The Location: Vatican City
The Research: Well, this time period has always been fascinating to me because what happens in this era irrevocably alters the course of Western culture. I've read several books on the Crusades and done some browsing on the Internet. Of course, my issue isn't the history but rather technology.
My major obstacle in research is that I am really not sure what to look for. I've searched things like, "Modern technology, Medieval World" and variations of that and have gotten a bunch of conspiracy theories. I also tried to look up people attempting to develop areas experiencing severe technological lag. In an attempt to help me, a friend suggested a book called 1632, which deals with a similar subject but thus far I haven't found anything particularly useful. (It is a nice read though.)
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. (Don't ask, it's a long story.) 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 sudden Dome that has appeared in their city. Suffice to say, everyone is fairly unnerved by the event.
The main focus of this is to explore the consequences of two very different but vaguely similar groups suddenly coming in contact with each other. There is a lot of culture shock, miscommunications, excommunications, a terrible plague and a derailed Crusade before everything gets sorted out.
Alright, so I (think) I've got most of the historical facts down. However, there are three 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? Any significant improvements for Italia in the first year? What sort of advancements will the world see ten years after the event? How about twenty-five? A century? Rome will definitely by the main and most obvious benefactor from this and will likely be the global leader in this early Renaissance, however I don't know how fast their knowledge would spread to other cities. Would information spread fast enough to have a direct impact on any strategies in the Holy Land?
2.) Housing. From what I have been able to gather, approximately 1.25 million people were within Vatican City during the Requiem Mass 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. Rome by itself has nowhere near enough infrastructure to give them all shelter. What can the Cardinals do, if anything, for the suddenly homeless crowd?
3.) How closely does modern language resemble its older counterpart? Would an Englishman or an American be able to communicate with another English speaker from the period? What about other languages? I am really clueless on this subject.
Thank you for your assistance. I am dreadfully sorry for any errors.