Wednesday, August 31, 2011

3 Things We Should Thank The Medieval Times For

Eddard here, so sorry for the delay of posts, I'm sure you missed wise words from me and my oh so clever japes. Japes, a word oft used in medieval times! Well not really, Old English which was common in the early Middle Ages actually did not have the letter J. Also to clear any confusion of the title of this post, I am not talking about the lovely dinner and show affair that is Medieval Times, but boy, do I wish I was, I mean it's only the greatest thing ever, guys beating each other with weaponry, sheer joy!

Anyway back to the important stuff; the Medieval Times, we owe them a lot. We wouldn't even have the concept of romantic love without those lovey dovey knights being ever so gallant towards fair maidens. (Another side note, romantic love did not arise from gallant knights, don't go telling your friends I told you that, however, the rest is totally true. Totally.) So, onto the list of things we take for granted, but were totally amazing several centuries ago!

And you thought Go Fish was fun!

1. Numbers: Yes numbers did exist before Medieval Times (no, not the fake tournament), but were brought into widespread use during the age of which we are currently perusing. Known properly as Arabic Numerals, 0123456789 weren't really much known around anywhere that wasn't India or the Middle East. In comes Leonardo Bigollo, better known as Fibonacci, the guy who's weird name and sequence you learned in sixth grade. He introduced "Arabic Numerals" then known as The Method of the Indians to Europe, revolutionizing thought in Europe. Without the spread of Arabic Numerals, we may still be using tally marks. For everything. Thankfully place value also came along with this method so we're all counting quite well today. And then you go to college and realize real math is done with letters. Yeah, letters go hard.

2. Mechanical Clocks: Properly invented during the Middle Ages, hourglasses as well as water run clocks were the norm, as well as sundials. But then came the night at that sundial totally did not work as a moondial. Dang. But then, boom goes the dynamite(but not actually, Alfred Nobel invented that, yeah, the guy who the prize is named after, much later) in comes weights and the modern mechanical clock. It was designed so well, that it barely changed to this day. Being much more accurate than a hydraulic clock, falling weights or a pendulum that would cause the rotation of gears by moving an Escapement, a device which would cause a gear to move one tooth, the ticking noise of a clock. And so accurate timekeeping began, used for notifying people as well as knowing when it was time to tune into the local joust, all the lords and ladies would be there and there would be plenty of mutton.

Mutton. I don't think I need to add anything clever here. Mutton.

3. Artillery- You remember the lovely article about giant guns right? Well none of those would exist if it weren't for those geniuses all up in those Medieval Times (no, not the fake tournament). True artillery started with Trebuchets, a catapult of sorts that used a counterweight (weights, who knew they had more use other than making you super buff?!) to launch stones at bad guys. Yup, this was not only considered brilliant, but terrifying and deadly. Soon enough lords realized they can chute out the enemies dead back at them. Yeah, the bad guys peed their breeches seeing that. Eventually came Superguns, cannons that shot large diameter iron balls (that's not a joke) using gunpowder. Some of them were made for use, some for show for sheer enemy terror. Indeed came more peeing-in-breeches. Oh, would you like to see what came in more recent times from these super guns? Of course you would!

Taken from 1562. Yeah, this is why Feudalism ended.

But we've only scratched the surface Eddard! Indeed we have! I could indeed show you another thirty things we should thank the Medieval Times  for, but I won't. However I shall leave you with one last thing we should thank them for:

Medieval Clothing and Cosplay! On second thought...