The Legions of Rome, 201BC divsion champions!
November 2, 2012 11:20 PM   Subscribe

Help me brainstorm for a new project! What are some iconic conflicts in history (not necessarily military)?

I'm brainstorming for a new project and I'd love to get your help. I make "geek-friendly" t-shirts for a living and I like to do a new lineup each year. Previously my stuff was mostly Science / Philosophy based, but I've received a lot of e-mails asking me to do shirts for the history lovers out there, and I feel like it's about time I listened.

So my idea so far is to try and create sports team style logos, but for the participants in historical conflicts. Think a logo for "The Carthaginian War Elephants" instead of "The Tennessee Titans".

Right now I'm still pretty early in the brainstorming process, so I'm not sure if I'll do just single logos on a shirt, or pairs (like X vs Y). Also I might decide to include mythologies, or classic works of fiction.

Naturally there will be the possibility for things to get tasteless, so I'll be staying away from anything too recent or sensitive, but here's a few examples of the kinds of things I've been thinking:

2nd Punic War (the Legions of Rome vs. the Carthaginian War Elephants)

Sherman Anti-Trust Act (the Trustbusters vs the Robber Barons)

The Sinking of the Titanic (the Southampton Unsinkables vs the North Atlantic Icebergs)

Things like the Protestant Reformation also seems ripe for this.

Also if I do solo designs instead of (or in addition to) the "vs" designs then it wouldn't have to based on a conflict, it could just be a movement or event of importance. For example I could see just doing a design for the Renaissance Men of Florence, or say the suffragettes without having to have a specific competitor in mind.

Any ideas spring to mind?
posted by Jezztek to Grab Bag (39 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Oh, and what do you think would be a good name for the site?
posted by Jezztek at 11:21 PM on November 2, 2012

On the front of all styles: A Golden Apple and the word kallisti or ΚΑΛΛΙΣΤΗΙ.
You could do four teams or regions: Eris, Aphrodite, Hera, Athena
And as many teams and/or factions from the Trojan War as you wanted.
posted by carsonb at 11:37 PM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Tesla v. Edison
posted by Muttoneer at 12:02 AM on November 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

Red roses vs white roses (for War of the Roses, York vs Lancaster)
posted by gt2 at 12:05 AM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Humans va Buggers (Enders Game)
posted by gt2 at 12:09 AM on November 3, 2012

Hatfields vs. McCoys
posted by amyms at 12:09 AM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Wagner versus Brahms
posted by Namlit at 12:12 AM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

"Historical Versus" Tees? (and Caps/Pennants/Mugs/etc?)

Can't link to it easily, but the opening of the "Why Can't We Be Friends" video comes to mind...
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 12:34 AM on November 3, 2012

Edward Drinker Cope vs Othniel Charles Marsh

Team Edward! Team Othniel!
posted by brundlefly at 12:38 AM on November 3, 2012 [3 favorites]

Roundheads vs. Cavaliers
posted by Garm at 12:39 AM on November 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Some great suggestions so far, thanks much! Keep 'em coming.
posted by Jezztek at 12:44 AM on November 3, 2012

Lincoln vs Douglas!

Federalists vs Republicans!

I would wear the hell out of a Muckrakers t-shirt.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 1:06 AM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

"Actual World Championships":

Greeks vs. Persians
Mongols vs. China
Byzantines vs. Ottomans

Something in the same tongue-in-cheek literary/historical ballpark I'd seriously go for? T-shirts for non-existent institutions of ruined and/or imaginary places, e.g. Tenochtitlan Department of Agriculture (Meat Inspection Division), South Wessex Reformatory for Women, or the King's Landing Moral Decency League.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 1:10 AM on November 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

I propose that the Protestant Reformation was in reality a battle of the bands: Nine Inch Nails vs. the Doors.
posted by themanwho at 1:17 AM on November 3, 2012 [5 favorites]

Newton vs. Leibniz
posted by mannequito at 1:22 AM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

"Remember the Maine, to Hell with Spain!"
posted by zinon at 1:48 AM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Marlowe vs Shakespeare
posted by Prof Iterole at 1:56 AM on November 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

Martin Luther vs. the Catholic Church.
posted by XhaustedProphet at 2:05 AM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

U.S. court cases:
Brandenburg v. Ohio
Brown v. Board of Education
Dred Scott v. Sandford
Gideon v. Wainwright
Hustler Magazine v. Falwell
Loving v. Virginia
Marbury v. Madison
McCullough v. Maryland
Miranda v. Arizona
Roe v. Wade
State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes

