The Oldest Extant Building in China?

heylouis

Ad Honorem
Apr 2013
6,397
China
#81
It is in the best buildings, that demonstrate the full extent of a society's technical skills and made of the best material, that are most likely to survive, and many Egyptian buildings have survived , from the pyramids to the Temple at Karnack.
maya buildings also survived. though i doubt many europeans would consider similar/same advancement of maya and europe
 
Feb 2011
6,148
#82
Bart Dale said:
None of this has anything to do with the thread topic. Just another example of your attempt at Chinese boasting,. Yawn. As I said, I am not impressed ,
I repeat what I told you before:
Let's get this straight, Bart. You are the one who FIRST brought up "lack of large Chinese seafaring ships", specifically over 400 tons, in a thread about ancient Chinese buildings. Then you moved on to talk about lack of this or that Chinese thing which have nothing to do with buildings, and some of those claims are just wrong anyways. If you justify yourself to bring up things unrelated to the thread in order to dismiss Chinese achievements, then I can justify myself to bring up things unrelated to the thread to speak about Chinese achievements. I don't find your double standard impressive.

Let's face it, you tried to dismiss Chinese achievements about a list of things that have NOTHING to do with the thread OP. It just so happens I'm better at "boasting" about Chinese achievements then you were about belittling Chinese achievements. So even though you were the first to veer away from the OP, you accuse me of doing it even though I was just following your stride.

Bart Dale said:
I can point to places where you can still see the actual sites of Roman waterwheels while we can't show where the Han dynasty ones stood.
So I see how this is, first you question the recorded evidence, when show pictorial evidence you demand archaeological evidence. You constantly switch the goalpost. Plus, I just gave you the archaeological dig from Henan.

Bart Dale said:
And we can see evidence of a Roman crankshaft hooked up to a waterwheel at Hieropolis Turkey, and Gerash Jordan. Even more impressive.
Those depend on pictorial evdience, which was something you dismissed in the sentence before.
As for the rest of your post, you mention:
1. waterwheels
2. bridges
3. traction trebuchets
4. abacus
5. sailing ships

^You mentioned these things, but what do they have to do with the thread OP which is about ancient buildings? They have "zero relevance to the topic of the thread".
So when you say the sentence: Once again another thread is hijacked for another round of just Chinese boasting
I want you to think real, real hard about the paragraphs you just made like the above points 1 to 5.

So I see how it is, if you boast about Roman achievements, that's fine. If you belittle Chinese achievements to put the Chinese in their place, that's fine too. But God forbid if somebody boasts about Chinese achievements, because they aren't white.

Also, as for your statement about indoor heating, the Chinese have been using the kang since the Neolithic period. And since Chinese writing wasn't invented in the Neolithic period, the evidence is archaeological.

And by your standard in which we discard all recorded evidence, then the first recorded evidence of the ancient Greek windlass from the Mechanica would be "not real evidence", your words. Whereas we have Chinese archaeological evidence of the windlass from the ancient period:



Bart Dale said:
Every single time I suggest the Chinese might be not as techological advance in one particular field, you always seem to go on a long rant demonstrating all the Chinese inventions that had.nothing to do with the discussion, just as you are doing now.
Correction: You suggest Chinese inferiority on topics unrelated to the OP, like you are doing now, sometimes with racist remarks about Chinese people in general. Not to mention anybody else who isn't white.

Anyway are you talking about those examples where if your argument gets backed into a corner, you start talking about Chinese failure about the "round earth" which usually have nothing to do with the OP? Or when we speak about Medieval inventions, you can't help but bring in post-Medieval European accomplishments, and usually these smokebombs go with statements like
"Despite you Chinese arrogance"
"Japanese have a culture of deceit and lying"
"But as usual, you make typical Muslim claims not backed by anything so trivial as "facts" "
"Contrary to the arrogance of today's India scholars"
.....

What do those statements have to do with the OP? At least when I get sidetracked from the OP, it's because people have already sidetracked it, in this case you sidetracking it. And when I get sidetracked, I don't need to resort to racism.

