Counter-factual History.

What might have been had the Romans developed the steam engine? By the late 3rd century AD, all of the essential elements for constructing a steam engine were known to Roman engineers: steam power – Hero’s aeolipile, the crank and connecting rod mechanism in the sawmills and marble quarries, the cylinder and piston in metal force pumps, non-return valves in water pumps and gearing in water mills and clocks. Suppose that the Roman Empire emerged, as it did, from the crisis of the third century with all its administrative and military institutions changed, bureaucratic, rigid, and constantly geared for war, with its capital no longer in Rome but in Constantinople – and with steam power. (Such a development might have occurred not in Italy, but in the Eastern Empire – the stirrup was first put into wide use there, and reserves of coal and other minerals are available without deep mining in, for example, Dacia, Moesia and Thracia – present-day Romania and Bulgaria.)

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What might have been