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Proof Of Advanced Technology In The Middle Ages?

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posted on Nov, 16 2004 @ 12:04 AM
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I'm not sure if this should be in this forum but I'm not sure where else to put it (feel free to move it)

I've been reading a work by Roger Bacon from the 1200s called Discovery of the Miracles Of Art, Nature, & Magickwww.sacred-texts.com... -- this passage absolutely floored me:


Of admirable Artificial Instruments.

THat I may the better demonstrate the inferiority and indignity of Magical power to that of Nature or Art, I shall a while discourse on such admirable operations of Art and Nature, as have not the least Magick in them, afterwards assign them their Causes and Frames. And first of such Engines, as are purely artificial.

It's possible to make Engines to sail withall, as that either fresh or salt water vessels may be guided by the help of one man, and made sail with a greater swiftness, than others will which are full of men to help them.

It's possible to make a Chariot move with an inestimable swiftnesse (such as the Currus falcati were, wherein our fore fathers of old fought,) and this motion to be without the help of any living creature.

It's possible to make Engines for flying, a man sitting in the midst whereof, by turning onely about an Instrument, which moves artificiall Wings made to beat the Aire, much after the fashion of a Birds flight.

It's possible to invent an Engine of a little bulk, yet of great efficacy, either to the depressing or elevation of the very greatest weight, which would be of much consequence in several Accidents: For hereby a man may either ascend or descend any walls, delivering himself or comrads from prison; and this Engine is only three fingers high, and four broad.

A man may easily make an Instrument, whereby one man may in despight of all opposition, draw a thousand men to himself, or any other thing, which is tractable.

A man may make an Engine, whereby without any corporal danger, he may walk in the bottome of the Sea, or other water. These Alexander (as the Heathen Astronomer assures us) used to see the secrets of the deeps.

Such Engines as these were of old, and are made even in our dayes. These all of them (excepting only that instrument of flying, which I never saw or know any, who hath seen it, though I am exceedingly acquainted with a very prudent man, who hath invented the whole Artifice) with infinite such like inventions, Engines and devices are feasable, as making of Bridges over Rivers without pillars or supporters.


So basically he talks about motor boats, cars, airplanes, and other modern devices. I heard that Bacon was a "futurist," but these don't sound like predictions--it sounds like he's talking about something contemporary.

I'm also interested in the line "Such Engines as these were of old, and are made even in our dayes. " Was he referring to what we know as the theory espoused in tales of ancient civilizations like Atlantis that the ancients possessed a very high level of technology? As the centuries wore on, did knowledge of these technological advances "fade out" (or was suppressed?).

If there is a "reasonable" explanation for his statements, I would like to hear it...I'm not being sarcastic, I would very much like to hear a "logical" reason for his statements that discount anything "fantastic" -- because reading this really freaked me out! And Bacon was considered the "debunker" & skeptic of his day!




posted on Nov, 16 2004 @ 07:43 AM
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Interesting, as this predates Da Vinci (who was born around 1450 if I recall), yet sounds oddly alot like his drawings of devices...

Don't forget Bacon's connection with the Voynich Manuscript either...


[edit on 16-11-2004 by Gazrok]



posted on Nov, 16 2004 @ 07:54 AM
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Sadly, I would hardly proclaim that this is proof of advanced technology in the Middle Ages. Specifically, maybe this is the beginnings of the Renaissance period, where invention became the norm.
Technology, to be considered 'technology' must be applied and as mentioned by the article, "It's possible" is not applied technology, it is merely visionary (ie: in the manner of Jules Verne and HG. Wells)?

As to this:


Such Engines as these were of old, and are made even in our dayes. These all of them (excepting only that instrument of flying, which I never saw or know any, who hath seen it, though I am exceedingly acquainted with a very prudent man, who hath invented the whole Artifice) with infinite such like inventions...


Pity Bacon didn't 'source' his information and evidences for mentioning such, or did he?



seekerof

[edit on 16-11-2004 by Seekerof]



posted on Nov, 16 2004 @ 09:57 AM
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Hmm. I don't think these are the same devices as modern devices, and Bacon does say he never saw any of those. Some may be urban legends... human musclepower simply can't cause flight (in our gravity field) by flapping wings. We're built wrong for it and we don't have the right strength. That's probably based on various tales constructed around Icarus.

However... there was some technology, as I recall, that allowed someone to walk underwater with a pot over his head. It didn't work well to any great depth but it worked.

Can't speak about the others, but it's an interesting topic. I'll have to look it up when I have more time.



posted on Nov, 16 2004 @ 10:08 AM
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I'm inclined to agree with Seeker.

There's no question that Roger Bacon was a brilliant individual; indeed, many say he discovered energetics (gunpowder, in this case) independently from the Chinese.

But his talk of "engines" isn't evidence of anything except a fertile mind on his part.

I'm not a big fan of theories of "lost technologies"; but if there were any such, my guess is that it would be from the classical era (including up to the end of the Byzantine Empire). I can't see any "lost technology" happening between 1000 and 1400 -- at least, not in Europe!



posted on Nov, 16 2004 @ 10:32 AM
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The ironic thing was that I started reading his work because I wanted to make a foundation in "skeptical writings" to better complement my own "believing" nature--this has not helped things.

As I do research on Bacon, the following questions come up (and if aybody can fill me in, I would appreciate it):

1. In the quoted text, does Bacon say that he prophesizes a time when cars and such will happen--OR is he saying flat-out that these things do exist in his time?

2. In the quoted text & other places he says that these "machines" were used by the Ancients. Considering his background in "occult studies," works of the ancients like the Greeks & Egyptians, and "hidden knowledge of the East," -- did he indeed learn about a higher level of technology that once existed hundreds or thousands of years previous?