Bart Dale said:
Just what do irrigation systems and salt derrecks and looms have to do with the earliest buildings?
What does your mention of sailing ships, abacus, traction trebuchets, and waterwheels have to do with the earliest buildings? It's OK to throw the thread off track by belittling Chinese achievements, but it's not OK to follow in your stride and boast about Chinese achievements? Hypocritical much?

Bart Dale said:
I could just just as easily go on a long rant on all the Roman and European achievements, but that is not the topic
Your right, it's not the topic, yet you just DID "rant on all the Roman and European achievements". This whole thing started because you started mentioning Chinese sea going ships which have NOTHING to do with the OP. So why don't you answer what I and heylouis repeatedly asked of you?:

Bart, which Chinese academic claimed that the Han had >400 ton sea going ships? You make it sound as if they claimed such a thing, who claimed such a thing? You shouldn't say the Chinese have "no real evidence" as if the Chinese ever made the claim, when in fact they haven't.

Before you get started, you should respond to the above.

Unlike you who expected me to answer things about the traction trebuchet or the abacus, things I made no mention over, I'm acutally asking you over things you did mention. It's not "failing" to refrain from providing evidence on things I never spoke of. It is, however, failing for you if you can't provide evidence for things you mentioned.

You also gave the blatantly wrong accusation that "all" of the machinery I gave came from the Medieval period or later, even though NONE of the evidence I gave dates to those periods. ALL of them dates to the ancient period.

So I gave you a list of all the evidence I gave, please prove which of them dates to the Medieval period:
The sternpost rudder picture I gave dates to Han times: Ancient period
The steering oar picture I gave dates to Han times; Ancient period
The Mingqi pottery building of a waterwheel driven hammers dates to Han times: Ancient period
The picture of the giant wheel for the blast furnace is based off of the excavation in Henan Zhenzhou, # 2 Han dynasty Blast furnace: Ancient period
The list of foot operated drawloom pictorials and quilling wheel pictorials came from Han stone pictorials: Ancient period
The complicated multi-hedle drawloom, every bit a match for the Antikythera mechanism, I showed came from a Han tomb: Ancient period
The gear mold came from the Han period: Ancient period
The gear and ratchet came from the Warring States period: Ancient period
The picture of the Dujiang and Lingqu canal are pictures of canals built during the Qin-Han periods: Ancient period
The picture of the giant Han armory was excavated in Han Chang'an: Ancient period
The picture of the excavated seed drills dates to the Han period: Ancient period
The adjustable plough pictorial dates to the Han period: Ancient period
The quern with oscillating motion of crank and connecting rod dates to the Han period: Ancient period
The salt evaporation pan dates to the Han period: Ancient period
The salt derrick is a rubbing of a pictorial dating to the Han period: Ancient period.

And I also added:
Decimal Multiplication table: Warring States period
pictorial of Multi pulley system and arch bridge: Han period
Book on Computation: Han period

^None of those depend on recorded evidence that you dismiss, but pictorial or archaeological evidence. Now, since you want put Chinese in their place by mentioning Chinese inventions that depend on recorded evidence (ie abacus or sails), a type of evidence that you dismiss, then I'm allowed to mention Chinese inventions that do not.
 
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Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
#83
That wasn't true for the Lighthouse of Alexandria nor was it true for the Colossus of Rhodes. Other buildings like the Hagiah Sophia and the Colosseum wouldn't be standing in the first place if it wasn't for constant repair. Likewise Han outposts are still standing today but Han palaces do not.
And the White Horse Temple was rebuilt several times. The Light of House of Alexander was older than any Chinese building and stood a long time. The lighthouse is more demanding structure, and is only around a 1000 years older than the oldest Chinese lighthouse. The earthquake that destroyed light house flooded the old part of Alexandria, so it is actually underwater. An earthquake that actually submerge.the city would be hard for any structure to survive.

The Roman lighthouse of the Tower of Hercules is still being used 1900 years later, a boast the Chinese can't come close to making. As for the Hagia Sophia, although it did have to be repaired periodically, that is still less than repeatedly having to completely rebuilding it, as happened to the White Horse Temple. The oldest temple that wasn't completrky rebuilt is only the 9th century. Wood buildings can catch fire and burn down more easily than stone. Yes, stone buildings do.require maintsinance, but wood require more .

