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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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3answers
49 views

Could a Romanesque civilization develop chariots (carts, transportation etc) that could survive being ejected out of a magical tunnel at high speeds?

In the setting I am working on there is a sort of "subspace" torrent of energy (called Essence) that wraps around the world. Imagine magical, and definite, lines of latitude. This torrent of energy is ...
0
votes
3answers
142 views

How can I alter humans to allow them the ability to choose the sex of their child in the ancient world?

Research shows that some creatures in the animal kingdom manipulate the sex of their child in order to maximize the number of grandchildren. Parents in good condition, based on health, size, dominance ...
5
votes
5answers
645 views

A Roman-technology clock run by slaves - how to make it accurate

In a land similar to the Roman Empire, slaves are used to drive machinery. Mostly this is a matter of getting them to pull carts or wind handles. The Emperor wants a clock that is accurate to the ...
7
votes
11answers
2k views

How could a triumvirate remain stable as a political entity over the long term?

The Triumvirate is a political regime dominated by the powerful individuals. It is, in effect, a three-man directorate with dictatorial powers that share in the governing of an empire. Each are meant ...
0
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8answers
295 views

What can a bunch of American kids teach ancient Egyptians? [closed]

18 children (ages 2-14) travel from a small American town in 1995 to the year 1312 BCE in ancient Egypt. They stay with Jewish slaves in their village (the structure is more serfs than slaves) for 9 ...
1
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3answers
157 views

How do I build an ancient moisture vaporator?

Let us suppose a world that exists under a harsh red sun. The entire planet, which may once have been fertile, is, in its current state, covered with desert. The civilization living there, which may ...
12
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9answers
4k views

Naval warfare in a Bronze Age setting - few big ships versus many smaller ships

I wasn't sure which StackExchange I should ask this question, but since the story I am writing is basically a historically inspired fantasy, I decided to present it here. The story in question is ...
5
votes
8answers
795 views

Historical or mythological Monster Hunter organization

My search for "Monster Hunter" invariably gives me a ton of results related to the videogame and this is making my research a bit tricky. What I'm looking for is any instance in history of a real ...
13
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10answers
789 views

How would a time traveller conquer the ancient world?

I have found myself approximately 2000 years in the past, I didn't bring anything with me. But since I am here, I want to conquer the world with my knowledge from the future. Or as much as is possible ...
0
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2answers
128 views

Let's think of a plausible but exotic explanation for the 'purses' held by ancient leaders [closed]

In wide ranging cultures, in both the middle-east and South America, gods or god-like beings are shown holding what looks like small purses. The purpose of the question is to think of an interesting, ...
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4answers
154 views

Can a character raise a T-Rex from an egg and have it be tame?

So I'm writing a book series called The Weasel Sagas (link here if you want to know more about that). Anyway, there's this character named Santa Muerte (her birth name is Beth but that's a story for ...
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votes
1answer
133 views

Which MMA style would be most effective in an Ancient Roman Colosseum? [closed]

Premise Poof! A MMA heavyweight has been transported back in time to ancient Rome. He is to fight in the colosseum. One of the (many) things that fascinates me about this juxtaposition of worlds is ...
4
votes
4answers
378 views

Who gets to sleep in the palace?

Background I am Priam of Troy. No, not that Priam, he's great-great-grand descendant. I am the king of Troy from sometime between 2500 and 2350 BC--depending on what chronology you favor--what your ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

Could the Library of Alexandria have survived until today?

The Royal Library of Alexandria was one of the greatest library of the ancient world. However it was destroyed during the 3rd century after years of decline. Was such a library doomed to ...
26
votes
10answers
4k views

Is it possible for an ancient contraption to survive modern-day attempts of breaking in?

Some Context I watched a generic Da-Vinci-Code-like french movie that, in a certain point, featured a secret society trying to find an item of great value that was lost in a vault built centuries ago ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

How early can transparent glass windows be easily available?

TL;DR: How early can windows made of transparent glass (can look through) be readily available (not a rare luxury) to "common" citizens (at least top 10% of population)? Disclaimer: I know very ...
5
votes
3answers
175 views

How far can civilization go without inventing the calendar?

