What were the most advanced medieval civilizations

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
So let me get this straight.
According to Bart, if the Chinese didn't adopt something it's a failing for the Chinese. You can find plenty of examples of that in his post.
If the Europeans didn't adopt something it's because they are better off without it:
-And it wasn't much used by Europeans until the mid 19th century. The Europeans just weren't interested in tube seed drilling before then.
-There isn't much oil in Europe, so not much use for that technology. And oil needs was provided by whaling in Europe, and whale oul was very fine and didn't need processing like the oil from the ground.


Also, Bart, you didn't mention that Tull's seed drill of the 18th century only had one tube, whereas by the Han dynasty of the classical era the Chinese seed drill had multi tubes.
Maybe earlier versions of it used only one tube, but images I have seen have shown multiple tubes. The articles I read made no mention of it only being a single tube system.

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jethro tull's mechanical seed drill - Google Search:
I

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Feb 2011
6,148
All three pictures are of different designs. Anyway:

"Jethro Tull, the first Englishman to design a seed-drill that actually worked. Tull's Horse Hoeing Husbandry, containing pictures and descriptions of drills, was first published in 1733, thirty-odd years after he produced his famous drill, the chief excellence of which was the dropper unit. This

consisted of the case at the bottom of the seed-box, and the notched axle which passed through it. The axle with its notches and cavities in the periphery, turned with the wheels, received the grain from the boxes above, and dropped it into the furrows below. The passage of the grain past the noteched dropper was controlled by a brass cover and an adjustable spring.
This was the ultimate in the control of the sowing rate until the 1880s when John Bailey of Chillingham 'did much to render drills more perfect by adding a piece of flat iron which could be adjusted to make the slot in the hopper entrance larger or smaller'. But however sophisticated the feeding device, often the holes in the feeding mechanism would clog, and European seed-drills continued to behave erratically and inefficiently until well into the 19th century [See Authur Young's criticisms of the unwieldiness and frgility of Tull's drill in A. Young (1)]. As we mentioned before, English visitors to India were extremely impressed by the efficiency of the apparently primitive local seed-drills. In England until the 1860s or so, few farmers actually used seed-drills. Instead they sought to obtain the advantages of row-sowing by alternating means such as 'sowing under the furrow' (broadcasting the seed and then ploughing furrows to cover it), or 'setting', whereby evenly spaced holes were made in the ground with the aid of a special board (Fig. 99) or spiked roller, and the seed was dropped by hand. Sometimes the holes were simply made by a man holding a double-pronged 'dibbling iron' in either hand, who walked backwards along the furrow making rows of holes that were filled by small children. Only on more progressive farms had the mechanical seed-drill become a standard piece of equipment by the end of the 19th century - Sicence and Civilization in China: Magisteries of Gold and Immortality

Either way Jethro Tull is well after the Medieval period and hence his achievement is irrelevant to the discussion. However, it is evident that even without mechanical aid Europe was trying to plant in evenly spaced rows during his time.
 
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Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
Average seed spacing is equal to desired seed spacing in a drill planter. Space is still being controlled and seeds are still planted in a row. Between row spacing of seeds is uniformly controlled and in-row average spacing of seeds is controlled as well.
No, that is not the same thing as precisely controlling the distance. Average doesn't mean the seeds will always be spaced out the precisely the same distance. Average just controls the average distance, but sometimes it can be more or less. Precision seeding requires controlling the precise distance, which is something different. Seed drill generally space out the distance, but they do not "control" the distance, the distances could be greater or less. Drill seed and precision seeding are not the same thing as you repeatedly tried to imply.


That is not something that occurred in Medieval Europe where seed is thrown by hand, in which they don't even plant in rows.
We have no idea what occurred to them and did not, you are not a mind reader. Seed drills were known in the western world as far back as 1400 BC in the Mediterranean world. We could chalk it up to the idea just never occurring to the European, but even after it was readily known, it still wasn't adopted until more advance manufacturing methods were developed, so it could be that t he European farmers did not think it worth the cost. Yes, it increased yields, but it required up front money to buy the equipment and there were other draw backs. It is simply the case, that Europeans simply chose to no to employ it.

The point of farming is to feed your population, and support your civilization and European farming methods did that. The lack of seed drills did not prevent Europeans from making the most technologically advance civilization in the world. That we can communicate as we do is do their inventions and not the Chinese. The mastering of electricity, its production, transmission, use in near instantaneous communication, are all due to Europeans and their offspring, not the Chinese.
Agricultural was one area that the countries of China, and India long held a lead in many areas, when the Europeans had surpassed them in all others, and ever here the Europeans surpassed them by the late 19th century.

