The Most Modern View - More on Things Lost :-)
- From: am05@xxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2008 11:21:38 -0800 (PST)
The Most Modern View - Things Lost and Found during the Dark Ages
2. Engineering and construction - Arches and the Laws of Gravity
Among many things lost during Völkerwanderung  and not find until
much later were ARCHES.
Their loss was not a big surprise because they tended to be big and
cumbersome to move and quite often people expected to find at least
some of them at their new address . As a result, at the early post-
Völkerwanderungish time we can find only relatively small and (what
superficially looked as) reasonably portable versions of the arches:
archbishops, archdukes  and a person called l'Archimbault .
Of course, it did not took very long, after Völkerwanderung was over,
to find out that sometimes it could be much easier to (re)move a whole
bunch of the aqueducts than a single, even modestly-sized, archbishop.
Probably the best-documented case was Thomas Becket . Almost
definitely, Henry II (and probably his subjects) would be much better
off if he concentrated his energy on building the aqueducts and Roman-
style bridges instead of making appointments like this one but things
looked quite differently in 1162 and, AFAIK, Henry did not have any
adequate technical education and, typically for an amateur, he (at
least initially) considered the whole issue from a purely geometrical
(size-based) perspective without paying serious attention to the more
advanced aspects of it like gravity  and friction . We can't
really blame him because the whole thing looked as a reasonably
straightforward task: the only 2 things that you needed were (a) a
candidate and (b) the Pope. There was no scientific confirmation of
the fact that (at least some) archbishops are acquiring the properties
of a Black Hole at the moment of their appointment .
After this discovery had been made (on a purely empiric basis, without
any solid theory being developed, yet), the Early Medievals became
understandably cautious about the additional types of the arches and,
as a result, construction of the big public projects came, for a
while, to a screeching halt and by the time when an art of handling
the arches reemerged nobody could tell for sure what was the point in
building a huge stadium just to enjoy a chaos and mayhem  when the
same goal can be achieved with much lesser effort and much cheaper by
simply raiding the lands of your neighbors. A (more or less) free
bonus of _this_ entertainment was a possibility to get engaged in the ...
er... liberties with the opponent's woman-folk  which should be
considerably more entertaining than just watching them being eaten by
various endangered species on an arena. This natural evolution 
resulted in a popular myth that Völkerwanderung was a time of a chaos:
unlike the Roman circus events with their carefully-done preparations
and well-advertised schedules, many of the Völkerwanderungish raids
were, at least to some degree, improvisations resulting from a high-
cholesterol diet. Of course, to the 'traditionalists' this could look
as a cultural decay but, with a benefit of a hindsight, we can say
that these improvisations paved the way toward development of the new,
independently-minded men  who later styled themselves as
However, with the society gradually getting more and more developed
and better organized , there was a growing and ever-itching need
for the big-scale constructions . It started quite innocently with
the attempt to re-use the surviving constructions in a practical way:
Colonna tried to convert Coliseum into an apartment building, the
Popes tried to do the same with Hadrian's mausoleum, etc. However,
within few generations we see a real construction boom, which resulted
in the magnificent but rather useless (other then from a purely
superstitious perspective) projects like 'Our woman in Paris' , or
prolonged constructions like St. Stephen in Vienna (over 360 years) or
St. Vitus in Prague (over 600 years) . Eventually, became brave
enough to re-introduce the arches in the construction (bother
archbishops and archdukes endorsed this idea and l'Archimbault was,
after all, just a literary personage and did not really matter).
2.2 Gravity and Aqueducts
It may look strange but re-introduction of the arched did not result
in re-introduction of the aqueducts. The Ancient Romans discovered at
some point a limited version of the Laws of Gravity, applicable to the
water . Before this discovery had been made, nobody could tell for
sure how water is going to behave and if the whole idea of the
aqueducts is going to be practical. However, this Law was misplaced
during Völkerwanderung and not found until Newton had been hit by an
apple  and then it was too late because everybody was getting
themselves ready for a modern canalization.
