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Timeline of historical development – illustrated by Civilization VI icons

Discussion in 'Civ - Ideas & Suggestions' started by Knasp, Dec 26, 2018.

  1. Knasp

    Knasp Warlord

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    UPDATE (2019-03-24)
    I've removed the html version and uploaded a PDF-version instead. This means that you can now select, copy and search for text in the timeline. Some errors are corrected, but I have not yet added any GS-content. A known issue is that some special letters, like č and ă, apparently couldn't be exported into PDF. So instead you'll see symbols in the shape of rectangles.


    Short summary

    For the last year and a half I've been compiling a historical timeline, in a Civilization VI inspired format. The timeline presents the evolution and/or development of certain parts of technology and society, starting roughly from the Upper Paleolithic (c. 50-10k years ago) up to the present.

    I've decided to upload it in its current incomplete state, since I don't have time to continue working on it. My wish is that the timeline might inspire, educate and possibly spark some discussion among fellow CivFanatics, history buffs and modders.



    Intro
    Sometime in 2016-2017 I started with the idea of placing the "items" from Civ VI's tech and civic trees on a time axis, by looking up dates provided by archaeological and written records. Since becoming an expert in all the required topics would take many lifetimes, I chose instead to try a simpler approach. Since I wanted summaries that were readily available, I ended up basing most of the timeline on Wikipedia-articles. Though to be fair, I've done my best to avoid using unsourced claims and I've tried to verify/discredit questionable or contradictory claims.

    Design
    The timeline was built using yEd Graph Editor.

    I decided to segment the timeline into 8 rows of categories that I chose. While the columns represent time intervals. In each interval I placed a "box" for the items that I assigned to that category. The boxes are color coded to the categories, and I've labeled them similar to Tech and Civics.

    Categories
    Agriculture and food related (green)
    Natural resources, inventions and technology (orange)
    Infrastructure, buildings and techniques (brown)
    Religions, art, governments, policies and in-game leaders (pink)
    Maritime resources, warships, trade & economy (blue)
    Military inventions, policies, buildings, artillery, civilian units (purple)
    Infantry units and equipment (red)
    Cavalry, tanks and flying units (white)

    Spoiler The intervals :

    No. of years (Between which dates) No. of intervals
    Start (Pre-35000 BCE) 1
    20000 years (35000 – 15001 BCE) 1
    5000 years (15000 – 10001 BCE) 1
    1000 years (10000 – 4001 BCE) 6
    500 years (4000 – 2001 BCE) 4
    200 years (2000 BCE - 999 CE) 15
    100 years (1000 – 1399 CE) 4
    50 years (1400 - 1699 CE) 6
    20 years (1700 – 1799 CE) 5
    10 years (1800 – 1899 CE) 10
    5 years (1900 – 2014 CE) 23
    4 years (2015-2018 CE) 1
    Future years (Post-2018 CE) 1


    Method
    Most of the data was gathered by googling, reading Wikipedia-articles and in a few cases by reading published books and research papers. I tried to document the data that I gathered in spreadsheets, to look for any contradictions and resolve them or at the very least be able to point to the source. But there remains an unknown number of items in the timeline which aren't verified. Yet, I've tried to mark any such uncertainties in the label, with words or a question mark '?' at the end.

    Disclaimers!

    The timeline:
    • Is NOT a tech or civic tree, nor should it be viewed as a suggestion for one!
    • Does NOT ONLY show the first occurence of phenomena, but is also intended to show the spread and evolution over time.
    • Does NOT show causality, which means you shouldn't interpret it as X leads to Y.
    • Does NOT list items in strict chronological order (apart from the columns/intervals)
    • Is incomplete, especially concerning the 1800s CE and onward and also for many items that are barely mentioned.
    • Is biased in the sense that it is mostly focused on Eurasia.
    I know the visuals can be rough looking and I’m mostly interested in getting feedback on the actual content. Unfortunately I'm not skilled in web design and so I haven't figured out how to add a working search function, which would've made the timeline more useful. Anyhow, I'm uploading it as it is, warts and all.

    Credits

    The timeline was built using the freely available software:
    yEd Graph Editor, by yWorks.

    In addition, I have used art from:
    • Sid Meier’s Civilization® VI, including DLC and the Rise and Fall expansion, developed by Firaxis Games and published by 2K.
    • Sukritact's Resources, mod by @sukritact and @Deliverator
    • Resourceful, (discontinued) mod by Amatheria, @pokiehl
    • Moar Units, (discontinued) mod by @Deliverator, @janboruta , Chimpan'G
    • CIVITAS Resources Expanded, mod by @pokiehl , @thecrazyscot, SailorCat, @SeelingCat, @ChimpanG, @Chrisy15
    • Real Natural Disasters, mod by @Infixo
    • Background image represents December 2004, Blue marble next generation, by Reto Stöckli, NASA Earth Observatory.
    I've used the art from these authors to illustrate the timeline. The intent is educational and it should not be used to make financial gains. Though if anyone would like to share the timeline, I'd ask only to be credited for the design, ideas and work that went into producing it.