And you have ignored the point made that the Chinese did start making stone buildings and bridges during medieval dynasties and later, but not during the Han dynasty. Building with stone and brick coninued with the Ming and Qing dynssty. The fact that later dynasty. Obviously, the Chinese did realize and accept that stone and brick buildings had some advantages so the fact that the Han did build such buildings and structures suggdst it might be because they were unable to , not just because they didn't want to. We must conclude either the Han and earlier dynasties were not clever enough to see the advantages of stone and brick that later dynasties saw, of the lacked the technical expertise to execute thd.buding with stone. Or the other dynasties were not as.smart as the Han and earlier dynasties.. Those are your only options.

PS - I did not comment earlier but European buildings could be dismantled and rebuilt in another location. The Globe theater was dismantled and rebuilt in a single night. The properties you boast of Chinese buildings exist for others. Has there ever been an actual example where a temple was dismantled and rebuilt in another location? I gave you the example.of the Globe thester, so.perhaps you can give me a Chinese example? And even a stone building can be dismantled, and relocated, just bit more work. Some Egyptian temples were relocated when the Aswan dam was built.

China, which frequently relocated its capitals, Western countries seldom relocated their capitals. London was a provincial capital in Roman times, and has remained the capital of England since medieval times. Since the middle ages, the capital of China has moved a couple of times, and Beijing as the city we know dates only to medieval times . Beijing was just some villsges when London was a thriving city in Roman times. The Roman empire had only around 2 capitals during 90% of itz existence, while China moved its capital half dozen times in the same period. So.perhaps.Chins had a greater need to move it's buildings do to its more frequent relocation of the capital. It might have also created less incentive to build last if the capital is likely to move in a hundred or two hundred years, no point building to last a thousand. But that doesn't explain building bridges only of wood, you still want your bridges to last.

PS PS.- I saw that you provided an example of a Han dynasty river boat with a stern rudder. Note, I was specifically mentioned that we have no evidence for a stern rudder on ancient Han sea going vessels ,and an example on a small river boat does not prove what a large sea going vessels would use. The assumption that since small boats were using stern rudders large sea going ships must be too is not valid. Small Roman river craft used stern steering oars but they were not used on large sea going Roman ships. We simply don't have ancient illustration or model showing what anxient Chinese sea going craft were like. Simply because Song dynasty ships had some feature does not mean we can assume the Han ships also had them. That is exactly the backward projecting I complained about. Given the number of models of small boats it is rather surprising that we don't have models of large Han ships, but there you have it.
 
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heylouis

Ad Honorem
Apr 2013
6,397
China
#84
...
Once again another thread is hijacked for another round of just Chinese boasting
...
i'd rather say the thread was hijacked for another round of "west-china, who is better" game.

...
It is easy to see why the poster I originally responded to had such negative opinion of China when you display such conceit in virtually everything you write
it is SNascimento and you who started a who better game play.

further you negative opinions are just "opinions", they are not arguments, as no scientific ground has been provided:

1. no scientific reasoning for that "a building existed longer" equals to "better architecture"
duration of buildings depends on A. the
intensity of interactions between human and the building B. the material C. the architecture D. the climate E. customs of a culture

little of those had been discussed ever, while a conclusion is given.
we also see no numbering, no statistics, no anything
apparently the conclusion is not solid, if not complete error


Making a bridge that stands for 2,000 years is superior to one the same length that I that falls down after just a few years.
2. science of architecture, of anything, is not based on "seems"

The Chinese buildings of the Rorbidden City are not particularly challenging from an engineering level, and even the pagodas do seem to represent the engineering challenges of a Gothic cathedral.
3. not known by oneself does not mean not existed.
Tell.me, when did the Chinese start using lifting cranes and multiple.pulleys in series to.provide.mechanical advantage?
...I can't find any info on history lifting cranes in ancient China, so I am.assuming China did not have them until introduced by Europeans.
if one understands all lifting cranes uses the *lever principle *, one understands to find lifting cranes or pulleys, one needs to pursue the usage of *lever principle*.
in contrast to measuring balances, lifting cranes or pulleys magnifies the force rather than downsize it.
understanding this, one knows that to lifting one tons basically is scientifically the same as lifting one hundred tons, though technically it might be different.
even when chinese buildings might *seem* lighter than europe buildings, they are beyond human capability of lifting.

hence it becomes a problem for those claim ancient china did not have lifting cranes (in fact, they are unable to find), how did ancient china actually build anything that is beyond human capability of lifting??
 
