I’ve been going heavy with the philosophy and psychology and shit lately, apart from that thing the rodent behind my eyes made me type, and so I thought for tonight I’d just kick back, pop a cold one, put my feet up, and lay down some sweet, sweet nerd talk with all you nice people.
So without further ado and as little adon’t as we can legally get away with and still stay within federally mandated guidelines for fucked up bloggers, here’s my list of the technological and scientific knowledge I would bring back in time with me if I planned on traveling back in time to make myself a god amongst men.
And women too. These are in no particular order, and included with each item is my reasons for why I think this would make a great time travel’s secret weapon from the future.
- OK, let’s get the obvious one out of the way real quick here. Gunpowder, gunpowder, gunpowder. Why? Because it’s easy to make from ingredients you pretty much always find wherever there are human beings : sulphur (from shit), charcoal (from your firepit) and potassium nitrate, otherwise known as saltpeter, which you can get from urine. Get those together in the right proportions, and you will be sending a hunk of crystal into a Gorn in no time.
Of course, you will have more luck with your gunpowder if you also bring…
- The Secret of Steel
- By Crom, now we’re talking. As long as you make sure to start off at a nice Iron Age point in civilization, you can outfit your hordes not just with guns that shoot bullets somewhat accurately, but with swords that are so much stronger than anyone else’s that you will seem like your army wields a thousand Excaliburs. And if you are particularly bold and don’t mind essentially dragging people into the Iron Age in order to get to the steel, you could go all the way back to the Bronze Age, where the swords were so weak that they often were dulled into uselessness after minutes in battle. A steel sword with a good edge would cut through that like it was smoke.
- Modern hygiene
- Now things get interesting. When you think about it, all the basic concepts of modern hygiene and antisepsis are completely within the reach of even Stone Age civilization. Your empire could be the strongest not only because it had steel weapons and gunpowder, but because they were the only ones who knew to boil their water before they drank it, wash the dirt and shit off things before eating them, and in general keep ingestion and elimination as far apart as possible. There goes all those plagues!
- The principles of hydraulics
- Another one that works in the Stone Age, even. Heck, throw in counterweights and springs as well. Moving weights by moving water (or air, or oil… ) is a very basic trick, and something that you could do with rocks, vines, and leaves if you really had to. Imagine the enemy’s fear as you use your mighty trebuchet to hurl burning rocks into their midst which then (thanks to your gunpowder) explode. Shock and awe? How about shit and run?
- The useful properties of certain natural things
- One of the great advantages of being from this exact era is that many scientists are working quite hard right now at figuring out exactly which old-time folk medicines and ancient medical practices work, and which are just soo much bullwater. So all you, the prospective time traveling overlord, have to do is pick through their work and memorize the good bits. Heck, just knowing where penicillin and aspirin come from would give you a huge boost. (Moldy bread and willow bark, respectively). Imagine what you could do with the more advanced things being discovered daily! Your healing arts would be as famous as your terrible engines of destruction. And really, what is a wizard but someone who know cool stuff that works?
So there you have it, five areas of knowledge to learn inside and out before you head back to ancient times to use your superior knowledge and towering physique (remember, they were short back then) to remake all of human history to your advantage.
In the next edition of How To Be A Time Lord And Make It Work, we’ll tell you how to get out of those awkward situations when you show up in King Arthur’s Court, right on top of the Round Table, naked.
Until then, remember…. history is yours to shape!