because it has to happen" or "it was inevitable" - not the exact wording (nor language), but you get what I want to say. When I grew older, I asked myself: "Is it really that one-way? Are we living on monorails?" And I began to question things like that.

Surely, If you define the work of an historian as to find out what exactly happened and why, then you can and should only look at what happened (Though, even there you have to resort to speculation many times. A modern day example: What exactly made Bush Jr. attack the Iraq? I heard many different reasons, all or none of which might have been the deciding one. Or one at all.). But in my eyes, if you look at history like "What can I learn from it? What forces some things to happen? When can some events (like wars) no longer be prevented?" - then you need to look at alternative possibilities, too. Because then ignoring the routes not taken might cloud your judgement and make you ignore the most important factor of many events in history - pure luck.

But, of course, these are only my own thoughts and I am very far away from knowing much about history - as a field of employment and of historical events, too.
 

volksmarschall

NE PLVS VLTRA
31 Badges
Nov 29, 2008
5.808
260
littales.com
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • March of the Eagles
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Victoria 2
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Darkest Hour
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
The problem with history, from my observation being in classes with many other history studies majors (who otherwise weren't going for graduate degrees like myself), and from conversations through forums, people, and reading what others say online -- many people have misconceived notions of what history is. Many history majors I know or knew, I would say didn't understand what history was...

As I've always maintained, it is not just "facts, facts, facts" because that is otherwise boring. A happened this year. B happened this year. C happened this year. etc., and that otherwise tells me little. Since history is a discipline in the humanities, but also shares similarities to the sciences, I've always written that history is fact interwoven with literary theory. In reality, almost all works of history can be classified through a theory of underlying history: moralistic history, political history, environmental history, Marxian history, Salvation history, etc., all of which are, in fact, attempting to use the past and make it relevant to the present (this is different from presentism, which is taking the present and applying it to the past vs. looking at the past to see how it may have developed the present). I'm currently writing a large essay, presumably I'm aiming for 150-200 pages, on Byzantine historiography and why works were written when they were (putting in the context of historicism) and explaining why the historians have said or written the things they have. For instance, many recent books in Roman and Byzantine history (my somewhat permanent field, which I plan on getting my PhD after my Masters) draw connections to the present. Peter Heather and James J. O'Donnell, in The Restoration of Rome (2014) and Ruin of the Roman Empire (2008) have made analogies to Justinian's terrible and horrendous war in Italy and the fallout felt by the Byzantines after (the Avar invasion, the Persians, and the Arabs and the loss of land for the next 2 centuries) as being comparable to neoconservative policy in the United States. The intentional connection is clear -- and being written in the aftermath of the Iraq War, the message is relevant. I'm doing this for many articles and books on the subject material, and is one of the projects that, since I've started, I just don't have the time to write for AARs as I'm writing for professional work and publication.

Historians cannot find what exactly happened, for various reasons, but the main disciplinary training: find out what happened, and why? The biggest problem is the why is often thought of as being something objective by those not trained in history, when in reality, for those of us in the discipline, the why is answered by theory (AND NOT FACT). So we have methodologies to help us, which counterfactual historians don't use, but the answer to Why? is almost always a theoretical position or view.

I love the study of history (historiography) very much (naturally), but not so much 'reading' history (as an otherwise dry and dull practice). In circles with peers also obtaining maters and PhDs, or with professional PhD historians, I generally refer to myself as a historiographer instead of a historian. Historiography is what we actually do -- interpret history. Historiography becomes "history" when the 'historian' (in reality a historiographer) interprets the history for us, and then writes his interpretation for others to read as if "This is the only view" and hope that the reader will subscribe exactly to what his or her interpretation was. This is an important (and not just semantic) point. Historians, in professional levels, will take more historiography classes looking at historical theories than 'general history classes': this happened, then this, etc. Whenever someone interprets, they engage in historiography (which is what historians are actually doing in scholarship). When someone just reads, and has the interpretation done for him or her (generally by the historiographer) then it's just history -- and frankly, I find that somewhat boring and being disingenuous by us historians.

For these reasons, I don't engage people (even if they profess an interest or 'expertise' in history, especially young people not formally trained in the discipline) in extensive discussion that are rudimentary: Why did this happen? What are the causes of X? etc. Frankly, that's not what we are professionally doing, to some degree.

Historiography = The interpretation and study of history (what 'historians' actually engage in)
History = history already interpreted for us, or the final product of historiography

We start with historiography, and the end product is history. But it's more important to understand historiography if you are going to properly understand the end product, history.
 
Last edited:

Idhrendur

Keeper of the Converters
96 Badges
Feb 27, 2009
9.765
994
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Sengoku
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Deus Vult
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Field Marshal
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Shadowrun Returns
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Age of Wonders III
  • Victoria 2
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • 500k Club
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Knight (pre-order)
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Tyranny - Bastards Wound
Yeah, I get a kick out of some of the speculative ideas that pop up from time to time, and see nothing wrong with it in the realm of historical fiction writing, some of which I find very good; like Robert Harris Fatherland, or Eric Flint's 1632 series, but this is not counterfactual history but pure historical fiction.
I feel less ashamed about my owning nearly all of the 1632 series now. Don't worry, I have plenty of other collections worth being ashamed of!