Feb 2011
6,148
#85
PS PS.- I saw that you provided an example of a Han dynasty river boat with a stern rudder. Note, I was specifically mentioned that we have no evidence for a stern rudder on ancient Han sea going vessels ,and an example on a small river boat does not prove what a large sea going vessels would use. The assumption that since small boats were using stern rudders large sea going ships must be too is not valid. Small Roman river craft used stern steering oars but they were not used on large sea going Roman ships. We simply don't have ancient illustration or model showing what anxient Chinese sea going craft were like. Simply because Song dynasty ships had some feature does not mean we can assume the Han ships also had them. That is exactly the backward projecting I complained about. Given the number of models of small boats it is rather surprising that we don't have models of large Han ships, but there you have it.
You aren't reading, I already went over this and I will repost it:

And if we are using your standard that recorded evidence is "no real evidence", then you are wrong that there is no archaeological evidence for Han sternpost rudders though. Now you might defend yourself by saying that you were speaking of rudders used specifically on "sea going ships", in which I respond: Which Chinese academic made the claim that Han seagoing ships used sternpost rudders? Tit for tat.

The reason we know the Han had sternpost rudders is because of archaeological evidence, the same with Han steering oars, you made it sound as if there's no archaeological evidence for Han stern-mounted steering oars either, even on river ships.

Rudder:



Steering oar:


I mean, is this your tactic: Make a claim about Chinese invention that no Chinese academic claimed, and then refute it to make it look like the Chinese academia is wrong?

Anyway, didn't you say that the rudder only has an advantage over the steering oar on large ships? Now the Chinese invented the sternpost rudder, they put it even on some of their small ships, despite costing more material than a simple steering oar. They knew about the steering oar as seen above. Ergo, either the rudder provides an advantage even for small ships, or evidence of rudder invention means they had rudders on large ships. It's very biased for you to uphold two logically contradictory things.

As for the rest of what you said, for the N-th time I have zero obligation in finding evidence for things I said NOTHING about or made ZERO claims for. I only need to provide evidence for things I actually claimed, and I did do that.

So next time you say I "failed" or "have not" provided evidence for something I mentioned nothing about, then perhaps by that same standard you also:
Failed to provide pictorial or archaeological evidence for the Greco-Roman catapult.
Failed to provide pictorial or archaeological evidence for the Greco-Roman catapult throwing gunpowder bombs.
Failed to provide pictorial or archaeological evidence for the Greco-Roman oxybeles.
Failed to provide pictorial or archaeological evidence for the Greco-Roman oxybeles shooting rocket arrows.
Failed to provide pictorial or archaeological evidence for the Greco-Roman automated cart.
Failed to provide pictorial or archaeological evidence for the Greco-Roman automated cart driven by gasoline.
Failed to provide pictorial or archaeological evidence for the Greco-Roman multiplication table.
Failed to provide pictorial or archaeological evidence for the Greco-Roman decimal multiplication table.
Failed to provide pictorial or archaeological evidence for the Greco-Roman gimbal.
Failed to provide pictorial or archaeological evidence for the Greco-Roman gimbal with compass
Failed to provide pictorial or archaeological evidence for the Greco-Roman air cannon.
Failed to provide pictorial or archaeological evidence for the Greco-Roman gunpowder cannon.
Failed to provide pictorial or archaeological evidence for the Greco-Roman Aelophile.
Failed to provide pictorial or archaeological evidence for the Greco-Roman Aelophile used as more than a toy.
Failed to provide pictorial or archaeological evidence for the Greco-Roman vending machine.
Failed to provide pictorial or archaeological evidence for the Greco-Roman vending machine using electricity.
Failed to provide pictorial or archaeological evidence for the Greco-Roman syringe.
Failed to provide pictorial or archaeological evidence for the Greco-Roman medical syringe.
etc, etc.....
I have told you this repeatedly yet you ignore it, I hope it's clear enough for you now: If I didn't claim it, then I don't need to prove it.
If the Chinese academia only said that the ancient Chinese invented the sternpost rudder, then they don't need evidence for rudders on sea-going ships specifically. Stop stuffing words in people's mouths.

