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Medieval and Byzantine History Medieval and Byzantine History Forum - Period of History between classical antiquity and modern times, roughly the 5th through 16th Centuries


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Old March 8th, 2017, 09:19 PM   #1

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What were the most advanced medieval civilizations


Many would nominate the Song Dynasty; it developed the most advanced firearms of the time, had the most advanced and productive economy of the time, and it was the only power that could maintain a million strong standing army at that time frame.
Due to the geopolitical disadvantages, the Song Dynasty could not project its power like Tang Dynasty did.
The early Caliphates could be other candidates.
Many considers Mongolians as forces of pure destruction, but they were also the ones that brought advanced Eastern technologies to the West, and the Mongolians were known to treat technicians and craftspeople with respects and tolerance.
Was the medieval West really that backwards in comparison with Tang Dynasty and Song Dynasty?
The suggestion is that the Song Dynasty lost 600,000 people in conflicts with the Xia Empire, how true is that? We all know that the sheer size of the standing army of the Song Dynasty dwarfed that of other medieval states.

Last edited by VHS; March 8th, 2017 at 10:22 PM.
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Old March 8th, 2017, 09:35 PM   #2

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China had a huge population and land area, like it does now. So a million strong army is not that difficult to raise.
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Old March 8th, 2017, 10:17 PM   #3
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Medieval is very long period, most advanced places changed several times.
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Old March 8th, 2017, 10:54 PM   #4
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From 900 AD to 1550 AD Venice was the richest and most advanced and the longest lived democratic society in the world.
Advanced civilization means money and money means advanced civilization..
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Old March 8th, 2017, 11:09 PM   #5

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"advanced" isn't really specific enough, since many different states and civilizations were better at certain things, and we should make a distinction between scale and quality (though the ability to manage things on a large scale shows an inherent quality on its own). There's also the question of time period, since the medieval west was undoubtedly far more advanced in certain fields by the end of the late medieval period (1400-1500 depending on your definition), but in the early medieval they were all around below average.

First things first, before anyone gets angry I'm excluding India and east asia outside of china since I don't know enough about them. For the early medieval period (around 700 to 1100), I would rank the advancement of certain civilizations in:

All around technological knowledge:

1: Byzantines
2: Arabs
3: Chinese

Administrative sophistication and effectiveness:

1: Chinese
2: Byzantines
3: Arabs (the real third spot likely goes to a state in India, but as I said I can't really comment on them)

Military organization and effectiveness per capita (note that this is something of a three way tie):

1:Byzantines
2:Chinese
3:Arabs

Technological Innovation:

1:Arabs
2:Chinese
3:Byzantines (though western europeans do start innovating more by the end of this period)

For the high medieval period (around 1100 to 1300) I'd say the rankings would be:

All around technological knowledge:

1: Tie between Western Europeans and Byzantines, leaning towards western Europeans after 1204
2: Chinese
3: Arabs

Administrative sophistication and effectiveness:

1: Chinese
2: Byzantines
3: Western Europeans

Military organization and effectiveness per capita:

1: Western Europeans, certainly by the end
2: Chinese
3: Byzantines

Technological Innovation:

1: Western Europeans
2: Chinese
3: Arabs

And for the late medieval (1300-1500 lets say), It would be:

All around technological knowledge:

1: Western Europeans
2: Ottomans
3: Arabs and eastern Europeans

Administrative sophistication and effectiveness:

1: Chinese
2: Ottomans
3: Western Europeans

Military organization and effectiveness per capita:

1: Ottomans
2: Western Europeans
3: Eastern Europeans

Technological Innovation:

1: Western Europeans
2: Ottomans
3: Arabs

Last edited by JeanDukeofAlecon; March 8th, 2017 at 11:12 PM.
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Old March 9th, 2017, 12:48 AM   #6

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Another abstract thread to show 'look how much I know about Chinese dynasties'.
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Old March 12th, 2017, 04:07 PM   #7

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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnincornwall View Post
Another abstract thread to show 'look how much I know about Chinese dynasties'.
Not quite; rather, I would like to learn how the European Renaissance happened.
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Old March 12th, 2017, 04:46 PM   #8

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Quote:
Originally Posted by aldo12 View Post
From 900 AD to 1550 AD Venice was the richest and most advanced and the longest lived democratic society in the world.
Advanced civilization means money and money means advanced civilization..
Democratic?
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Old March 13th, 2017, 01:56 AM   #9

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tsar View Post
Democratic?
When they elected a new Doge they poked the eyes out of the old one.

That's democracy!
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Old March 13th, 2017, 03:27 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnincornwall View Post
When they elected a new Doge they poked the eyes out of the old one.

That's democracy!
Huh never seen that recently.
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