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New NESes, ideas, development, etc

Discussion in 'Never Ending Stories' started by das, Jul 15, 2005.

  1. Lord of Elves

    Lord of Elves Suede-Denim Secret Police

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    I would assume that (according to Thlayli) the Sassanians don't qualify as an external threat capable of producing significant technological change in the Imperial Legion or what-have-you, as that would have to be some form of existential threat. Rome didn't have to invent new weapons, new tactics or anything else in order to hold the Sassanians at bay.

    But I'm absolutely terrible at classical/antique history so I could be completely wrong.
     
  2. Grandkhan

    Grandkhan Telvanni Master Wizard

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    Going to leave most of this aside for the moment to better people, but Thlayli's hypothesis of the internet not being invented without military funding to drive it is pretty wrong.

    The internet is massive as an innovation. Instantaneous (or as near to instantaneous as makes no difference) data transfer is such a huge boon to businesses and governments (and everybody who uses data can see this, if you've ever had to wait on snail mail for census data you'd automatically start wishing for a faster way to do it) that sooner or later somebody (either a business or a public enterprise) would start looking into it.

    There were actually a few people working on the problem of data transfer from different locations simultaneously to DARPA, who weren't military at all.

    The internet, as a system for fast data transfer, was one of those things that was probably inevitable after we started using computers. Somebody is most definitely going to start thinking of it and using it, and its so useful that it will spread to everyday life.
     
  3. Lord_Herobrine

    Lord_Herobrine Back in the Saddle

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    I agree with this. Computers would not be nearly as useful for everyday use unless they were able to link up to each other and share data. The creation of the internet was inevitable.
     
  4. DC123456789

    DC123456789 Deity

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    Practically nothing until, like, the 15th century or later. Just push Axum's border closer to the coast where it meets Punt- the city of Axum is roughly on the border right now, anyway.

    Himyar might work better, but I think you should give them all of Yemen and extend their territorial control to Sa'naa as well.
     
  5. Symphony D.

    Symphony D. Deity

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    Teutoburg Forest: a textbook example of Roman superiority.

    lol

    Inevitable does not mean "it would have happened in lockstep with the timeframe in which it actually happened."
     
  6. Terrance888

    Terrance888 Discord Reigns

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    I know, right!? The Romans forced the Germans to hand their donkeys to them!
     
  7. Thlayli

    Thlayli Le Pétit Prince

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    Yeah, Little Bighorn was a textbook example of Sioux superiority too.
     
  8. Symphony D.

    Symphony D. Deity

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    Ah yes, Montana: where American expansionism failed; where American empire stumbled; a heavily guarded frontier to this day; the wilds beyond civilization; a place where dreams go to die. Truly your analogy is most excellent.
     
  9. Thlayli

    Thlayli Le Pétit Prince

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    My analogy, that was based on sarcasm you misread? America had its existential threats. The Indian Wars were never one of them. :p
     
  10. Dachs

    Dachs Hero of the Soviet Union

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    Since trans-Rhenan Germany was effectively part of the Roman Empire anyway, it's not a terrible analogy. After 9, the Romans recovered, beat the piss out of Arminius' short-lived confederacy, and continued to treat Germany as their personal playground for centuries. Rome ran the show through a series of client rulers that could be unseated and raised up at whim, and those rulers were in turn players in Roman internal politics to varying degrees. The defeat in the Teutoberger Wald ended up being a relative blip that belied the overall situation in the region, which was Roman supremacy only intermittently and unsuccessfully contested by the local clients. Only the Alamanni created something approximating a "polity" in the area during the Roman Empire, and it was summarily destroyed by Roman campaigns in the 360s and 370s.

    The pattern of Rome losing early battles and moving on to eventually win the war is repeated a lot in the history of the republic and empire. Roman superiority rested less on tactical or technical superiority than on simply being able to outmass and outlast enemies. Rome had the mans and the money; it could wear down almost any enemy practically regardless of whatever happened on the battlefield. This isn't to say that the Roman army was bad, or that it played to lose, far from it. But it's kinda funny how almost all the well-publicized or famous Roman battles are ones that the Romans lost, and lost badly, even though the Romans went on to win the overwhelming majority of the wars that they fought.
     
  11. Terrance888

    Terrance888 Discord Reigns

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    Spoiler :
    America's greatest existential threat today?


    Link to video.


    On a more productive note, what led Rome to annex certain client states and not others, especially concerning Germainia?

    If one is to run a game, would such client-state micromanagement be "fun" to play and to moderate? Or should it be considered a rather rebellious and fractious part of Roman territory?
     
  12. Symphony D.

    Symphony D. Deity

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    Although I have no doubt the Romans mastered the local political situation, as you say, the Roman frontier did not continue advancing as it had previously and remained static on that front all the way until the Western Empire's collapse. It had a clear impact on their expansion patterns and behavior in the region. Little Big Horn didn't, which is what I was making fun of. (The psychological impact is also obvious in never reconstituting the three Legions, while 7th Cavalry Regiment is still kickin'.)

    Teutoburg Forest, while mostly achieved through tactical surprise, was quite a loss and revealed certain weaknesses in the Roman military model; ones which seem to have been at least partially addressed going forward. This puts paid the notion that Rome's "pre-existing models worked so well," when they learned and adapted quite a lot from everyone around them and from several painful defeats. (A better modern example would be Vietnam.) Not surprisingly, this is basically true of every military.

