Jump to content

Thorfinn the Shallow Minded

Community Historians
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Posts posted by Thorfinn the Shallow Minded

  1. The idea of Saturnalia falling on the 25th doesn't quite match with when Christmas was initially established.  A better explanation comes from an estimate that Jesus died on the 25th of March.  Since he was important, they assumed that he was conceived on that day, leading to his birth nine months later.  Biblical Scholar Dan McClellan offers basically the same explanation if you want to hear it from a PhD.


    • Like 2
  2. 7 hours ago, Genava55 said:

    Did you see the following quotes?

    I did.  The reason I gave a vague answer was because I have not sorted through the pertinent sources and looked at scholarly work surrounding them enough to come to a decisive opinion.  I have no problem with regarding the helot class as oppressed, but the dystopian picture Devereaux paints seems frankly unsustainable precisely because there were so many helots.  Maybe I am wrong, and I would love to delve into the topic further, but at the moment, I will content myself with positioning my stance as inconsequential at best.  

    7 hours ago, Genava55 said:

    Devereaux's comparison is interesting because it makes parallels with the current goals of indoctrinating childs in such ways. The purpose is not their efficiency in the battlefield but to maintain an oppressive system. I don't see it as something implausible as such systems existed in other societies. Devereaux writing style is rendering his argument as something bold and exaggerated but it has some truth in my opinion

    The issue I found with his analogy was the ignoring of any positive elements of the education.  Were Spartans literate?  No, but that does not mean that they were ignorant in a time in which oral traditions were prevalent.  It is little surprise that surviving Spartan literature came in the form of poetry, which would have particularly thrived in an oral society.

    3 hours ago, Genava55 said:

    Honestly, I have rarely seen a blog post written with such bad faith. In my opinion, the argumentation is of very low quality .

    Fair enough.  In seeing it, I naively assumed that there would be further scholarly work by the author to steelman the arguments, but it was foolish of me to gloss over some of its fallacious claims.  The point I was trying to get across more was that this article contrasted Sparta with its contemporaries, which I much prefer to say making it out to be ancient Nazis. 

    I think a good number of my issues with the article lie in the overt tone that he uses that just gives the arguments a blunt feeling.  Likewise, I likely just dislike modern comparisons to ancient things; it feels as jarring as someone condemning how terrible of a Mormon Shakespeare was.  Frankly, those are opinions I should not let cloud my judgement as much as it did.

  3. 8 hours ago, wowgetoffyourcellphone said:

    It's because it's talking about the modern idealization of Sparta 

    Fair, yet I find the idea of him projecting trauma onto Spartans to be problematic.  Don't get me wrong; the educational system was harsh and did cause suffering, but the extent to which this led to psychological trauma is uncertain, and much of his arguments for this hinge on extreme views of child mortality, participation within the crypteia (and killing a helot being a must to become a Spartan), and extensive practise of pederasty.  

    8 hours ago, ShadowOfHassen said:

    how bad off were the Helots?

    That is a tricky question to really say, but I would argue that they were about at the same level of other servile classes like Athenian slaves.  Certainly the fact that they could and did at times rise from that class is good, but the fact that they were systematically attacked shows other problems.  The fact of the matter is that like other downtrodden social classes, their voices and presence were always in the background of history, and I am perfectly okay with at my level of knowledge having a fairly agnostic view on the level of suffering they did or did not enjoy.  What irked me with the article however, was this idea that all boys had to kill helots as a sort of rite of passage into manhood.  Hodkinson rightly notes that the skills of the crypteia would give would have little battlefield utility, and rather, it would seem to be a way of finding the best of what could make up the future Spartan leadership as they worked with minimal instruction, acting on their own initiative.  

