Wednesday, October 1, 2014

History: The Year is 1439

I've uploaded year 1439 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Gutenberg Press Changes Everything -- It makes books cheaper and faster to produce. By modern standards it is as slow as snails but compared to hand copying, it's a miracle. I also talk about Kindle ebooks.

The Beginnings of a Professional Military -- The King of France has passed an ordinance to establish, organize and pay for a small standing army. It won't work out at first but eventually its going to catch on.

The Gutenberg Press Changes Everything

The actual date varies as to when Johannes Gutenberg introduces his printing press. He has been experimenting for a few years now, but what makes his press unique is the moveable type. Rows of characters are placed into wooden forms BACKWARDS and rolled with a thick ink. The wooden form is then pressed against the paper... thus is born the printing press. It will change everything. Most books are printed by hand with some printing being done with carved wooden blocks. While Gutenberg is limited to printing one page at a time, he can print quite a number of the same page and do so quickly. Bulk printing reduces the cost per book so that he can sell more books for less and of better quality. The exception is books with custom art. [1] [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
And Gutenberg wasn't even thinking of an EMP strike! An Electo-Magnetic Pulse will kill your Kindle. I own 12 bookcases filled with books and my wife was complaining so I tried the Kindle. It is light, inexpensive and has a pleasant screen. I like it and I visit almost every day looking for ebook bargains yet I still visit books stores. Why? A lot of my reading is done when an electronic device is not available to me and I remember what is in a physical book more reliably. Ebooks are easily searchable so there are advantages to both. I don't think I could do this history segment without searchable ebooks. Nevertheless I read over 100 books a year, most of which are hardback books.[4]

The Beginnings of a Professional Military

Whenever England and France have a long-term truce, LIKE NOW, the knights and infantry are left at loose ends. They make their money by looting. However, during a truce these brigands become a serious threat to the countryside... preying on the locals, setting fire to fields just for the heck of it and knocking off merchant caravans. To solve this problem King Charles the 7th of France has passed the Great Ordinance through the Estates-General  (a weak sort of parliament). He levies a tax in order to organize and support a standing army, pay them a living wage and find mercenary jobs for the rest outside of France. It won't solve the brigand problem entirely but over time, it will make a big difference. [5] [6] [7] [8]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
FYI, some of these mercenaries will be sent to fight alongside the Germans but the Germans will find the French mercenaries so indiscriminately brutal that they will pay them 100,000 florins to go back to France. (That is over 11 million in US dollars as of Oct 2014.) Until this point the French and English nobility have been fighting their wars with mercenaries made up of criminals, and people who cannot make a living without swinging a sword. (An exception are the archers of England and Wales that are selected from the peasantry and paid a small stipend to practice their archery regularly along with their other duties.) Maintaining a standing army will allow time for a better vetting process. We are seeing the bare beginnings of a professional modern military.

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1439, Wikipedia.

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