17 Comments
Dec 8, 2022Liked by Helen Dale

Love the summary, guaranteed to read it now and had passed on it earlier.

One thing you can have industrialisation and slavery. And the issues you explore that upset the Americans so much could get even more interesting.

You are a phenomenon

Thanks for being in the public square

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You're most welcome!

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Dec 8, 2022Liked by Helen Dale

Well, you've sold that to me! I'm really excited about reading it. 😁😁

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Music to a novelist's ears!

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Dec 8, 2022Liked by Helen Dale

I'm just finishing La Scapigliata's book (highly recommended), then yours are lined up!

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Dec 8, 2022Liked by Helen Dale

"it is always disturbing to see developed and sophisticated fictional societies resorting to trial by battle"...

I vaguely recall a story (it was pre-COVID, so I can't recall how long ago it was) that someone in the UK tried to invoke trial by combat to get out of paying for a parking violation. So, it wouldn't necessarily be out of the realm of (fictional) possibility for an advanced society to still have it sitting on its books.

Granted the two people who could have made the most of it in a fictional setting- Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett- are sadly no longer with us, but still I could imagine it still existing in some form.

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On the books is possible; used for when someone breaches a delivery contract, no - both Romans and English got rid of that very early in their legal development.

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More is the pity

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Dec 10, 2022Liked by Helen Dale

I think Duelling had serious merits. Not everything but enough that it shouldn’t be discarded as a dispute resolution mechanism

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Dec 10, 2022·edited Dec 10, 2022Author

Thanks

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Dec 10, 2022Liked by Helen Dale

The concept of reputation as ‘hostage capital’ is one I had not found before. Explains so much. Thanks again. You are still better than the ai bot

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Dec 9, 2022Liked by Helen Dale

Iam not much into fiction but this sounds like something I might enjoy. However, if you took the above and turned that into a book, I would read it in a heartbeat!

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Dec 9, 2022·edited Dec 10, 2022Author

Alas, while I'm well-capable of writing short-form non-fiction, legal commentary, and policy analysis, at length I'm a novelist. I have a publisher leaning on me for non-fiction at present, and I'm trying to fob them off with a memoir.

Just the way I'm made as a writer.

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Dec 10, 2022Liked by Helen Dale

Understood. Do what you love! In you research did you find anyone who has done this?

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To complete an industrial revolution seemed to involve science, engineering and maths. The Romans certainly had engineering. Even so, the computer scientist Doug McIlroy observed that "... bad notations can stifle progress. Roman numerals hobbled mathematics for a millennium ..." I have wondered how Roman engineers worked with them. Perhaps they used another system and then mapped back into the elaborate tally form (similar to converting the mixed-radix system LSD to say pennies for calculation, then mapping the final result back to LSD). Perhaps in an alternative timeline they simply adopted arabic numerals that much earlier.

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They used another system, adapting Greek letters & developing special notation for zero: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_numerals#Zero. I preserved this system in KOTW, which was a bit tricky because I had to learn it first. Fortunately, modern Greek still uses it for ordinal numbers.

Relatedly, there's a memorable poem by Horace describing the experience of being taught fractions using Roman numerals. This was unpleasant, according to the author.

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