2,708 reputation
914
bio website bolet.org/~pornin
location Quebec City, Canada
age 39
visits member for 2 years, 4 months
seen Dec 18 at 21:21

Cryptographer, programmer in several languages (C, Java, several assemblies, Pascal, Forth...). I also have a life.


Oct
19
answered Did the fairy craze overlap the UFO one?
Oct
19
answered Why was gold so popular and valuable back when it did not have many real world uses?
Oct
10
answered Is it fair to say that the USSR has technical parity over NATO on land and air over much of the cold war?
Oct
10
answered How were the borders of the Holy Roman Empire established?
Oct
9
comment Did the Trojan Horse actually exist?
The horse is in both the Odyssey and the Aeneid, but the reference in the Odyssey is rather terse (the relevant verses are described on the Wikipedia page). Notably, the Odyssey does not specify that the horse was believed to be a votive offering by the Trojans, only that Odysseus managed, through guile, to have it enter the citadel.
Oct
9
answered Did the Trojan Horse actually exist?
Oct
9
answered What type of defenses did the Pequot use at their fort?
Oct
9
answered What would have been the carrying capacity for 11th-13th century backpacks?
Oct
6
awarded  Guru
Oct
3
awarded  Good Answer
Oct
3
comment When did the Romans finally acknowledge that they were living in an empire?
There is of course a definition issue here. But one strong distinction point between the Roman kings and the Republic which went after was that the high offices in the Republic were all temporary and non-hereditary. Even when supreme power was given to a single man (a dictator), it was given by the Senate and only for a short, well-defined duration (which is why Caesar's "life dictatorship" was really understood as a kind of kingship).
Oct
2
awarded  Enlightened
Oct
2
awarded  Nice Answer
Oct
2
comment When did the Romans finally acknowledge that they were living in an empire?
Actually, "imperator" is an old military title, already used in the Republic days, roughly equivalent to "commander" (it does not imply ruling over Rome, but it unlocks the possibility of a triumph). A "dictator" is an individual entitled to supreme power for a limited time, in times of crisis (Caesar succeeded in being officially named "dictator for life", but that's an edge case). The meaning of "imperator" shifted under Augustus, who needed something to evoke permanent, supreme power, without relating to either "king" or "dictator", both words being negatively connoted at that time.
Oct
2
answered When did the Romans finally acknowledge that they were living in an empire?
Sep
23
comment What was the estimated population of the Mississippi Valley before contact with European?
For a summary of such estimates, see also Charles C. Mann's 1491. Modern estimates (post-1983) for the complete "Western Hemisphere" (roughly, from Alaska to Patagonia) still range from about 40 millions to more than 120 millions.
Sep
17
comment Why was Newton's observation of the falling apple significant?
@BenCrowell: I think that one would be Galileo's story, not Newton's. A big part of the controversy around Galileo was his insistence on trying to "do physics" on celestial bodies; this was fueled by his discovery (with the first astronomical telescope) of mountains on the Moon, which was thus not as "flawless" as Aristotle would have liked.
Sep
16
awarded  Good Answer
Sep
13
answered Did the Assiniboine live around Fort Assiniboine (Canada)?
Sep
12
answered How accurately could ancient astronomers find latitude and longitude?