Alternative History

Like the title. Clever. Cprhodesact 00:21, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

Thanks--AirshipArmada 18:29, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
There is one major problem with this timeline. The Greeks weren't comfortable with the philosophical concept of "nothing". --Sikulu 09:51, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
The symbol ":" would first be used as a place holder to show a number's position, only later would the ":" mean zero.
The Greek elite had a lot of philosophical hang-ups with numbers. They believed theory was all-important and empirical evidence was not important (or even to be considered), They were obsessed with geometry over all other flavors of math. The existence of irrational numbers caused a deep crises (Pythagorus was said to have thrown the guy who discovered irrational numbers overboard from a ship, and hoped to keep the existence of irrationals a secret) . . . but all these mental barriers apply to the elite thinkers and not to folks who would be using math to get things done. The Babylonian/Greek hybrid notation in this alt timeline is easier to learn. People like merchants, soldiers, and slaves would be more pragmatic and less worried about messy philosophy. If a merchant does the math on a transaction and finds that the profit is ":" then he would understand that he didn't make any money or lose any money - he would not worry about the existence of "nothing".
Better notation would help the Greek mathematical elite make progress in their theories, but the spark of revolutionary changes would probably catch hold in the lower ranks of thinkers.--AirshipArmada 18:29, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
On further reading, I find that you are right Sikulu; this timeline has some major problems already. I thought the the zero went from India to Babylon and then in ATL moved to the Mediterranean. But, according to Kaplan the earliest Indian documents including the zero were translated from Greek. Kaplan says that there is a very real possibility that the Greeks discovered the zero first, but then discarded it.
Also "when Alexander invaded the Babylonian empire in 331 B.C., he hauled off zero along with the women and the gold." Greek astronomers and merchants used the zero but it was ignored by Greek mathematicians in OTL. Maybe I was right to call this "Nothing Changes".
How to save this thing? Could the zero and positional notation be picked up by one of the big-name philosophers in Alexander's entourage and be given enough clout to be socially acceptable to the mathematicians? Could the zero do its social climbing in Egypt instead of Greece and Rome?--AirshipArmada 19:31, 15 June 2006 (UTC)
OK, I now have some big-name philosophers bring the zero to Egypt. The clout of the philosopers along with the clout of Egypt makes it so the zero is not dissmissed out of hand. Archimedes then picks up and develops positional notation and the zero.
Next up - emperical Greeks (or Romans) and a scientific revolution.


Would this kind of development not have streamlined the creation and programming of computers? Heck, the Romans might have managed it, and used the newfound technology to manage their Empire, possibly preventing it from collapsing at all, since they'd have superior management techniques and abilities.

I have neglected this time line, but hope to pick it up again after I do some more reading. I think it is much easier to devise an ancient Scientific Revolution than it is to devise an ancient Industrial Revolution. The computer (as we know it) couldn't really come about without a strong industrial foundation. An ancient Industrial Revolution is unlikely so long as slavery is prevalent, wealth is measured in land, and merchants are treated with disdain. AirshipArmada

Knowing the Romans, they would probably just have used computers to control the water temperature in their public baths... ;o) Michael riber 18:30, 29 March 2007 (UTC)