Questions tagged [ancient-history]

For questions that are set in an era corresponding to a level of technology between the invention of writing and the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD.

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How Long Would It Take For A Roman Farmer To Learn About Julius Caesars Assassination?

I'm writing a story that follows the life of a poor plebeian farmer in the late republic. While I was working on the plot, I realized a potential plot hole: such a person would not learn about the ...
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1 vote
1 answer
102 views

A meteor falls in a Mediterranean-like sea: what is the impact?

A meteor with a diameter of 300 meters crashes into the middle of a circular sea with a radius of 1500 km and with a speed of 30 km/s. Civilizations (and humanity as a whole) that are situated around ...
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  • 577
-1 votes
1 answer
86 views

need help designing platonic school of magic [closed]

in the historical fantasy setting currently being worldbuilding for, I'm considering adding a subschool of magic heavily linked to Platonic Philosophy and its theory of forms. essentially, it involves ...
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4 votes
3 answers
137 views

The Falling Tower of Babel

In Preventing a word from being spoken, I asked about how to prevent a word from being spoken, and the means I chose was to change humanity so that humans can no longer say the Word. To that end, I am ...
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3 votes
0 answers
104 views

A High School student time travelled through a certain time in Medieval Ages how would he/she survive? [closed]

Since it's the Medieval Age can mean any time period and any place you can suggest which place and time the student can most likely survive with limited skill. How would a person with high-school ...
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4 votes
4 answers
197 views

How can a disease increase the likelihood of stillbirth in male infants?

In the ancient world, maternity death rates were very high due to lack of medical knowledge and understanding, as well as life-saving technologies. As such, it was a toss up to whether the woman and ...
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  • 38.1k
8 votes
4 answers
847 views

What is the most advanced form of torch?

In a pre-electrical age, anyone who needs a mobile source of illumination must rely on a lantern, lamp, candle or torch. Torches seem to be the cheapest, most primitive option, yet surely they have ...
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2 votes
4 answers
182 views

What types of conditions in an early civilization would create a religion that values joy, celebration, camaraderie and loyalty?

I’m currently in the early stages of building cultures in a high fantasy setting, and what I initially have to work with is a couple of deities- one of which embodies joy, celebration, camaraderie and ...
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8 votes
5 answers
246 views

How to take inspiration cultures without copying them?

I'm currently creating a setting with a large culture that takes a lot of inspiration from Zoroastrianism and the Ancient Near east and Mediterranean. It's going pretty good I'd say, but I've realized ...
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1 vote
3 answers
188 views

What sort of geopolitical environment would sustain generations of legendary warriors fighting battles everyday?

Background Fans of power metal band "Gloryhammer" might have already recognized from the title of this question that I'm talking about Knights of Crail as described in a song "Hail to ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
108 views

How would a groups of scientists, engineers, architects, survival experts, smiths and archeologists survive back in the mesolithic-era-ish of humans? [closed]

A group of 25 people, which consist of scientists, a musician, a linguist, engineers, architects, survival experts, smiths and archeologists from the year 2021, lets assume all of them are experienced ...
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-2 votes
1 answer
147 views

What would ancient warfare look like with basic radios & railways?

What would ancient warfare look like with basic radios & railways? The other changes are easy access to steel & very basic steam engines. Everything else technology wise is the same as the ...
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-3 votes
2 answers
185 views

Give proof or pay [closed]

In this kingdom the king really loves freedom of speech, thus he decided that dissonesty is a capital crime and sin. When saying something, everyone involved must be cited by name and with date and ...
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1 vote
2 answers
176 views

Complications from drafting human breeding stock [closed]

We all know about the various obsessions of the kings from olde times... Some women liked bathing in the blood of virgins, well ex virgins after watching them being raped by guards and animals...some ...
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4 votes
4 answers
180 views

Would ancient accounting records be useful to archaeologists or historians?

I'm creating a story about a team of archaeologists and historians in the present age who discover large library of accounting books from two millennia ago. Those records predates the precursor states ...
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  • 531
10 votes
5 answers
929 views

Inventions that could have come earlier [closed]

There are some technical ideas that could have been developed much earlier, changing the ancient or medieval world. A sterling example is the hot-air balloon. It was actually invented at the close of ...
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  • 641
17 votes
19 answers
6k views

How would the punishment of murder change if people could just respawn?

