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BUILDING ON THE ROMANS ?
3

BUILDING ON THE ROMANS ?

BUILDING ON THE ROMANS ?

(OP)
This section of the forum has been a bit quiet recently.

Having just visited Rome, it's fascinating to speculate where civilisation might now be, if development continued following the Egyptian, Grecian and Roman Empires, rather than declining into the dark ages.

Steam power was there in Hero's time. Nothing really changed until mine dewatering was needed. Could there have been major steam power and subsequent industrial revolution around AD 0 since all the necessary technology was there ? Materials science could have developed along with strong materials, semiconductors ... why not ?

If that pace continued without interruption, where might we be now ? Could Newton and Leonardo have been even more inventive ? What about Einstein ?

Hydrocarbon fuels would have been here and gone. Could there have been a place for the Sinclair C5 ? No, there are limits after all.

RE: BUILDING ON THE ROMANS ?

I think that many speculators make the mistake of thinking that if a particular age only this, or that, that something magical would have happened, and there would have been utopia, or there would have been an Industrial Age instead of the Dark Ages.  But the Dark Ages, like Afghanistan, was not a single-issue problem.  While the collapse of Rome led to the Dark Ages, the pieces of the Roman Empire were unable to sustain themselves with self governance.  That required the development of the feudal system of governance, etc.

A more thorough look at history of technology will show that most inventions occurred not because of a single person or a single happenstance, but through a confluence of many factors that, when combined, resulted a seemingly singular happenstance.

Steam power existed, yes, but the infrastructure for building and designing pressure vessels, plumbing, etc. did not

TTFN

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RE: BUILDING ON THE ROMANS ?

Egypt, Greece, China, Mongolia, Rome...  all vanished empires.  Seems a natural thing for empires to do.

RE: BUILDING ON THE ROMANS ?

Well, one might argue that China has had a resurgence in its influence.  The Chinese have invested tons of money in third world countries to gain access to minerals, etc.

TTFN

FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies

RE: BUILDING ON THE ROMANS ?

C2it,

   Read Terry Jones' book on Barbarians.  Terry Jones figures that it was the rise of the Roman Empire that did in all that new technology.

   The Greeks and Romans did not need labour saving devices as long as they had cheap slaves.

               JHG

RE: BUILDING ON THE ROMANS ?

After dreaming of how technology could have been advanced, you might want to consider the Luddite movement, the pet rock, and the Jerry Springer Show. I tend to believe that the future will probably be more like the movie Idiocracy or Brazil than some form of Utopia.



 

RE: BUILDING ON THE ROMANS ?

The Romans didn't really have a good engineering science system just take their belief that if the pipe was smaller then the water would run slower. Greek were much better but their time of influence was largely over. There wouldn't a lot more development with the Roman model continuing although other societies that were covered by the Roman Empire might well have something major.     

RE: BUILDING ON THE ROMANS ?

"What have the Romans ever done for us?"

Sorry, couldn't help it.

RE: BUILDING ON THE ROMANS ?

The Romans invented the Sheeps Foot Roller.  They were getting around to inventing the tractor to pull it when the Goths, Vandals, Lombards etc showed up.

RE: BUILDING ON THE ROMANS ?

Jeeze, some people should really check their grammar before posting. So unprofessional. The opinion therein is now worthless.....

peace
Fe

RE: BUILDING ON THE ROMANS ?

2
Nothing ever happened in isolation in either time or place.

James Burke's "Connections", well, connected, events happening around the world at the same time, and his "The Day That Changed The Universe" connected disparate events in time sequence, thus knitting together all the seemingly random bits of history that we learned by painful rote.  I wish there was a way to teach history like that in the first place.

 

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: BUILDING ON THE ROMANS ?

I've often wondered why the Native Americans didn't get to the bronze age.  What was so different in Europe than the Americas that they discovered bronze working?

RE: BUILDING ON THE ROMANS ?

One "geopolitical" theory about Europe vs. America is that the geography of Europe facilitated transfer of technology between places with similar needs.

Not so sure I buy this.  The Iroquois established a vast empire across the Great Lakes and Ohio River valley, with no appreciable technological advances.

Another thing feeding Europe's progress was a constant supply of invaders from the east.  This kept things stirred up and moving around.

RE: BUILDING ON THE ROMANS ?

marks1080,

   I do not think Europeans developed bronze working.  They learned it from the Middle East.   

