My protagonist was a diplomat, and a spy. Things went wrong and he had to flee in a crippled starship. So, he crash-landed on a planet which was inhabit by a primitive life form. He crashed on 16th-century earth.

There is no way to repair his starship with 16th century technology, so he has to stay. However, he is immortal (or, he can expected to survive the next two- to three-thousand years). He wishes to have his starship repaired, however, he is bound by his ethic standards, which ask that he grants humanity their natural development, meaning he can not rush their technical progress for them to build replacement parts for his star ship. He can provide some guidance, but no more than that. This is similar to Star Trek's prime directive, but less strong. He would not be allowed to enslave humanity and force his own culture on them, but he can and will teach them (this includes philosophy as well as science). When he learned this philosophy, he also learned some basics of how societies develop, but he is not a fully trained exo-sociologist.

I think that right after the crash-landing he would take some time to observe the locals.

What would he do then? He needs food, shelter, so, how would he approach the locals? How would he integrate into their society? What would be the topics of his teaching? How would the topics change over the years? My story sets in about 500 years after the crash-landing, so I am looking for a broad overview of what he did in the last fivehundered years, not a detailed discussion of the first few days.

I am sure that he will teach ethics and philosophy. Which other topics?

Initially, I thought about medicine, but he was not a trained doctor in his live in space, and he certainly does not know about the biology of a species he never encountered before. However, he does have alien-highschool, so he knows about bacteria and hygiene.

He is not a scientist, but most highschools and colleges on earth today provide enough of a scientific background to outperform a 16th-century scientist. So alien high-school for sure provided this as well. So maybe he could teach the scientific method and stuff like this?

He has enough of an engineering background to repair his starship, once he acquires the necessary parts. So, could (and would) he teach engineering?

Being a diplomat, he may prove valuable as an advicer to a king or politican, however, if he gets the feeling that he is entagled into politics too much (and thereby influences the development of humanity too much), he will pull back. Maybe this keeps him from assuming such a position in the first place.

He has some martial arts and weapons training. He even learned some military tactics (being a spy may include comanding a division of the special forces). But he will be reluctant to share those skills, because he is pacifistic. He uses force for self defence, maybe even to defend others or prevent crime, but he will stay out of military conflicts, because he would influence the development of humanity too much if he gets involved with those. Also, he will not train an army, especially not if this means that he gives an advantage to one party in a conflict.

  • $\begingroup$ Where on Earth in the 16th century? Rome or Paris or London would be very different from Constantinople, and they all would be very different from Isfahan, or from Peking, or from Kyoto, or from Timbuktu. And the funny thing is, all those cities were capitals of powerful kingdoms or empires during that time. (OK, not Isfahan, but I thought it's much better known than Tabriz and it did become the capital at the end of the 16th century.) In the 16th century Europe was weak and poor; the East was where all the action was... Or so it would have appeared at the time. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Sep 16 '17 at 21:45
  • $\begingroup$ Basic sanitation. $\endgroup$ – pojo-guy Sep 16 '17 at 23:41
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    $\begingroup$ This question is very broad. I was able to count 8 different questions in it, many which would still be too broad to answer. $\endgroup$ – Anketam Sep 17 '17 at 0:23
  • $\begingroup$ I disagree on being too broad. Upvoting. $\endgroup$ – Sherwood Botsford Sep 17 '17 at 20:40

If he crashes near Italia or Europe he can make use of the renaissance era : let him take the name of some guy...say Leonardo da Vinci that's a good name.

Then use his gargantuan knowledge to make him the embodiment of humanism. (pun intended)

He may have an artistic hobby. So his revolutionary ideas could help him get in touch with some powerful dynasty. Have him do modern/alien art at first for comedy then have him learn the trends of early renaissance and try some really weird painting style (again Da vinvi example, but it sounds way too fun to me so I'll keep using it)

The Da vinci example come into play some more: have him design war machines for that king (deadly stuff but too advanced or unpractical on the level of an army to be truly useful, a renaissance era tank is good but you don't really see those in history books, so he can stay pacifist)

Being a great mind of his time being a part time advisor is a good idea but he sould be remembered as an artist or a savant. that way he can give humans ideas of what they could do to advance without being too direct, he would simply be a really important man of "his time" along with the other bright minded people of the era.

He would teach anything he knows as long as it doesn't sound really obvious that there is something not right with him knowing it, if someone ask why is he so cultured in your story have him say that he read a lot of "insert previous identity" books.

After the renaissance era he should have legally died and came back with a different face in a different place, England in the victorian/industrial era don't seem like a bad idea for a scientist person for example.

In short : have him mimic a human and be an Humanist or a Da vinci like figure, rinse and repeat with different eras, have him be in a place where he can use his knowledge without standing out too much from his contemporaries

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  • $\begingroup$ This is in fact a great idea. Especially because it means I can design his curiculum vitae based on the life of prominent people of each century. $\endgroup$ – Alex Sep 17 '17 at 17:20

from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medieval_university

University studies took six years for a Master of Arts degree (a Bachelor of Arts degree would be awarded after completing the third or fourth year). The studies for this were organized by the faculty of arts, where the seven liberal arts were taught: arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, music theory, grammar, logic, and rhetoric.[24][25] All instruction was given in Latin and students were expected to be able to converse in that language.[26]

He should not teach philosophy, or scientific method or other subjects which will be tangled in the culture of the time. Unless he is a quick study his approach to these will be so different from that of his contemporaries he will at least be suspect and probably will not get hired.

He should teach math. Arithmetic and geometry are timeless and placeless. Other faculty cannot argue that your geometry is wrong unless it is demonstrably wrong. Even if your teaching methods are unorthodox, math and geometry have enough of a buffer around them that you are unlikely to be burned as a witch (as opposed to, say, astronomy).

The other thing is that he is unlikely to be famous for teaching things Euclid laid out 1000 years previously. And he can move from place to place, continuing to teach the same subjects. His immortality will not draw attention.

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