In this world, since there has been writing, when someone dies unless they are pregnant, they kill themselves on purpose, or they die while asleep, they will respawn where they last slept, just like ...
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18 votes
13 answers
3k views

Feasibility of entirely self-supporting fortress

In a Medieval Fantasy style world, I'd like to have a city/fortress that is impossible to besiege, because they can produce all of the food they need within the strong city walls. However, I'm not ...
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1 vote
0 answers
70 views

Will we ever be able to understand history with 100% accuracy [closed]

Asked the same question on History SE and was directed here. Link with the context is here And this is the question: First of all, I am not a historian or anything of the like, but this question was ...
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5 votes
8 answers
1k views

Advanced Tech beats Combined Arms [closed]

TL;DR: If I am insistent on a nation having a single weapons system spread throughout all of its troops, how much of a technological advantage is necessary to conquer the benefits of the enemy having ...
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15 votes
11 answers
5k views

Most Effective Ancient Weapons System if Combined Arms isn't an option

Short Version: If everyone in my army is going to be armed the same way, what is the most effective weapons system that isn't a horse archer? It is understood that this is still not as good as ...
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-6 votes
2 answers
91 views

assuming the Old Testament YHWH could not create angels, how would He recruit them? [closed]

I mean to tell a story set during the time of the Book of Genesis, leading up to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. YVVH (one of many regional gods) builds more power, as part of a plan to ...
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  • 107
7 votes
2 answers
194 views

Viability of underwater palace built by merfolk

In my fantasy setting there are merfolk who live deep under the ocean and neighboring human civilizations nearby based on iron age civilizations like the ancient greeks and phoenicians. I would want ...
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6 votes
2 answers
312 views

Underground Cities

Assuming ancient levels of technology, perhaps 2500-1500 BC, how would one be able to make a underground city like that of Kaymaklı, while having it be able to be breathed in and, is possible, have a ...
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  • 734
1 vote
6 answers
303 views

What alcoholic drinks would my people make?

In 280 BC a Gaulish tribe became stranded in a forest with no access to grains/potatoes/cultivated grapes. (Magic handwavy - no access to anybody else or land that isn't a forest). They have fresh ...
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  • 1,063
4 votes
6 answers
286 views

What are some ways I can ensure that only a small amount of people actively try to pursue divination in a pre-modern society?

I'm trying to make a story where the amount of people that are able to see the future range from 1-0.1% (i.e. 1 in 100 to 1 in 1000). The problem I'm having is that I'm trying to have my cake and eat ...
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  • 362
10 votes
6 answers
2k views

What is my environmental poison?

I have a small number of people (300ish) that live in marshlands/bog/wetlands environment. They are infertile, live about two thirds of a normal lifespan, and have hallucinations, poor memory, ...
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  • 1,063
0 votes
1 answer
153 views

What kind policies, background elements and institutions would be required for a city to have 900,000 people in an Iron Age Setting?

For example Rome had between 600,000 to a million people at its height. This was due to urban planning, water aqueducts, trade and the grain dole. What would be required for such a fictional city ...
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  • 362
-2 votes
1 answer
122 views

What kind of genetic problems would arise after three, five and ten generations of inbreeding? [duplicate]

In this case I'm assuming that the family has been inbreeding to a level of 2 or closer for a certain amount of generations. Given this what would be the likely issues that would arise after: Two ...
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  • 362
8 votes
5 answers
1k views

Farming sense check

There is a highly militarized nation of 300k people between 0 and 60 years old – technology level similar to the Romans. For climate, think the Mediterranean with plenty of freshwater (streams & ...
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  • 1,063
1 vote
0 answers
70 views

Is there a separate name for a genre/sub genre for more “ancient” fantasy [closed]

Not sure if this was the right stack exchange, but I decided to go with this one. Sorry about the title (it’s pretty vague) But my question is rather simple actually. My story is set in a made up ...
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4 votes
1 answer
259 views

Is it realistic to depict a gradual growth from group of huts into a village and town? Or is it more realistic to depict it as series of big jumps?

Is it typical or at least sometimes happening to have a town that started as a group of huts? And have gradually and organically grown into a village and later into a town? To be more specific, it ...
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25 votes
11 answers
6k views

How would sailing be affected if seas had actually dangerous large animals?

