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The mysterious mysteries of the Ancients!

2456718

Posts

  • GungHoGungHo Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    moniker wrote: »
    It was most likely Santorini since that's a relatively concentric circle island and it got asploded by a volcano.
    Santorini's been linked to a ridiculous number of things... from the Great Plagues, to the death of the Minoans, to what led a group of Greeks to become the Sea Peoples and then, eventually the Phillistines.

    While I can see why they link it to so many things, I think some folks are liberally hitching their ropes to anything that will legitimize their storybook... especially since if that one has a hole in it, the house of cards ain't gonna look to steady.
    BubbaT wrote: »
    Just a matter of time, right? I mean, Damascus steel was lost for centuries, now you can use it to chop your veggies.
    We're faking it. Kinda.

    Edit: Umaro wins.

    "Adios, mofo" -- TX Gov Rick Perry (R)
  • RichyRichy Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    IIRC the romans had the tech for steam engines but the current emperor canned the project. I guess mainly because it would destroy the need for slave labor and cripple their economy.
    I think it's the other way around: they had slaves, so there was no need for steam engines. When you have a cheap, abundant, renewable energy source, why bother developing a more complicated and more expensive energy source? Same thing with oil in modern society: when it was cheap and abundant no one cared how much we were burning, but now that prices are climbing and the only way to get more is to give money to terrorist regimes and peak oil is a real possibility, people are giving a more serious second look at green energy.

    The Roman Empire also had a water wheel. And I mean that literally: there is only one water wheel that was known to have existed in the Roman Empire. And even it was created late in Roman history, when the conquests had come to a halt and the roman army was being pushed back, and thus the constant supply of cheap abundant slave labour had stopped.


    tl;dr: necessity is the mother of invention, and when you have a seemingly endless supply of slaves there is no necessity for any other kind of power source.

    RichyFlag.gifsig.gif
  • Pi-r8Pi-r8 Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Umaro wrote: »
    BubbaT wrote: »
    Duffel wrote: »
    Greek fire was a medieval weapon which supposedly burned more violently the more water was poured on it; the Byzantines used it as a projectile during some naval battles and stuff. Nobody really knows how to replicate it now, but there's a lot of debate about it.

    Just a matter of time, right? I mean, Damascus steel was lost for centuries, now you can use it to chop your veggies.
    No... it's still lost, though it may never have even existed as all we have are written accounts. Well, it probably existed, but whether it was as crazy awesome as we would be led to believe is impossible to know.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damascene_steel

    That says we've found quite a few samples of actual Damascus steel. It also says that it apparently contains carbon nanotubes.

  • Mad_Scientist_WorkingMad_Scientist_Working Registered User
    edited August 2009
    BubbaT wrote: »
    Duffel wrote: »
    Greek fire was a medieval weapon which supposedly burned more violently the more water was poured on it; the Byzantines used it as a projectile during some naval battles and stuff. Nobody really knows how to replicate it now, but there's a lot of debate about it.

    Just a matter of time, right? I mean, Damascus steel was lost for centuries, now you can use it to chop your veggies.
    Actually a lot of the theories about Damascus steel is that its discovery was a random fluke. One theory says that the impurities in the ore like Vandium alloyed with the metal to create the steel. Another interesting theory is that the steel contains features impossible to control the creation of using their technology (IE. Carbon Nanotubes). This in turn meant that intense quality control could have had a factor in its creation.
    I don't think anything can top the theory that Santorini is not only Atlantis, but also caused the plagues of Egypt and that one of the tribes of Israel crossed the Mediterranean instead of going to the holy land.
    Atlantis was fake. Always was fake. It was a big huge literary device.
    Dam. I was beat. Nice going Ricky.:)

  • Gabriel_PittGabriel_Pitt Damn you, eidetic memory! Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Richy wrote: »
    IIRC the romans had the tech for steam engines but the current emperor canned the project. I guess mainly because it would destroy the need for slave labor and cripple their economy.
    I think it's the other way around: they had slaves, so there was no need for steam engines.
    That old saw, 'necessity is the mother of invention' holds true. The roman steam engine was considered a toy, IIRC, and was called an Aeolipile. and there was no practical use seen to using it. Sure, make a big enough one, find a way to hook it to a grindstone, and you can use it to grind grain, or you can just set a bunch of slaves to a spoked wheel and have them push, with the latter being the much easier solution.

    Origin ID: Null_Cypher
    Thomas-Vail.png
  • Jealous DevaJealous Deva Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    BubbaT wrote: »
    Duffel wrote: »
    Greek fire was a medieval weapon which supposedly burned more violently the more water was poured on it; the Byzantines used it as a projectile during some naval battles and stuff. Nobody really knows how to replicate it now, but there's a lot of debate about it.

    Just a matter of time, right? I mean, Damascus steel was lost for centuries, now you can use it to chop your veggies.

    I was under the impression that it wasn't so much that we can't make an incendiary with the properties of greek fire, it's that no one really knows which one of the many incendiary compounds we have if any was the one that the greeks actually used.