    Finally, I want to give special thanks to @Boris Gudenuf for feedback regarding some of the military history.

    Attached below is the PDF.
    MD5 checksum: C2F7EEDBF3FEB51F2830C8DBE3D4F669
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 5, 2019
  2. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

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    A note to anyone wrestling with 'Improved' Tech or Civics Trees: Download all of this at once. Having done some research on just the military portion, I can tell you it represents an enormous body of effort, and many, many hours of research time that you do not want to have to duplicate: it should be the starting point for any future Tech or Civics Trees.

    All hat's off to Knasp for an incredible body of work!
     
    Zaarin and Knasp like this.
  3. Siptah

    Siptah Eternal Chieftain

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    This is amazing work! I have one little thing to nag about though: you place musical instruments at 4000 BC, but flutes predate this by a wide margin. The flutes found in the Geissenklösterle and in the Hohler Fels on the Swabian Jura are actually between 35000 and 40000 years old.
     
    Knasp likes this.
  4. Knasp

    Knasp Warlord

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    Yes, that's an error on my part since at least flutes weren't "new" (unsure about harps/double clarinettes). On the other hand the timeline does actually include "BONE-FLUTES?" between 35000-15000 BCE, so I didn't miss it entirely ;)
     
    Siptah likes this.
  5. Siptah

    Siptah Eternal Chieftain

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    I haven't heard about older harps than what you assigned, but I guess that if they existed, they wouldn't leave a trace up until today since they would best be made of wood and gut strings. Similar for the drums that ought the be as old or older as the bone flutes but vanished due to being made out of less durable material (not that bones are *that* durable). Double clarinets as a name is a bit strange to me at that point, but I think what is meant is an instrument with two corpuses that in contrast to a flute employs tone production with a reed (an ancestor of the modern mijwiz for example).
     
    Knasp likes this.
  6. Knasp

    Knasp Warlord

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    Yes, the same goes for many items in the timeline. Let me elaborate on my design choices:

    I've refrained from personal speculation as far as possible, and have instead relied on the accuracy of the information I've gathered from wikipedia sources and experts. The benefit as I see it is that it should be fairly simple to check wikipedia/google the information and find the sources.

    In some cases I've placed the same item several times, and the first occurences have been labeled: "POSSIBLE" with a "?" at the end, to mark the uncertainty. A prime example of this would be the Archer and Knight unit, which were really difficult to place. For the archer unit, the earliest evidence of combat between archers come from cave paintings, and appear later than hunting scenes. In addition, I've also tried to specify the geographic location in the "(...)" where able, to show separate lines of development. For e.g: the development of bow and arrow in the Americas.

    Placing the game-related items were difficult, since you can either go by the esthetics in the game, or the name/function of the entity in question. I've gone by name/function when placing the items for the most part, but have still tried to only use the game-icons where the visual depiction would be appropriate.
     
    Siptah likes this.
  7. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

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    Let me elaborate on this for a moment, because the 'Knight' is a good example of the complexity of the 'Tech Tree' problems in a single 'unit'.

    Everybody knows what a Knight is, right? Armored man on a horse with a lance and shield, runs around in the Middle Ages rescuing damsels and beating up peasants.

    Yes and no.
    An armored man on a horse with or without armor dates back to nearly the beginning of Men on Horses. Assyrian horsemen are shown wearing some kind of body armor in the 8th century BCE Roxoloni (Scythian) horsemen are shown in the 5th century BCE in scale armor with lances, and of course Alexander's Companion Cavalry (Hetairoi) were armored horsemen with lances that were called 'kontos' - meaning 'barge pole' in Greek, which implies a pretty substantial weapon, not just a slightly enlarged javelin.

    So, the Knight is an armored man on a horse with the lance 'couched' under his arm, so that the impetus of man and charging horse are all concentrated being the lance point?

    Again, we can't be sure how the ancient lances were used, but some of them, at least, are identical in size and form (metal points, counter-balanced, 8 - 9 feet long) with medieval lances, Alexander's Companions used a wedge formation ideal for the high-impetus charge with a couched lance, and they are described charging into or over lighter infantry, light cavalry and heavy cavalry, which sounds very much like a weapon superiority in the charge that a couched lance might represent.

    So, the Knights have Stirrups which none of the armored men on horseback before them had?

    Nope. The metal stirrup was first depicted in China about 300 CE, and was introduced to Europe between about 463 and 600 CE (the Avars show up in Europe around 460, and metal stirrups have been found in Avar graves in the 600s CE, At the moment, that is as precise a date as we can get for 'first stirrups in Europe'). That means horsemen were using stirrups both after the first armored men with lances and at least 400 years before the first 'knights'.

    So, the Knight is a Nobleman who is given land so he can support his lord/master by showing up armed and armored and on horse?

    Again, Yes and No. The Achaemenid Persians had a similar 'feudal' system in which the noble families agreed to provide the King of Kings with armored horsemen in return for near-autonomy within their own lands. the Merovingian kingdoms under Charlemagne's predecessors and successors had armored horsemen that provided some or all of their own equipment (horse, armor, weapons) in return for 'land grants' that provided financial support for themselves. Again, a couple of hundred years at least before the 'classic' Medieval Knight.]