3. If these were indeed "visionary" projections of what future technology would be like -- what did he base them on? He was an advocate for reason & science & a debunker of magicians & charlatans. So if he came up with these things on his own, he wasn't doing it like a soothsayer making predictions because he hated those people. Was he just a genius? Was there any prior scientific inquiry/experiments to back this up?

4. Why is something as striking as these 1200 AD descriptions of cars & airplanes & elevators buried in most of the web accounts of Bacon that I've found so far? Why isn't there more investigation? Surely a quote from an old text isn't proof of anything--but it does beg the question as to why he wrote this. To write it off as him being a "futurist" doesn't quite wash with me: a) Because he didn't believe in soothsayers & predictions--he was a proponent of science & experimentation & b) he mentions these devices as being contemporary & used by the ancients. Unless this is a mistranslation of his original manuscript, it certainly bears further scrutiny.



posted on Nov, 16 2004 @ 12:13 PM
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1. In the quoted text, does Bacon say that he prophesizes a time when cars and such will happen--OR is he saying flat-out that these things do exist in his time?


He is saying flat out that they exist in his time, and that they have existed in the past (in the beginning of the quoted piece)....with the sole exception of the flying machine, which he hasn't seen, but has it on (he believes) good authority that it does exist. (all towards the end of the quoted text). Note of course, that 200 years later, Da Vinci had made sketches of almost every thing listed above, even a version of a "tank". However, in the last line of the quoted text, he states that the devices are "feasable"...so I can see the confusion, and share it.


2. In the quoted text & other places he says that these "machines" were used by the Ancients. Considering his background in "occult studies," works of the ancients like the Greeks & Egyptians, and "hidden knowledge of the East," -- did he indeed learn about a higher level of technology that once existed hundreds or thousands of years previous?


That's what he seems to be stating...yes. Gliding toys have been found in Egyptian tombs, so perhaps he did come across such things.


3. If these were indeed "visionary" projections of what future technology would be like -- what did he base them on? He was an advocate for reason & science & a debunker of magicians & charlatans. So if he came up with these things on his own, he wasn't doing it like a soothsayer making predictions because he hated those people. Was he just a genius? Was there any prior scientific inquiry/experiments to back this up?


He is stating it more as an observer than the inventor...and clearly states they exist now, and have for many years, or at least that they are feasable. There is no doubt he was a genius, but I know of no evidence to show he was a skilled inventor. He did not cite any other references to any such experiments, so to answer that last question, no.


4. Why is something as striking as these 1200 AD descriptions of cars & airplanes & elevators buried in most of the web accounts of Bacon that I've found so far? Why isn't there more investigation? Surely a quote from an old text isn't proof of anything--but it does beg the question as to why he wrote this. To write it off as him being a "futurist" doesn't quite wash with me: a) Because he didn't believe in soothsayers & predictions--he was a proponent of science & experimentation & b) he mentions these devices as being contemporary & used by the ancients. Unless this is a mistranslation of his original manuscript, it certainly bears further scrutiny.


Well, you're going a bit far with cars, airplanes and elevators. He described a chariot with an engine of some sort (as Bacon was a man into physics, "engine" was more of a generic term for a device to increase force), which is similar to what Da Vinci drew later, still a half century before any kind of auto. The plane was again similar to Da Vinci's drawing of a cranked glider with wings (as Bacon also describes, if you read it closely). He describes a hoist, but not necessarily an elevator. Even a dumbwaiter would fit his description, or a hoisted scaffold.

Just because he didn't believe in "mystical" versions of the future, doesn't mean he didn't believe in visualizing the future. Indeed, most sci-fi writers are more of a scientific than a mystical bent.


www.mos.org...

[edit on 16-11-2004 by Gazrok]



posted on Dec, 31 2004 @ 10:47 AM
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No question Bacon was brilliant.

ive learned to be carefull when taking text older than 1-2 generations, and translating it directly to present culture. sometimes words have the same meaning, sometimes they are opposite. And this can occur within 50 years.

another fascinating study is archimedes, there are fantastic inventions credited to him, including the screw used today in many hydraulic applications. Pythagoras, Hypatia, the list goes on, incredible people.



posted on Jan, 1 2005 @ 04:47 AM
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Originally posted by Byrd
human musclepower simply can't cause flight (in our gravity field) by flapping wings. We're built wrong for it and we don't have the right strength. That's probably based on various tales constructed around Icarus.


I can't say i actually believe in any sort of human-powered flight device in ancient times, however with the proper wingspan to provide adequate lift, and the correct leverage, human-powered flight would be theoretically possible, would it not? For example, if I could create such a light-weight and sizeable set of wings as could lift my weight, and could rig it so as to give my arms and legs the leverage to move it all (especially if I had a gliding start) couldn't I theoretically gain altitude and stay aloft for long enough as to raise an arguement as to rather I was gliding or actually flying?



posted on Jan, 1 2005 @ 07:55 PM
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It's possible to make Engines for flying, a man sitting in the midst whereof, by turning onely about an Instrument, which moves artificiall Wings made to beat the Aire, much after the fashion of a Birds flight.


thats not an airplane, thats an ornitophter. Works in completely different ways.


I can't say i actually believe in any sort of human-powered flight device in ancient times, however with the proper wingspan to provide adequate lift, and the correct leverage, human-powered flight would be theoretically possible, would it not? For example, if I could create such a light-weight and sizeable set of wings as could lift my weight, and could rig it so as to give my arms and legs the leverage to move it all (especially if I had a gliding start) couldn't I theoretically gain altitude and stay aloft for long enough as to raise an arguement as to rather I was gliding or actually flying?


you cant forget that it would also have to be structurally stable and reliable. the bigger something is, the easier it is for something to break in it.



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