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Talking Strategy

Sep 12, 2023

While most of the political and military commanders whom we now call ‘great’ were often ruthless or megalomaniacs, Korean Admiral Yi Sun-sin is remembered not only for his military prowess but also for his integrity and humility. He came to his nation’s rescue in extremis when others had failed.

The 15th and 16th...

Aug 29, 2023

Frederick II of Prussia, like the Era of the Enlightenment in which he lived, was torn about warfare: was it to be humanised, or was it to be perfected? As king he favoured the latter, earning the respect of contemporaries as the greatest strategist of his age.

Frederick in his youth thought Machiavelli’s instructions...

Aug 15, 2023

Alexander III of Macedon posed as the ‘Son of Zeus’, but followed the advice of his biological father, King Philip II, to get out of Macedon and “seek a kingdom equal to yourself”. Between 336 and 323 BC, Alexander the Great created the largest empire the Middle East had known.

Macedonian expansionism had begun...

Aug 1, 2023

Shaka Zulu (c. 1787–1828) was the most powerful king in southern Africa during the pre-colonial period. He forged a polity that would become the largest in the region through the ruthless use of his reorganised and loyal army.

Initially regarded as an upstart, Shaka managed to impose himself as a regional ruler....

Jul 18, 2023

Dr John O. Hyland joins Paul and Beatrice to discuss fifth-century BC Persian ruler Xerxes I, whose royal progress took him to the Western boundaries of his empire.

Xerxes I tried to extend his rule beyond the Aegean, which his father had failed to accomplish. For a land power this was a challenge, despite the...