History of the Seed Drill: 1500BC - The Babylonians used primitive single-tube seed drills http://www.blandshire.nsw.gov.au/sites/default/files/Weethalle SoS_Seed drill.pdf
So I don't know why you deem this so important. Medieval Europe didn't have seed drills, they did not have precision seeding, they did not plant in rows. Medieval China planted in rows and had seed drills, in fact this practice goes back to the ancient era. And somehow you think mentioning the different types of seed drills is important when Medieval Europe had no seed drills and relied on broadcast seeding.
Medieval Europeans did not have seed drills nor precision seeding, but they did cultivate in rows - see below. Maybe not for all plants, but you didn't qualify your statement.

Herbs:
Mints and fennel (Roman de Rose), hyssop, balm, sweet marjoram (introduced in the 14th c to England), parsley and sage, 'other herbs'.
Charles Estienne in his Agriculture et Maison Rustique recommends the cultivation of many rows of scented herbs, 'both for the reserve of your scented garden, for your hedges, and for your winter stews;' for example, sage and hyssop, thyme, lavender, rosemary, marjoram, costmary, basil, balm, 'and one bed of camomile to make seats and labyrinths, which they call Daedalus.' Medieval Gardens
In the picture below, I clearly see rows.

1542667323178.png




We have no idea what occurred to them and did not, you are not a mind reader. Seed drills were known in the western world as far back as 1400 BC in the Mediterranean world. We could chalk it up to the idea just never occurring to the European, but even after it was readily known, it still wasn't adopted until more advance manufacturing methods were developed, so it could be that t he European farmers did not think it worth the cost. Yes, it increased yields, but it required up front money to buy the equipment and there were other draw backs. It is simply the case, that Europeans simply chose to no to employ it.

The point of farming is to feed your population, and support your civilization and European farming methods did that. The lack of seed drills did not prevent Europeans from making the most technologically advance civilization in the world. That we can communicate as we do is do their inventions and not the Chinese. The mastering of electricity, its production, transmission, use in near instantaneous communication, are all due to Europeans and their offspring, not the Chinese.
Agricultural was one area that the countries of China, and India long held a lead in many areas, when the Europeans had surpassed them in all others, and ever here the Europeans surpassed them by the late 19th century.


History of the Seed Drill: 1500BC - The Babylonians used primitive single-tube seed drills http://www.blandshire.nsw.gov.au/sites/default/files/Weethalle SoS_Seed drill.pdf
 
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Feb 2011
6,148
No, that is not the same thing as precisely controlling the distance. Average doesn't mean the seeds will always be spaced out the precisely the same distance. Average just controls the average distance, but sometimes it can be more or less. Precision seeding requires controlling the precise distance, which is something different. Seed drill generally space out the distance, but they do not "control" the distance, the distances could be greater or less. Drill seed and precision seeding are not the same thing as you repeatedly tried to imply.
Both the seed drill and precision seeding existed in ancient China and Medieval China, neither existed in Medieval Europe so what's your point on these semantic games? Fine, I'll say seed drill don't necessarily practice precision seeding. Moving on, Medieval China planted in rows, practice uniform spacing between rows, and Medieval Europe did not because their practice of broadcast seeding prevented them from planting in rows.

Bart Dale said:
We have no idea what occurred to them and did not, you are not a mind reader.
We are talking history, which requires evidence. There is plenty of evidence that Medieval Europe practiced broadcast seeding and no evidence that Medieval Europe had the seed drill. I base my conclusion on evidence, I don't need to be a "mind reader". You are not a "mind reader" either.

Seed drills were known in the western world as far back as 1400 BC in the Mediterranean world.
Those are Babylonians and they only had a single tube seed drill.

We could chalk it up to the idea just never occurring to the European, but even after it was readily known, it still wasn't adopted until more advance manufacturing methods were developed, so it could be that t he European farmers did not think it worth the cost. Yes, it increased yields, but it required up front money to buy the equipment and there were other draw backs. It is simply the case, that Europeans simply chose to no to employ it.
Actually Europe, even with no mechanical aid, was still willing to plant in rows even by hand known as dibbling:

As we mentioned before, English visitors to India were extremely impressed by the efficiency of the apparently primitive local seed-drills. In England until the 1860s or so, few farmers actually used seed-drills. Instead they sought to obtain the advantages of row-sowing by alternating means such as 'sowing under the furrow' (broadcasting the seed and then ploughing furrows to cover it), or 'setting', whereby evenly spaced holes were made in the ground with the aid of a special board (Fig. 99) or spiked roller, and the seed was dropped by hand. Sometimes the holes were simply made by a man holding a double-pronged 'dibbling iron' in either hand, who walked backwards along the furrow making rows of holes that were filled by small children. Only on more progressive farms had the mechanical seed-drill become a standard piece of equipment by the end of the 19th century - Sicence and Civilization in China: Magisteries of Gold and Immortality

I haven't seen any evidence that this non-mechanical process was being practiced in Medieval Europe grain fields though.

