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Old 05-28-2011, 02:07 PM
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Thanks for all the different insights.

Its really amazing how technologically advanced previous civilizations were.

Computers, electric batteries, aerodynamics, robotics and other programmable machines (basically computer science and engineering), and magnetism; all these technologies were being pioneered in ancient Alexandria, China and the medieval Islamic states of southwest Asia.

The series Ancient Discoveries is great for not only exposing the general public to the achievements of the ancients but also visualizing them and providing proof of concepts.

Unfortunately, there is not enough space to highlight the particular socioeconomic and political context both domestically and internationally that allowed the early industrial pioneers to accomplish what they did.

The Museum had a daughter library in the Serapeum (which was located in the Egyptian quarter of ethnically segregated Alexandria) thus further allowing the intellectual thirst of the Greeks to quench itself from the centuries old fount of Nile Valley wisdom.

The series does a something of a letdown in that it uses a broad generalization by just stating ancient Chinese. It does not go into much detail of the individual pioneers.

I don't know if there exists a book that tackles why the Alexandrians, ancient Chinese nor the Islamic states of southwest Asia did not widely adopt industrial technology when it was clearly known among their elites or why it finally did catch on centuries and millennium later.

I am cautious of projecting backwards more modern notions and apply them to ancient societies but the emphasis on agriculture and the availability of slave labor perhaps were significant factors.

If any one knows of a text or an article that tackles the above query please let me know.
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