  • DuffelDuffel Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    I was under the impression that it wasn't so much that we can't make an incendiary with the properties of greek fire, it's that no one really knows which one of the many incendiary compounds we have if any was the one that the greeks actually used.
    It could be any or none of them, really.

    As far as Atlantis goes then yes, it is rather obvious that it never existed as a bona-fide ancient civilization, and certainly did not exist as the magical superpower which has rooted itself in the common imagination in the last hundred years or so. I don't think it's particularly implausible, however, that such a myth is based on actual events which were passed down over centuries worth of oral tradition.

    The mediterranean is a very geologically-active region; Santorini and, later, Pompeii are two famous examples of large cities which were wiped out entirely by natural disasters. It's easy to understand how such a thing could be mythologized, especially when the cycles of the natural world - volcanism, the tides, weather, and just about everything else they couldn't explain - were seen, quite literally, as the work of the gods. Also keep in mind that, by the time of Plato's writing, the eruption at Santorini would have already been over a thousand years in the past.

    And, of course, it's entirely possible that it was entirely a literary invention of Plato's imagination to serve as a political illustration. As has been mentioned before, nobody thought twice about "finding Atlantis" before the nineteenth century. Both of these alternatives - actual events which grew to legend in the retelling, or simple creative invention - seem eminently plausible to me.

  • Zetetic ElenchZetetic Elench Registered User
    edited August 2009
    Richy wrote: »
    IIRC the romans had the tech for steam engines but the current emperor canned the project. I guess mainly because it would destroy the need for slave labor and cripple their economy.
    I think it's the other way around: they had slaves, so there was no need for steam engines.
    That old saw, 'necessity is the mother of invention' holds true. The roman steam engine was considered a toy, IIRC, and was called an Aeolipile. and there was no practical use seen to using it. Sure, make a big enough one, find a way to hook it to a grindstone, and you can use it to grind grain, or you can just set a bunch of slaves to a spoked wheel and have them push, with the latter being the much easier solution.

    I'll be honest, this explanation comes up time and time again for similar situations and I do not find it at all convincing. Slaves were still comparatively expensive to feed and clothe and so on, for example. And they could only work for so long before tiring. And there was always a risk of revolt or desertion.

    A more likely explanation is that they just didn't invent the steam engine. It seems like a logical progression to us because we've moved far, far past that point and can see the development, rise, and fall of the steam-powered industrial age. We have a history with it and we can make the cognitive connection between a twirly toy and a steam-powered mill. But that's not actually how technological development works - and this was especially so in that early period.

    I think we prefer that logical, progressive, promethean answer because it's a lot more consoling than the worryingly chaotic notion that such a momentous technology could simply be overlooked, unrealized.

    nemosig.png
  • Gabriel_PittGabriel_Pitt Damn you, eidetic memory! Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Richy wrote: »
    IIRC the romans had the tech for steam engines but the current emperor canned the project. I guess mainly because it would destroy the need for slave labor and cripple their economy.
    I think it's the other way around: they had slaves, so there was no need for steam engines.
    That old saw, 'necessity is the mother of invention' holds true. The roman steam engine was considered a toy, IIRC, and was called an Aeolipile. and there was no practical use seen to using it. Sure, make a big enough one, find a way to hook it to a grindstone, and you can use it to grind grain, or you can just set a bunch of slaves to a spoked wheel and have them push, with the latter being the much easier solution.

    I'll be honest, this explanation comes up time and time again for similar situations and I do not find it at all convincing. Slaves were still comparatively expensive to feed and clothe and so on, for example. And they could only work for so long before tiring. And there was always a risk of revolt or desertion.
    Which was still an easier source of labor than making a toy into a functioning piece of machinery.

    Origin ID: Null_Cypher
    Thomas-Vail.png
  • SkutSkutSkutSkut Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    A friend of mine linked me this, a look at graffiti found in Pompeii. Seems the ancient population was interested in what ours was, getting drunk and fucking.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

  • RichyRichy Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Richy wrote: »
    IIRC the romans had the tech for steam engines but the current emperor canned the project. I guess mainly because it would destroy the need for slave labor and cripple their economy.
    I think it's the other way around: they had slaves, so there was no need for steam engines.
    That old saw, 'necessity is the mother of invention' holds true. The roman steam engine was considered a toy, IIRC, and was called an Aeolipile. and there was no practical use seen to using it. Sure, make a big enough one, find a way to hook it to a grindstone, and you can use it to grind grain, or you can just set a bunch of slaves to a spoked wheel and have them push, with the latter being the much easier solution.

    I'll be honest, this explanation comes up time and time again for similar situations and I do not find it at all convincing. Slaves were still comparatively expensive to feed and clothe and so on, for example. And they could only work for so long before tiring. And there was always a risk of revolt or desertion.

    A more likely explanation is that they just didn't invent the steam engine. It seems like a logical progression to us because we've moved far, far past that point and can see the development, rise, and fall of the steam-powered industrial age. We have a history with it and we can make the cognitive connection between a twirly toy and a steam-powered mill. But that's not actually how technological development works - and this was especially so in that early period.

