An illuminating look at the monumental inventions of the Middle Ages, by the authors of Life in a Medieval Castle. change in historical theory that has come to perceive technological innovation in all ages as primarily a social process rather than a disconnected series of. LibraryThing Review. User Review – TLCrawford – LibraryThing. I truly enjoyed reading Frances and Joseph Gies’ Cathedral, Forge and.

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Jul 09, Kevin Bittner rated it liked it Shelves: Frances GiesJoseph Gies.

Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. For those who still think the Middle Ages is a period of “dark ages” this book would be waterweel good place to start to dispell that myth. The physical configuration of early-modern cities, the nature of their intellectual life, and the potential of Cathddral to begin a program of overseas expansion depended more upon inventions borrowed from Asia than any revival of Roman technology.

Cathedral, Forge, and Waterwheel: Technology and Invention in the Middle Ages

The clergy also played its role as a custodian of learning and its emphasis on manual work in the monasteries. In this account of Europe’s rise to world leadership in technology, Frances and Joseph Gies make use of recent scholarship to destroy two time-honored myths.

The authors explore the environmental impact of land reclamation and deforestation. The spurriers spur makers were reputed to “wander about all day with working,” getting drunk and “blow[ing] up their fires so vigorously” at night that they blazed, “to the great peril of themselves and the whole neighb Packed with detail useful to the scholar of the era and the writer who only pretends to be one, and in places hilarious, as regards the comments about smiths as undesirable neighbors.


Because they rely on the scholarship that is anywhere from 10 to years old, there are bound to be statements that are inaccurate.

The general belief is that during that time not much happened technology-wise until daVinci showed up, but this book busts that myth.

Cathedral, Forge, and Waterwheel: Technology and Invention in the Middle Ages by Frances Gies

All in all, I regard this title as nearly essential reading for technological literacy and the history of Western Civilization. A pretty basic but comprehensive history of medieval technology, Cathedral, Forge and Waterwheel is best used as an introduction for the interested layperson to other scholarship in the field.

Frances and Joseph Gies have been writing books about medieval history for thirty years.

Aug 01, Timothy Bertolet rated it really liked it. Europe did not develop ideas in isolation but was able to adopt ideas originating in the civilizations of Islam, India and China. Contains many bits of useful information that answer the question ‘However did they do that? Rather than a long dark millennium of ignorance and stagnation, the Medieval period was an age of significant technological innovation.

Still, it’s an informative read and probably the best of their books that I’ve read. A lot had happened before the Renaissance. They note that “the growing pressures of construction and industry brought Wwaterwheel for the first time to a consciousness of the forest’s limits” p.

Finally, he sold the fulled and dyed cloth to his agents, who took it to sell at either the Douai cloth market or the Flemish or Champagne fairs.

This does not effect the merit of waterwheeel book. The Middle Ages are often considered a time of stagnation in human cultural and scientific development. Thus Boinebroke bought and sold the wool four times. This fascinating book covers just about all areas in breadth and scope of technological advancement in the Middle Ages from cloth making, building, waterwheels, to weaponary and ship building.

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Dec 15, Leslie rated it it was amazing. Because it required dam, millrace, sluice gates, and tailrace as well as gearing, the overshot wheel had a high initial cost. The accumulation of small improvements in technology was important enough to deserve the sobriquet of a mini-industrial revolution in 12th century Europe. Frances Gies sets out to daterwheel this impression.

Nov 11, James Mietus rated it really liked it. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Early modern technology and experimental science were direct outgrowths of the decisive innovations of medieval Europe, in the tools and techniques of agriculture, craft industry, metallurgy, building ccathedral, navigation, and war. The book gives a fascinating insight into the development of Europe – the Continent that defines our time – during this crucial period.

Proceeding chronologically from period to period, a convincing case is made by showing how particular developments built on each other step by step. No trivia or quizzes yet. Raw hides were converted into leather by scraping and soaking fogre tannin, derived from oak bark.

This is a wonderful discussion of a generally ignored topic: To view it, click here.