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eggers

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About eggers

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  1. eggers

    Technological growth

    Please tell me if i'm being naive, but isn't one of the best drives for technological advance just sheer competition. In an imaginary world say you we a farmer, ploughing away with oxen, when the farmer next door suddenly pulls past in a tractor, you going to not let that pass, u want one too, and so you and ur next door neighbour start having an arms race of sorts etc etc. I'm aware that this is an incredible over over over simplication, but couldn't it be possible, that the romans never really were stuck in a cold war situation where the best technology wins. I'm aware of their various enemies, and that some were very technologically advanced for there time. But in Romes case (as far as my limited knowledge allows me to see, i'm very busy so i don't swot up much on history anymore) If the roman wanted something someone else had, they stretched their military arm a grabbed it. Well not in late roman empire so much, granted. But my point is simple, if there is no enemy constantly threatening you with new technology every month or so, the drive to create new technology stagnates too. So maybe it's not so much a slave vs machine, just if theres nothing upsetting the status quo, why upset it yourself (if your rich). tell me if im terribly wrong here peeps, i'm here to learn after all.
  2. I have to agree with you there, makes more sense, and makes the victors look better. Just out of curiousity, has they ever been an archeological discovery of 50,000 corpses at a site of a well known battle? Also, can i ask, if the romans were superior specimens then, what happened to their superior genes by the time of the empire disappearing? Where they taking a nap or something? I thought the romans used terms like Gaulic and Germanic as general terms for a whole group of tribes. Isn't it possible that their siege engines and techniques varied from tribe to tribe, so some groups would be better then others.
  3. eggers

    Roman Mathematics

    True but archimedes and Eulid weren't using roman numerals. They use a system with the equivalent of 123456789 (greek symbols aren't here and i don't know how to import them) and they also had multiples of 10. The size of atoms has been determined by maths, and they are incredibly small masses. I don't even want to go into the kind of equations used here, but using roman numerals would be a challenge. When the muslim scholar translated greek into arabic it wasn't don't for the fun of it. It was directly related to the mathematics they were using and the revolutionary move away from the Greek concept of mathematics which was essentially geometry. Algebra was a unifying theory which allowed rational numbers, irrational numbers, geometrical magnitudes, etc., to all be treated as "algebraic objects". It gave mathematics a whole new development path so much broader in concept to that which had existed before, and provided a vehicle for future development of the subject. Another important aspect of the introduction of algebraic ideas was that it allowed mathematics to be applied to itself in a way which had not happened before or possible with roman numerals. wow your really giving me a run for my money, ouch all this thinking hurts!
  4. eggers

    Roman Mathematics

    true, but how many times have you had to do a calculation where the answer is exactly 100? Although simple figures such as mulitbles of ten (1, 10, 100, 1000, 10000 etc) can easily be writen in roman numerals, maths is usually never that simple. Have you ever done a quadratic equation with roman numerals? no i haven't either, because i suck at maths, but rarely is the number exactly 10, 100 or 1000. Besides the romans never had zero so they couldn't do them anyway, but thats besides the point (quadratic equations = 0 before you start the boring task out working out the values). someone wrote earlier that 3,888,888 = mmmdccclxxxvMMMDCCCLXXXVIII. How is that quicker or easier to write? try writing a number like 3,987,887,998,763,999 in roman numerals. Then times it by 334,009,732 and see if it's easier in roman numerals. We can do it today with long multiplication and express the answer in scientific notation the reduce paperwork. Its alot more complicated on a roman counting board. There are quite a few reasons for the change from roman to arabic, writing large figures, equations etc, and after all that the system we use today must be better. Why would we use it today if it wasn't? You have to remember that change is difficult. Progress as a good thing is only a relative new phenomen (i can't spell, sorry! dyslexic). Before New ideas were often treat with suspion and more often hostility. The arabic numerals was heavily resisted when it first was introduced into Europe. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" was the proverb of the day then. Afterall, they thought, we used Roman numerals for centuries just fine, why should we change? The romans built a huge empire, roads, the pathaleon, worked out taxes, the list goes on (although after the west roman empire dissappeared (for whatever reason) alot of people thought giants or gods built the aquaducts etc). Why should they change? the answer is simple. Arabic numerals are superior. They are more manuverable in equations, turns physics into a science, quicker to write, easier to teach. There is no conspiracy why they came in, and no-one bribed anyone i know to use arabic numbers. The simple fact is that they are here to stay because of the fact they are better to use. If roman numerals built the collossem, arabic numerals built sky-scrapers. If roman numerals built wooden triremes, arabic numerals built steel cruise ships.
  5. eggers

