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61

Poland wasn't actually "spared", it was merely less affected than the rest of Europe. That graphic is incorrect (or rather, incomplete), since a substantial number of both Poland and Milan's population did in fact die of the plague. Their death rates were only "low" in comparison to the rest of Europe - if it happened today, it would be horrifying to us. ...


37

China (or at least its core) had a central, unifying culture built around philosophers such as Confucius and Lao-tse that was attractive to people over a wide land area. Also, the Chinese written language was developed from pictograms that represented "words," which although pronounced differently in different locations, could have the same meaning over wide ...


31

To sum it up: The costs simply outweighed the benefits. You have to consider that Germania at this time was essentially one huge forest, which was very, well empty. No cities to conquer, the first German cities were actually founded by the Romans, like e.g. Aachen, Cologne or Trier. The Germans were primitive tribesmen and had little to offer to the Roman ...


27

They were not supermen by any means :) But yes, temperatures were higher, by more than 1 degree (Kent and Wales were famous for their wines, right now it's far too cold there for that for example). And don't forget that in the Roman era, wars were fought in summer almost exclusively, later expanding into spring and autumn as the conscript army was replaced ...


26

It is important to note that the modern Western conception of homosexuality as an essential property of a person did not exist in Antiquity: men and women might perform certain acts, but everyone was expected to marry the opposite sex and procreate. No "deeper" theories about these inclinations were entertained, at least not by most. One "was" not ...


24

Another simple but important reason besides economic changes starting at this time is the spread of printing technique. A scientific community really only works when scholars can cite each other and share their ideas in a cheap and fast way, thats why internet boosted scientific progress in our time. If you study the link, the Gutenberg printing technique ...


22

Your question embodies large amounts of modern fantasy. Firstly, imagine that nothing can be bought or sold by the vast and overwhelming majority of the population. Coin does not exist or circulate for most people. There obviously would have been farmers, creating and selling produce in markets Nope. Farmers are a modern institution related to ...


20

I wouldn't characterize post-Magna Carta England as having a weak central government. Compared to the Holy Roman Empire it had a very efficient central government, in which the parliament played an important role alongeside the king. The early English Parliament already had a House of Commons. Hence not only the nobility was given rights but the common ...


19

There are many reasons, and I'm going to present the materialistic one championed by the Marxists (collective thud as the audience of History.SE falls off their chairs and faints). One of the requirements for having scientific progress is economic - you need enough surplus to enable the resources devoted to scholarship. This was enabled at the beginning of ...


18

That's not exactly how it worked. As not everybody was able to become a knight (especially without richness), many squires were adult, sometimes more than 30 years old, and because of their experience, they were well-trained fighters. Don't think of heavy cavalry only as knights. For example, the regular heavy cavalry unit in Poland was called ChorÄ…giew ...


16

In Rome and China: Comparative Perspectives on Ancient World Empires, the first chapter by Walter Scheidel, From the "Great Convergence" to the "First Great Divergence", makes the case that the Chinese style of government focussed on centralising power while the Roman style allowed for a great deal of autonomy for appointed officials. The Warring States era ...


15

I'm afraid any answer to this question must begin by considering what is understood to be the 'Renaissance' and the 'Scientific Revolution'. And that consideration, in turn, inevitably reveals a number of historiographical difficulties. The first of these is that neither of these were 'events', at least, not in the sense of a war or an assassination. They ...


15

Yes, the name of the process to which you are referring is subinfeudation. It's important to remember that most people only had a few meaningful things to trade - land, food, fighters, and protection. Feudalism is giving the people above you food and fighters and giving the people below you land and protection. The King was at the top and granted rights ...


15

In the Greek and Roman Era there were a number of sources in Europe tapped for gold.. These were often alluvial (alluvium is loose soil or sediment, usually around water) deposits near the mouths of rivers in Lydia, Greece, Egypt, and Asia Minor. Later more standard mines were found in the Balkans. Rome found similar river deposits in North Italy, Spain, ...


13

As I've understood it, selling entire tribes or large parts of it was already an ancient use. This was useful to the victors for money, as well as power and the guarantee that the particular tribe wouldn't attack them in the near future. Furthermore, slave trade deep into Africa was also in use by the Arabs, who, like the Europeans did at first, bought the ...