   Copper seems to be a relatively rare, expensive material.  So-called bronze age cultures really did not use all that much bronze.  The ancient Egyptians for example, were more of a stone age civilization for example.  Metal did not come into common usage until they learned to work iron.

   Several American indian cultures used bronze, but they did not use very much of it.  

               JHG

RE: BUILDING ON THE ROMANS ?

And now we have the technololgical advances of the Ultra-Bronze tanning beds!

Isn't that great?

Mike McCann
MMC Engineering
Motto:  KISS
Motivation:  Don't ask

RE: BUILDING ON THE ROMANS ?

Don't forget, "Necessity is the Mother of all invention."  People rarely develop technology without some implicit or explicit need.  Was there really a need for a Bronze Age for the Indians?

TTFN

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RE: BUILDING ON THE ROMANS ?

Bronze swords and knives were better for fighting with  than pointy wooden sticks, but I'm not sure they were a whole lot better for hunting with than stone tools. (Actually pointy wooden sticks are not a bad infantry weapon, used correctly).

Perhaps bronze was used more for status than practiciality, in which case a small variation in culture might have rendered it unnecessary?

 

Cheers

Greg Locock


New here? Try reading these, they might help FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies  http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm?

RE: BUILDING ON THE ROMANS ?

A sword of any kind is a close-quarters weapon, and sword are mostly associated with massed infantry.  The American Indian never got into warfare on that level.

TTFN

FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies

RE: BUILDING ON THE ROMANS ?

Read "Guns, Germs & Steel" which suggest why civilisation took off in Europe rather than North America or Australia or Africa....

One thing to remember about the Romans (and the Greeks) was that some of their mathematics were pretty poor... the Greeks belived that geometry was the answer to everything, and have you ever tried to so any kind of arithemtic with Roman numerals?  I'd suggest that the invention of zero in India was carried to Europe via the Arab world, BECAUSE of the dark ages- European scholars going to Arab libraries because that was the only place that had copies of ancient Greek books also came across Indian ideas like zero.

Would this have occured if the Dark Ages hadn't happened?  Greek ideas would have remained pre eminent (nothing to learn from barbarians in the east); a bit like the way that the Greek concept of medicine inflicted bleeding as a medical cure until about a century ago...

(to be honest, medicine as a technology for getting better is a bit shite isn't it.... thousands of years persuing completely wrong ideas about the human body and disease, 150 years of actually understanding about germs and only about 60 years of actually being able to do anything about bacterial infections... not a great history is it??? )

RE: BUILDING ON THE ROMANS ?

IRstuff,

   Pointy sticks are the primary weapon for most massed infantry.  Swords are expensive, and usually used by nobles of some sort.  

   Don't forget Shaka Zulu's rule.  If you have a spear and you see a person you do not like and you throw your spear at him and miss, the person you do not like has your spear.  Javelins and arrows are effective hunting weapons.  They have serious limiations against nasty humans.  Most traditional military weapons are for close quarters.  

               JHG

RE: BUILDING ON THE ROMANS ?

Well, if your capacity to manufacture ballistic warheads is such that you can only issue a couple to each combatant then yes, their value is somewhat diminished.

However, if you can manufacture enough of them that they become effectively expendable (at least temporarily till you get to collect them at the end of the battle) then they can be very useful.  Also, if you can make them 'single shot' devices as many since the Roman javelin have been, they can be useful even in limited quantities.

Also has a lot to do with tactical application.  If you can issue enough ballistic warheads to a proportion of your troops that they can keep a much larger body of the enemy pinned down, then you have the advantage in tactical mobility.

The kind of wisdom you mention is situation-ally dependent.

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you)
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

RE: BUILDING ON THE ROMANS ?

Gotta like the references provided by Nic and Mike.  LPS for both.

RE: BUILDING ON THE ROMANS ?

Has anyone else watched the recent episodes about aliens visiting earth thousands of years ago on the History Channel?  

The one I watched discussed the pyramids and some of the other major stone ruins as well as the possibility of gliders or other flying machines.  They also talked about the possibility of a nucular powerer machine.  

They asked the question "are we really re-discovering some of these technologies that were somehow lost along the way?"

I can't say that I really buy into the whole thing, but they do make some interesting points.   

RE: BUILDING ON THE ROMANS ?

lol. Ancient nukes. That's a good one.  

peace
Fe

RE: BUILDING ON THE ROMANS ?