    • Like 1
  4. This isn't Sparta seems like a questionable bit of scholarship to me for other reasons.  First, he overtly psychoanalyses his sources into what seem to be cardboard cutouts.  The fact of the matter is that while he argues they were snobby for disliking democracy, all of them had legitimate issues with the dysfunctionalities present in Athens given the abuses of power of various demagogues, the unjust execution of the admirals following Arginusae, and most obviously Socrates.  Also with infanticide, there is no reason to regard it as unique or even as necessarily something that did happen.  https://www.archaeology.org/news/10231-211214-greek-exposure-infanticide.  Also, he seems to put too much weight on the weakest source: Plutarch, while dismissing Xenophon's more first hand experience.  While I think there is insufficient data to weigh in decisively on the extent pederasty, Xenophon's witness is an important basis to cast doubt on it being a widely done practice.  Quite frankly, I find the accounts of brutality to just as likely to have been exaggerated by Athenians when juxtaposing the two.  He also criticises the education system on the idea of literacy as if that were a sole metric of learning.  Much of education during that time revolved around memorising oral traditions.  

    Honestly, it feels strange that he is comparing it to modern standards when Sparta was hardly worse in some respects to Athens, which had a similar fraction of its populace capable of actually participating in the democracy and similarly relied on slavery which was likely in some cases as brutal.  The following blog post does a better job of representing that.


    I would also recommend an excellent article by Hodkinson "Was classical Sparta a military society?"  It also does a lot to provide a more nuanced take on Spartan life.  Devereaux actually does interact with Hodkinson in a later post, and I would be intrigued to further read on that.

  5. 36 minutes ago, Gurken Khan said:

    When I read about Tarentum I don't know if a beefed up fortress represents it better than a military colony or maybe even something like a Cranogion.

    And I would not disagree with you.  In fact first, I would stress that the fortress replacement would be a cheaper and weaker structure.  Second, this is not an attempt to model Spartan colonisation.  The point I was drawing with Tarentum is that Sparta did not have much anything to do with it.  Exchange between colony and home city generally required two things: ship routes (of which Sparta had none of) and commercial activity (of which Sparta also did not practise).  In this sense constructing additional Civic Centres does not model Spartan expansion too well.  Instead this is to represent the garrisons Sparta installed in cities, mirroring the way that Sparta following the Peloponnesian War propped up numerous pro-Spartan oligarchies.  Again this is why it could perhaps be buildable in allied territory. 

  6. 40 minutes ago, wowgetoffyourcellphone said:

    This Fortress expansion could have a smaller territory effect, like Military Colonies, and only train women and Spartiate champs. Or not train women at all.

    This more or less.  I would add that it should not be a resource drop off point and be exclusively for training champions as you mentioned.  

  7. On 20/11/2023 at 1:44 AM, alre said:

    spartans also had colonies.

    This is true, but it was hardly an aggressive coloniser like Athens or Corinth.  Likewise, its colonies functioned differently from others due to a major idea behind why most other city-states established theirs: trade.  Like later colonial effort, many colonies were a means of the parent state exporting finished goods to the colony for commodities.  

    Spartan interest for this was practically minimal, and the motive behind their founding Tarentum, perhaps their most prominent colony, only came after an internal crisis following the Messenian Wars.  Basically a fortress like structure could better represent their mode of expansion especially following the Peloponnesian Wars and would help identify them as a centralised civilisation that only expands to make small pockets of territory for key resources.

  8. 7 hours ago, wowgetoffyourcellphone said:

    Yet, Helots were used many times in skirmishing roles. :shrug:

    The point I would make is that it is arguable that Perioikoi made up the majority of these sorts of fighters.  I would see Helots workers becoming military units as only possible through upgrading them as mentioned above.  This would fall in line with the fact Spartans were highly paranoid when it came to their Messenian labour due to the constant risk of rebellions.  Those that would fight on campaigns would be freed of this serf class because they now had the capacity to be a major threat.  Instances of Spartans doing this include a reference by Thucydides mentions this in Book IV, 26.  I am not advocating for the removal of Helot Citizen-Soldiers (Neodamodeis), but Helots that are trained as Citizen-Soldiers from the start.  Basically the change I am asking for is a purely cosmetic one.  Helot Skirmishers that are trained would become Perioikoi Skirmishers.  By the same token, Perioikoi Cavalry would just become Allied Cavalry.  