13

As legend says, after they lost Battle of Kosovo (1389) Serb units, most notably their light cavalry, have spread to Hungary and then further over Europe. In Medieval Hungary, these became known as hussars since about 1432 (Oxford Encyclopedia of Medieval Warfare and Military Technology, p. 306); they were greatly developed by Matthias Corvinus ...


13

It is really, really hard to assign guilt or blame like this in most wars. I think in some ways we are spoiled by World War II, it being about a classic evil mastermind trying to take over the world and all, who kept taking over land and countries until it was clear that the best diplomatic efforts of everyone else had failed. That's just not how most wars ...


13

Straight-line distance from Berlin to Vienna is 523 kilometers or 325 miles according to Wolfram Alpha. In a car traveling at a constant speed of 55 miles per hour (ca. 88 km/h), total travel time would be 5 hours and 55 minutes. However, roads are not perfectly straight. According to Google Maps the shortest route is 678 km long and you would need at least ...


13

Several memoirs of the period suggest that the Berlin to Vienna journey very likely could be completed in 12 days or less. This matches up fairly closely to @Eugene's estimate of two weeks. However, one account suggests that someone with more limited resources and unexpected delays could easily take much more time. The route they [1,2,3,4] usually seem to ...


13

This is, in fact, the big question of history. Subquestion 1 here: Why didn't Native North Americans (let's say the Mound Builders, for the sake of argument) conquer the world? The problem here, by the very logic you go over in your own question, is that the MB's were inhabiting a continent that was relatively biologically deprived. By comparison to ...


13

There are three types of plague, Pneumonic, Bubonic, and Septicemic all of which are caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. People infected by fleas get the bubonic form of the plague. However, if the bacteria reaches the lungs, it becomes pneumonic plague which is more virulent spreading via person to person by coughing then no rats are needed since the ...


12

The Burgundians were originally a Germanic tribe that settled the area that became known as Burgundy. Because it was so deeply in the heart of "French" territory, it adopted the French language and culture as soon as the Franks started pushing back the Saxons under King Charles Martel, and his grandson, Charlemagne. After the death of the latter, it ...


12

According to Wikipedia, the average human handwrites at about 22 words per minute or 1300 words an hour when copying something. The bible has about 800,000 words and the Gutenberg has about 1200 pages so that's 660 words per page. Along that logic a person can copy around 2 pages per hour. The wikipedia entry suggests about 4 pages per hour by the way. ...


12

It is a wrong assumption that Europe was never unified politically. First, in the ancient times the cultural development of different European peoples was very diverse. The most advanced peoples of Europe adopted the Greek culture, alphabet and gods. You can see this on the example of Etruscans who used the Greek alphabet and worshiped the Greek gods. The ...


12

First of all, Monaco was annexed by revolutionary France and was part of it from 1793 to 1814. Before 1793 and from 1814 to 1860 it was surrounded by lands belonging to House of Savoy. (So for that specific timeframes, it would be pretty hard for France to annex Monaco without annexing Savoy's lands). Monaco is surrounded by France from 1860 as a ...


12

Coastal villages were generally unprotected throughout the middle ages and monasteries had little or no protection. Whilst the Vikings were bad some of the time, they were more traders than raiders. 'Viking' is a verb, not a noun. To go "a-viking' meant digging shields out from the bottom of the boat and hanging a figurehead on the prow and taking what you ...


12

The most notable use of light cavalry in western Europe during the period you speak of originated in Ireland. Hobelars were highly mobile cavalry units, and excelled in scouting, reconnaissance and patrols. These units were suited well to the terrain in which military operations had to be conducted in Ireland and other areas with bogs and woods where a ...


11

More details can be found in the related Wikipedia article. University students typically had one of three sponsors: their own (wealthy) families the church the crown The admissions criteria and payments were set by the respective sponsors. That is the church and crown had their own "feeder" schools, and chose the best students of these to take ...


11

In addition to what you list, the organizational structure, bookkeeping of the monarchs, and relative literacy levels (albeit not high levels absolutely) helped enable a democratic system to emerge. Townhalls and church organizations allowed for some census and accountability to emerge. The later monarchs kept relatively accurate and complete tax records ...


11

It's a bit of a long write-up, but the best reason is fairly easy to trace on a map. The southern border of Russia between Caspian and Black seas is pretty defenseless as far as natural features (same is true for other borders). So historically, Russia worked/fought to extend its borders to defensible ranges, in case of this specific area, the Greater ...



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