Roger Bacon, the 13th century scholar who foresaw air travel

I’ve been reading Ian Mortimer’s The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England, which is great fun. He quotes Roger Bacon, the 13th century Franciscan friar with some imgination:

“Ships may be made to move without oars or rowers, so that large vessels may be driven on the sea or on a river by a single man, and more swiftly than if it were strongly manned. Chariots can be built which can move without any draught animal at incalculable speed… Flying machines might be made in which a man might sit, turning a certain mechanism whereby artfully built wings might beat the air, in the manner of a bird in flight. Another instrument could be made which, although small, will lift or lower weights of almost infinite greatness… Again, instruments might be made for walking in the sea, or in rivers, even to the very bottom… bridges might cross rivers without pier or prop.”

Pretty far out.

 

Comments so far

  1. Is it just a coincidence that the two Bacons, Roger Bacon and Francis Bacon, both speculated with great accuracy about the fantastic, miraculous achievements of future technology?

Trackbacks

  1. […] But the same could also be said about much of English history from 600AD to 1600; from the very first law code written in English, which begins with a clause protecting Church property, to the intellectual flourishing of the 13th century, led by churchmen such as Roger Bacon, the Franciscan friar who foresaw air travel. […]

  2. […] “But the same could also be said about much of English history from 600AD to 1600; from the very first law code written in English, which begins with a clause protecting Church property, to the intellectual flourishing of the 13th century, led by churchmen such as Roger Bacon, the Franciscan friar who foresaw air travel. […]

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