    Also, I would note that there is a technology already introduced that introduces Neodamodeis as a unit.  I would say that this unit can be retained simply by calling them 'Brasidians, in reference to particularly exemplary Helot fighters.  

    As for your other points, I think they are reasonable compromises.  Functional gameplay should be the priority after all.  

    One matter I did learn that is rather intriguing is that Spartans were actively encouraged to hunt according to Xenophon, which makes me think that perhaps Spartans themselves could play a role in hunting in the early game to represent this fact.  They could be inefficient perhaps, but it's a thought.

  9. On 15/11/2023 at 11:51 PM, wowgetoffyourcellphone said:

    It's essentially the Athenian gymnasium. 

    While I don't disagree that the gymnasium would be a redundant feature that would be hard to justify from a gameplay function, it is somewhat ironic since the practice of publicly exercising naked was original to Spartans.  

    I think that the Dromos could be interesting, but I would much prefer something that could change up gameplay, and I think one option would be to make it so that Spartans could not make more than one Civic Centre and future expansion would be done with a weaker, cheaper fortress, much like the Bulgarian Krepost in Age of Empires II.  The appeal I find to this is that during the post-Peloponnesian War era, Sparta extended its authority by establishing garrisons in other cities like Thebes, and this could be a cool way of representing that.  Better yet, it could be unique as a structure you could build in allied territory as a means of supporting or even coercing them depending on the way diplomacy functions in a game.  

    • Like 1
  10. On 15/11/2023 at 11:30 AM, wowgetoffyourcellphone said:

    It would definitely be unique and give them flavor to have a wooden Greek theater, something I think a lot of people didn't know was a thing. For instance, Athens' first theater was wooden as well, and only later was rebuilt in stone and marble. 

    That kind of makes me think that the theatre could be available in the Town Phase for Athens, to later be upgraded in the City Phase.  

    The key point is that I don't see it feeding well into Sparta's cultural identity.  Athenian theatre has a long and rich history, starting from the tragedians to Old Comedy and finally New Comedy.  If we want a structure with a similar function (namely expanding territory), it should relate to how Sparta conducted its imperialistic ambitions: governmental ideology.  During the time of Lysander especially, Sparta went about installing oligarchies, including the infamous 30 Tyrants of Athens.  This could be represented with their Gerousia structure, which would have the added bonus of having a bunch of yelling whenever you click on it (Sparta famously conducted voting by the loudest side winning).  

    On 15/11/2023 at 5:13 PM, wowgetoffyourcellphone said:

    Were wooden houses a well known Greek cultural element? 

    It's well established according to Plutarch at least that Spartan houses were a lot rougher looking than other city-states.  Wikipedia, citing a pretty reputable looking source, does note that the best reference for Spartan houses comes from Messenia, where the houses had stone foundations and clay walls.

  11. 8 hours ago, wowgetoffyourcellphone said:

    In another thread I produced evidence that Sparta has a wooden theater in Classical times. It would be interesting to still allow Sparta a Theater, but make it wooden, cost wood, and be weaker. 

    I did push against that idea, but I will admit that provides a decent grounding for Sparta retaining that structure, and I appreciate learning something new about Laconic culture.

  12. 3 hours ago, Genava55 said:

    @Thorfinn the Shallow Minded do you agree with @wowgetoffyourcellphone about the wooden theatre of Sparta?

    I don't.  Even with material evidence of a theatre, there is no evidence to my knowledge of Spartan playwrights.  This could very well be due to few documents surviving from that time, but by and large it seems that most Greek playwrights were either Athenian or Sicilian.  I think that parts of Sparta's nonmaterial culture can be celebrated in other ways.  Sparta for instance had poets like Tyrtaeus and Alcman.  I am more than willing to suggest having a Spartan theatre model for editor use.

