Ancient History pt. 1
Written by: The Stainless
Take the works of Hero of Alexandria (10-70AD). He crafted steam engines, hydrostatic fountains, wind turbines, and even automata. This is just what we know of.
Another great mind was Aristarchus of Samos (310 BC-230BC) who had disproven heliocentrism, had correctly figured out the order of the planets, and gave a close estimate to the correct size of our solar system.
It is easy to think of science and observation as a modern invention, that people in the past were ignorant and undeveloped. The truth is that human nature, for better or worse, has not changed as much as we’d like to believe.
We looked up at the stars, we calculated, we dreamt and tried to understand the world around us.
The Greeks had access to both primitive steam engines (The Aeolipile), AND railways (In the form of the Diolkos). Unfortunately they viewed the steam engine as a novelty, a toy or diversion. As for their railways? Powered by slaves, they never thought to combine the two.
In this we see that it is also perception that shapes technological advancement.
Sometimes the groundwork is laid, but societal change is needed for the concept to bear fruit.
Imagine if the steam locomotive was invented more than 1800 years before we saw it, imagine the world-changing difference it could have made. Trade, transport, even war. The world would look far different.
The advent of written language was a turning-point for humanity, in this they found strength and immortality. No longer did each generation have to start from the beginning, or be limited by the half remembered facts of village elders.
For the first time, we could put our ideas, hopes and dreams in firmer stuff than ourselves. From rock walls to papyrus, to parchment, to high definition glowing pixels, each time easier to share.
But all things in this world are subject to time, to entropy.
What I wish to convey is that there are far more mysteries, far more knowledge and far more wisdom to be found in the world of the ancients.
There are those who would say that ancient knowledge is limited to day to day concerns.
I wish to tell you that is false. There is more to their words, more to their lives.
Respect them, respect their fight for truth.
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