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men of god and men of war have strange affinities | reactionary ecology | re-enchant the world | #pygmylivesmatter
Alex Zorn Profile picture delltross Profile picture 2 added to My Authors
23 Oct
Thread concerning the development of Maori fortifications and engineering works spanning the years 1840-1869 with special attention paid to the role of projectile defense adaptations and earthen work formations to repel Her Majesty's Armed Forces. From Ian Knight's book, listed.
Crucial from the outset was the radically different role the 'pa', the fortified village, served after the Musket Wars and now against the British. The aim was to control and hold land, frustrate settler expansion and execute specific military objectives.
To this end the 'pa' was used to threaten survey parties, control roads, prevent encampments and hold strategic ground. The 'pa' could make use of old European buildings, landscape features and were used by the Maori for tactics including ambushes and attrition warfare.
Read 21 tweets
8 Oct
Lloyd Warner's book 'A Black Civilization' is a comprehensive ethnography of the Murngin (Yolngu) people of northern Australia. Published in 1937, it's one of the v few detailed accounts of Aboriginal warfare amongst other topics. A thread: Image
He opens with a stark declaration that the Murngin couldn't exist without warfare, that it is essential to the structure of their society. Image
One of the primary reasons for this is the polygynous basis of sex relations. Each married man has an average of three and a half wives, leaving a reservoir of unattached young men. These guys are the fodder for social violence and are the primary victims and aggressors.
Read 16 tweets
22 Sep
The two Oracles - Delphi and Dodona, both used trances and lot casting for divination. Dodonian trances were strongly connected with sound, sometimes a talking oak tree, other times reverberating bronze cauldrons.
"Socrates says that Dodona’s oak
was considered to have spoken the very first prophetic utterances, and the Argo’s speaking figure-head, carved from a branch of the
sacred Dodonian oak, draws on the idea of a speaking tree as well"
There's no evidence for these methods, but there are large numbers of recovered lead tablets.
Read 4 tweets
21 Sep
Prior to the invasion of Greece, the Persians under Darius I launched a campaign in 513 BC to subdue the Thracian Scythians up to the Danube. The Scythians refused to give battle and largely avoided serious damage, but lost face.
Darius' men faced hunger and thirst chasing their mobile enemy across the steppe, while the Scythians enacted a scorched earth policy and harassed the Persians when they forayed for provisions.
The Scythians tried to encourage their Greek allies to burn the Persian bridge across the Hellespont, which would have trapped Darius in Thrace, and likely would have starved the Persians to death.
Read 4 tweets
15 Sep
Could you have joined the Pythagorean Secret Society, would you have made the cut to learn from the immortal number-shaman himself? 👇

Pythagoras practically invented the discipline of physiognomy and was extremely strict about the physical standards of his applicants. Don't fail at the first hurdle!
Probationary period - three years of contempt and abuse, followed by five years of total silence.
Read 13 tweets
15 Sep
New genetics paper looking at how landscape has provided refuges within the Caucasus, preserving ancestral lineages and showing how geographic barriers are crucial to migration and community continuity.

A thread 👇…
One major reason the Caucasus are so important to geneticists is the provision of about half of the genetic make-up of the Yamnaya steppe herders, therefore of great importance to any understanding of Indo European history.
Broadly speaking the genetics of today's Caucasian people show deep continuity with the late Upper Palaeolithic and the widest levels of diversity exists across the Y chromosome distribution.
Read 14 tweets
13 Sep


This is my series covering a lesser known chapter in English history, the civil war between King Stephen and Empress Matilda. I'll continue to add threads until it's complete. 👇
Read 5 tweets
12 Sep
** THREAD **


With war now declared between Matilda and Stephen, the first phase of the conflict unfolded. Matilda needed to gain a foothold in England and link up with other rebels, Stephen needed to maintain control.
In 1139 Matilda's forces launched two invasion fleets, the second of which landed Robert at Arundel. He took his forces north to Bristol while Matilda was safe in Arundel Castle. Robert was aiming to meet up with Miles of Gloucester who had sworn to the Empress' cause.
The aim was to secure multiple strongholds and demonstrate to other lords and knights that Matilda was a serious force worth joining.
Read 12 tweets
4 Sep