    I think we prefer that logical, progressive, promethean answer because it's a lot more consoling than the worryingly chaotic notion that such a momentous technology could simply be overlooked, unrealized.
    Well I'm sorry to burst your bubble, but civilizations overlook technologies all the time. Most notably, pre-Columbian Aztecs knew about the wheel, in that they commonly used it to make toys for kids, but they never made the connection to building large-scaled wheeled carts to transport stuff. Wheeled transport just never occured to them, even though the wheel was right there staring them in the face, and we're not sure why. There are a number of theories, but the fact remains that pre-Columbian civilizations overlooked practical applications of the wheel.

    RichyFlag.gifsig.gif
  • RichyRichy Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    SkutSkut wrote: »
    A friend of mine linked me this, a look at graffiti found in Pompeii. Seems the ancient population was interested in what ours was, getting drunk and fucking.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.
    II.2.3 (Bar of Athictus; right of the door); 8442: I screwed the barmaid

    :lol:

    RichyFlag.gifsig.gif
  • DuffelDuffel Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    They also overlooked functional metal tools entirely even though the mountains in south america are lousy with it.

    Gold objects were all over the place. Iron and bronze... not so much.

    EDIT:
    III.5.3 (on the wall in the street); 8898: Theophilus, don’t perform oral sex on girls against the city wall like a dog
    VIII.1 (above a bench outside the Marine Gate); 1751: If anyone sits here, let him read this first of all: if anyone wants a screw, he should look for Attice; she costs 4 sestertii.

    For a good time, call...

    EDIT2: And now for some practical information!
    VIII.2 (in the basilica); 1882: The one who buggers a fire burns his penis

  • monikermoniker Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Richy wrote: »
    Richy wrote: »
    IIRC the romans had the tech for steam engines but the current emperor canned the project. I guess mainly because it would destroy the need for slave labor and cripple their economy.
    I think it's the other way around: they had slaves, so there was no need for steam engines.
    That old saw, 'necessity is the mother of invention' holds true. The roman steam engine was considered a toy, IIRC, and was called an Aeolipile. and there was no practical use seen to using it. Sure, make a big enough one, find a way to hook it to a grindstone, and you can use it to grind grain, or you can just set a bunch of slaves to a spoked wheel and have them push, with the latter being the much easier solution.

    I'll be honest, this explanation comes up time and time again for similar situations and I do not find it at all convincing. Slaves were still comparatively expensive to feed and clothe and so on, for example. And they could only work for so long before tiring. And there was always a risk of revolt or desertion.

    A more likely explanation is that they just didn't invent the steam engine. It seems like a logical progression to us because we've moved far, far past that point and can see the development, rise, and fall of the steam-powered industrial age. We have a history with it and we can make the cognitive connection between a twirly toy and a steam-powered mill. But that's not actually how technological development works - and this was especially so in that early period.

    I think we prefer that logical, progressive, promethean answer because it's a lot more consoling than the worryingly chaotic notion that such a momentous technology could simply be overlooked, unrealized.
    Well I'm sorry to burst your bubble, but civilizations overlook technologies all the time. Most notably, pre-Columbian Aztecs knew about the wheel, in that they commonly used it to make toys for kids, but they never made the connection to building large-scaled wheeled carts to transport stuff. Wheeled transport just never occured to them, even though the wheel was right there staring them in the face, and we're not sure why. There are a number of theories, but the fact remains that pre-Columbian civilizations overlooked practical applications of the wheel.

    It's because they were more fascinated by the trapezoid.

    tea-1.jpg
  • Zetetic ElenchZetetic Elench Registered User
    edited August 2009
    Richy wrote: »
    Richy wrote: »
    IIRC the romans had the tech for steam engines but the current emperor canned the project. I guess mainly because it would destroy the need for slave labor and cripple their economy.
    I think it's the other way around: they had slaves, so there was no need for steam engines.
    That old saw, 'necessity is the mother of invention' holds true. The roman steam engine was considered a toy, IIRC, and was called an Aeolipile. and there was no practical use seen to using it. Sure, make a big enough one, find a way to hook it to a grindstone, and you can use it to grind grain, or you can just set a bunch of slaves to a spoked wheel and have them push, with the latter being the much easier solution.

    I'll be honest, this explanation comes up time and time again for similar situations and I do not find it at all convincing. Slaves were still comparatively expensive to feed and clothe and so on, for example. And they could only work for so long before tiring. And there was always a risk of revolt or desertion.

    A more likely explanation is that they just didn't invent the steam engine. It seems like a logical progression to us because we've moved far, far past that point and can see the development, rise, and fall of the steam-powered industrial age. We have a history with it and we can make the cognitive connection between a twirly toy and a steam-powered mill. But that's not actually how technological development works - and this was especially so in that early period.