    • Like 1
  13. On 14/11/2023 at 1:39 PM, Outis said:

    I think having notoriously horrible cavalry should not necessarily mean they have no stables. They have cavalry and the horses need to be trained somewhere. What makes more sense its to decrease their effectiveness as you suggested by limiting their progression or even removing some common cavalry upgrades from their tech tree. Or even introducing a penalty like a civilization bonus (as a debuff).

    Fair.  My thought was having production at the barracks.  The point is that cavalry were not from Sparta itself, and having irregular troops produced at the barracks would help communicate that.  

    I'd also agree that Agis IV is a poor choice.  I like Cleomenes III as a hero, but I think a problem is that it doesn't coincide with Spartan hegemony.  Introducing him would be interesting, however.  

    Lysander would be an intriguing option to explore, and kind of leads into the idea of Spartan naval gameplay involving acquiring Persian warships.  

    I have a soft spot personally for Agesilaus II, who I think led a fascinating life and was responsible for the only effectual Spartan cavalry force.  

    On 14/11/2023 at 9:18 AM, Vantha said:

    -the ability to train two heros at once

    I assume this refers to the fact that Sparta had two kings.  Personally I like that sort of idea, but only if the heroes in game were generic.  As is, Brasidas not being a king makes the whole idea kind of problematic.  Also, it kind of runs into the point that by that perspective Romans should have two heroes to model their consular government.  It's a slippery slope that I think the hero system is not designed to model.  The key problem with that is the need to introduce more heroes to those factions (in my opinion) to make that idea function, which would necessitate even more work.

    On 14/11/2023 at 2:08 PM, real_tabasco_sauce said:

    This is already done.

    Good to know.  

    • Thanks 1
  14. I've certainly made suggestions on how Sparta could and should be changed in my opinion, but I would like to hopefully revisit this topic to bring forward a number of suggestions that vary in controversy.  These will in part include negative suggestions, or things I find represented in the civilisation that are ahistorical that could be removed.  Second, there are positive suggestions, or things not represented in the civilisation that could make it more historical.  All of these changes are aimed at creating a more historically authentic, asymmetrical civilisation design that should hopefully make the faction more fun to play.  I would also note that these suggestions should not be taken as a whole but rather as individual pieces, and I am more than willing to admit fault to one being too game breaking in hope of others making their way into the game.  This is after all a game and not a simulation, and there are definite ramifications to a few of these suggestions. 

    Negative Suggestions:

    -Remove the Stable and Existing Perioikoi Cavalry:

    First, I would suggest removing the stable for a simple reason: Spartans had a notoriously horrible cavalry.  Worse, to my knowledge there is no instance of Perioikoi being fielded as a cavalry force.  Examples of cavalry in their army tended to take the form of allied contingents like Olynthian soldiers.  The idea of perioikoi fighting as horsemen comes off as absurd even before that evidence due to fact that only the wealthiest class could afford a horse, and a vassal town makes an unlikely candidate for that dramatic of a social structure.  Instead, all Allied Cavalry could instead be trained at the barracks at the trained at the Town Phase.  Now an obvious problem with this is the fact that it would have a dramatic economic effect on Sparta, which would be bad if solutions aren't put forward.  Here are a few:

    Make Skiritae the dedicated hunters for Spartan early game.  This could also be done to other units like Spartan women.  

    Have an extremely weak cavalry unit Spartans could train that would never rank up.  This could be called Perioikoi Cavalry (For lack of a better stand in) and would only have effectiveness as a scouting and hunting unit but nothing more.  

    -Remove the Theatre:

    Browsing through the Wikipedia list for Ancient Greek Playwrights, there are literally no playwrights that came from Sparta.  This is especially important since even if Spartans wanted to put on an Athenian play, it wouldn't work well since they spoke a completely different dialect.  This has the indirect benefit of making factions with the theatre more unique.  This has already been raised, but I think that more exposure to a good idea is a good thing.

    -Remove the Market:

    Spartans had measures to ensure that trade with other city states was impractical in part due to their iron currency.  I could see the argument of introducing the market an phase later if one would still like to emphasise the issue Sparta had with trade, give a clear gameplay effect, and still not penalise the player too much especially in the late game or team game situations.  

