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What is the single most important invention in European history?

 
 
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Jun, 2011 04:16 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

Yeah, the English love to preen themselves on silliness such as that.


I thought you were an unrepentant Anglophile? Shouldn't you thank the English for the language you speak, read, and write?
0 Replies
 
Lustig Andrei
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Jun, 2011 05:51 pm
@cicerone imposter,
Thanx for that quote, c.i. People also forget that the Koreans, unlike the Chinese, developed an alphabet of their own early on, not too much later than the Phoenicians were developing the alphabet on which all of our Western culture alphabets are based.
0 Replies
 
VALTUI
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Jun, 2011 06:36 pm
@Setanta,
In Feudal times there was no "Labor Market". Peasants were bound to the land. Capitalism invented the "Labor Market". It followed after the peasnats revolts in England and in Europe, after the rise of Capitalism forced the peasants off their lands. The English were the first to convert.
VALTUI
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Jun, 2011 06:41 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
Printed pamphlets led to the circulation of polotical and philosophical ideas and to the establishment of discussion salons in Europe's manors in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. Thomas Jefferson & Ben Franklin attended some of them. Philosophers like Voltaire, Diderot and Descartes were invited into salons all over Europe. This same trend led to the philosophical cafee houses of later centuries. It is all well documented. Even in the 1950s we had the "Beat Movement" and poetry salons; annother effect on culture of the printed word.
0 Replies
 
VALTUI
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Jun, 2011 06:48 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
The Latin language was of parmount importance in the spreading of scientific and philosophical knowledge after 1500, because it served as a universal language of intellectual exchange. The spreading and acumulation of new ideas, in printed form, was the key to the enomous leap in technological and social progress made in Europe following the year 1500. Plain and simple. No mystery. Not rocket science . . . .
0 Replies
 
VALTUI
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Jun, 2011 07:53 pm
@VALTUI,
We owe to the mighty Chinese the invention of the printing press? The same Chinese who are presently going out of their way to censor and block Internet access for their citizens? How ironic. How undemocratic.
gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Jun, 2011 08:01 pm
@VALTUI,
The printing press.

One overlooked contender for second or third or fourth place honors or something like that would be the flintlock mechanism, a French invention, which was the basis for the first really workable individual gunpowder weapons.
0 Replies
 
oolongteasup
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Jun, 2011 09:28 pm
@oolongteasup,
The borrowed phrase 'on the shoulders of giants' pays homage to the inventors of calculus and echoes the significance of earlier work in all the fields discussed on this thread.

Charles Babbage's difference engine deserves an guernsey as do many of the developers of various engines , building on knowledge gleaned from earlier work, eg. Hero of Alexandria's steam engines.

And who dare underestimate the importance of Pascal's invention of the wheel or the person who invented electricity.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Jun, 2011 09:48 pm
@oolongteasup,
I read a book by Simon Winchester, The Man Who Loved China, about Joseph Needham, an eccentric genius who was a professor at Cambridge, and who lived in China to record the many things invented in that country. He was able to prove that the many inventions claimed by Europeans were first invented in China.

For those interested in biographies of interesting characters, Simon Winchester does an excellent job of tedious research before he writes his stories. He also wrote about William Smith, the geologist, with the book title "The Map That Changed the World." I highly recommend both books.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Fri 1 Jul, 2011 02:49 am
@VALTUI,
This is an excellent example of the shallowness of your understanding of history. There was always a labor market in feudal societies, which is why guilds regulated apprenticeships--they wanted to control the labor markets in their own trades. The entire point was that after catastrophic pandemics appeared and recurred in the period from the 14th century to the 17th century, feudal manors could no longer be assured of a labor force, and laws decreed to keep peasants on the land were undermined by the very class of society which had called for them. The reeves and bailiffs who managed manor farms paid good wages to lure in sufficient labor to work their fields after the plague had carried off a third or more of the work force.

I don't know where this "rise of Capitalism" crap comes from. Do you think capitalism did not exist until someone thought it up in Europe? I take it that was immediately after the arrival of the Renaissance was announced in all the local newspapers. (Since you often seem to be slow on the uptake, i'll warn you that that last sentence was sarcasm.)

