Sea Skimmer wrote:
Darth Wong wrote:I haven't studied the history that much, but more complex architecture doesn't necessarily mean they had developed any new civil engineering principles. If anything, the public-works programs of the Romans seemed far more impressive than the medieval ones. The medievals build wonderful churches, but does that actually require innovation in engineering methods, compared to (for example) the Roman Coliseum?
Yes, the flying buttresses system which makes the high vaulted roofs of medieval cathedrals possible required new technology. The Coliseum is big, but it does not enclose any really large, wide open interior areas. It’s a large scale application of existing smaller scale engineering.
Well, the scale is actually an engineering innovation in itself, so I don't think I would downgrade the Coliseum so quickly. And flying buttresses seem like a pretty straight-forward extension of the arch concept, albeit modified for the particular aesthetic preferences of church builders.
The Romans might well have been able to figure out how to do flying buttresses if they’d thought about it, but they never did. However in terms of military fortifications, the Romans would be better off. Medieval castles had high stone walls filled internally with rubble; this is not a very strong defense against explosives. Roman walls tended to be lower and wider, and were construction of a heap of earth with the outer side faced with solid stone. Gunfire can smash down the stone facing easily enough, but even some fairly aircraft bombs would have a difficulty time actually blasting a decent breach through the mounded up earth.
Ah, very interesting. I didn't know that was how the Romans build fortified walls.
None of this would actually matter much, but it’s interesting to think about. Certainly in WW2 there were several examples of some very old stone and earth forts being turned into very strong positions which were not easily taken. The same thing happened in Vietnam, particularly the old citadel at Hue, which withstood numerous Marine infantry-tank attacks until finally the walls were collapsed by one of the first uses of laser guided bombs as a close air support weapon. Modern weapons made castle and similar fortification structures obsolete in that they no longer offered sufficient protection for how much they cost, but that didn’t mean they couldn’t still offer a useful defense. Course the defenders also had modern weapons at the same time.
Given the limitations of demon engineering, I would expect their millennia of improvements to spread their fortifications over very large areas, but at any given point, I imagine they would not be very strong. In fact, I have to wonder why they would even try
to build walls strong enough to withstand heavy impacts, since they don't even appear to use catapults or ballista against each other. As long as the wall is proof against trident blasts and beasts ramming into it, I don't see why they would feel any need to make it tougher.