    -Remove the Watchtower:

    This is a wall turret in all but name.  Sparta should have the capacity to defend itself, but static structures like this should not be the basis of their tactics.

    -Make the Civic Centre Train Women and Helots Exclusively:

     This would play into theming of Sparta better.  The Civic Centre can be a purely economic structure dedicated to two units that were central to Spartan life; the Barracks would train vassal or allied troops, and the Mess Hall would train Spartans.  This is a significant departure from typical Civic Centre design, but I think that having variations on this template would benefit the game, and in the future we should put more thought into what specific unit classes are available to be produced from a faction's Civic Centre.  

    Positive Suggestions:

    -Replace the Helot Javelinist with a Perioikoi Javelinist:

    Helots were a distinct social class from the rest of Spartan society, and representing them as soldiers willing to easily die for their country is pretty ahistorical.  Instead, by replacing the Helot unit with the Perioikoi one, you would better represent a role Perioikoi often played in Spartan campaigns.  

    -Add the Helot Worker:

    This would be a purely economic unit similar to the woman but generally better at collecting every type of resource.  For argument's sake, I could see this unit having a weak ranged attack, but I think anything more would be unthematic.  These would be available to train at the Civic Centre.  They could take up a fighting role by researching a technology called Emancipation or Neodamodeis (Based on the term for an emancipated Helot: νεοδαμώδεις).  This would be akin to the Norse ability in Age of Mythology to transform workers into military units with a nominal cost.  Brasidas could also provide a discount to this emancipation. 

    -Make Women have an Economic Aura for Helots:

    This would help to make Spartan woman have an integral role in Spartan economy that would hopefully encourage players to balance between protecting themselves with Citizen Soldiers and Spartans and building up a robust economy.  Since their role would in part be auxiliary, I could see them having a higher food cost to compensate for this.

    -Make Spartans Available In the Village Phase:

    This has been raised by me and many others for an obvious reason: it's pretty oxymoronic for Sparta to not have access to its quintessential unit until the City Phase.  It's effectiveness during this time could be reduced during that point, but I think the suggestion speaks for itself.  Along with this point, Spartans should begin the game with a Spartan.  That would be fun thing like how Kush starts the game with a priest.  Basically, strategy for any player with the Spartans should centre around this specific unit.  


    My apologies if any of these suggestions are redundant with the Community Mod.  I have exclusively made these suggestions based on my experience with the alpha alone.  Likewise, if any team members or volunteers have already made patches addressing some of the above issues, you have my thanks.

  15. It's quite clear that @Stan` work has been great.  From being a contributor, irenic leader, and dedicated volunteer, 0 AD looks a lot better from his involvement.  While this sort of announcement does seem unfortunate, I hope you continue to bring the qualities you have to whatever new passions you encounter.

    • Like 5
  16. What honestly disappoints me about the variants is that they could have made something like Outremer, the Teutonic Order, and Norman Sicily be represented, which I think could have some really fun distinctions historically and geographically.  As is, they feel like a wasted opportunity to both blend existing assets and new ones to create cool hybrids.

  17. The point is that 0 AD does not represent factions over a broad period of time.  It is supposed to be a snapshot, and the Punic Wars represent a period where the Roman Republic was still fairly functional and the soldiers were still militias.  I would endorse representing a Roman civilisation from a later point to be able to show Caesar conquering  Gaul, but that would involve a functionally different Rome with a clear delineation between its civilian population and its military.  

    The real question to ask is what can an onager do that other siege weapons in the game can't?  I'll admit that it's cool, but having a redundant unit added to a roster is unnecessary noise that a player would have to deal with.

    • Like 1
    • Sad 1
  18. 17 hours ago, ShadowOfHassen said:

    I'm researching the theater for the encyclopedia right now and the Macedonians did as well.

    This is true, but as per my above post, French have McDonald's.  