With Henry I dead in Normandy and his realm in chaos, the opportunistic Stephen of Blois takes his chance to claim the throne and sets sail for England with his close companions.
Stephen headed to Winchester, the seat of the Treasury, where his brother, Henry Bishop of Winchester, opened the city and gave him the keys. In December he was crowned king by the Archbishop of Canterbury. It all seemed to easy, the nobles in Normandy quietened down.
Over the next two years he performed well, but the Welsh and Normandy borders proved a serious thorn in his side. Geoffrey and Matilda took castles in Normandy and threatened his realm and his failure to deal with Wales left open the question of his viability to rule.
Read 9 tweets
29 Aug


With the heir to the throne dead, Henry now looked to either his nephew Stephen or his newly widowed daughter Matilda to inherit the crown. Neither were ideal options and what Henry did next would determine the fate of England... Image
His brother Robert, although pacified in Normandy, was a natural magnet for those opposed to Henry's rule. Sensing weakness, his enemies looked to Robert's son, William Clito, to provide the rallying cry for a change. Henry sought to counter this by strategically marrying Matilda
His chose to ally with the county of Anjou, a natural bulwark to France and Normandy. Count Faulk's son Geoffrey Plantagenet seemed the perfect choice. The boy was a precocious warrior, strong, energetic and ambitious. They were married on Whitsun 1128 in Le Mans. Image
Read 9 tweets
28 Aug
Sometimes the term 'Renaissance Man' is an overused cliche, other times it feels absolutely appropriate.

This is Leonard Therneysser (1531-95), a man who contributed to pharmacy, chemistry, metallurgy, botany, mathematics, astronomy and medicine

His story:
>trained as a goldsmith
>studied botany and alchemy
>became a metallurgist and opened a mine
> commissioned by the Habsburgs to journey in Africa, collecting minerals, plants and medicines
>became a doctor
>hired as personal physician to various Electors
>constructed a glass studio
>set up a home laboratory, printing press company and library
> made money selling horoscopes, calendars and talismans
>published German, Latin, Hebrew, Greek and Arabic texts
>designed the first scientific curiosity cabinet in Brandenburg
Read 4 tweets
27 Aug
** THREAD **


To do any justice to a thread series on the English civil war of 1135-53, we need to start with one of the worst medieval disasters, the sinking of the White Ship and the drowning of the heir apparent, William Ætheling.
William the Conqueror left his kingdom to his son William Rufus who was killed in a hunting accident in 1100. His death has always been seen as suspicious, most likely he was killed by one of his own men.
The throne was challenged by his brothers, Robert and Henry. While Robert was away crusading, Henry was crowned king but had to fight his nobles and other Anglo-Norman lords who were loyal to Robert.
Read 15 tweets
26 Aug
During the chaos of 'The Anarchy', the Templars were well positioned to take advantage, both of Stephen and Empress Matilda, who gave numerous grants of land. With the success of the Second Crusade the Order stayed out of conflict at home and helped provide funds and support Image
abroad. Under Henry II the Knights expanded their estates and privileges, including the right to select their own clergy in places. Their principle church for initiations, the Temple Church in London, was consecrated in 1185 by Heraclius, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem. ImageImageImage
By the reign of Richard the Lionheart, the Templars had numerous legal immunities and privileges, including the Master sitting as first Baron in parliament. Richard himself had been offered the role as Regent of the Kingdom of Jerusalem and he considered it part of his Angevin Image
Read 4 tweets
24 Aug
** THREAD **

The medieval legend of Melusine, a water nymph who seduces men and bears their children. The Plantagenet Kings of England enjoyed their reputation as a 'demon's brood' from just such a union...
Melusine was reportedly the daughter of a fairy and the Scottish king Elinas, she leaves him after he spies on her in the bath. This ancient legend, of a magical female who should never be viewed while washing was preserved in Europe from time immemorial.
She is often depicted with a fish tail or with wings or both.
Read 18 tweets
19 Aug
** THREAD **