Other rivalries:
Nixon vs. Kennedy
Henry VIII vs. his wives

David Livingstone
Ferdinand Magellan
Francis Drake
Henry Hudson
Hernan Cortes
Hernando De Soto
John Cabot
Leif Ericson
Lewis & Clark
Marco Polo
Ponce De Leon
Vasca Da Gama

Alexander the Great
Carrie Nation
Archduke Ferdinand
Genghis Kahn
Guy Fawkes
Sacco and Vanzetti
posted by maurreen at 2:15 AM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Medieval knights on horseback vs. archers / early use of gunpowder (the battle of Agincourt).
posted by rjs at 2:21 AM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

To understand the Brahms vs. Wagner that was mentioned above, google "war of the romantics".

A 20th century music feud: moldy figs vs. modernists.

Not historical, more of an academic gag: apollonians vs. dionysians.

Damn, I had another one but I forgot it in all that time it took me to type that on my phone. Oh well, seems like there are tons of these. Wasn't there some feud between the artists Ingre and Delacroix? I forget what the crux was.
posted by Rich Smorgasbord at 2:35 AM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Workers vs Bosses?
Proletariats vs Capitalists?
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:23 AM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

man vs. nature
posted by telstar at 3:26 AM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

How about the famous quotation by the expansively named and impressively hirsute historian John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, first Baron Acton (1834–1902, you could include a portrait photo). The historian and moralist expressed this opinion in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton in 1887:

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men."

While he wasn't the first to advance the sentiment (William Pitt the Elder and Alphonse de Lamartine said similar things before him), his quote is the best known formulation - although the afterthought is often left out, greater's the pity.

In this context you could e.g. pictorially pit Acton against Alexander the Great, Caesar, Frederick the Great, Napoleon, Mao - all considered "great men" but directly responsible for the deaths of at least 10 percent of their respective nation's soldiers, never mind the enemy's.

Taking this idea further, why not create [pictorial] couples of 'opposites' - e.g. Florence Nightingale vs. Napoleon, Marie Curie vs. Robert Oppenheimer, pen vs. sword, etc.? Or put one on the front and the other on the back of the (?symmetrically tailored and hence reversible) T-shirt? Or - if the thickness of the material is sufficient to prevent pictures "showing through" then you could have 'opposite' pictures inside and out, and wearers could chose which one to display on any given day according to their mood, making it 2-in-1 shirts. Or sell simple shirts in matching pairs (2 for the price of 1?) as an incentive to purchase from you.
posted by kairab at 3:28 AM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Capone vs. Ness
posted by mannequito at 3:39 AM on November 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

Neoclassicism vs. Romanticism. That was it. Duh. It's bedtime.
posted by Rich Smorgasbord at 3:42 AM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Roundheads vs Cavaliers
Habsburgs vs Ottomans
Sail vs Steam
George III vs George Washington
Adams vs Jefferson
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:30 AM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Hamilton vs. Burr
posted by Alison at 5:16 AM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Iceni vs Romans (Verulaneam's going down!)
posted by freya_lamb at 5:19 AM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Beatles vs Stones
posted by Thorzdad at 5:39 AM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Propeller vs Paddlewheel
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 5:52 AM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Roundheads vs. Cavaliers has the advantage of already sounding like a pair of sports teams.

Plebs v. Senators?
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 7:50 AM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Jocks vs Nerds. Revenge of the Nerds and Simpsons references.
List of duels.
Bond vs. (insert movie villian)
Historical cases of cannibalism.
Indian warriors.
Diablo or hell creatures vs. other angels. See video games for characters.
posted by brent at 10:10 AM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Wow, woke up to lots of great suggestions!
posted by Jezztek at 10:44 AM on November 3, 2012

Nature v. Nurture
posted by imalaowai at 11:41 AM on November 3, 2012

farmers v ranchers (they should be friends)
posted by LonnieK at 7:02 PM on November 3, 2012

Habsburgs vs Ottomans
I've been reading a lot about this lately and I think Hapsburgs vs Bourbons would be better.

Fredric the Great vs Maria Theresa
Martin Luther vs Pope Leo X (or Ignatius of Loyola, if you want ecumenical grar)
posted by fiercekitten at 11:00 PM on November 3, 2012

John Henry versus the steam hammer
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 5:38 AM on November 4, 2012

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