While only counting seasons and years, but not weeks or months, how far can human civilization progress? Can they reach the middle ages? Or is the invention of the calendar such a cornerstone of ...
8
votes
6answers
1k views

Preventing the spread of Christianity in the Roman Empire

In this alternative reality Constantine the Great never embraces the Christianity and the Roman Empire remains polytheistic. So I would like to know what realistic change(s) could have prevented the ...
8
votes
6answers
804 views

Survival strategy for a time traveller in the Roman empire [closed]

I would like to know what would be the best strategy to survive and prosper in the roman empire for a time traveller? Let's say that the time traveller is a 30-year-old Italian from the XXI century ...
4
votes
4answers
161 views

Changing Earth's axis suddenly or gradually?

First post, if it isn't completely obvious. I've discovered this site by trying to "google" that question. Here's what I'm investigating: Long ago, pre-deluvian civilizations built ancient megalithic ...
26
votes
10answers
5k views

How do I make an ancient culture without borrowing from known ancient cultures?

Everywhere I've looked, the way we traditionally make a civilization or society feel ancient is by applying ages or architectures from our own history, hence my term "bronzification." A similar ...
122
votes
23answers
24k views

What could people notice about someone who is two times as dense as a regular person?

I've got a group of magical people living mostly incognito in an ancient society. They look and act exactly the same as regular people, but they are really magicians, and a side effect of having those ...
6
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6answers
439 views

At what point in history would it be feasible to build Archimedes famous Death Ray?

So the story goes that in 212 BC Archimedes used bronze mirrors to incinerate Roman ships as they approached the harbor at Syracuse. This along with other ingenious inventions aided in keeping the ...
9
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3answers
150 views

Could marble sized bombs which detonate on impact (launched with slings) replace muskets in warfare?

I'm trying to build a sort of prime directive violated medieval or ancient society, where outside forces have influenced the development of their warfare. But the outsiders are reluctant to trade in ...
50
votes
32answers
18k views

How to completely destroy a city, without leaving clues for humanity 4,000 years later?

Background I want to burn down a city completely. Nothing must remain, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Even though I'm a supernatural being, I want this to happen in a natural way. I also want the ...
5
votes
2answers
224 views

Could an ancient civilisation create plastic on Titan?

Could an ancient civilisation create plastics on Saturn's moon - Titan? Much like how we forged metals and glass here on Earth... To prevent it from being impossible from the start fire can be ...
0
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3answers
231 views

Nanocellulose swords/ melee weapons

In a world with no metal resources existing in a usable fashion a civilization with tech similar to that of the Mayans discovers a way to make nanocellulose, the ultimate natural polymer from algae. ...
14
votes
6answers
5k views

Julius Caesar with a one-time pad

Julius Caesar used a substitution cipher (now called a Caesar cipher) for sensitive private and military correspondence. The cipher involves shifting all of the letters in a message in one direction a ...
5
votes
6answers
297 views

Armor increasing strength

Many games have various side bonuses on their armors other than just defense. These bonuses can often be active things like having a ghost thrall to protect you when wearing a special armor or more ...
70
votes
20answers
14k views

How could an ancient race warn the future in a universally understandable way?

Let's say that an ancient race of beings locked away some sort of evil that could destroy the world if unleashed. Let's also say that unleashing it would be relatively easy to do if not warned of ...
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votes
1answer
181 views

What would Rome do first with magic? [closed]

In a a previous question, I asked about making a rune-based magic system. The system strongly resembles a computer programming language, and that got me thinking, what sort of thing would an ancient ...
3
votes
3answers
242 views

Ancient cryogenics

It's a few years from now, and an incredible breakthrough in medical science has occurred that allows doing an in-depth 3D analysis of a deceased person's body, allowing their brains and bodies to be ...
10
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4answers
336 views

What would change a human society's chronotype?

Humans are diurnal. We have chemical signals the control our waking and sleeping cycles, we are evolved with good day and color vision, poor night vision and smell, and an excellent ability to shed ...
36
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12answers
7k views

How to stop a massive canal system from silting up?

