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What To Take With You?

I agree with the commenters who say that almost anyone from the modern era transported to medieval Europe would be unlikely to live more than a few days. I'd certainly have pretty bad odds.


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Josh Reiter wrote:

I dunno, I think everything I learned from Monty Python would help to insure great success in medieval times.

Paul Breed wrote:

Bring a Time machine to come home.

Our health, food,shelter, clothes,leisure time etc... etc.. are all far superior to the best the king could hope for in 1000AD.

ken anthony wrote:

It seems to me that getting noticed is the most likely path to death. If you have that gold ring, find a local inn/tavern, and try to exchange it (carefully) for the
local currency which should allow you to buy room and board until you learn to speak. Most likely you'll be
beaten and robbed before your first day is over.

After you establish yourself as no threat (burn the witch) you can use knowledge to build your wealth and power.

FC wrote:

Try a goldsmith or a banker, which were sometimes the same person. An innkeeper would not know how to appraise gold.

Big D wrote:

Given the alternatives, I'd say that finding the nearest monastery or church and throwing yourself on their mercy (be sure and tell them in whatever pigdin you can manage that you're absolutely sure that God sent you from the future, but that you know not why) is your best chance. You simply have no place in the social structure of the day, and in the days before private property and the rights of individuals, social capital was the difference between a king and a slave.

Odds are, your life will be nasty, brutish, and short, any way that you look at it. You'll need to gamble right at the beginning (specific circumstances of arrival are hugely important), if you hope to have any chance of a good life at all, and gambling with a monastery is probably a better bet than most. *IF* you can somehow pull off being accepted as the proverbial gift from God, then you can set out to introduce whatever practical innovations you can come up with (I was pleased to see the repeated references to the power of double-entry accounting with arabic numerals in the comments there).

For fun, I recommend the works of James Burke (Connections, et al) for a very casual history of invention (not that it would teach you how to actually *build* any of that stuff).

Andy Freeman wrote:

> you can use knowledge to build your wealth and power.

What knowledge are you personally planning to use?

I can install plumbing, but I can't make it. I can change parts on a car and use power tools, but I can't make the parts or tools. (I can do crude welding, machining, and casting, but how am I going to get the relevant tools? A blacksmith can do more.)

I'm pretty sure that programming won't do me any good.

My point is that few people know a significant fraction of what it takes to maintain/create modern society and even those that do are dependent on the infrastructure to do so.

Frank Glover wrote:

Even the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) folk admit that what they do is Medieval times 'not as they were, but as they should have been:"

Eric Flint's "1632" and subsequent books (wherein a modern town is transported to the year) in the series would make useful references...

Mike Puckett wrote:

What to take with me?

A Kalashnikov, twenty magazines, as much spare ammo as I could pack and load carrying equipment.

Water purification apparatus and some dehydrated food.

Body armour designed to resist puncture like titanium thread soft body armor.

I figure with all that, everything else will take care of itself.

Big D wrote:

Don't forget to take exactly 4 books with you.


Anonymous wrote:

What knowledge are you personally planning to use?

Depends on the local situation. So I'd start by
increasing my knowledge of that; with particular
attention to who locally has wealth. Find out
what business different people are in.

I might end up doing accounting for a local merchant.
Show them how to use inventory control to identify the
thieves they employ (doing it so I don't end up with
a knife in my back.)

I'm pretty sure that programming won't do me any good.

No, but it's good cousin, systems analyst, would work just fine.

ken anthony wrote:

oops - anon.

Voice of Reason wrote:

Knowledge of chemistry, metallurgy, and ballistics. The idea being that you make yourself an invaluable part of a powerful prince's military effort.

Josh Reiter wrote:

I would use everything I learned from Kung Fu movies and from UFC to become a pugilist. Considering their idea of boxing was standing toe to toe. I'd be a prize fighter with Brazilian Jujitsu moves.

Mike Earl wrote:

Josh R:

What, you think people didn't fight in the middle ages? I wouldn't bet on that. Europe in that age actually had a number of pretty well-developed local (mostly armed?) fighting arts - unlike Asia, which industrialized later, Europe's fighting arts were mostly lost by the 1700s.

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This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on June 10, 2008 6:33 AM.

A New Project In The Works? was the previous entry in this blog.

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