    While I don't disagree that (real or perceived) threat can be a key driver of technological innovation, the idea that Rome just sat around being totally stagnant and smugly ignorant is hilarious; they were very clearly learning and adapting, it just didn't happen to usually be in terms of raw technological advances, and that's not surprising. Technology builds upon itself, and comparatively, there wasn't that much of it around at that point. To that end:

    lol

    Prior to MAD becoming truly entrenched (i.e., Detente), the US had an overwhelming advantage over the USSR and would've won any resultant conflict (e.g., the Cuban Missile Crisis); the US would've been heavily damaged, but the USSR would've ceased to exist. Most of the technological progress of the Cold War was driven by innovations during this earlier period when the US enjoyed relative supremacy (or during WWII, when US superiority was truly stupendous); later innovations mostly built upon it in some fashion or another or leveraged it to new ends (e.g., US focus on improving accuracy rather than strictly upping warhead count). The theory that the outcome of technological progress was survival-driven is putting the cause after the effect; most of the progress was achieved when the US had a clear advantage (and knew it; the "Bomber Gap" being an example of something the Pentagon knew didn't exist but promoted anyway for its own ends) and was not existentially threatened. This point is readily visible from a single graph:



    Although you can point at a few developments from when you can say the US was existentially threatened (largely as a result of Vietnam shifting defense priorities and allowing "parity" to develop, from the 1970s up until 1991, e.g., the Internet, GPS, etc.) these all clearly had roots in the earlier period of US superiority, and most of them were begun during that time. About the only "new" thing to occur during this later time that did not have a precursor movement was SDI, which was a huge flop. I would argue that, ironically, existential threat curtailed innovation: the US became less innovative and stuck to more conservative and easily implemented technological solutions using existing technologies, rather than pursuing bold new ideas. (SDI again being the exception, and although it did admittedly scare the hell out of the Soviets, that's because they interpreted it as a first strike enabler and were eternally paranoid about the West launching a first strike [see: Able Archer 83] and it painted a certain picture of Reagan to them; its products are only just now beginning to bear fruit, in so far as they have at all.)

    You're essentially comparing a period of rapid technological innovation unparalleled before in Human history (which you've failed to understand in detail), with one in which (comparative) technological stagnation was normative and using it to say Rome was uniquely stagnated. Arguing that Rome didn't advance because it was on top of its game and then pointing at America in the Cold War as proof is silly; Rome was slow to advance because Rome only had so much to work with.

    I'm not even going to touch how terribly out of touch the Japan remark was.
     
  13. Dachs

    Dachs Hero of the Soviet Union

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    1. Contingency. (That's a fancy way of saying "hell if I know".)
    2. No.
    Sure, but not advancing the frontier doesn't imply military weakness. Nobody thinks that the United States doesn't annex Canada because the Americans are too weak to defeat the Canadian military; it's just not on anybody's policy horizon, especially because the Canadians work perfectly fine as an ally and trading partner. The War of 1812 has basically no legacy in American-Canadian relations, but absent context, one might conclude that the Canadians defeated the Americans in 1812-14 and the Americans never gained the military power, economic might, or psychological fortitude to face their vanquishers after that. Unless you're a particularly obnoxious Canadian nationalist, you know that that would be a load of crap.

    The hegemonic role that Rome played in classical Europe was exercised more brutally and had more violent consequences than the hegemonic role that the United States plays now in North America. Romans played up their victims ideologically as nightmarish supermen even as they watched them get slaughtered in the arenas, perform slave labor at the behest of Roman aristocrats, or trade trinkets at Roman frontier outposts. It was in their interests to portray everything east of the Rhine as a trackless waste inhabited by hordes upon hordes of brutal savages who knew nothing but violence and who would stop at nothing to destroy Roman civilization if they got half a chance; reality belied that. With this sort of hegemony in place, there wouldn't be any obvious longue durée reason in favor of direct annexation into the empire. Any such annexation would then have to be based on contingency and chance.

    I guess I'm not really arguing with you in any substantive way. I also think that the notion that Roman technology was "stagnant" is misleading at best, and I don't believe that Rome's geopolitical position, whatever one thinks it might have been, had much of anything to do with the technology that Romans used and how that changed over time. I think that an effort to compare Roman technological development with that of America is exceedingly silly on all kinds of levels.
     
  14. Nirosi

    Nirosi Hymenopus Coronatus

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    The battle of Litana is even more fun.
     
  15. SouthernKing

    SouthernKing crickety cricket

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    The same map from a few pages back, now with country labels. I may have missed one or two somewhere. Polities not in allcaps are under some form of suzerainty.

    Spoiler :
     
  16. Immaculate

    Immaculate unerring

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    looks good southern.
     
  17. madviking

    madviking north american scum

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    oh man that map is made for me
     
  18. Grandkhan

    Grandkhan Telvanni Master Wizard

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    lookin' good SK!

    Native Protectorate... gigantic Native American reservation?
     
  19. Lord of Elves

    Lord of Elves Suede-Denim Secret Police

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    Not!Mexico is best Mexico.
     
  20. SouthernKing

    SouthernKing crickety cricket

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    Thanks.

    Pretty much, just with more autonomy and a lot more instability.
     

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