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There were in fact several encounters between Fransiscan friars and Buddhists. Whether it resulted in transfer of "mysticism" can be questioned, but as with all religions, mixing and absorption of ideas is quite likely. Willem van Ruysbroeck, a Flemish Franciscan friar, spent six months in 1254 in Karakorum. In his "Itinirarium" he describes accurately ...


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I remember being told that the development of glass making was one of the key technological breakthroughs that enabled the Enlightenment in Europe. Originally used for making vessels and windows, it allowed optics such as telescopes, magnifiers, microscopes, etc to be made. Once these had been invented sciences such as astronomy, chemistry and biology could ...


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Ony theory I have read is (I believe Jared Diamond) that Europes diversity and fragmented nature spurred innovation, while the united China was much more controllable. To explain that: China produced more Iron, better ships etc. in the time of the early European (1600+) conquests, but when the empires bureaucracy feared the growing power of the merchants it ...


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First, you can put aside the "Well the Europeans were just cleverer", as even a cursory glance at world history will show inventions and developments from all societies at one time or another, from the Incan to the Chinese. What I think could likely be the main trouble the Chinese had with technology is that the scale of the Chinese nation was so large. In ...


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This is kind of an off-topic question because any answer will be a matter of opinion, but I guess I will take a stab at it. First of all, Indian mathematics was very advanced in some regards and we ended up borrowing elements of it (via the Arabs), such as the use of "Arabic" numerals, which are actually of Indian origin. Indian computation of planetary ...



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