The first major peasant revolt in England was Wat Tyler's rebellion in 1381. It was a miserable failure. However, the causes didn't go away, and the solution already found--a mobile labor force--grew and matured. What kind of crap did they teach you about history? Your thesis is incredibly naive and uninformed. Do you think that history is a series of discrete events suitable for chapter heads in text books?
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 1 Jul, 2011 04:07 am
@VALTUI,
Let's examine this thesis of yours with a few questions. When Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Carthaginians, etc. were sailing around the Mediterranean with cargoes of wine, olive oil, hides, leather, bronze and iron tools and weapons, what were they up to? Did someone from Tyre load up a ship with cedar and purple dye, sail across the Mediterranean and drop it off on the quay at Masilia? No money changed hands? He just did it out of the goodness of his heart--"Here ya go, enjoy!"?

Or was it that when Roman imperial authority collapsed in the west, everyone forgot about trade and shipping? The people in the eastern part of the empire, which survived, just forgot all about trade? No one remembered what commerce was all about? No one attempted to make a profit?

How did free men and women live if there were no labor market? Did they run down to the local manor house or castle and beg for their daily bread? Do you think about what you've written before you hit the submit button? Do you maybe need to buy a vowell?
0 Replies
 
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Fri 1 Jul, 2011 08:59 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

...I don't know where this "rise of Capitalism" crap comes from. Do you think capitalism did not exist until someone thought it up in Europe?


The book by Max Weber, Protestantism and the Rise of Capitalism promulgated the belief that Protestantism gave capitalism its impetus to expand beyond its previous use. I believe it, since I consider Protestantism unshackled Europe from the feudal system of the Bishop/Prince/King from its prior total control of Europe's economy.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Fri 1 Jul, 2011 10:43 am
@Foofie,
You are off your rocker; the Silk Road was established before the time of christ. Asian merchants existed from time immemorial, and they were not Europeans or christians.

Quit making ignorant statements if you have no real knowledge on a subject.
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Jul, 2011 01:11 am
@dlowan,
Dueling anti-Americans

(Or perhaps more accurately, dueling anti-Yankees)

Very Happy
0 Replies
 
Pamela Rosa
 
  0  
Reply Sat 2 Jul, 2011 04:15 am
@VALTUI,
Valtui wrote:
We owe to the mighty Chinese the invention of the printing press?

I doubt it.

The Chinese doing what they do best:
http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,768754,00.html
http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/military/news/3319656
http://www.aolnews.com/2011/01/27/where-did-china-get-its-stealth-technology/
http://old.news.yahoo.com/s/atlantic/arewesterngovernmentsblameasiasshortagewomen38978
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/04/13/us-djc-ford-tradesecrets-idUSTRE73C3FG20110413
http://old.news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110507/ap_on_re_us/us_stealing_for_china
http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=CNG.28ae287fae263d3f2c20fd6613485c8e.351&show_article=1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzWYW18y--M
http://www.wmal.com/Article.asp?id=2105056
0 Replies
 
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Jul, 2011 06:23 pm
@cicerone imposter,
cicerone imposter wrote:

You are off your rocker; the Silk Road was established before the time of christ. Asian merchants existed from time immemorial, and they were not Europeans or christians.

Quit making ignorant statements if you have no real knowledge on a subject.


Look at the title of the thread. All answers are in context of Europe. Asian merchants are a non-sequitor.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Jul, 2011 06:53 pm
@Foofie,
Not if you claim the Europeans were the creators of the merchant class.
0 Replies
 
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Jul, 2011 04:12 am
Wrt the OP: The calculus. It gave us the universe.
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Jul, 2011 05:22 am
after careful deliberation, i'm going to say Joanne Froggatt
http://www.corrieblog.tv/zoe%20tattersal%20real.jpg
0 Replies
 
gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Jul, 2011 02:02 am
@FBM,
Calculus...

Without the printing press, nobody would know about calculus, probably would have been forgotten ten years after isaak Newton's and the Baron Leibnitz's deaths...
 

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