Bart Dale said:
PS - I did not comment earlier but European buildings could be dismantled and rebuilt in another location. The Globe theater was dismantled and rebuilt in a single night. The properties you boast of Chinese buildings exist for others. Has there ever been an actual example where a temple was dismantled and rebuilt in another location? I gave you the example.of the Globe thester, so.perhaps you can give me a Chinese example? And even a stone building can be dismantled, and relocated, just bit more work. Some Egyptian temples were relocated when the Aswan dam was built.
The Globe Theater is not Greco-Roman but Reinassance built in the 1600. You wrongly accuse me of mentioning "Medieval" evidence even though all my evidence are pre-Medieval. Yet here you are mentioning the Globe Theater which was built in 1600 AD, and the one that was pulled down was a smaller version of that. The Globe Theater that we have now is not the original Globe Theater but a modern replica. there are modern replicas of Han dynasty buildings too, I haven't used those buildings as evidence, so why are you using the Globe theater as evidence? So that's a lot of critical information which you conveniently didn't mention.

If you are willing to use a modern European replica of a 17th century building to make a point, then others are allowed to use original Chinese 17th century buildings to make a point.

Bart Dale said:
And the White Horse Temple was rebuilt several times. The Light of House of Alexander was older than any Chinese building and stood a long time. The lighthouse is more demanding structure, and is only around a 1000 years older than the oldest Chinese lighthouse. The earthquake that destroyed light house flooded the old part of Alexandria, so it is actually underwater. An earthquake that actually submerge.the city would be hard for any structure to survive.

The Roman lighthouse of the Tower of Hercules is still being used 1900 years later, a boast the Chinese can't come close to making. As for the Hagia Sophia, although it did have to be repaired periodically, that is still less than repeatedly having to completely rebuilding it, as happened to the White Horse Temple. The oldest temple that wasn't completrky rebuilt is only the 9th century. Wood buildings can catch fire and burn down more easily than stone. Yes, stone buildings do.require maintsinance, but wood require more .
The point was that structurally complicated buildings tend to last a shorter time than structurally simple buildings like the Pyramid, all else being equal. None of what you said refutes that. Ergo pyramids will last thousands of years and modern skyscrapers won't. As for the rest of what you said refer to the above.
 
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heylouis

Ad Honorem
Apr 2013
6,397
China
#86
I did not comment earlier but European buildings could be dismantled and rebuilt in another location. The Globe theater was dismantled and rebuilt in a single night. The properties you boast of Chinese buildings exist for others. Has there ever been an actual example where a temple was dismantled and rebuilt in another location? I gave you the example.of the Globe thester, so.perhaps you can give me a Chinese example? And even a stone building can be dismantled, and relocated, just bit more work. Some Egyptian temples were relocated when the Aswan dam was built.
apparently---again, not able to find does not mean not existed.

clear historical records of dismantle and rebuilding has been recorded at least in the San Guo Zhi on the three kingdoms. specifically, in the chapter of Sun Quan 吴主传.
even more, from the chapter, it could be understood why it is generally not preferred to relocate a large building in ancient china: it is not culturally considered to be okay for a ruler.
however, it is also known that rebuilding is common for normal people, the basics of rebuilding is nothing different from building from scratch.
it is confusing why one would list a rebuilding as a special advantage of a culture.

anyway, this, has nothing to do with how long a building could exist, even less to the OP
 
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Feb 2011
6,148
#87
^You should read my above post. The Globe Theater isn't in the Medieval era, much less the ancient era. And the Globe theater that's standing now is a modern replica. So the original one did not even make it to the modern day either. So I'm confused why Bart would accuse my evidence as Medieval or post-Medieval (which isn't even true, all my evidence dates to the ancient period), yet he himself would use the Globe Theater as a testament to European engineering.

Even though
1. The original Globe Theater isn't standing today, something he consistently criticized about ancient Chinese buildings. The British theater built in 1600 AD caught fire in 1613. The replacement built in 1614 was torn down in 1645. A replica was built in 1997.
2. Even if it was standing it's not built in the ancient period, not even Medieval period. It was built in the Renaissance period.