    Roman Mathematics

    Yes your correct there but i thought were were talking about why 1234567890 came into use instead of I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX X etc. Although the binary system was first created sometime in 3rd century in India BC it was never really used and effectively lost until a guy called Gottfried Leibniz in the 17th century re-invented it. (Since the numbers we use today orginate in India, the ancient indians could use binary just fine, though rarely did as far as i can find.) The romans couldn't use the binary system because they didn't have a Zero. A base-12 system (or imperial system) was used because it is easily divided by 2, 3 and 4, where as a 10-base system can only be divided by 2 or 5. Not a problem today as we have calculators. The reason the 10-base system is used (mainly, although the imperial system is still widely used in some places) today is because we all should have 10 fingers and is easier and quicker to teach to children in an age where calculators do most of the work and education is effectively mass-produced, and speed is more important then quality. Roman numerals are still widely used, it's true, but only on things like clocks and labels etc, not necessarily in maths because simply roman numerals are more limited (there still is no zero in roman numerals even today) and harder to use in equations. Writing a very large value in roman numerals can take up to 20 minutes, where as in modern maths we can use scientific notation, logarithmics and powers, it literally takes seconds to jot down a valve of several billions. I used business in an earlier answer, because money talks loudly and it was actually business men who forced these numerals into modern day use. Not that they forced people to learn it or anything, but more that the business world started to adopt the system, because they could charge people more money, work out interest more accurately, and could keep track of expenditure better. As more and more business men used indian/persian numbers, they used roman numerals less, and everybody who wanted to buy or sell to businesses which used indian/persian numbers, had to learn to use them too. This had a snowball effect where more and more literate and business people learned and used the new numbers, eventually effectively abandoning roman numerals.
  6. eggers

    The Date Of Christmas

    Thanks for the info, part of the problem with discussing things that happened so long ago is its reallly hard to find what is the truth and what is archeologist oppinions! But you happy with the rest of it, im sure the rest is correct!!!
  7. eggers

    Roman Mathematics

    But I don't see why a Roman couldn't convert $10 to 1000 pennies to do the calculation. As long as the monetary system is decimal, their counting board should work fine. Am I missing something? my earlier answer was alittle long winded and alittle vague. Basically the decimal system is far more acturate. That all i was trying to get at.
  8. eggers

    The Date Of Christmas

    Hello eggers, you'll permit me to make one small clarification (not a correction). Both East and West employed the Julian calender for a great number of years until Rome adopted the Gregorian calender. Although some Eastern Orthodox Churches (ie. mainly the Slavic and fanatical, schismatic Greek elements who see the adoption of the new calender as anathema to Orthodoxy...) have adopted the Gregorian, viz. the Ecumenical Patriarchate (apart from Mount Athos and possibly a few other monasteries). The Slavic Churches, although becoming signatories (I think in 1923) to the adoption of the Gregorian calender, eventually did not come to ratify its implementation for reasons of their own, unconnected to the Greek schismatic elements. Only with regards to Easter is the old calender universally upheld throughout Orthodoxy. my bad
  9. They used nails. Simple reason, they were meant to be a method of punishment and be a show to others, not a work of art. They hack out a bit of wood from joining surfaces to make a joint similar to a 'dado' wood joint and then nail them together. Nailing is quicker as it doesn't require any drilling, but wood dowels do. Once the cross is in the area you want to hang someone, you tie them to the cross so they can't actually move out of the way (natural re-action is to try to move you arm outta the way when someone is nailing it to a piece of wood), then hammer the nails through their wrists between the carpal bones and the radius and ulna (fore-arm bones if you don't know) and through the feet. (Whether you remove the rope or not at this point is meaningly, unless you can't hammer straight) They hammered nails through the feet because they can overlap nicely and you need the knees to be bent. This is because once they hang you up there to die, the stress on the rib-cage caused by the arms to be nailed up means you can't breathe. You would need to push up with your legs to take a breath in. That way if you were hanging on the cross you can just about breathe, so you would live alittle longer, and make the punishment worse. Romans were such charming people
  10. eggers

