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The Whole North Into Gaul
Here you guys go, smack me with what criticisms you have.

If you want the reference to the lines of the Notitia Dignitatum I am referring to it is:

Praefectus Sarmatarum et Taifalorum gentilium, Pictavis.
Praefectus Sarmatarum gentilium, a Chora Parisios usque.
Praefectus Sarmatarum gentilium, inter Renos et Tambianos
provinciae Belgicae secundae.
Praefectus Sarmatarum gentilium, per tractum Rodunensem et
Praefectus Sarmatarum gentilium, Lingonas.
Praefectus Sarmatarum gentilium, Au......
{rest missing?}

The Last one is probably Aurelianum, and the first Alan settlement in Gaul by the Romans occurred in 435 when it is recorded by Merobaudes as along the Seine and the Loire near Aurelianum.
Excellent! I don't know too much about this time period, so I look forward to learning something. Hopefully I get a chance to read it this weekend.
David J. Cord
I will certainly read it as well.

1. Don't trust Spell-Check.

2. Have someone else read it for errors and typos.

3. Include at least one obtuse joke. Not many Roman jokes out there, but here's one: How many Romans does it take to replace a light bulb? Wink
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
Great job. I got a chance to read it and really enjoyed it and learned a lot. Unfortunately I know next to nothing of this era and so can’t say anything about your content. I do have a few thoughts about the writing, though. Remember these are mostly just my personal opinions. Feel free to disregard anything you want to disregard. :wink:

Quote:Both fear and determination are staunch smells…
Is ‘staunch’ the word you want here? It doesn’t seem to work for me.
Quote:The Battle of Catalaunian Plans is one of the only battles of the 5th century that was given a decent account of, but most historians have done little to determine what happened, or where it was.
This seems a bit awkward. You might try to rewrite this in four or five different ways, then read them aloud and see which version you like best. Contrary to popular belief, you can end a clause with a word such as ‘of,’ but you need to make sure it is clear. It wasn’t clear to me.
Quote:“De origine actibusque getarum” … “the Origins and deeds of the Goths”
Sometimes style guides differ on how to capitalise in titles, but I would put this as “De origine actibusque Getarum” and “The Origins and Deeds of the Goths.” Capitalise first word, last word, nouns, verbs and modifiers in most cases in English titles. This can differ in other languages, but I glanced through JSTOR and saw they tended to capitalise Jordanes in the way I suggested.
Quote:In it, he provided the only detailed account of the Battle of Catalaunian Fields there is, although with bias towards the role…
The word ‘although’ makes me think the second clause will have a relation to the first, but this isn’t what you are doing. This is a new thought, so you could use ‘and’ or start a new sentence to explain his bias.
Quote:Jordanes wrote with bias because of for whom he was writing, his brother…
This is a convoluted sentence. You could simplify, such as starting with: “Jordanes was biased because of his Gothic ancestry. He wrote for his brother…” and so on.
Quote:The intention is to look at these sources, and offer new interpretations, and theories, that have not been suggested before.
I love commas in unexpected places and the repetitive use of ‘and’ to ratchet up the tension in a sentence. David Foster Wallace and Cormac McCarthy are masters at this. Here, though, it disrupts the otherwise beautiful flow of this sentence. Read it aloud and you’ll see what I mean. You might consider dropping the second and third commas. There are several ways you could do this.
Quote:These include the presence of the Frisii at the battle…
I think this should be broken up into several shorter sentences. At the moment the commas are separating different nouns in each clause, as well as separating each clause. There are several sentences like this I noticed.
Don’t forget to capitalise!
Quote:…left the majority of their Army in reserve…that puts Aetius army at a…
Sometimes you capitalise this as a proper name, such as ‘Illyrian Army’ and sometimes you don’t. You also do this with parts of the army, such as ‘Left.’ I don’t think it matters much if you consider them as proper names and so capitalise, but be careful to be consistent. Also, I think it should be ‘…Aetius’ army...’
Quote:…could have fielded around 20,000 men. The other kingdoms on the Roman side probably couldn’t have fielded much…
You are perfectly correct here, but you might consider using some synonyms for ‘fielded.’ This simply makes the text more interesting to read. Change it up a bit. Get creative and have fun with it. Have as much fun writing as you do researching a topic.
Quote:…the Armoricans/Romano-British who heralded the call…
I don’t think I would use ‘heralded’ here.
Quote:…warbands of militia troops; barbarians called to arms…
It might be better to use a colon here instead of a semicolon.
Quote:…one of the legendary conflicts that whose tale would be remembered…
This is a bit jarring, at least to me. Maybe something like ‘one of the legendary conflicts the tale of which would be remembered…’
Quote:…Theodoric is slain…
I absolutely love the switch to present tense. This makes the narrative present and immediate, and reaches out and grabs the reader. Good job here.
Quote:…Ian Hughes Suggests…
‘…Ian Hughes suggests…’

A lot of this stuff I mention is nit-picking, but I just wanted to mention a variety of things for you to think about so you can make it as good as possible. I think it is a great first draft, and I can’t wait to see your next version. Good job!
David J. Cord
Good critique, David.