The loss of the Roman Laws of Gravity did not cause any noticeable
problems (one of the reasons why nobody really tried to re-discover
them for quite a few centuries). The Fall of Rome resulted in a
suburban sprawl and building a separate aqueduct for each individual
castle or monastery was too expensive. The Medieval suburbanites
simply tended to build their dwellings close to the water sources
(which also solved a sewage problem) so everything was ecologically-
friendly and close to the nature . Of course, there still was an
issue of the big cities and all efforts of the most enlightened
rulers, like Totilla, could not solve it completely. However, with the
aqueducts being taken out of circulation, a consumption of the natural
resources like water was reasonably restricted and, with a passage of
time, the further conservation policies (like limiting bathing,
eliminating toilets with flushing water, etc.) had been introduced all
over Europe. As a result, even existence of the big cities did not
have a serious impact on ozone layer at least until the Time of
Enlightenment with its intensive usage of candles.
 It was proven time and again that the term "Dark Ages" (aka, "time
of insufficient light") is factually incorrect because (a) there
definitely were some sunny days during this period and (b) flames of
the burning Antique furniture would provide an adequate amount of
illumination for most vital activities of this period including but
not limited to rape, mass killing, looting, burning and, by some
reason which we can't convincingly explain, breaking the antique
pottery (perhaps the invading barbarians were smart enough to
understand that only if this pottery became a rarity, they can get any
decent money for it from the antique dealers and museums). OTOH,
"Völkerwanderung" is a term easy to understand (and probably spell, if
one is trying hard enough) AND is undeniably true: there were numerous
changes of address during this period with a resulting (quite
understandable) confusion of the tax-collecting agencies: due to the
policy of the open borders people moved freely from one jurisdiction
to another, often without giving any advance notice and quite often
more than once within a single taxing period. Quite understandably, a
lot of things, big and small had been lost both by U-Haulers and by
the parcel services (Latin numbers were not adequate for the really
big numbers and package tracing ID's ended in a total mess which ended
up only with an introduction of the Arabic numbers).
 Ostrogohts' attempts to take Roman arches with them while being
evicted from Italy by Belizarius resulted in a destruction of the
aqueducts of Rome.
 It is definitely true that even the most over-fed archbishop is
noticeably smaller (in the terms of a pure size) than an average
aqueduct or a Roman bridge.
 With so many scholars around, there is no need to explain where he
 What can be more reliable and educational than Hollywood
 Once being appointed, the archbishops tended to gravitate to their
seats with a force that seemingly did not depend on their physical
mass. This was a commonplace at these times because the Laws of
Gravity were lost during Völkerwanderung and not re-discovered yet and
everybody acted pretty much on his own whim. In modern terminology,
the most obstinate archbishops acted more or less as the black holes:
their gravity did not depend only on their geometrical size.
 The Roman methods of lubrication were, among other things, lost
during Völkerwanderung so Henry simple did not know how to handle the
friction properly until he discovered (and never got adequate credit
for this discovery) what was much later became known as Stalin's Way
to Solve the Problems: "you have a person, you have a problem. No
person, no problem". Unfortunately, Henry was too much ahead of his
time to be properly appreciated for this fundamental discovery.
 The Black Holes not being discovered yet. Of course, this specific
ability was not limited to the archbishops: some Popes also had it.
 The British football fans did not appear, yet, in the numbers big
enough to warrant such a construction.
 This was described as a crucial part of a contemporary warfare in
one of the poems about El Cid but, unfortunately, was not reflected at
all in the movie.
 I do not share an opinion that this was _intelligent_ design on
 And most definitely females: the McWasherwomen being the best
 Eventually, people run out of places to move to (America was not
discovered yet), which made taxation simpler and, as everybody knows,
the main 3 pre-requisites for building an organized society are:
"money, money and money".
 It is actually very simple: society is advanced if there are big
constructions because if there are none, then society is NOT
 This is how it was allegedly translated by some Russian tourists
of early XX century.
 As was wisely remarked by Michael Kuttner, the big constructions
meant food on the employees' tables.
 It was saying that the water tends to run downwards. This law was
based on an empirical Etruscan discovery that shit floats on the top
of a water that tends to run downwards (which resulted in construction
of the Cloaca Maxima). After a thorough investigation, the Romans came
to conclusion that this rule applies to ANY water, and that shit was
not a crucial factor in water's behavior.
 Which, understandably, resulted in a much broader approach to the
issue of gravity.
 Roman trend towards the global warming was dealt with so
efficiently that there even was a Little Ice Age in the most advanced
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