fredag 5. november 2010

Bysantinske roboter

At det fantes flere vanndrevne maskiner av det mer spektakulære slaget allerede tidlig i middelalderen er ikke akkurat ny viten for de som har lest fortellinger fra Bysants (og det er kommet maange de seneste årene).

Men det er litt festlig å nevne det sånn litt løst i forbifarten uten å blunke neste gang du hører om manglende teknologisk kunnskap i middelalderen.

Et av de mest kjente sitatene er fra ambassadøren Liudprand av Cremona fra 949.

In front of the emperor’s throne was set up a tree of gilded bronze, its branches filled with birds, likewise made of bronze gilded over, and these emitted cries appropriate to their species. Now the emperor’s throne was made in such a cunning manner that at one moment it was down on the ground, while at another it rose higher and was to be seen up in the air.
This throne was of immense size and was, as it were, guarded by lions, made either of bronze or wood covered with gold, which struck the ground with their tails and roared with open mouth and quivering tongue. Leaning on the shoulders of two eunuchs, I was brought into the emperor’s presence. As I came up the lions began to roar and the birds to twitter, each according to its kind, but I was moved neither by fear nor astonishment …
After I had done obeisance to the Emperor by prostrating myself three times, I lifted my head, and behold! the man whom I had just seen sitting at a moderate height from the ground had now changed his vestments and was sitting as high as the ceiling of the hall. I could not think how this was done, unless perhaps he was lifted up by some such machine as is used for raising the timbers of a wine press.
Som Roger Pearse som jeg linket til over opplever jeg grunn til å spørre om keiseren hadde sikkerhetsbelte.

Eller høydeskrekk.

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