reply to post by demongoat
Rome fell because they went bankrupt. That was due to selling off their nation to foreign causes. Rome was not stretched too thin. It stopped growing
when it needed to. Then it got too caught up in it's own problems, then Christianity changed its morality and economics, then it started selling land
for war assets. In actuality, Rome was effectively "terraforming" the culture. When it fell in the 400s, it was not conquered by undressed
barbarians with no intelligence. The people who conquered Rome was in effect Roman. They may not have flown the flag of Rome, but they war its armor,
had its technology, and spoke its languages, if only partially.
Now as to how advanced Rome was, They were very advanced. They started falling back as they became too concerned with other things. Their height of
advancement was around 200 AD.
Your statement that just because they still used horses and words makes them primitive is ignorant at best. Rome had more than that.
In terms of war assets alone, they had semi automatic ballistas, compact sniper nest weapons like the Scorpio , which a well trained group of could
take out the entire command structure of an invading enemy. They had semi automatic handheld variants called Cheiroballistra that were similar to
Crossbows. Probably imports from China. They also had various Onager weapons, which might as well have been a form of mortar. Underground, during the
siege of Ambracia, the Romans essentially used poison gas mines along side their other weapons.
Outside of war, the Romans had a steam engine, called Aeolipile. There is evidence for railroad work in Diolkos. There was no steam train, rest
assured. But the technology existed in the day to create a train as we know it. They simply never put the two together. They even had paddle boats.
The thing that, on the Mississippi, created the conditions for the steam boat. Again, they never actually did this. They simply had the means to.
There's even a few bits of data on Greek inventions that include programmable carts.
You may have heard about the Antikythera mechanism I assume.
Rome as you know had plumbing and other such things. But their architecture, specifically cement, is more than you give it credit for. It's why the
Pantheon still stands while most of the dark ages is in ruin.
Then there is the fact they knew about bacteria, God knows how:
"When building a house or farm especial care should be taken to place it at the foot of a wooded hill where it is exposed to health-giving winds.
Care should be taken where there are swamps in the neighbourhood, because certain tiny creatures which cannot be seen by the eyes breed there. These
float through the air and enter the body by the mouth and nose and cause serious disease." Marcus Varro.
There is also evidence for both brain and eye surgery to get things fixes when needed. Survival was descent, but not guaranteed.
Age was around 60-80 depending on wealth. Pretty good for its time.
And finally, Literacy. It existed. And many could read and write. They find graffiti in many towns written by the common folk, indicating it was
something many knew. They find notes and letters between citizens and soldiers during campaigns, suggesting a literate army. Reading and writing
education goes back all the way to ancient Greece and the Romans continued it. It was at around 20% of the population in Rome, which considering the
population of slaves, makes sense. But even slaves were taught when needed and learned on the job. These estimates are based off actual schools, not
offhand understanding by job experience or others. They could be higher, but nobody took statistics of it. It seems that the western provinces had it
lower, but Rome was where it was highest in the Roman Era. Greeks were very interested in teaching as many as possible. It was usually private, but
payment was reasonable.
All and all, we're looking at a very advanced people. They were as advanced as the United States circa early 1800s, plus or minus a few things. We
had more industrial knowledge. But we didn't surpass their medical capabilities until WW1.