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Hmm, Actually, the first couple of passes of the plague had a big effect in stirring the social structure, BUT.
The printing press: Gutenberg's about 1440 ( much slower printing before that ) by 1500 thee were presses "all over".
Paper: possibly spread to the Islamic world from China ~750, hit Europe 13th century. ( Not as "good" as parchment but much cheaper. )
Compass, probably late 12th century in Europe. ( Small effect I think. )
Machine tools: this "is" the industrial revolution. Lathes had been around for a long time, a "near modern" lathe, metal bed, cross slide, gear head - all the parts you need to start making screws in production, was mid 18th century, but "the pieces to make the pieces" were developed over centuries.
Cast iron, long history in China, not used in Europe until 15th century.
Windmills: came into use in Europe in the 11th and 12th century.
Not really important ( I think ) as waterwheels for pumping water and milling grain are pre-Roman.
So, there was much that slowly developed from 600AD, some in Europe, most in the east ( China, India, the Islamic world ( for lack of a better phrase )) that enabled the later developments.
So, some foundation, better communication ( not lots faster, but broader ), and a political environment of semi-constant conflict / competition between technological equals.
We've gotten a lot from NASA's research. They got a lot from the navy's.
As you mentioned, they had plenty of common things shared with the 18th century, but not with centuries before, that we take for granted today which can be considered technology.
To give some examples:
All roads were paved with marble which was an analog to modern concrete paving.
Homes in Crete and Pompeii have been found with Glass Windows.
Aqueducts carried fresh clean water and home sewerage was freely available.
Propaganda and even advertisements were plastered in the wall.
A full electoral and democratic system was in place, similar to the constitutional monarchies of the late 18th.
Carriages were modern, structured and a full profession was set to tend them and care for them.
All public plazas and city streets were illuminated at night using several types of oil lamps
Intercity communication was accomplished by a structured system led by the Military which was organized and heavily equipped.
Reading and writing was common place and a detailed calendar was used.
Scientific schools and libraries were heavily maintained and most knowledge was open sourced.
Public performances and (some) freedom of expression was carried out.
So yes, they didn't have planes, trains nor automobiles, but remember that all of these required a prolonged time of peace and stability which couldn't be achieved until after the end of the Napoleonic wars and was broken by World War One.
So basically what happened was that the convoluted 18 century was followed a dramatic beginning of the 19th century, but once the ideas of the French Revolution took hold during the reign of Napoleon III and most of Europe was involved in the Spring of Nations, the liberal way of thinking prevailed and free enterprise transformed the monarchical Europe since the Middle Ages into the Modern Europe of the 19th Century, on the Roman side, the Empire started on the wrong foot with the intervention of Palestine in the 1st and 2nd Century.
Things literally went South when Christianity prevailed and the downward spiral ended with the divesture of the Empire in the 6th century. 1000 years had to pass for things to settle down and things could return to the "Old Normality".
The situation in the 18th century was very different. The 18th century had several breakthrough ideas and products that the Romans lacked: calculus, gunpowder, printing press, discovery of the Americas, magnetic compass and clocks, to name a few. But the biggest difference was the “scientific method”. The belief that you could decipher nature by observation, hypothesis and experiment. In Roman times, understanding of nature was only attempted by “logic”. Hence, Aristotle and other Greek philosophers were considered the experts and no one doubted them. You can’t have an Industrial Revolution without science. Engineering by itself isn’t enough.
OK, so we discovered gunpowder. In some other parts of the world, it had been known for a thousand yeard. We got magnetic compasses. Others had been using compasses for around a thousand years.
I am quite sure that the redskins discovered America long time before Columbus. Even long before Leiv Eriksson.
Mechanical devices for measuring time was known in the 13th century, even in Europe. Sundials was known in prehistoric times.
Your argument is valid. Certainly the invention of zero preceded all of the examples I mentioned. And was a prerequisite for calculus and science in general. In fact, it pushes back the time when the situation in European was about the same as imperial Rome to no later than the 13th century. My argument was only about whether the situation in the 18th century was similar to Rome. It wasn’t even close.
'Necessity is the mother of invention' - since Rome ruled the known world and had the strongest military force perhaps they didn't feel much need to innovate any further. One might think that better medicine would have been an incentive, but they probably believed their fate to be in the lap of the gods.
really cries out for another equally ridiculous study where men rate pictures of women with and without cats or dogs.
to control for possible subliminal arousal of participants and particiskirts, I suggest only faces and shoulders of subjects be shown, with cat or dog visible only on shoulders. maybe have the male and female subjects draped in a way that conceals breast size ?
p.s. i'm getting a cat soon, but this study has nought to do with it (my mug's repugnant as is); it's to deal with a mice fibonacci population problem: they eat my white t-shirts. and, while i like dogs, i love cats !
«One day it will have to be officially admitted that what we have christened reality is an even greater illusion than the world of dreams.» Salvador Dali