    What we know that is peculiar to the Medieval Knight is a number of separate things that all 'came together', and some of them have nothing directly to do with the Knight himself.

    First, the Carolingian 'Miles', armored horsemen, had become an aristocratic 'upper class' because you cannot support a big warhorse or afford the weapons and armor without having a substantial income: no peasant farmers need apply.

    Then, the Viking and Magyar raids required a well-equipped set of warriors that could respond quickly and locally, so Knights were given lands in threatened areas (coasts of France and Germany, 'border lands' in Austria, southern Germany) to support themselves and where they could build and man castles as defensive strongpoints and refuges against raiders. And armored men on horseback had a much better chance of catching and dealing with raiders than any kind of infantry.

    Between 1067 and about 1090 CE the knights stopped thrusting with their lances (as they are shown doing in the Bayeau Tapestry representing a battle in 1066 CE) and started charging with the lance couched (Byzantine accounts just before 1100 CE). So, the classic Medieval Knight dates from about 1090 CE, with a slightly less-effective version dating as early as the 800s (Carolingian 'Miles').

    But development didn't stop there: in the 12th century, the knights' armor of linked mail was supplemented with increasing amounts of plate armor: first a solid helmet with face and neck protection, then breast plates, then arm and leg armor. By the early 15th century fully articulated plate armor emerges, a very sophisticated combination of steel metallurgy and metal-working that was a major advance over everything before it. This was made possible both because of need (it is no accident that increasingly heavy 'armor-piercing' crossbows are also developed in the 12th - 13th centuries) and because the 'blast furnace' technology for producing steel reached Europe in the 13th century (the Chinese had already been using this for centuries).

    So, even narrowing our focus to the Medieval Era, the 'Knight' comes in at least three versions:
    1. Link mail armored man on an unarmored horse using a thrusting lance - 800 - 1090 CE
    2. link mail armored man on unarmored or partially armored horse using a couched lance: 1090 - 1300 CE
    3. increasingly articulated plate armored man on armored horse using a couched lance: 1300 - 1500 CE

    The last version was facing the first really effective battlefield Anti-Knight forces: Pike-armed infantry began smashing knightly charges from the beginning of the 14th century (1302 CE) and the English' (actually Welsh) longbow with proper tactics by the middle of the 14th century.
    And, of course, the arquebus shoulder-fired gunpowder small arms begin to appear after 1472 CE, and after the heavier armor-piercing 'musket' appears in 1521 CE, the armored man on a horse becomes a Big Flashy Target, because there is no armor that a man can wear and still move in that will protect against a 1 ounce lead ball at 1000 feet per second - at Waterloo, after the battle, British soldiers could not find a French cuirass, or breastplate, that didn't have at least one hole drilled through it by musket fire (an undrilled cuirass made a great soup kettle for a squad of infantry).

    Summarizing, a 'Knight' is a combination of economic and political ('feudal' system) factors, military technology, military/political requirements, all coming together, but the individual elements almost all (except for the very advanced metal-fabricating) pre-date the Medieval Era!
    And the significance of the Knight in the 'Middle Ages' was made much greater in military terms because for 200 years there was no good 'counter' to the Knight in Europe: infantry were mostly poorly trained levies with short spears: 'Knight Fodder'
     
  8. Knasp

    Knasp Warlord

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    That is an excellent summary! The domestication of horses and the development of horse collars, saddles, stirrups, armor and lances are all covered in the timeline, but the couched lance isn't. Unfortuneately the wiki page wasn't helpful at all, so I've followed a video by Metatron regarding evolution of knightly armour where the Bayeau Tapestry is used as a starting point. I'll add "move earliest Knight to "800-999 AD" to my list of errors. If more errors become apparent, I might correct and upload a revised version.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2018
  9. God of Kings

    God of Kings Ruler of all heads of state

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    Please ensure that the timeline is updated whenever new information is revealed in Gathering Storm.
     
  10. Knasp

    Knasp Warlord

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    I'll take that as a complement :thumbsup:
    Some of the items revealed to be coming with GS are already sort of in the timeline, like DAM and CANAL in 4000 BC and historical natural disasters. In any case, I don't want to spend time updating it before GS is released. If I find time after release, I might.
     
  11. God of Kings

    God of Kings Ruler of all heads of state

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    That would be great.
     
  12. Knasp

    Knasp Warlord

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    I've found a way to export the timeline into pdfs, without getting memory errors. This will allow selecting and searching the text, among other benefits.

    I'll likely look into GS items while I'm at it.
     
  13. Knasp

    Knasp Warlord

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    Update:
    I've removed the html version and uploaded a PDF-version instead. This means that you can now select, copy and search for text in the timeline. Some errors are corrected, but I have not yet added any GS-content. A known issue is that some special letters, like č and ă, apparently couldn't be exported into PDF. So instead you'll see symbols in the shape of rectangles.

    Let me know what you think!
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2019
    The 13th Earl likes this.

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