BNM Armor & Weapons

The Bavarian National Museum in Munich (English overview) holds a vast store of Bavarian and European art and other cultural artifacts. One of its rooms displays late medieval and early modern armor and weapons. A few days ago I took pictures of the most interesting items, which is really most of them – it’s a … Continue reading “BNM Armor & Weapons”

Munich Jagdmuseum

Last September I visited Munich’s Deutsches Jagd- und Fischereimuseum (German Museum for Hunting and Fishing) and took pictures of some unusual exhibits. When I went to the Museum Starnberger See this January, I realized that its excellent model of the huge Bucentaur lake galley was likely the same one depicted in a Jagdmuseum painting, so … Continue reading “Munich Jagdmuseum”

Religion & Life Strategy

The nature and dynamics of world religions by Nicolas Baumard & Coralie Chevallier (2015, also as PDF) examines archaic religions, current world religions, and the ongoing decline of religiosity in rich countries by the light of life history theory, here applied to the varying circumstances of human societies rather than the evolution of different species. … Continue reading “Religion & Life Strategy”

Munich Villa Stuck

Nearly forgotten today, Franz von Stuck (1863–1928) was a popular and highly acclaimed artist in his time. Stuck designed his Munich villa (built 1897–98) as a rich homage to European art, from antiquity to contemporary styles. Like most late 19th century attempts to revive historical aesthetics in the industrial era its splendor borders on kitsch, … Continue reading “Munich Villa Stuck”

Tainter’s Collapse of Complex Societies

The Collapse of Complex Societies (Cambridge University Press 1988; paperback 1990, 250 pages, ISBN 978-0-521-38673-9) is Joseph A. Tainter’s magnum opus and deservedly considered a classic. Tainter packs an overview of explanations of collapse, analyses of historical cases, and his own overarching theory into one slim book, soberly argued from quantifiable data yet quite readable. … Continue reading “Tainter’s Collapse of Complex Societies”

Etruscans & Greeks

Munich’s museums lower their ticket prices to €1 on Sundays, a great opportunity to check out interesting special exhibitions. Last Sunday the Staatliche Antikensammlungen opposite the Glyptothek featured a large number of remarkable Etruscan pieces. I took a couple of pictures with the iPhone 5s, and also some from the regular Greek exhibition in the … Continue reading “Etruscans & Greeks”

King Ludwig’s Walhalla

King Ludwig I of Bavaria (1786–1868) was the grandfather of Ludwig II (1845–1886) who eclipsed him in popular memory as the “Märchenkönig:” patron of Richard Wagner, Neuschwanstein castle, mysterious early death. Ludwig I was rather more mundane but left a much greater cultural legacy, simultaneously industrializing Bavaria – site of the first German railway in … Continue reading “King Ludwig’s Walhalla”

Tales from the Roman Republic

Rome’s messy transition from republic to principate has been well-documented by ancient authors and often revisited by modern ones. Since 1990 there has been a veritable explosion of historical fiction set in this era. I’ve devoured a good part of it, so here are some recommendations for your reading pleasure. The authors generally keep to … Continue reading “Tales from the Roman Republic”