    Roman Army Under Fed?

    Well the main food the romans had was bread they made and baked themselves. This is because grain lasts and is still good to eat (as bread obivously) for years in a granary, so long as you don't get it wet. But this is not there only food. They still foraged if they were doing a siege etc, and if at a barracks, were feed from local farms with local foods (veg, meat, fish etc). Celtic beer was a favourite for the legions stationed in Britinnia. They weren't exactly underfed, the roman army (for most of earlier and middle eras anyway, not sure about late empire) was an expensive force to run. The legionaries had to be tough, fit and ready to go when orders arrived. The Romans went to extreme lengths compared to many foreign armies during, and a while after, to keep the armies effective. The a single solider was not just cannon fodder, he was an expensive, trained killing machine. To train a solider cost alot of money, and they were not about to let them just die off before the soldiers 're-paid' the debt by doing service. Remember the romans built military hospitals to try and heal injuried soldiers and get them back into service quickly etc. The military was a huge investment, so what makes you think that the romans would train soldiers hard at huge expense, heal them when they got injuried, give them citizenship (if they didn't have it and survived long enough to retire) just to let them starve to death?
  11. eggers

    How Bloody Was The Arena?

    Depends where your looking. I'm not sure about the games that were actually held in Rome (i read conflicting reports occasionally), but in other arenas around the empire most of the Gladiators lived. Gladiators were not only slaves. They were usually the best, and strongest slaves avaible, and rich 20-somethings who wanted to make a name for themselves in the ring. They (the slave gladiators anyway) were sold for a high price, so their owners didn't like using them for normal slave activities like mining etc. so they sold them to the gladiators school for a fair profit. The Gladiator schools then had to train and feed them well, all which cost money. Then to stick them in the ring and have them killed off was a waste of money. Therefore is was more of a fight to batter the other gladiator into submission, but with swords and shields. Occasionally there were deaths, more by accident then anything. If a Gladiator died in the ring, the organizer of the game had to compensate the gladiator's (the gladiator who died i mean) school with money. Gladiators who won a fight usually were actually paid some of the winnings, often more in one fight then a roman solider made a year! They also had considerable freedom compared to other slaves and could leave the school at will during the day and do things like shopping! (when not competing in the arena or training obviously). I believe they were locked in their cells at night though. Even so, if they were successful gladiators they could often afford to buy bigger and more luxiourious cells which were fully furnished. Like i say, however, im not sure what the rules were in rome, i have heard that the arena in Rome itself was alot more bloody, and the gladiators used there were not particularly any good. They were used to appease the mob, and the thumbs up or thumbs down is a load of rubbish. When the Emperor used thumbs down, it didn't mean kill the other gladiator, it actually means drop all weapons. To kill the other gladiator, the a finger was slide across the neck, similar to today. Anyone who wants to correct me about the arena in Rome, please do, i don't know much about what happened in the 300 days of games etc.
  12. eggers

    Did Livia Have Gaius Caesar Poisoned?

