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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1answer
91 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 ...
4
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4answers
242 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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11answers
3k 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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5answers
178 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, ...
4
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1answer
164 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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7answers
678 views

What items from the Roman-age tech-level could be used to deter all creatures from entering a small area?

Please assume the following: There is a item on the ground and I want nothing but bare earth touching it. I cannot move the item myself. The item is impervious to fire. I cannot afford to guard ...
4
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1answer
139 views

Can Roman-age tech break up harder metals?

This question is a follow up to my last one about silver So silver and presumably all metals of lower and equal hardness can be broken down with muscle and stone tools, by forming droplets, using ...
15
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6answers
5k views

What tool would a Roman-age civilization have for the breaking of silver and other metals into dust?

Assume a guy who has a lump of silver, and needs to get it into really small pieces. Ideally down to dust level, if possible. The technology level of the society around him is comparable to late-roman ...
4
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4answers
407 views

Having a Castle before they are invented?

Amid a Sword and Sandal era, my protagonist comes from an ancient and powerful family who has lived in a castle for many generations. The problem is that castles shouldn't exist yet, at least not for ...
6
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4answers
285 views

What are the steps to making pantheons?

In a world where people worship different gods and have different principles, how does a government assimilate those gods (make them coexist without one god being superior)? Clarification: I'm asking ...
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2answers
2k views

Blindfold battle as a gladiatorial spectacle - what are the tactics and communication methods?

The Emperor (may he live forever) has invented a new form of battle for his birthday gladiatorial spectacle. There are two armies, each consisting of one hundred trained warriors. Each is armed with ...
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18answers
5k views

How can I prevent an oracle who can see into the past from knowing everything that has happened?

Our study of human history has numerous problems. 99% of history isn’t recorded. Writing has been around only for 5 thousand years, and much of what we know comes from archaeological evidence. ...
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1answer
137 views

What was the range of Greek Fire? [closed]

As stated above, what was the range of this Byzantine superweapon and could it be modified to increase its range? If so, how would the Byzantines have done it?
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4answers
158 views

Weapons for Bio-Electric creatures

The Tzzin are a race of reptilian humanoids that have some resemblance to electric eels. They are capable of generating and discharging electric charges through their hands. With their Stone Age ...
11
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16answers
3k views

What stops a race of giants from wiping out humanity?

Starting from 435 A.D., a race of sea-faring giants has made land-fall in Eurasia and is raising hell. Due to socio-political pressures in their island homelands in Polynesia and Australia (constant ...
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4answers
2k views

Ancient Roman Pneumatic tube Postal Service

The Romans had pumps, aqueducts, water wheels (which were used to grind flour, saw wood & stone etc), valves & pipes (they are known to have used stone, clay, lead & copper for pipes). ...
5
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11answers
600 views

How can I use the promise of immortal life to sustain and stablize an undead empire?

The heretic Pharaoh Akhanaten and his wife Nefertiti have foolishly turned their backs on the Egyptian gods to embrace the monotheistic faith of Atenism. He has declared himself the son of Aten and ...
18
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8answers
3k views

Ancient-Roman-type Postal Service with Rats as Couriers

Background In the Great City the underground sewers extend to all but the most impoverished households. Most dwellings have an outside privy for their needs as indoor toilets are relatively new. The ...
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3answers
126 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 ...
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3answers
248 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 ...
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2answers
482 views

What could have prevented the decline of the Western Roman Empire, and its fall in AD 476? [closed]

By "decline" I am referring specifically to the loss of political control over territory (shrinking empire). I'm writing a story, and I wonder what are some examples of things that the Roman Empire ...
5
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5answers
663 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 ...
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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 ...
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8answers
381 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 ...
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3answers
198 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
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8answers
2k 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
894 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 ...
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2answers
143 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
180 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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1answer
177 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
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4answers
404 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
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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 ...
27
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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
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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 ...
6
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3answers
188 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 ...
11
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8answers
2k 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
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6answers
890 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
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4answers
223 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
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10answers
6k 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 ...
124
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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
475 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
154 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
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32answers
19k 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
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2answers
264 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 ...
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3answers
305 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
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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
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6answers
322 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 ...
71
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20answers
15k 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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1answer
225 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 ...