    Let's perhaps reframe it this way.  It goes without saying that philosophy was extremely important in Athens, so in a hypothetical world, let's say that an academy building is introduced to represent that.  Ah, but Aristotle mentored Alexander the Great, so surely Academies should be buildable for them also.  I am not doubting the fact that Macedonians built theatres, in fact the models used to represent theatres are entirely unlike the hillside amphitheatres Athenians would have sat at to watch a play of Sophocles.  The point I am contending is that theatres are not core to Macedonian identity, and in a game in which Hellenic/Hellenistic factions are ubiquitous, giving these factions differentiation is helpful.

    In short, there are obvious reasons for Sparta to not have a theatre.  For Macedonia it is a bit more of a mixed bag, but I think it would be entirely appropriate to remove it.  Its presence is an artefact of when all Hellenic factions were a single one.  

  19. 7 hours ago, hyperion said:

    Athens might be the originator but by the time of 0ad I believe it already spread across Greek, so giving it to others doesn't feel that wired to me. If it was a named theater used as a wonder then it would be a different story.

    I would look at the case like this.  Suppose that a strategy game has America represented in it, and to show the importance of fast food there, it has access to the McDonald's building.  However, McDonald's is an international corporation, so obviously Canada and France should have it too.

    That seems to be the logic behind giving it to every Hellenistic/Hellenic faction.  Granted, there are playwrights that are not Athenian.  I found browsing Encyclopaedia Britannica's list of Greek playwrights that there is Epicharmus (From Sicily), Alexander Aetolus (Who served in the Ptolemaic court), Herodas (from Cos), Philemon (from Sicily), Sophron of Syracuse, Choerilus (from Samos).  The rest are Athenian, making them make up 70% of listed Greek playwrights.  I'm sure there were many other writers from other cities, and given the number of Sicilians represented, I would endorse a Sicilian theatre, but the whole notion of extending that to other factions feels a bit strange.

    • Haha 1
  20. I would agree with chrstgtr on the metal trickle.  (Honestly I would contend that the Ptolemy bonus of a food trickle should also be changed to better reflect Egypt's farming.  A trickle discourages farming if anything.)

    For one thing there is no historical basis as far as I am aware for making Macedonians get metal, and if anything, their region was better known for its forests, and some bonus like trees lasting longer would be more appropriate.

    • Like 1
  21. 2 hours ago, borg- said:

    It is currently not possible to regenerate health determined by own, neutral or enemy ground. Maybe you can build storehouses in neutral territory?

    Well I'm not married to the idea of it being tied to one specific territory type.  It could just be that the units regenerate.  

    Building storehouses in neutral territory feels like a very different kind of bonus.  It doesn't seem like something that brings to mind any good basis historically, but I could see it presenting a Macedonian player with a pretty interesting possible playstyle, and that alone makes it seem worth considering.

  22. While that conclusion might be valid on some levels, I think that it misses the profound degree to which cavalry dominated Macedonian armies.  Alexander throughout his campaigns relied on hammer and anvil tactics in which the pikes served as the obvious anvil while Alexander personally led the cavalry charges.  This was a decisive change in how cavalry were employed, with them being a key shock element.  

    A few ways this could be reflected could be with a charging attack akin to the coustillier in Age of Empires 2.  An alternative option could be to give them a staggered increase in movement speed to better close the gap.  I'm open to other ideas, but Macedonian cavalry should be some of the best in the game.

    17 hours ago, Philip the Swaggerless said:

    Wait, what? :D   I think just make the pikemen (and siege?) faster.  

    The main idea behind that idea would be to reflect the fact that Aledander's army marched through land where they relied on foraging for resources.  Them regenerating hitpoints would reflect that and give the Macedonian player an edge in keeping his army in shape for the next fight.  Pikemen being faster would have precedent; they did execute some rather impressive manoeuvres at the Battle of Gaugamela and the Thracian Campaign.  The reason I was not so keen on that was to maintain their role as an anvil while the cavalry and hypaspists acted in a more mobile manner in the campaigns.

    • Like 1
  • Create New...