Evan - I think you need to decide on the tone of the piece. You've used quite a lot of literary-sounding phrases that are intended to be evocative, but which dilute the purpose of your writing. You need to be clearer and tighter in your expression, avoid vague claims and make sure you support your references. The result might initially seem less exciting, but will have a far more solid foundation and greater academic appeal.

For example, in your first paragraph:

across the plain below huddles a crowded mass of infantry - below what? How do you know they 'huddle'?

Above them stand an army of equal size - in what way 'Above'? If you're starting with some landscape description you need to be clear on the topography.

heavy infantry locked in place - 'locked' how? Makes me think of those Persians, supposedly chained to the spot!

Both fear and determination are staunch smells - This is 'poetic' language, suitable for a novel perhaps, but these overheated phrases undermine the foundations of your argument.

many historians will say the outcome of this battle saved civilization itself
- who? What do these people mean by 'civilisation itself'? I know you're leaving references/footnotes out of this draft, but such sweeping statements thrown in so close to the beginning are going to be hard to support. Leave this for the conclusion, if at all.

one of the only battles of the 5th century that was given a decent account of
- I'd rephrase this: 'one of the few 5th century battles of which we have a decent account', although that's still a bit clunky...

most modern historians have done little to determine what happened, or where it was
- again, bit sweeping with the 'most historians' - cite a few names here, maybe, and say what they have done? It helps to precis the previous scholarship before you start building your own argument. Here you seem to just dismiss it.

the sources that left their accounts provide indirect clues as to what may have happened
- but surely if a source has left an account, that's a pretty 'direct' clue? Or is there something dubious about the sources?

archaeological finds shed light on where it may lie hidden - 'hidden' implies that somebody hid it; this is sort of sensational 'lost battle' talk, common with TV historians! Better avoid it, I think.

A handful of scholars who have put the pieces of this battle together overlooked some key things
- Bit vague here with the 'things'. Either state some of your argument here or leave it for later; you don't need to build suspense.

a real picture of the battle can be put together - maybe be more cautious? You're offering a hypothetical model of the battle, not revealing objective truth.

As David says, this too is nit-picking, but I think the language and phraseology you use is important if you want your argument to stand up and be taken seriously.
Nathan Ross
Alright, thanks guys!

This is an inital draft, my copy of "The Goths" just came in so I will definitely be making some improvements beginning tonight.

Thanks for reminding me of the Archaeological part, I gotta fix that (and add a paragraph for the Pouan find and subsequent finds in the area).

Nitpicking is good, make me think hard about how to organize and write this correctly. Will be sure to use these tips.

EDIT: Started a few changes to wording and grammar to make it sound more professional like suggested. Furthermore, I intend to have read all of "The Goths" by Friday so I can begin reading "The Huns" (A Re-publishing of Attila and the Huns) by E.A. Thompson.
Not my second draft, but tried to make some improvements:

EDIT: System did not take the file.
Alan - I'm still waiting for the punch line!
Evan - Did you upload a new version? To me, it looks identical to the earlier version. The URLs are exactly the same, too.
David J. Cord
The system might not have taken it. I'll try again later.
Okay, here is a new version. This is my rough draft, I still need to add some sources in but I have quite a few. The JLA requires sources to be done in footnotes.

Harsh Criticism is the Best Criticism! I need all the help I can get. :wink:
Draft Number 4, I hope to edit this one into my final draft soon. Please read it and any suggestions are helpful.
Also, for reference here is the JLA Formatting Guide


Attached Files
.pdf   jlastyle1.pdf (Size: 144.47 KB / Downloads: 0)
As I never heard back from you guys (no offense intended), I went ahead and edited this into what is more or less a final version. I would really appreciate it if you guys would look over it before I submit it.

Thank You,
Hi Evan, are you allowed to put maps in your paper to Illustrate your points. I am no scholar but I am an avid reader & I love maps so I was wondering if you should have a series of simple maps of described region with the battle dispositions of both sides in 3 stages and illustrate movements of forces with arrows.
1. Start of battle
2. Crucial point in battle
3. End of battle
It might be a good way to illustrate your crowbar like Roman formation during the battle.
Michael Kerr
Michael Kerr
"You can conquer an empire from the back of a horse but you can't rule it from one"

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