My entire point was that a building that could be easily dismantled like lego would tend to be easy to parasite off of by locals wanting easy lumber once the building became abandoned. And him mentioning the Globe Theater actually helps my case when you consider its ultimate fate.

Anyway, I suppose by the logic of whichever lasts the longest is better, then this Han era Jade Gate pass:


And this Han era Hecang granary:


Is more advanced than any Han dynasty palace. Those lucky garrison soldiers.

Bart Dale said:
I would be more impressed if you could show me an actual ancient illustrations of. A Chinese traction trebuchet as I asked.
Bart, I've showed you ancient Chinese illustrations of MANY foot operated drawlooms, a drawloom with multiple hedles, quilling wheels, salt derrick, a rudder, a steering oar, waterwheel, quern using oscillating crank and connecting rod, seed drills, adjustable depth ploughs, excavated blast furnaces, giant iron salt evaporation pan, and you know there are an abundance of crossbows in ancient Chinese illustrations.
So why is it, that only those inventions that they don't have corresponding illustrations for are impressive to you, but the things inventions they do have illustrations for not impressive to you? How is the illustration of a traction trebuchet more impressive than the the excavation of blast furnaces? Plus, last time you demanded Medieval Chinese art of their waterwheels, and I provided just that, you responded with the accusation that I gave Medieval Chinese artwork and Chinese are liars who forge their art. So why do you even ask? Even if ancient China had illustrations to match their recorded evidence for inventing trebuchets, you'd just call the illustration as a forgery based on your accusation that Chinese are natural forgers.

For that matter, why do you constantly think I'm trying to impress you?

Bart Dale said:
I know we have battle scenes showing crossbows, so why no trebuchet? Why are the oldest Chinese pictures of traction trebuchets no older than the medieval European illustrations, possibly not as old?
How many Han and Tang illustrations of sieges do you know about? I know plenty of illustrations of open field battles, none about sieges. Traction trebuchets belong in sieges, crossbows belong to both open field battles and in sieges. Please do share if you know any Han-Tang illustrations of siege battles, Bart.
 
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Likes: Zanis

heylouis

Ad Honorem
Apr 2013
6,397
China
#88
London was a provincial capital in Roman times, and has remained the capital of England since medieval times. Since the middle ages, the capital of China has moved a couple of times, and Beijing as the city we know dates only to medieval times . Beijing was just some villsges when London was a thriving city in Roman times.
despite of early traces of human activities, london was not built as a city until romans did it around 50 AD

beijing area was the capital city of Yan since the start of Zhou dynasty. ~1000 BC
the archeology shows that initially, the capital city of Yan is in the southern part of current beijng. to its north, but still in the southern part of current beijing, another smaller state Ji built its capital.
Yan annexed Ji around 7th century BC. then the cities merge and become proto-beijing. approximately since yuan, beijing city's center moved northern, and became very close to modern beijing.

if one searches beijing as in english form for its ancient history, one perhaps gets little. because the city was not called so.
 
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Feb 2011
6,148
#89
Bart Dale said:
Given the number of models of small boats it is rather surprising that we don't have models of large Han ships, but there you have it.
There is an excavated Qin-Han shipyard for building 100-120 ton ships, with loading capacities of 60 tons. That's much larger than the models of small boats. This is somewhat more than the size of the largest standard Roman warship.

Also small ships heavily outnumber large ships across the globe:

Similarly, 16th century port manifests from London show that 56 percent were 40 tonnes or less, 82 percent of 60 tonnes or less, and only 4.7 percent were of were of 100 tonnes or more. This suggests that the average Roman merchant ship probably weighed more no more than 30 to 40 tonnes, and almost certainly less than 60 tonnes.
-The logistics of the Roman Army at War: 264 B.C - A.D. 235 by Jonathan Roth, Jonathan P. Roth, pg 192