Based on the desert world from this question I need to transport around 500 cubic kilometres of water / year across a desert. Using this calculator. this can be achieved if the main feeder canal is ...
2
votes
4answers
474 views

Roughly how much water would my desert civilization need every year?

In my desert canal world all water is supplied from the poles to the temperate zones via a canal network. I want to work out the amount of water that that is needed, so that I can work out the ...
2
votes
4answers
243 views

How fast a current can ancient water way travel overcome?

This question has similarities to this one but concerns canal travel in more ancient times and is aimed at finding an approximate speed of flow not variables. Background Assume an Earth-like world ...
85
votes
15answers
26k views

If the Romans found one working steam engine would they have been able to copy and use it?

I Previously asked if the Romans could have built a steam engine to power a ship, which received a number of answers perhaps best summarised as “probably not but…”. Assuming the Romans couldn’t have ...
7
votes
8answers
1k views

How can my ancient Roman civilization develop effective steam power for use in ships?

Following on from this question which specificaly asks about the consequences of aeolipile development, how can my ancient Roman civilization develop effective steam power for use in their ships? I ...
7
votes
3answers
707 views

How to determine the population size and spread in a fictional ancient world settling

Similar question to this one except I want to calculate the urban and rural population needed to support an army. I want to create a world for a fantasy wargame campaign using some of the elements ...
5
votes
4answers
528 views

What methods might an ancient civilization take to extract fresh water from great depth?

I previously asked What measures might an ancient civilization take to protect itself from extreme heat? The answers gave some useful suggestions as to how cities could be adapted. For convenience in ...
14
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2answers
465 views

Would a Roman civilization be willing and capable of building large scale sea defences against a serious but unrealised flood threat?

Scenario The straits of Gibraltar never quite opened and the entire Mediterranean basin is dry land apart from a few large salt water lakes at the lowest points ~5% by area. The Europe – Africa land ...
33
votes
8answers
11k views

Could the Romans have colonised the New World?

The question of whether the Romans could have crossed the Atlantic in a storm has already been answered and the answer seems to be: yes but unlikely. Could the Romans have crossed the Atlantic in a ...
11
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6answers
2k views

What is the largest / longest practical bronze age sword possible?

Assuming bronze age technology and the use of bronze for the blade, what is the longest blade / total length of sword that is possible and practical to use? Bronze age Naue II swords were typically ...
4
votes
5answers
311 views

What are the structural implications for a pseudo-abrahamic religion based not on shepherds' but farmers' mythology?

We have a religion and a church. Said religion is similar in background and style to Abrahamic religions, but originating from people who prioritise farming over breeding livestock. Hence, all of our ...
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votes
2answers
151 views

How different are seasons perceived in a Mediterranean climate when compared to a North European climate? [closed]

My conculture is set in an area similar to the Mediterranean Sea, only it's almost double the west-east width of it, on a longitute around the same as Rome and Athens and a similar climate (let's take ...
21
votes
6answers
5k views

What would the Ancient Greeks call a wizard that can control life?

In this world set in an alternate Ancient Greece, science is combined with magic given from the gods. People who study healing arts usually worship Asclepius. There also is a cult that studies the ...
5
votes
1answer
324 views

How might a game have made its way from China or India to the Mediterranean in the ancient world?

This is in regards to "The Secret History of [M]", a reputedly ancient game with a disputed origin, and am thus looking especially for references involving m words. Q: How might a game have made it's ...
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4answers
822 views

Would a species that migrates across the globe discover its roundness sooner?

I have a world with 9 year days. That is, the day-night cycle here lasts 9 years, where ours lasts a mere 24 hours. Very similar to a tidally locked planet, except the habitable belt moves. The ...
6
votes
6answers
629 views

How would Zeus throw thunderbolts if Zeus were actually using technology?

A fellow from the near future is sent on a mission to ancient Greece where he needs to impersonate Zeus. What kind of device would best approximate the mythical bucket of thunderbolts? Also, style ...
2
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3answers
1k views

Is having a Pre-Human society worth it? [closed]

I will not lie and say I am a published author, however, I have spent a fair bit of time on TV Tropes and know how to avoid pitfalls such as the Mary Sue. This is all to say that I wish to add an ...