    I think we prefer that logical, progressive, promethean answer because it's a lot more consoling than the worryingly chaotic notion that such a momentous technology could simply be overlooked, unrealized.
    Well I'm sorry to burst your bubble, but civilizations overlook technologies all the time. Most notably, pre-Columbian Aztecs knew about the wheel, in that they commonly used it to make toys for kids, but they never made the connection to building large-scaled wheeled carts to transport stuff. Wheeled transport just never occured to them, even though the wheel was right there staring them in the face, and we're not sure why. There are a number of theories, but the fact remains that pre-Columbian civilizations overlooked practical applications of the wheel.

    whut

    I'm pretty sure that's exactly the point I just made

    Although I will say the Aztec example may actually have some rationale behind it - without reliable large domesticated mammals to pull carts (horses), the value of making them decreases significantly, especially in the kind of terrain the Aztec inhabited. As you say, there are plenty of theories on that one.

    nemosig.png
  • KiplingKipling Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Richy wrote: »
    Richy wrote: »
    IIRC the romans had the tech for steam engines but the current emperor canned the project. I guess mainly because it would destroy the need for slave labor and cripple their economy.
    I think it's the other way around: they had slaves, so there was no need for steam engines.
    That old saw, 'necessity is the mother of invention' holds true. The roman steam engine was considered a toy, IIRC, and was called an Aeolipile. and there was no practical use seen to using it. Sure, make a big enough one, find a way to hook it to a grindstone, and you can use it to grind grain, or you can just set a bunch of slaves to a spoked wheel and have them push, with the latter being the much easier solution.

    I'll be honest, this explanation comes up time and time again for similar situations and I do not find it at all convincing. Slaves were still comparatively expensive to feed and clothe and so on, for example. And they could only work for so long before tiring. And there was always a risk of revolt or desertion.

    A more likely explanation is that they just didn't invent the steam engine. It seems like a logical progression to us because we've moved far, far past that point and can see the development, rise, and fall of the steam-powered industrial age. We have a history with it and we can make the cognitive connection between a twirly toy and a steam-powered mill. But that's not actually how technological development works - and this was especially so in that early period.

    I think we prefer that logical, progressive, promethean answer because it's a lot more consoling than the worryingly chaotic notion that such a momentous technology could simply be overlooked, unrealized.
    Well I'm sorry to burst your bubble, but civilizations overlook technologies all the time. Most notably, pre-Columbian Aztecs knew about the wheel, in that they commonly used it to make toys for kids, but they never made the connection to building large-scaled wheeled carts to transport stuff. Wheeled transport just never occured to them, even though the wheel was right there staring them in the face, and we're not sure why. There are a number of theories, but the fact remains that pre-Columbian civilizations overlooked practical applications of the wheel.

    To drive the need for a Roman steam engine, there needed to be something to power. Waterworks were driven by gravity, and textiles didn't have the spinning wheel yet. And a steam engine for milling grain is probably impractical in terms of cost at that point.

    The quality control for the assembly of steam engines in the Roman era would be laughable. Especially since boilers are prone to corrosion near joints and the idea of running a steam engine would probably die once one exploded.

    3DS Friends: 1693-1781-7023
  • Zetetic ElenchZetetic Elench Registered User
    edited August 2009
    Kipling wrote: »
    To drive the need for a Roman steam engine, there needed to be something to power. Waterworks were driven by gravity, and textiles didn't have the spinning wheel yet. And a steam engine for milling grain is probably impractical in terms of cost at that point.

    The quality control for the assembly of steam engines in the Roman era would be laughable. Especially since boilers are prone to corrosion near joints and the idea of running a steam engine would probably die once one exploded.

    True as all of this is, you'd need to get to the experimental stage before you run into those problems - and there's no evidence of that happening, ever.

    nemosig.png
  • ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    I love history threads because some of the guys here know so much that is so new to me,


    i love ctrl-i

    Voice actor for hire. My time is free if your project is!
  • Zetetic ElenchZetetic Elench Registered User
    edited August 2009
    Of course this is where someone brings up the Antikythera Mechanism.

    280px-NAMA_Machine_d%27Anticyth%C3%A8re_1.jpg

    Here you have a precise, beautifully crafted clockwork astronomical machine from 100 BC, whose closest match would not be seen for a thousand years. You really do have to wonder how many devices of similar craftsmanship and sophistication we just have no idea about because they didn't sink by chance into the middle of the sea.
    The device is remarkable for the level of miniaturization and for the complexity of its parts, which is comparable to that of 18th century clocks. It has over 30 gears, although Michael Wright (see below) has suggested as many as 72 gears, with teeth formed through equilateral triangles. When a date was entered via a crank (now lost), the mechanism calculated the position of the Sun, Moon, or other astronomical information such as the location of other planets. Since the purpose was to position astronomical bodies with respect to the celestial sphere, with reference to the observer's position on the surface of the earth, the device was based on the geocentric model.[10]

    The mechanism has three main dials, one on the front, and two on the back. The front dial has two concentric scales. The outer ring is marked off with the days of the 365-day Egyptian calendar, or the Sothic year, based on the Sothic cycle. Inside this, there is a second dial marked with the Greek signs of the Zodiac and divided into degrees. The calendar dial can be moved to compensate for the effect of the extra quarter day in the solar year (there are 365.2422 days per year) by turning the scale backwards one day every four years. Note that the Julian calendar, the first calendar of the region to contain leap years, was not introduced until about 46 BC, up to a century after the device was said to have been built.