Jasper Duke of Bedford, Kingmaker, Godfather of the Tudor Dynasty

One of the most important but least known figures in English history, crucial for the success of the Tudor family in the War of the Roses. Warrior, adventurer, strategist, a man of loyalty.
Henry V's successful invasion of France allowed him to claim Katherine de Valois, youngest surviving daughter of King Charles VI of France, she was crowned Queen of England in 1421.
On Dec 6th, 1421 she gave birth to the future Henry VI at Windsor. She then travelled back to France in 1422 with 20,000 men at arms to reunite with her husband.
Read 23 tweets
17 Aug
It's a shame they made anarchism fake and ghey.
A Nietzschean life affirming form of sovereignty and self mastery is instinctively appealing to a lot of men, and maybe some women (?), and often sits comfortably with a love of traditional forms of military hierarchy as well.
Probably bc the ability to master yourself naturally directs your energy outwards, to impose order on the world and create new structures out of chaos.
Read 6 tweets
16 Aug
To add my own anthropological take on Afghanistan -

Even the most belligerent American general recognised early on that reconstructing and redesigning the country required some cultural context and methods to understand institutions such as religion and family.
Enter the Human Terrain System, a lightbulb idea from the Pentagon to create a group of linguists, anthropologists and social scientists who will work alongside the military to research and provide a map to the 'human terrain' of Afghanistan.
It was set up in 2007 and became a formal part of the US military in 2010 with a $150 million annual budget.
Read 14 tweets
27 Jul
When you really dive into Native American history you realise what a 2D image of colonialism you've been sold by the modern educational wokescolds. Far from being passive victims of genocide, every tribe made careful and strategic decisions about how best to
manage and thrive in a new world with virulent diseases, firearms, horses and steel. They used the Europeans as much as they were used in turn as mercenaries, buffers and proxy armies.
Not enough praise is given to those tribes who utterly transformed themselves in response to new circumstances. Rarely if ever in history have settled agricultural people swapped to horse mounted hunter gatherers within a generation, and yet many did
Read 6 tweets
20 Jul

Gonna take a look at radiocarbon dating, some of the main problems with it and how to read results sceptically.

How it works:

Elements are made up of protons, neutrons and electrons. The no of protons determines the element, the no of neutrons can vary. We call these variations isotopes. Carbon has 12 protons, but can have varying nos of neutrons, including 14.
Carbon 14, or C14 is a radioactive isotope and is created in the atmosphere naturally through cosmic ray interactions. C14 will eventually eject the two neutrons and return back to C12. After 5,730 years, half the C14 in a sample will be C12, this is the 'half life'
Read 24 tweets
19 Jul
The Troglodytae are a mysterious race of subterranean barbarous people known to the Greco-Roman world.

Herodotus refers to them as swift runners, eating snakes and lizards with a language like the screeching of bats.
He mentions they were hunted by the Garamantes, a Saharan Berber civilisation of the fifth century BC.…
The 'screeching' of bats was interpreted by Alice Werner, a SOAS linguist in 1913, as a reference to the clicking sounds of the Khoisan languages. This opens the possibility that the Khoisan were living as far north as the Sahara in the fifth century.
Read 4 tweets
9 Jul
The pushback against the new validation of male steppe bands dominating Europe continues. In particular:

- attack gendered objects and burials
- deny link between sex and gender
- label new methods simplistic
- infer new results are socially problematic
It's hard to overstate how much this has rattled the western archaeological world, it's their worst nightmare - the resurrection of the 'culture-historical' approach, confirmation of older ideas about male war bands and patriarchy.
Obfuscation is the key defence, blur the harsh simplicity of the aDNA results, although tbh in this paper it's hardly convincing. Even with all her network analysis and regional contextualisation, she concludes that the gender binary is largely correct
Read 4 tweets