The first item is a decree of the Emperor Claudius. In the 40s A.C., Claudius granted certain civil rights to men or women who built ships of at least 10,000 modii and used them to transport grain for six years (Gai. Inst. 32c; Suet. Claud. 18-19). Casson argued that the terms of this decree suggest that "a 70-tonner was the smallest-sized carrier the government considered useful." While we may readily agree that the decree indicates that 70-ton ships and larger were considered desirable, two further points need to be made. First, the decree clearly implies that, in Claudius's day, there were many ships in the grain fleet which were not as large as 70 tons; and this is the grain fleet, ships carrying a single product over a long-distance route, rather than the general merchant fleet, which must have included many coasters like those discussed above. Second, the decree contains not one, but two, conditions: not just the size of the ship, but the length of service in the annona (six years are specified) is of concern. This helps clarify the purpose and background of the decree. It is presumably designed at least in part for administrative convenience, for it will be much easier to deal with a small number of ships, each committed to a long period of service, than with many ships each making only one or a few voyages. And this implies that, at least down to the time of Claudius, a significant percentage of Rome's grain was in fact being transported by a large number of presumably smaller vessels, each spending fewer than six years in the service of the annona.
Our second item indicates that, however much the Roman government may have wanted only large ships in the grain fleet, it found it difficult to achieve that goal. Over a century after Claudius, exemptions from liturgies were offered to those who built and placed in the service of the annona either one ship of 50,000 modii (=350 tons) or several (perhaps five) of 10,000 modii (=70 tons each). While the decree clearly shows that large ships of 350 tons were in use, it also implies that there were still many ships of less than 100 tons in the grain fleet, and that despite Claudius' earlier concessions there continued to be a shortage of ships even as large as 70 tons. Left to their own devices, merchants and ship-builders seem to have preferred to construct ships of less than 70 tons burden, and/or to have used their ships to carry freight as opportunity arose rather than commit them to a long-term service.
Finally, we may note three further items which, taken together, imply the existence of large numbers of smaller ships. First, a series of passages in the works of Hero of Alexandria: in his Stereometrica, Hero gives the formulas for calculating the capacity (in amphorae and modii) of merchant vessels of various sizes. The ships he deals with are relatively small. The three he gives as examples have capacities according to his calculations, of 7,680 modii (=about 58 tons), 12,600 modii (=about 95 tons), and 19,200 modii (=about 144 tons). In other passages, he mentions ships with lengths of only 24 and 60 ft, and nowhere does he mention a merchant vessel with a capacity of more than 144 tons.............
Second, the famous lex Claudia of 218 B.C., prohibited senators and sons of senators from owning ships with a capacity of more than 300 amphorae (=15 tons). This law implies that ships in use at that time were often of low tonnage, certainly below 100 tons, for if ships were regularly over 100 tons burden, the same result could have been achieved by setting the limit at(for example) 50 tons. Third and last, a passage in Cicero seems to imply that a ship of 2,000 amphorae (=100 tons) was considered large; vessels of this size are cited by the writer (Lentulus) in a passage where it is in his interest to imphasize the impressive nature of his enemy Dolabella's preparations.............
There is at present very little evidence to suppor tthe view that ships of 500 tons burden or more were anything but extraordinary, and much of both our comparative and ancient material suggests that small ships-ships of, day, 60 tons burden and less, comprised the vast majority of Roman merchant vessels.
-From Ports in Perspective: Some Comparative Materials on Roman Merchant Ships:


Here's some wreckages of Roman ship sizes that came to the above author's attention:


Author says: In addition to the ships included in Table 4, there are many wrecks partially preserved or incompletely excavated, of which the surviving elements suggest that the ship was small rather than large. But even those we have listed above suffice to make our point: there were in antiquity, as in other contexts, numerous small vessels alongside the larger more conspicuous ships.

There you have it. Small outnumber large across the globe. Still holds true today where canoes and fishing boats outnumber oil tankers and aircraft carriers.

There are also Warring States illustrations of two decker ships, the bottom deck being used for rowing and the upper deck for battle:



It also shows the siege ladder and the cloud ladder. The existence of which would be absent in ancient Rome if we use your standard in which recorded evidence are dismissed as "not real evidence", much like the Roman catapult or the existence of sinew in the Roman ballista whereas excavated Qin crossbows would have sinew and bone. Again this is your standard that you insisted on the Chinese. Not my standard, I'm just showing you what your standard would mean if you adopted it for the Greco-Romans. Personally I think your standard is strange and unreasonable.