    The front dial probably carried at least three hands, one showing the date, and two others showing the positions of the Sun and the Moon. The Moon indicator is adjusted to show the first anomaly of the Moon's orbit. It is reasonable to suppose the Sun indicator had a similar adjustment, but any gearing for this mechanism (if it existed) has been lost. The front dial also includes a second mechanism with a spherical model of the Moon that displays the lunar phase.

    There is reference in the inscriptions for the planets Mars and Venus, and it would have certainly been within the capabilities of the maker of this mechanism to include gearing to show their positions. There is some speculation that the mechanism may have had indicators for all the five planets known to the Greeks. None of the gearing for such planetary mechanisms survives, except for one gear otherwise unaccounted for.

    Finally, the front dial includes a parapegma, a precursor to the modern day Almanac, which was used to mark the rising and setting of specific stars. Each star is thought to be identified by Greek characters which cross reference details inscribed on the mechanism.

    Fuck all this Atlantis nonsense - that is way more breathtaking.

    nemosig.png
  • tbloxhamtbloxham Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    The real thing about ancient civilizations is that they really were pretty much just as smart as we were, it's just they had a lot more to learn about the complicated aspects of science and engineering. So they could make shockingly accurate star charts, and geniuses among them could make theoretical breakthroughs which would be ignored for centuries.

    Go back to ancient greece and ask if the world is round or flat, and you'd get much the same result as you would today. People flat out mocking you for even asking.

    Your puny weapons are useless against me
  • Zetetic ElenchZetetic Elench Registered User
    edited August 2009
    tbloxham wrote: »
    The real thing about ancient civilizations is that they really were pretty much just as smart as we were, it's just they had a lot more to learn about the complicated aspects of science and engineering. So they could make shockingly accurate star charts, and geniuses among them could make theoretical breakthroughs which would be ignored for centuries.

    Go back to ancient greece and ask if the world is round or flat, and you'd get much the same result as you would today. People flat out mocking you for even asking.

    To be fair, I don't know of any seafaring society which ever thought the world was flat. At sea, without terrain, the curve of the globe can be quite surprisingly detectable - and ever since there have been tall masts sailors have noted how it is visible before the rest of a ship on the horizon.

    nemosig.png
  • enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    The Library of Alexandria connection to Atlantis I've heard is this: Plato originally got the story from his uncle Solon, who was told it by Egyptian scholars. This then got garbled into the Library of Alexandria by someone who was dumb as Alexandria (the city) wasn't founded until 20 or so years after Plato's death.

    Lose: to suffer defeat, to misplace (Ex: "I hope I don't lose the match." "Did you lose your phone again?")
    Loose: about to slip, to release (Ex: "That knot is loose." "Loose arrows.")
  • ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    tbloxham wrote: »
    The real thing about ancient civilizations is that they really were pretty much just as smart as we were, it's just they had a lot more to learn about the complicated aspects of science and engineering. So they could make shockingly accurate star charts, and geniuses among them could make theoretical breakthroughs which would be ignored for centuries.

    Go back to ancient greece and ask if the world is round or flat, and you'd get much the same result as you would today. People flat out mocking you for even asking.

    To be fair, I don't know of any seafaring society which ever thought the world was flat. At sea, without terrain, the curve of the globe can be quite surprisingly detectable - and ever since there have been tall masts sailors have noted how it is visible before the rest of a ship on the horizon.

    Didn't Aristotle or some such accurately calculate the size of the Earth based on he shadow it cast on the moon (and thus also proving the Earth was round)?

    Voice actor for hire. My time is free if your project is!
  • RichyRichy Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    On the topic of losing ancient knowledge, the Islamic world suffered a replay of what happened at the Library of Alexandria. They had their own massive library, the House of Wisdom at Bagdad. For centuries it was a center of learning and translation of foreign texts. The library contained documents and translations of the works of the greatest philosophers going from Ancient Greece to Ancient India.

    Then in the 13th Century the Mongols invaded, took Bagdad, and sacked it. They destroyed the library and threw all the books in the Tigris river that ran through the city. It is said that the river ran black with ink for six months.

    RichyFlag.gifsig.gif
  • SkutSkutSkutSkut Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Is an interesting article with cracked wit


    mentions
    The Antikythera Mechanism
    The Voynich Manuscript
    The Baigong Pipes

    well I'm not going to ruin the whole surprise, read it yourself!

  • enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    tbloxham wrote: »
    The real thing about ancient civilizations is that they really were pretty much just as smart as we were, it's just they had a lot more to learn about the complicated aspects of science and engineering. So they could make shockingly accurate star charts, and geniuses among them could make theoretical breakthroughs which would be ignored for centuries.