In the real world, sailing is undoubtedly dangerous, but 90% of that danger comes from either the weather, your mistakes, or other ships. Animals don't really count as a factor, unless you fall ...
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4 votes
1 answer
99 views

How could a civilization survive a continent splitting cataclysm? [closed]

Say the lost continent of Lemuria was real, and was home to an ancient sophisticated civilization that like the Atlanteans, dabbled in high technologies and forbidden magicks. Due to their fatal ...
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39 votes
5 answers
8k views

Making Rock, Paper, Scissors fair in battle

The year is 1,000 BC The Rock Tribe, apart from liking very loud music, makes war by throwing rocks. In close combat they can use rocks as primitive (non-handled) clubs. The Scissors Tribe naturally ...
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1 vote
2 answers
378 views

Hypothetically or Theorethically can ancient to medieval periods technology make non biodegradable plastic bag?

To make it clear, I mean the period or timeline, so this include the entirety of the world during up to 1500, not just specifically the technology of ancient/medieval Europe, ancient/medieval Japan, ...
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37 votes
37 answers
9k views

What non-electrical, basic tool from today, could be made that would change the world in ancient times?

John from our future, takes the time-travel bus back in time and steps off in 5th century Europe. He heads for the secret location where travellers are kitted out with authentic clothes, food and ...
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1 vote
2 answers
76 views

Population spread of frontier settlements [closed]

Here's the situation... In 1000 BCE 5000 people from 13 cultures each are transported to a whole other world, for a total of 65000 people. These culture group together and divide up so that we have a ...
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  • 6,578
17 votes
19 answers
5k views

How do I make a writing system undecipherable, while not intended as such in-world?

It is relatively well known that hieroglyphs were not fully translated, or at all for that matter, until a while after the Rosetta Stone was found. It is less well known that the script known as ...
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  • 2,812
0 votes
1 answer
157 views

What materials would / could be immune to magic? [closed]

For my story/novel I'm looking for materials that would/could be immune to magic. Context: One of the characters accidentally drank a transformation potion that turned her into a newt. So, as I can'...
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1 vote
2 answers
333 views

Conceptual differences between nations inspired by East-West dichotomy

I have decided to completely rewrite my question, since the original text led people to believe that I am asking about historical facts. Let's imagine a world in ancient/medieval setting populated by ...
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  • 159
7 votes
3 answers
2k views

Iron-age tools, is there a way to extract heavy metals out of a creature?

Assume a location which is heavily polluted with dust of several types of elemental metals (copper, silver, nickel, cobalt etc) or their respective oxides and salts (whatever is stable in humidity and ...
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5 votes
4 answers
2k views

How would a low-tech device be able to alert its user?

Assume a low-tech scenario, no Electricity, more or less iron age tech-levels. Some people in this world carry devices the size of a modern compass. Within is a very thin (like hair, but of lighter ...
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11 votes
2 answers
320 views

The North Star in the ancient world sky

Question: Would a modern-day teen, trained in using the north star for directions when camping/hiking, notice a difference in how the "north star" (Polaris) works when transported suddenly to 1350 BCE?...
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14 votes
5 answers
5k views

Can Papyrus be folded?

I want a character to invent the codex (that is, modern-shape books) in Ancient Egypt, which means that the primary writing material is papyrus. However, most book binding processes involve sections ...
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1 vote
1 answer
125 views

What could be electable positions in the senate of organized crime? [closed]

So I am constructing a decisional body for the world of organized crime in my near future setting. I am basing this on many things, among them the ancient roman senate. Only the most senior members ...
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4 votes
4 answers
687 views

What weapons could an Iron Age society wield that would be effective against Medieval (High Period) knights?

In numerous fantasy worlds, including my own, I have seen knights battling what appear to be "barbarians" inspired by the Celts, Germanic groups, or possibly some Scythians. From what I've seen, the ...
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0 votes
11 answers
4k views

How can a clan of elven females defend themselves in the ancient world against marauding bands? [closed]

In this setting, the family unit is based around a clan system. An individual's wealth and status is related to the clan they are born in, and its ancestry is based on matrilineal lines. Marriage does ...
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1 vote
5 answers
1k views

Excavating Doggerland by floating a giant concrete bottomless box/boat, dropping it to the floor and draining. What are the main challenges? [closed]

The sea level was once 100m+ lower, rising to todays levels between 18000 and 5500BC. Recent evidence suggests the area in the North Sea, once landmass we now call Doggerland, was densely populated, ...
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5 votes
1 answer
243 views

How fast could a Byzantine messenger travel circa 300AD?

A messenger is tasked by a nobleman with delivering a message to one of his peers from Byzantium to Ancyra, and returning to Byzantium with a response. The message is of some importance, but not a ...
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