Dis Manibus - Paul McDonnell-Staff

Relief of a steersman from Cologne - Paul McDonnell-Staff rowed on the Olympias and was very interested in ancient naval warfare as well.

Last Saturday I woke up to the shocking news that Paul McDonnell-Staff had passed away on March 12. Regular readers of Ancient Warfare surely recognise his name from the dozens of contributions he published in the magazine since issue II.2. In fact, you read his work without knowing it was he, for Paul wrote Tactically Speaking under the nom-de-plume 'Tacticus'. For me, and likely for many of you as well, issue II.2 wasn't the first time I'd ever read anything he had written as Paul had been the research assistant for John Warry's Warfare in the Classical World.

Looking back, I see Paul first subscribed on the day issue I.1 returned from the printer, June 18, 2007. Not long after, I got the first message in what was to become a regular to-and-fro email conversation. This was added to later by occasional chats on Skype. Paul can also be heard in some of the earliest Ancient Warfare podcasts.

Living in Queensland, Australia, Paul's emails were often waiting for me in the morning. To be honest, those didn't always go down well before my first coffee. Paul was truly passionate about ancient military history and that was expressed in both his criticism and his praise. He'd tease, cajole, and encourage me to make Ancient Warfare into what he thought it ought to be. That didn't always mesh with my ideas, or what I thought was doable and possible. Somehow, however, we always managed to straighten things out when strong minds collided, probably due to the quirky end to his sign-off that always ended in "...from sunny Brisbane" (it never seemed to be bad weather there).

Paul will live on in the already published issues of Ancient Warfare as well as in one or two more issues for which he'd already submitted content. I'll miss him going forward and I wish his loved ones strength and courage in the time to come.

Leave a comment

Related Posts