    Go back to ancient greece and ask if the world is round or flat, and you'd get much the same result as you would today. People flat out mocking you for even asking.

    To be fair, I don't know of any seafaring society which ever thought the world was flat. At sea, without terrain, the curve of the globe can be quite surprisingly detectable - and ever since there have been tall masts sailors have noted how it is visible before the rest of a ship on the horizon.

    Didn't Aristotle or some such accurately calculate the size of the Earth based on he shadow it cast on the moon (and thus also proving the Earth was round)?

    It wasn't Aristotle, it was someone in Ptolemaic Egypt whose name I forget.

    Lose: to suffer defeat, to misplace (Ex: "I hope I don't lose the match." "Did you lose your phone again?")
    Loose: about to slip, to release (Ex: "That knot is loose." "Loose arrows.")
  • HedgethornHedgethorn Associate Professor of Historical Hobby Horses In the Lions' DenRegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    tbloxham wrote: »
    The real thing about ancient civilizations is that they really were pretty much just as smart as we were, it's just they had a lot more to learn about the complicated aspects of science and engineering. So they could make shockingly accurate star charts, and geniuses among them could make theoretical breakthroughs which would be ignored for centuries.

    Go back to ancient greece and ask if the world is round or flat, and you'd get much the same result as you would today. People flat out mocking you for even asking.

    To be fair, I don't know of any seafaring society which ever thought the world was flat. At sea, without terrain, the curve of the globe can be quite surprisingly detectable - and ever since there have been tall masts sailors have noted how it is visible before the rest of a ship on the horizon.

    Didn't Aristotle or some such accurately calculate the size of the Earth based on he shadow it cast on the moon (and thus also proving the Earth was round)?

    It wasn't Aristotle, it was someone in Ptolemaic Egypt whose name I forget.

    Not sure if this is what is being refered to, but Eratosthenes calculated the Earth's circumference based on the difference between noontime shadows in northern and southern Egypt.

  • QuidQuid The Fifth Horseman Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Kipling wrote: »
    To drive the need for a Roman steam engine, there needed to be something to power. Waterworks were driven by gravity, and textiles didn't have the spinning wheel yet. And a steam engine for milling grain is probably impractical in terms of cost at that point.

    The quality control for the assembly of steam engines in the Roman era would be laughable. Especially since boilers are prone to corrosion near joints and the idea of running a steam engine would probably die once one exploded.

    True as all of this is, you'd need to get to the experimental stage before you run into those problems - and there's no evidence of that happening, ever.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aeolipile

    Eh?

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  • enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Hedgethorn wrote: »
    tbloxham wrote: »
    The real thing about ancient civilizations is that they really were pretty much just as smart as we were, it's just they had a lot more to learn about the complicated aspects of science and engineering. So they could make shockingly accurate star charts, and geniuses among them could make theoretical breakthroughs which would be ignored for centuries.

    Go back to ancient greece and ask if the world is round or flat, and you'd get much the same result as you would today. People flat out mocking you for even asking.

    To be fair, I don't know of any seafaring society which ever thought the world was flat. At sea, without terrain, the curve of the globe can be quite surprisingly detectable - and ever since there have been tall masts sailors have noted how it is visible before the rest of a ship on the horizon.

    Didn't Aristotle or some such accurately calculate the size of the Earth based on he shadow it cast on the moon (and thus also proving the Earth was round)?

    It wasn't Aristotle, it was someone in Ptolemaic Egypt whose name I forget.

    Not sure if this is what is being refered to, but Eratosthenes calculated the Earth's circumference based on the difference between noontime shadows in northern and southern Egypt.

    That would be the guy I was thinking of, yes.

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  • RichyRichy Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Didn't Aristotle or some such accurately calculate the size of the Earth based on he shadow it cast on the moon (and thus also proving the Earth was round)?
    It wasn't Aristotle, it was another Greek natural philosopher whose name escapes me. And he didn't prove the Earth was round, it was a well-known fact by his time (and long before it, in fact). And he didn't use the shadow of the Earth on the Moon, though shadows were involved (and the Earth's shadow on the Moon is indeed one of the many pieces of evidence the Greeks had to the fact the Earth was round). He used the shadow of measuring sticks. He measured when the sun was directly over the stick in one town in Egypt, as the moment the stick had no shadow. He then went to another city farther north, and measured the length of the shadow there. Since he knew the distance between the two cities, with a bit of geometry he was able to compute the circumference of the Earth.

    Whether or not he was close is open to debate, since the unit of length he used actually meant different length to different people. But given conventional interpretations, he was off by something between 2% to 10%. Which is pretty damn accurate for his time.


    EDIT: beaten by Hedgethorn. That's what I get for not refreshing the page before posting.

