WEMSK12:Medieval Mechanics



 
 

WEMSK12 gets us back on an even keel.  Did you know that the keel
was invented by the `Vikings' and made it easier to sail up those
creeks (e.g. the Seine) to attack the Southerners?

                  Mechanics in the Middle Ages

1. For bibliography, see WEMSK10.

2. The standard work is still: A History of Technology, ed. by
Charles Singer, E. J. Holmyard, A. R. Hall and Trevor Williams.
Vol. 1 "From Early Times to Fall of Ancient Empires" (London:
OxfordUP, 1965); Vol. II "The Mediterranean Civilizations and the
Middle Ages" (Oxford: Clarendon, 1957).  Signed articles and good
bibliographies. First port of call.

3. Marshall Clagett, The Science of Mechanics in the Middle Ages
(Madison: U Wisconsin P, 1961). Good translations and
illustrations. A must if you are interested in the subject. You
ought also to look at his Archimedes in the Middle Ages, vol. 1.
The Arabo-Latin Tradition (1964). Worth reading is his small Greek
Science in Antiquity, 2d ed. (NY: Collier, 1962), a good quick read
with much on the Middle Ages.

4. A fair survey is offered by: Giles Bertrand, "Le moyen age en
occident," In Histoire generale des techniques, ed. Maurice Daumas
(Paris: PUF, 1962), 427-597.

5. An interesting provocative book: Lynn White, Jr., Medieval
Technology and Social Change. Oxford Paperbacks (Oxford: OUP,
1962). Read the section on the stirrup.

6. You might want to look at: S. A. Semenov, Prehistoric
Technology, transl. M. W. Thompson (Bath: Adams & Dart, 1964),
though it is not on the Middle Ages.

7. Les arts mecaniques au moyen age, ed. G. H. Allard and S.
Lusignan. Cahiers d'etudes medievales (Montreal: Bellarmin, 1982).
Collection of articles.

8. Jean Gimpel, The Medieval Machine (NY: Holt, 1976). Also
available as Penguin Book.

9. It is good also to look at such things as: The Sketchbook of
Villard de Honnecourt, ed. Theodore Bowie (Bloomington: Indiana UP,
1959. There are occasionally unexpected treasures out there:
Georgius Agricola, De Re Metallica, translated from the first Latin
Edition of 1556, by Herbert Clark Hoover and Lou Henry Hoover (NY:
Dover, 1950; reprt. of a 1912 ed.).  Full of marvelous drawings. It
is good to remember things like The Black Knight, The Movable Odin,
books on cathedrals with exploded views, models.  I learned a great
deal I did not know by building a Viking ship which I bought as a
model at Skuldelev, and building a working replica of Gutenberg's
press, using a kit bought from a museum, showed me a great deal
about his work.  Museum catalogues are on the web, and kits can be
found for almost anything, even including making paper in the 16th
C. way.