Ten Things the Ancients Did Better than Us

Ten Things the Ancients Did Better than Us

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9. Astronomy

Ancient Astronomy Knowledge

From star constellations painted on ancient Greek ceramics to Native American rock art depicting solstices , star charts in ancient Japanese tombs , Australian Aboriginal dreamtime stories reflecting known astronomical events , and a 10,000-year-old megalithic calendar in Scotland, there is no doubt that ancient civilizations around the world possessed an extraordinary understanding of the cosmos and its movements. But just how they were able to so precisely and accurately record cosmological events without the technology we possess today still eludes scientists in many cases.

What is certain is that recent discoveries have revealed just how advanced ancient cultures were when it came to astronomical knowledge, and that they were far from the primitive people they were once thought to be.

10. Weapons

Greek Fire

While there is no doubt that modern-day weapons are far more superior to their ancient counterparts in their ability to unleash mass death and destruction, there exist a number of powerful ancient weapons that still elude scientists as to their construction and capabilities.

Greek mathematician, engineer, inventor, and astronomer, Archimedes (287 - 212 BC) is reported to have created a heat ray weapon (sometimes called the ‘death ray’) to defend against ships attacking Syracuse, an historic city in Sicily. According to 2nd century AD author Lucian and centuries later, Anthemius of Tralles, the weapon was made of large reflectors (possibly made from polished bronze or copper), which were used to focus sunlight onto approaching ships, causing them to catch fire.

Although its existence has been hotly debated among historians, a number of tests have accurately proven that such a weapon is possible. In 1973, the Greek scientists Ioannis Sakkas set up 70 mirrors with a copper coating, which were pointed at a plywood model of a Roman warship at a distance of 50 meters. When the mirrors were focused accurately, the ship burst into flames within seconds.

By April Holloway

Comments

I am pretty impressed the Roman cement was way more durable than ours is today. However, I don't think that it had to do entirely with the amount of lime or how hot it was baked at. That is because they also added things like ox blood and horse hair to their mixture to make it more durable.

M.Alphan Namlı's picture

Peru has been facing a severe water crisis as chronic problems, such as polluted water supplies, and environmental change combine to undermine the water security of the entire country. However, a new plan has been put forward by Lima’s water utility company, Sedapal, to revive an ancient network of stone canals that were built by the Wari culture as early as 500 AD, in order to supply the population with clean, unpolluted water.

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Alphan Namli

The first sentence of this article makes me wonder if the writer is herself only two decades old. Please grow up. Perhaps you should spend time in your local library reading material on these subjects that was published five, twenty and yes even 50 decades ago!! My!! What wondrous articles you could write then!!! Please keep writing - but check a few books before you do - you'd be amazed(apparently) at what those of us alive forty to five hundred years ago knew.

Tsurugi's picture

Yes. My point was that what is "better" is not an absolute. It is variable, dependent upon many things including personal preference, expediency, availability of resources, and so on.

So in a sense I also am in disagreement with the premise of the article.

And your way thinking also leaves some questions. Lets say what is better ranged weapon, smokeless powder using bolt-action rifle or simple bow and arrow*? That bolt-action rifle needs industrialised society to produce and sustain it. You’ll need high quality steel and precision instruments to make one, chemical industry to make smokeless powder and primers, quality brass making capability to make casings and bullet jackets. On other hand simple bow and arrow needs just one good guy/gal with nice handworking abilities and some toolmakers.

Still it cannot be argued that with skilled hands that bolt-action rifle will kill with greater accuracy and greater range, and it will take down bigger game.

Is society capable of making and sustaining bolt-action rifle more tecnologically advanced than one not capable of making and sustaining it?

*And with bow and arrow I do not mean advanced war weapons like English Longbow, or Mongolian compound bow. Making of those needed master-level weapon smiths and took time. Making of good longbow needed about 2 years to age and dry wood properly and so on. 

     

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