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  • Zetetic ElenchZetetic Elench Registered User
    edited August 2009
    Quid wrote: »
    Kipling wrote: »
    To drive the need for a Roman steam engine, there needed to be something to power. Waterworks were driven by gravity, and textiles didn't have the spinning wheel yet. And a steam engine for milling grain is probably impractical in terms of cost at that point.

    The quality control for the assembly of steam engines in the Roman era would be laughable. Especially since boilers are prone to corrosion near joints and the idea of running a steam engine would probably die once one exploded.

    True as all of this is, you'd need to get to the experimental stage before you run into those problems - and there's no evidence of that happening, ever.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aeolipile

    Eh?

    Yes, that is the very device we're talking about.

    No, "a scientific invention [to] discover a divine truth lurking in the laws of the heavens" - a scientific toy - does not count as an experimental steam engine developed toward a practical use, which is fairly obviously what we're discussing here.

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  • 101101 Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Hedgethorn wrote: »
    Not sure if this is what is being refered to, but Eratosthenes calculated the Earth's circumference based on the difference between noontime shadows in northern and southern Egypt.


    This is the one i've heard, an amazingly clever idea for measuring the curcumfrance of the earth.

    If i remember correctly a similar idea was used for finding the size of the moon, and then the earth-moon and earth-sun distances, by assuming the earth-sun-moon creates a right-angle triangle.

  • Geek MagnetGeek Magnet Registered User
    edited August 2009
    The casing stones of the some of the pyramids are cut so precisely you can't get a knife blade between them - we're talking machine shop tolerances, not just regular building tolerances. So the comments that people built pyramids because they were "obviously" easy should do a little more research.

    There was more knowledge in the past than we often give credit for. The Americas were mapped thousands of years before Columbus "discovered" them. Antarctica was mapped thousands of years ago, and we have just now in the past hundred years found out what the land mass looks like under all that ice. (Check the Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings or the Piri Reis map)

    Gold artifacts have been found in Mesopatamia whose purity was thought only to be a modern ability, with the temperatures needed for that level of purity of 2000 degrees F. It isn't even believed that those people had the means to create that level of heat.

    Atlantis may or may not have ever existed, but I definitely believe we once had technologically advanced civilasation that for one reason or another was lost.

  • Gabriel_PittGabriel_Pitt Damn you, eidetic memory! Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    The casing stones of the some of the pyramids are cut so precisely you can't get a knife blade between them - we're talking machine shop tolerances, not just regular building tolerances. So the comments that people built pyramids because they were "obviously" easy should do a little more research.
    I think the point went totally over your head. The reason why so many ancient civilizations had pyramids is not because they were all linked by alien communication networks, or ancient super freeways, but because when it comes to easy to build, long lasting architecture, you really can't beat a pyramid. They're 'easy' only in as much they're much simpler to construct than say, those beautifully pillared ancient greek buildings of which so few exist today, but also much stabler and more durable.

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  • GarthorGarthor Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    The casing stones of the some of the pyramids are cut so precisely you can't get a knife blade between them - we're talking machine shop tolerances, not just regular building tolerances. So the comments that people built pyramids because they were "obviously" easy should do a little more research.

    Have you ever tried to jam a knife between stone blocks that each weigh a ton? Besides, being able to cut blocks to fit has nothing to do with being able to build a skyscraper.
    There was more knowledge in the past than we often give credit for. The Americas were mapped thousands of years before Columbus "discovered" them. Antarctica was mapped thousands of years ago, and we have just now in the past hundred years found out what the land mass looks like under all that ice. (Check the Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings or the Piri Reis map)

    The first is a book. The second shows Brazil's coastline extending down to... somewhere. It conveniently fits the edge of the page (so oh hey he might've just bent it to... fit the page) and is totally undetailed (so alternatively maybe he just scribbled shit that he was PRETTY SURE was down there?). Claiming that it's Antartica is silly, though there was a general belief that there was some landmass down there.
    Gold artifacts have been found in Mesopatamia whose purity was thought only to be a modern ability, with the temperatures needed for that level of purity of 2000 degrees F. It isn't even believed that those people had the means to create that level of heat.

    This is vague enough that I have no fucking clue what you're referring to. However, it's entirely possible they just FOUND really pure gold.
    Atlantis may or may not have ever existed, but I definitely believe we once had technologically advanced civilasation that for one reason or another was lost.

    Like, say, the Romans? Or any other ancient civilization that was destroyed (there were a lot of them).

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  • RichyRichy Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    The casing stones of the some of the pyramids are cut so precisely you can't get a knife blade between them - we're talking machine shop tolerances, not just regular building tolerances. So the comments that people built pyramids because they were "obviously" easy should do a little more research.

    There was more knowledge in the past than we often give credit for. The Americas were mapped thousands of years before Columbus "discovered" them. Antarctica was mapped thousands of years ago, and we have just now in the past hundred years found out what the land mass looks like under all that ice. (Check the Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings or the Piri Reis map)

    Gold artifacts have been found in Mesopatamia whose purity was thought only to be a modern ability, with the temperatures needed for that level of purity of 2000 degrees F. It isn't even believed that those people had the means to create that level of heat.

