Reims Cathedral
Travel companies which work with French operators note a growing interest of travelers to the ancient city of Reims, which is one of monumentality Gothic cathedrals "Notre-Dame de Reims". Travel…

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10 Gothic cathedrals of medieval Europe.
Gothic cathedrals this is not the iconic structures of the ancient Goths, and the temples, built in the Gothic style of architecture. This architectural style emerged in France in the…

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Ancient structures

Anthropologists, historians, art historians, sculptors, recreating shape of ancient man, restore to us the image of our ancestor who lived several thousand years ago. And he rises from the depths of hoary centuries, beautiful and brave, not helpless before the forces of the insidious nature. This is not defenseless creature, hiding from the cold in skins and have no power over the surrounding world. A distant ancestor might show us the structure of baked brick, wheeled carts, colorful ceramic kitchenware. He is familiar with the smelting of metals, crosses the seas and lakes on vessels equipped with sails and oars, he uses the plow, weights, level, plumb, protractor, compasses, pliers, file, scissors, saw, plane, rotation.

It creates a magnificent building, still stunning in its scope and strength. Egyptian pyramids, sphinxes, sculpture-colossi, Greek temples, Roman public buildings and aqueducts stood in a long confrontation with the forces of the elements and still give birth to modern pilgrims a sense of belonging to the eternal history of mankind, uplifting the consciousness of continuity. The builders of antiquity had a tremendous intuition, experience and high professional skills.

Not senatorio, the ancients foresaw many progressive technical solutions, meaningful only after many centuries.

The span of the beams of the Parthenon did not exceed 2.5 metres. When the architect Mnesic started in the year 437 BC to the construction of the Propylaea of the Acropolis, it took him to cover the marble beams spans up to 6 meters. Mnesic immured in marble in the special grooves of the iron rods, creating a “reinforced marble.” It was a great achievement. But historians of science have proven that already in Ancient Babylon used a cane for reinforcement of constructions made of dry clay. But an unknown Greek colonists in Sicily has previously applied reinforcing iron elements that increase the structural strength.

Why if we consider the magnificent buildings of ancient and modern technical terms, they are striking in their disregard for basic fundamentals of building science? What has survived so far, survived only thanks to the incredible reserves of strength, pouring enormous costs of human labour and materials.

Captivating the imagination poluokruzhnyj arches of Roman aqueducts, it turns out, are a Testament not so much the refinement of aesthetic taste, how much technical naivety. The ancient builders did not know how to choose a rational from the point of view of strength of materials the outlines of arches and the most simple — poluokruzhnyj. The experience had taught them the strength of small spans, and they did their minimum.

As it turns out, our ancestor, this sophisticated giant in many respects, lacked something that would help, based on the experience and generalize it to predict the future, to guess, to decide what to build and how? Unfortunately, we have to admit that the master Builder was lacking one very powerful weapon — science. If he her the basics, enough four actions of arithmetic in order to predict whether it will sustain the beam, this beam applied load to firmly specify what the diameter of the arch can be offered on these pillars, and what — not. But the simplest scientific theories were not known by the ancient builders. Intuition and experience are their guide in a world full of perils. History has not preserved evidence about the failures, which studied the ancient builders,— the wrecks of buildings, the towers falling, the failures of bridges. Surely there were many. Only one deaf testimony has reached us through the thick layers of centuries — the story of the collapse of the tower of Babel. Only one failure among the many achievements of the architectural masterpieces of past eras.

Archaeological excavations of the ziggurat of Etemenanki in Ancient Babylon, structures, which, as some researchers believe, was the prototype of the biblical tower of Babel, show the following. The ziggurat was large (amounts to many tens of meters both in length and width, and height) and was built of mud brick, lined with stone only. Naturally, such a Grand structure made of Adobe bricks could not withstand and had sooner or later to collapse under the action of rain, wind, gravity. Knowledge of the properties of the building material, might have prevented the catastrophe.

Long time equipment went on his way, through harsh lessons, sacrifices and mistakes. Her accumulated empirical experience was often cruel and irrational. In Ancient Babylon, for example, in the manufacture of glass was used human embryos. The Japanese tempered their swords, plunging them into the bodies of prisoners. In the foundations of bridges and buildings were bricked up beautiful girls, and only since the time of Ancient Rome they began to replace stuffed. Craftsmen and builders have relied on tradition, instinct and experience. Sometimes they were able to create great works that fascinates the world so far. But despite the magnificent skill of artisans, the engineering decision of their products in most cases was not the best, and sometimes fantastically bad. Not enough ingenuity to strengthen as the wheel of the cart — wheel flew everywhere. No understanding of the nature of stresses in ship design, marine and clumsy mastodons drowning, swallowing water through the endless leaks. Rare diver exploring the bottom today near the coast of the Mediterranean and Black seas, not seen on the bottom fouled the ancient ship.

But really sharp mind and memory of the ancient left unattended regularities observed in nature? Haven’t you noticed no one that the bloody sunset promises to the winds, and down-to-earth flying birds — in the rain? Surely no one went on and tried to explain why a boat floats, why a lever raises a large load, have not tried to discover the causes of phenomena? People inevitably had to come to some generalizations and here it was impossible to do without abstract concepts: “length”, “weight”, “ratio”, “power”, “movement”. The development of production and technology were inevitably prepare human consciousness to the perception of abstract concepts, which constitute the essence of science.

On the other hand, there is a need in science. Trade is needed in the introduction of a clear system of notation. Sections of the land gave rise to geometry and mathematics. Even then people could create and solve quadratic equations, knew about irrational numbers. Sailing is brought to life astronomy. Architecture and construction required the development of structural mechanics.