March 18th, 2011

Time Travel and Technology questions

The Time Period: November 27, 1095/ April 8, 2005
The Location: Vatican City
The Research:  I've done some basic research, but am having trouble finding sources to fit my needs. I've tried some Google searches like, "Modern tech in ancient world", "reverse engineering", but I am having difficulties thinking of a phrase that will get me the results I want. A friend also suggested a book to me entitled 1632, that I am reading through right now.

As for the second question, I've tried to look up city maps on medieval Rome and other nearby cities. I've also been looking up information of medieval vagrants and the homeless people of the period. If anyone can point out any good books on the topic, I would appreciate it.

The Situation: Oh, yes. Right.

So basically, as a part of a novella I am writing, the Vatican winds up getting sent back in time during the funeral of Pope John Paul II to the First Crusade. The people in the Square are understandably unnerved by the sudden inexplicable change in Rome's skyline and the people of Medieval Rome are understandably unnerved by the gleaming white Dome that has inexplicably appeared in their city. Suffice to say, everyone is fairly unnerved.

The main focus of this is to explore how much our basic culture has changed in 900 years. There is a lot of culture shock, miscommunications, excommunications, a terrible plague and a derailed Crusade before everything gets sorted out.

I really don't want to offend or critique any religions. The Crusades were really awful in my opinion and I don't intend on condoning some of the atrocities committed by the Crusaders.

The Questions:

Alright, so I (think) I've got most of the historical facts down. However, there are two areas which I really need help with so I do not make a fool of myself.

1.) Technology. Namely, how fast will technology progress and spread in this scenario? I do not really know anything about reverse engineering, but I think that if the theories and plans are available then the only real obstacle is gathering the materials. How quickly would technological progress accelerate and how quickly would information spread? I'm particularly interested in the first few years.

2.) Housing. From what I have been able to gather, approximately 1.25 people were within Vatican City during the funeral for Pope John Paul II. Although the Church would obviously house several of these people and many would leave the region for their homelands, they most certainly do not have the space or resources for the remainder. What I am asking is, is there anywhere in the surrounding area to put all these people. I do not know a lot about the infrastructure of medieval Rome but I don't think the city has enough infrastructure to properly house that many people. What can the Cardinals do, if anything, to support the crowd outside?

Thank you for your assistance. I am dreadfully sorry for any errors.

I was experiencing some technical problems in submitting this, so forgive me if I have already posted this.