PatrickR,

   Read The Ancient Engineers by L. Sprague de Camp.  It explains a lot of this stuff.  Basically, ancient people like the Egyptians and the Incas had time, all sorts of cheap labour, and no gliders.  

   Remember Occam's Razor.  

               JHG

RE: BUILDING ON THE ROMANS ?

The nucular part of the story was definately the most unbelievable.  

They made some interesting points, but I find it hard to believe that someone could misplace technology as cool as a flying carpet.   

RE: BUILDING ON THE ROMANS ?

Quote:

It's obviously a suppressed technology, suppressed by the ancestors of today's car companies.  That's the LONG view...

As a fully sworn in 78th level member of the Illuminati and part-time NWO henchman (pays for those nice extras...know what I mean) I can tell you you wouldn't believe the periods of time over which we plan. Safe to say, my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandchildren will just about be seeing the first faint signs of the fruits of our labour...if they live to be over 100.

RE: BUILDING ON THE ROMANS ?

wa?

peace
Fe

RE: BUILDING ON THE ROMANS ?

Lots of Fox Mulders out there who really want to believe.

RE: BUILDING ON THE ROMANS ?

Quote:

wa?

Sorry, too much time spent lurking on the JREF forum. Some people out there would pooh-pooh the idea of aliens giving us/suppressing ancient technology as absurd and then seriously substitute Bigfoot as Earth's top brain, responsible for all its built wonders, instead.

Weird...

RE: BUILDING ON THE ROMANS ?

That's a interesting perspective Debaser. Somehow very logical.
My confusion lay mostly in the terminology you used.  

peace
Fe

RE: BUILDING ON THE ROMANS ?

Quote:

That's a interesting perspective Debaser. Somehow very logical.
My confusion lay mostly in the terminology you used.

To derail a little further, there's some odd byways out there on t'interweb.

Places you'll get called a sheeple, disinfo agent or government shill for having the temerity to suggest that yer actual plain old-fashioned Homo Sapiens Sapiens can be responsible for on the one hand creating the pyramids, and on the other creating lawyers. Both the alpha and omega, the zenith and nadir, as it were, in a single creature.

RE: BUILDING ON THE ROMANS ?

Native Americans made use of small quantities of native copper.  They may not have had the need for mixing in tin to get harder surfaces for weapons, farming tools, processing heavy building materials and other resources, not having to many large competing civilizations trying to move in on them and remaining basically a low population density, hunter-gatherering society with relatively vast and easily exploited resources they needed.  They also seem to have relatively little use for excessive wealth building by overexploiting their environment and selling the proceeds off to neighboring tribes.

I subscribe to the sustainable growth theories.  Rapid advancement at an ever increasing pace can't (or doesn't need to) be sustained.  Periods of rapid advancement by one civilization must be compenstated by periods of little, or actual reverses in progress, while the wider implications of the technology are distributed,  accepted and digested by the general population of that civilization and those surrounding them.  After all, when one civilization moves too far ahead of another, it seems like they can't resist the urge to put their own development on hold and immediately exploit their advantage over their neighbors.  

The rapid advancement of civilization before the dark ages, could not have been followed by anything but the dark ages, because it created a condition in the macro scale in the greater region that would eventually become unstable.   

"The top of the organisation doesn't listen sufficiently to what the bottom is saying."  Tony Hayward X-CEO BP
"Being GREEN isn't easy." Kermitfrog http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpiIWMWWVco

http://virtualpipeline.spaces.live.com

RE: BUILDING ON THE ROMANS ?

Some think there is a link to a final decline of Rome and a presumed Krakatoa eruption of 535 AD that left the sun darker for 18 months and may have had a longer influence on global climate.  I'd be hard pressed to consider that climate change per say, at least long term. It would also have been the 6th century, so would seem to be a little early for the 9th century beginning of the Dark Ages.

"The top of the organisation doesn't listen sufficiently to what the bottom is saying."  Tony Hayward X-CEO BP
"Being GREEN isn't easy." Kermitfrog http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpiIWMWWVco

http://virtualpipeline.spaces.live.com

RE: BUILDING ON THE ROMANS ?

BigInch,

   If the dark ages began any time, it began in the sixth century.  Modern historians seem to classify the period of 500CE to 1500CE in Europe as Medieval.  There is no abrupt transition out of the dark ages.