Bart Dale said:
The point of farming is to feed your population, and support your civilization and European farming methods did that. The lack of seed drills did not prevent Europeans from making the most technologically advance civilization in the world. That we can communicate as we do is do their inventions and not the Chinese. The mastering of electricity, its production, transmission, use in near instantaneous communication, are all due to Europeans and their offspring, not the Chinese.
Agricultural was one area that the countries of China, and India long held a lead in many areas, when the Europeans had surpassed them in all others, and ever here the Europeans surpassed them by the late 19th century.
That Europe made the most technologically advanced civilization in the world occurred after the Medieval era. You keep going off topic about this. The topic is who is the most advanced civilization in the Medieval era, and as far as seed drill is concerned, or even just planting in rows, Europe fell behind. And this is important because most Medieval people are farmers ergo whether they practiced planting in rows or not affects a vast majority of the population.

Bart Dale said:
Medieval Europeans did not have seed drills nor precision seeding, but they did cultivate in rows - see below. Maybe not for all plants, but you didn't qualify your statement.

In the picture below, I clearly see rows.

View attachment 13884
Lol, the picture shows they are PLOUGHING in rows. Unless if you practice some really wierd ploughing practice, all fields that were went over with a plough would look like a series of rows. That doesn't mean seeds were planted in rows. The one who's doing the sowing is still clearly practicing broadcast seeding, he's not even looking at where he's dropping his seed. And you can see the inefficiency of it because a bunch of birds are eating the seeds while the farmer is seeding it.

The rest of what you said is a copy/paste of the first portion of your post.

Bart Dale said:
History of the Seed Drill: 1500BC - The Babylonians used primitive single-tube seed drills http://www.blandshire.nsw.gov.au/sites/default/files/Weethalle SoS_Seed drill.pdf
Babylonians are neither Medieval nor European. Medieval Europeans don't get to take credit for a Babylonian invention. India adopted the seed drill before the Europeans too. So if everyone including Europe eventually ends up practicing it then there's probably something to the practice.

Bart Dale said:
Charles Estienne in his Agriculture et Maison Rustique recommends the cultivation of many rows of scented herbs, 'both for the reserve of your scented garden, for your hedges, and for your winter stews;' for example, sage and hyssop, thyme, lavender, rosemary, marjoram, costmary, basil, balm, 'and one bed of camomile to make seats and labyrinths, which they call Daedalus.
Again you drive off the time period. You shouldn't use a 16th century work to talk about the Medieval era, considering you are willing to discount Chinese technologies dating to the mid-Ming. I don't know if you purposely included the prior sentence in which a type of plant was said to be introduced in the 14th century, while completely ignoring the fact that the source you are using about row planting dates to the 16th century.
 
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Willempie

Ad Honorem
Jul 2015
4,598
Netherlands
I can give you an easy answer on why seed drilling was not much used in north western Europe. Most of the agriculture soil is (tough) clay here. The things are quickly destroyed. Iirc even Tull's stuff was very unreliable and took ages to be able to drill.
It is much easier and more efficient to just plow through the clay (whence why so many horses here I think).
Only from about 1870 or so with much better metallurgy was this drill seeding an alternative.
 
Aug 2015
1,844
Los Angeles
I never said that these printing methods were invented in the middle ages. I brought them up to illustrate the fact that the Chinese invention of printing was not as important as you made out. It was European printing that altered the world.
If I were to act like you, I would say the following

If we were to discuss this, then clearly it wasn't European printing method that alter the world, but European prone to violence which they used to conquer the world. They call the conquest of the world through colonization, destruction, and death as 'altering the world.'

Now, I would not use these languages, because they are exaggerations and too simple to discuss a complicated system as 'altered the world' but alas, here we are, discussing that the Chinese printing press, which allowed the Chinese to truly move away from power held by selected few and achieve high level of meritocracy, to 'not important as you made out.'

Bart, what exactly is not as important?
 
Feb 2011
6,148
Willempie, can you give the source and quote of what you said on north western European soil compared to the rest of the world? If it is verifiable, it would explain that Tull simply had bad luck and might have fared better in another region of Europe.
 
Feb 2011
6,148
Bart Dale said:
In the picture below, I clearly see rows.


The rows are made by ploughing, Bart. The discussion is about whether Medieval Europe planted in rows. Ploughing in rows comes naturally whether you plant in rows or not. The guy in the background is still practicing broadcast seeding.
 

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