Reading Roundup: Seafaring, War & Textiles

I like to keep track of and reflect on the various things that I’ve read over the course of a month. Then I select the most interesting of those things and share them here in hopes that others get value out of what I’ve learned.


  • Spindle Whorls of British Columbia I learned that the indigenous peoples of British Columbia used to make yarn and string out of nettle before they gained access to animal wool.
  • This delightful infographic explaining the differences between Alpacas & Llamas via r/BOLIVIA is a good reminder that successful herding cultures can make do without guard dogs: llama make a good example. Guard geese are surprisingly effective at protecting flocks of chickens, especially from threats like weasels and rodents.



  • This ELI5 thread explains why “red skies at morning” mean it’s going to storm later in the day. It has a lot of useful information about navigation and how weather and atmospheric conditions allow for useful predictions even with neolithic technology.
  • When philosopher met king: on Plato’s Italian voyages via Aeon Essays was an absolutely fascinating article I found while trying to learn more about how Plato blamed academics for the evils of democracy. Plato was so obsessed with the idea of helping foster a “philosopher king” that he sailed to Tyrant-run Syracuse, but despite repeated attempts to teach the local Tyrant to be a better king, it turns out that second-generation spoiled autocrats don’t always like being lectured to by old philosophers.
  • What it’s like to kayak the most dangerous Great Lake focused on kayaking in dangerous waters— it describes Lake Superior as a “saltless sea.” It’s a neat place to do boat-focused travel since you can actually camp on the islands and get the full experience, but I don’t think I would ever feel safe doing it via human-powered kayak or canoe.


* * *

Did you learn anything from this? Have any insights to share? Lingering questions? Something you read recently you think I’ll be interested in? Let me know in the comments!


Eleanor teaches Ancient Civilizations and spends the bits of time left over writing stories that bring history -- and magic -- to life. She enjoys rock climbing, bullet journaling, & gardening focused on plants you can actually eat.

You may also like...

2 Responses

  1. Sean Manning says:

    Thanks for your link! With your interests in everyday life and childhood in the last, you might be interested in Herrman the Lame who was born with severe physical difficulties and ended up an abbot and famous scholar He wrote a debate poem between the sheep and the flax plant (the Sumerian version of that one is between sheep and grain but I can’t think of any ancient Greek or Latin debate poems!)

Let me know what you think!