    Atlantis may or may not have ever existed, but I definitely believe we once had technologically advanced civilasation that for one reason or another was lost.
    No one is denying that the Egyptians were master stone cutters. But the pyramid shape is what's obvious. It the most stable form you can build without mortar, and is the form other forms collapse into. It really is the easiest shape to build.

    No one argues that the Americas were known long before Columbus; the Vikings had colonies there, for one. As for Antarctica, maps have been showing it for a millennium, not because of some ancient knowledge, but because it was logical: people assumed the world was balanced, and there were these huge continents (Europe and Asia) up north but only Africa down south, so there should be another large land further south than people had explored. And since we now logically know that such a continent must exist there, it just makes sense to include it in the maps. The fact that they got the position of the real Antarctica right with that logic is a mere coincidence.

    As I've already explained, trade secrets and techniques advanced compared to other in common use in Ancient times were commonly lost. But there was no advanced civilization comparable to ours in any way, shape or form. Just look around you. Look at the concrete gigantic cities, the road and electrical and sewage networks, the non-bio-degradable products and garbage, the consumption of resources and the massive footprint we're leaving on the planet. Do you really thing another civilization like ours could have existed, yet we're completely unable to find any trace of them?

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  • XaevXaev Registered User
    edited August 2009
    Richy wrote: »
    Didn't Aristotle or some such accurately calculate the size of the Earth based on he shadow it cast on the moon (and thus also proving the Earth was round)?
    It wasn't Aristotle, it was another Greek natural philosopher whose name escapes me. And he didn't prove the Earth was round, it was a well-known fact by his time (and long before it, in fact). And he didn't use the shadow of the Earth on the Moon, though shadows were involved (and the Earth's shadow on the Moon is indeed one of the many pieces of evidence the Greeks had to the fact the Earth was round). He used the shadow of measuring sticks. He measured when the sun was directly over the stick in one town in Egypt, as the moment the stick had no shadow. He then went to another city farther north, and measured the length of the shadow there. Since he knew the distance between the two cities, with a bit of geometry he was able to compute the circumference of the Earth.

    Whether or not he was close is open to debate, since the unit of length he used actually meant different length to different people. But given conventional interpretations, he was off by something between 2% to 10%. Which is pretty damn accurate for his time.


    EDIT: beaten by Hedgethorn. That's what I get for not refreshing the page before posting.

    In this same line, I've always been fascinated by how people tend to ignore Aristarchus. He figured out the heliocentric model nearly two millennia before Copernicus and calculated the relative sizes of the sun, moon, and earth based on his measurements (which were inaccurate, but his conclusions were valid).

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  • AibynAibyn Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    True-Believer and very very evil, considering the link, reply: They Sublimed!

    More realistically, there is no way that a civilization at our level, or even a bit lower, could have existed as short amount of time ago as the time that Atlantis is usually placed, and we not have found it. I mean we are still finding dinosaur bones from 65 million years ago and arrowheads from 100 years ago all over the place. The only way that an advanced civilization was around and we don't find out about it through archeological research is either they were so advanced they took all their shit with them or A Wizard Did It.

    I don't recall the quote or who said it, but it seems self evident to me with all the commotion about the need for Green Energy and Recycling, but I remember hearing once that with the state of our level of advancement, if the world did go to shit, ala Fallout
    or Jeremiah or what have you, the remainder of the Earth's resources, metals mainly like iron and such, would not be enough to lift the survivors out of a Middle Ages/Dark Ages style period.

    tl:dr = I agree with Richy while providing links to TV Tropes and Wikipedia that will destroy any productivity in those who click them.

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  • tbloxhamtbloxham Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Aibyn wrote: »
    True-Believer and very very evil, considering the link, reply: They Sublimed!

    More realistically, there is no way that a civilization at our level, or even a bit lower, could have existed as short amount of time ago as the time that Atlantis is usually placed, and we not have found it. I mean we are still finding dinosaur bones from 65 million years ago and arrowheads from 100 years ago all over the place. The only way that an advanced civilization was around and we don't find out about it through archeological research is either they were so advanced they took all their shit with them or A Wizard Did It.

    I don't recall the quote or who said it, but it seems self evident to me with all the commotion about the need for Green Energy and Recycling, but I remember hearing once that with the state of our level of advancement, if the world did go to shit, ala Fallout
    or Jeremiah or what have you, the remainder of the Earth's resources, metals mainly like iron and such, would not be enough to lift the survivors out of a Middle Ages/Dark Ages style period.

    tl:dr = I agree with Richy while providing links to TV Tropes and Wikipedia that will destroy any productivity in those who click them.

    The only way our successor civs could reach our level of technology would be if they already had access to better mining and refining techniques than we have now, before they get any technology beyond the late 1850s. The world could probably support people in the 1850s for ever, but we only get one shot at beyond it.

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  • DarkPrimusDarkPrimus Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Everything I know about Plato and Atlantis I learned from Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis.

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