Agan this is all according to your logic of dismissing recorded evidence as "not real evidence". And before you once again start tossing accusations of going off track, remember you are the one who first started about something that have NOTHING to do with buildings. All this have to do with your off-track statement, and you built up on it by mentioning trebuchets, waterwheels, sailing ships, bridges, and abacus, none of which have to do with buildings. So you shouldn't be mad if I mention things that don't have to do with buildings either. You shouldn't accuse me of doing the exact same thing you are doing. You didn't even stop doing it when you accused me, in every post you accused me, you did the exact same thing. If you can't handle it then you shouldn't dish it out in the first place. Then you wouldn't have to handle it because you never dished it out. Pot calling the kettle black and all that.
 
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Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
4,948
#90
maya buildings also survived. though i doubt many europeans would consider similar/same advancement of maya and europe
Yes, those stand like they do because the Mayans left them. So, just my 5 cents worth of things to consider when trying to compare architectural traditions:

Really old building still standing aren't just architecturally impressive and structurally sound. They also have not been demolished over time to be replace with something newer, considered better. The idea that age itself somehow makes a building valuable is a really new one. Mostly, if people had the means to tear down and replace with something new, that was the preferred option. That one seems to be pretty universal too.

But what it means is that a major reason old buildings have stuck around is that for various reasons later generation couldn't afford to replace them, and so had to stick with the old stuff. This of course means that a lack of really old structures MIGHT infer shoddy building practices, but equally MIGHT infer continuous great wealth over long time. And inversely lots of really old structures doesn't automatically infer superior building techniques, but MIGHT as well infer a loss of relative wealth, preventing the locals from replacing buildings.

It's why the French who like to look at Ancien regime 18th c. styles and structures do well to go to Sweden. The French replaced almost all 18th c. stuff in the 19th c. The Swedes, who copied the French, had less money and so kept more of it.

(We also had one of these weird France-bashing threads, started by a Hungarian, demanding it be accepted that Medieval Hungary was richer than Medieval France, because the Medieval Hungarian royal castles are still around, but he struggled to find the French. Which was partly due to not knowing where to look for them, but largely because the Hungarians later were too poor to replace theirs, while the French kinds tore down and rebuilt on a large scale, precisely because they could afford it.)

A lot of medieval European structures still standing are only around because they were taken out of commission for some reason. The Medieval walled town of Visby, in the island of Gotland in the Baltic, only stands because after being a great Medieval trading city (rival of Lübeck even) it was sacked by the king of Denmark and never recovered. The locals, now poor, never had the means to build on that scale again (not until modern times that is, when antiquarianism had ben established), so the Medieval structures remain.

Something similar happened to the spectacular fortress town of Carcassonne in southern France. It was turned into a military fortress garrison already in the 13th c., the rebellious locals were evicted and made to build and unfortified lower city. Then it remained a French army installation to the 19th c., when the antiquarians discovered how an entire Medieval fortified town had been preserved through sheer negligence. Had the locals been left in place, over time they would have completely rebuilt the place. Like it happened almost everywhere else.

Stuff form Roman times survive also in Rome partly due to the fact that Rome a couple of centuries into its imperial history lost its positions as the central metropolis of a vast empire (moved to Ravenna, Dubrovnik, Constantinopolis etc.), and was reduced to a much more modest Medieval local urban centre, Papacy and all notwithstanding.

And the Mayans left their cities. It's impressive they still stand to the extent they do. But had the Mayans remained in them, they would by now have been completely rebuilt.

Then there's a matter of traditions. Some societies build from stone for lack of wood. Wood has tremendous advantages in many ways. And that's a Scandinavian perspective, and Scandinavia has always been a kind of wood-culture. There's a lot of it around, and it works just fine. The great advantage of timber buildings is the quota of lightness to strength (you can lose 90% of a timber beam, and the structural integrity will still hold), and at the same time any part of a timber building can simply be replaced when necessary. Properly maintained they can stand for a very long time.
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Old wooden stuff
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New wooden stuff

Added advantage of being environmentally friendly compared to concrete and cement.
 

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