    For those who say he may have been poisoned there is the possibility that he may not have been purposely poisoned. Some medicines they used back then have actually been discovered to be poisonious when taken in large enough quantities. There's a theory that Alexander the great was killed by this because he wanted to get better earlier to continue his conquests, and pushed his physician to up his dosage of "medicine". Also some of the glues and fastenings for things like arrows can also be toxic. English longbow during the 100 years war (quite a few centuries past the roman era i know, but they are good example) used a copper based glue to fix the arrow heads onto the arrows. Copper is toxic. He may have caught some form of illness while he was wounded. After all, if you get shot by an arrow your not likely to run the London maration. Chances are you will be in your tent, immobile for several days, even weeks if bad enough. That would be a prime time to catch something like malaria, typhoid (yes you can catch malaria in armenia) or tetanus (from rusty weapon). The list goes on, especial when you wounded because you immune system is weakened. Without his moldy corpse it'll be hard to say what happened to him..... except the fact that he's dead.
  13. eggers

    The Date Of Christmas

    The Romans had a mid-winter festival in honour of Saturn, called the Saturnalia. It lasted seven days, starting 17th December, ending 25th December (on Julian Calender). During Saturnalia the Romans feasted, postponed all business and warfare, and temporarily freed their slaves. Parents gave toys to their children and there was a public banquet. In the Roman Empire, the celebrations of Saturn during the week of the solstice, with their climax on December 25th, were the main social event. Saturn, the god of time, is also assosiated with the grim reaper, as his weapon was a scythe and Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto were his children. They represent Air, Water and Death, the only three things that Time cannot kill. Some scholars maintain that December 25 was only adopted in the 4th century as a Christian holiday after Roman Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity to encourage a common religious festival for both Christians and pagans. Perusal of historical records indicates that the first mention of such a feast in Constantinople was not until 379, under Gregory Nazianzus. In Rome, it can only be confirmed as being mentioned in a document from approximately 350 but without any mention of sanction by Emperor Constantine. Another story states that another extremely popular cult of Persian origin, in those days was that of Mithras. The similarities between Jesus and Mithras are many. Mithras was born on December 25th of virgin birth, the son of the primary Persian deity, Ahura-Mazda. His birth was witnessed by shepherds and magi. He was reputed to have raised the dead, healed the sick and cast out demons. He was killed and resurrected, returned to heaven on the spring equinox after a last meal with his 12 disciples (representing the signs of the zodiac), eating "mizd" - a piece of bread marked with a cross (an almost universal symbol of the sun). Also which date are you referring too? it's 25th December traditionally but is actually on 7th January for the Eastern Orthodox Church. This date results from their having accepted neither the reforms of the Gregorian calendar nor the Revised Julian calendar, with their ecclesiastic December 25 thus falling on the secular date of January 7 from 1900 to 2099. This calendrical difference has led to confusion on the part of those unfamiliar with the older calendar.
  14. eggers

    Romance Languages Not In Britain?

    After the Norman invasion of 1066, English went underground as an "illegal" language if you will. It changed significantly between then and when it was re-introduced. Old words were mixed together into new words, slang words took and re-placed other words and pronoucing certain words changed. Some words in English are still very similar to dutch today now though, words like mist and freeze. Other words exist today from french etc. This is part of the reason, as well as the division between north and south before 1066 (and many other reasons), why accents (and many words) are more regional then national in uk
  15. eggers

    Time Zones In The Roman Empire

    That's it. And you couldn't possibly know, anyway, whether you were marking the 'third watch' at the same time as someone in Rome thousands of miles away. Or have any reason to try. They couldn't move around the empire fast enough to suffer from jet lag, and they couldn't tell the time at night. They just timed how long they were on duty using things like sand glasses or water clocks. I imagine the concept of time zone was completely alien to them. They did use sun dials during the day, and timers at night so they did have a vague idea what the time was using basis maths. so, logically they used local time. If you could go back in time and magically zip between outpost all along the frontier you'd probably notice soldiers coming off duty and going on duty all the time, just according to local time.
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