   I do not see how even a major volcanic catastrophe would cause the fall of the Roman Empire.  If the Roman food supply is messed up, the barbarian food supply is messed up.  The people who win out are the ones who have food stored for emergencies.  

   Was there an overall population decrease in Europe after the decline of the Roman Empire?  Most Europeans of the sixth century lived by subsistence agriculture.  Roman government did not support agriculture the way Mesopotamian and Egyptian governments did.  A replacement of Roman government by lean, tough barbarians probably resulted in lower taxes.  

   Rome itself suffered a reduced population.  As the centre of the empire, it was able to suck up agricultural resources from north Africa and support way more people than local Italian farms could have.  The loss of power and communications caused a die-off, all reported by the chattering classes who leave most of the written records we have.  We know little about the north Africans who, presumably, had more food to eat.

               JHG

RE: BUILDING ON THE ROMANS ?

OK, back to building on Rome,

Technological Advance

Alfa Romeo
Ferrari
Lamborghini
Maserati

followed by Technological Decline
Gucci
Prada
Armani
Dolce & Gabbana

"The top of the organisation doesn't listen sufficiently to what the bottom is saying."  Tony Hayward X-CEO BP
"Being GREEN isn't easy." Kermitfrog http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpiIWMWWVco

http://virtualpipeline.spaces.live.com

RE: BUILDING ON THE ROMANS ?

I think on the whole we are more closely linked to our primate ancestors than we would like to think. Like lemmings we are always heading towards, or away from, a population crash and Dark Age. Before the golden years of the empire there was a dark age that followed the rule of the Mycenaeans. Someday, our empire will collapse also; it's as if we out run ourselves.

And on the larger scale, have a look at the dinosaurs. They evolved to a certain level and then had a population collapse (for whatever reason), and then mammals took over to carry the torch. It may take the next species, or generation, a while to regain the ground of their forbearers but they always do and they gain more ground when they do (three steps back and five forward).

Another interesting set of questions could be asked but are a little off topic from this post...how far will the next golden age go with their inventions? will it be our species or another? and I wonder what future archaeologists will talk about when they look at our bones and leavings.

Until then, a discovery a day keeps disaster at bay!

 

RE: BUILDING ON THE ROMANS ?

Well if you want the long term view, have a look at the Carter Catastrophe theory. This piece of reasoning claims that there is a 95% probability that the human species will total 1.2 trillion or fewer members, which at current projections  will take 9120 years.

 A few long term projections.

average 'lifetime' of a successful mammalian species - 1 million years. Hom sap is currently 500 000 years old, so we have 500000 years to go. Hom sap sap is 200000 years old, I'm not sure which age is relevant here.

Average lifetime of a successful human civilisation - 400 years. The Industrial Revolution kicked off in say 1840, so fossil fuel based, democratic civilisation has about  200 years left to go.


 

Cheers

Greg Locock


New here? Try reading these, they might help FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies  http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm?

RE: BUILDING ON THE ROMANS ?

GregLocock,

   I read an article by Stephen Jay Gould about population dynamics.  He noted research by Jane Goodall, who observed that the chimpanzee population increased most of the time, but was drastically affected by a couple of catastrophes.  First, there was a war between two bands of chimps, that killed quite a few of them.  Them, there was a polio epidemic.

   Human populations seem to increase most of the time.  They are affected by epidemics, visits from Ghengis Khan and Tamerlane, and getting led by people like Francisco Solano Lopez.  Most of the time, you cannot predict these things.

   The Cretaceous meteorite impact killed off something like 65% of all known species.  I am not sure how this translates to the total animal population, but it has got to be way over 90%.  It is not surprising that all the big animals got killed off.

   I don't see how you can predict this stuff by looking at curves.  

               JHG

RE: BUILDING ON THE ROMANS ?

Why not.  Big wars and economic upsets happen every 50 years or so, meteorites hit the earth about every 65MM years or so, right?  

Just kidding.  One thing you must not do is consider anything constant, constantly static, or changing at a constant rate.  Nothing ever holds course.  Whenever the experts start making those predictions that you know in your stomach are obvously too good, too bad, or too far out of the range of known possibilities, or just plain nuts, and when you say, it can't get any better than this ... guess what? You're right.

"The top of the organisation doesn't listen sufficiently to what the bottom is saying."  Tony Hayward X-CEO BP
"Being GREEN isn't easy." Kermitfrog http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpiIWMWWVco

http://virtualpipeline.spaces.live.com

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