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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Rythin

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Hey, I like it :D But colonialism and trading is not something that could be called evil warmongering...

Farq was going through France in order to redeem his soul. One day a man asked him:
"What time is it?"
"I don't know as I'm not from here. You should ask a native, I guess." he replied.
 

unmerged(28944)

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I'm with Maku:

There's just no stopping you is there Farq? Oh well I guess I'll just have to concede defeat and start preparing excuses for why it took so long for me to do anything at work.....
:eek: ;)

Oh well, for a Farq work or AARt, it'll be well worth it!
 

unmerged(28944)

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I'm with Maku:

There's just no stopping you is there Farq? Oh well I guess I'll just have to concede defeat and start preparing excuses for why it took so long for me to do anything at work.....
:eek: ;)

Oh well, for a Farq work or AARt, it'll be well worth it!
 

AmbassadeBelgie

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Am awaiting next update impatiently, but anti_strunt is right...SCREENIES!!!!!:'(

Th :rofl:
 

Farquharson

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J.Passepartout (and others who admired my "Heresy!" balloons): Glad you liked them. The crazy thing was I spent about ten minutes searching on Google for something like that, then gave up and made my own in MS Paint in about five minutes :rolleyes:

Maku: This AAR is of course truly educational. Maybe it counts as on-the-job training or something? ;)

Troggle: Hah! I knew someone would question whether this was really an EU2 game - so I am including a screenshot in the next update!

coz1: Thanks for your encouragement. The style looks like being more serious than my previous works, which isn't saying much admittedly.

Zeno: Aha! You learned something - you've made my day! :)

Ambassade: I like to try and cater to all tastes, even purists!

Rythin: Evil warmongering... errrm... ahem, well... this might be shamefully lacking I'm afraid. :eek:o I did beat up some innocent natives in South America though - does that count?

anti_strunt: One screenshot coming up!

Draco Rexus: Thanks.

Draco Rexus: Thanks. :p

Lofman: Glad you liked the start - I will endeavour to keep it up.
 

Farquharson

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Chapter 2
The Problem of Position




July 1617, Straits of Gibraltar

Captain Vaubeuge climbed back aboard his ship the Splendide, issued brief orders to be under way in half an hour, then turned his attention to the curious package that Admiral Beaulieu had delivered to him during their meeting. The Escadre Bleue had just met up with Beaulieu’s fleet and to Vaubeuge’s delight he had learned from the Admiral that his earnest wish was fulfilled, that the Splendide was to be part of the proposed expedition to explore down the coast of Africa, and, if possible, to establish French colonies there.

The package was not from Beaulieu himself, nor from the naval officials in Marseille from where Beaulieu had just sailed. Rather, the scrawled handwriting on the outside showed unmistakably that it was from the captain’s friend Pierre Gassendi, professor of philosophy at the University of Aix. The young and brilliant academic, always engrossed in his studies, rarely found time to write even the briefest of notes to anyone, so the bulky package was quite a mystery.

He tore open the seal and pulled out a large bundle of closely written numerical tables, accompanied by a brief letter from the professor. Tucking the tables into his jacket for the moment, he gave his attention to the letter, which was typically short and to the point:


Aix-en-Provence, June 8th 1617

My dear Alphonse,

I trust this finds you in good health. There is talk of nothing else in Marseille just now but Admiral Beaulieu’s proposed expedition to the African Coast. I trust that the Splendide will be part of that remarkable undertaking. On this assumption I have enclosed a most precious set of Tables, copied by myself from a set given me by the illustrious Professor Galilei, who is now pursuing his astonishing career in the city of Florence. The professor holds that these Tables, which chart the motions of the four moons of the planet Jupiter, are the key to measuring longitude at any point on the earth’s surface. I myself have made use of them to calculate a difference of longitude between the cities of Aix and Florence of a little over five degrees, which seems remarkably accurate. Knowing, however, that it is at sea that such an invaluable tool will be most welcomed, and that you yourself are well acquainted with Professor Galilei’s telescope, which is of course necessary for observing the moons, I wish you to make use of them during your voyage, and to give me a full report as to their efficacy upon your return to the shores of our beloved France.

Your very dear friend

Pierre Gassendi


Captain Vaubeuge stood at the stern-rail looking out across the sea to the coast of North Africa, temporarily stunned by the contents of the professor’s letter.

“The moons of Jupiter!” he muttered to himself.



Jupiter and its principal moons as seen through a modern telescope​

The ship’s master who was also on deck nearby, approached him tentatively.

“Bad news, sir?” he asked.

“Eh? What’s that M. Villeneuve?” The captain was thrown off guard by the question. “No, no, not at all. Quite the contrary, even...” His words trailed off.

Villeneuve waited a moment to see if the captain intended to go on, then, realizing that nothing more was forthcoming, said: “Very good, sir”, and returned to his duties.

Captain Vaubeuge drew the bundle of tables out of his jacket and stared down at them incredulously. Was it really possible that he held in his hands the key to measuring longitude? It had for long been believed that the secret of determining accurately one’s longitude was to have an accurate timepiece, a thing which no-one had ever been able to construct. Could it be that the moons of Jupiter offered a sort of ‘celestial timepiece’, accurate enough, when compared with local time measured by the sun, to calculate one’s position on the earth’s surface? It seemed fantastic, and the captain was not yet ready to risk making a fool of himself in the eyes of the ship’s officers. And yet he felt he had to share the matter with someone. And then, he knew who.

“M. Joubert!” he called to the signalman, “Put up a signal to the Téméraire, if you please. M. de Champlain is invited to dine aboard the Splendide this evening.”

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>O<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<​

Later that evening the captain and his guest were to be found out on the deck of the Splendide. De Champlain, the man who had founded Quebec, was in his early fifties with an easy manner but a bright intense look in his eyes. He was studying the numerical tables by the light of a lantern, while the captain was polishing the lenses of his telescope. The two men had spent over an hour in the captain’s cabin after dinner discussing how to interpret the figures, and now at last it was the moment of truth. Fortunately it was a clear night, no more than one would expect at those latitudes and at that time of year, and it did not take Vaubeuge long to pick out the planet Jupiter. Chuckling to himself as he remembered his conversation with the Comte de Bellemont several months beforehand, he lifted his telescope and attempted to line up Jupiter in its line of sight.

“Dashed tricky business,” he remarked after some moments of seeing nothing but blackness. “Ah! Wait - I think I had it then... Yes, there she is - no, that’s a star. Yes, there. I think I have it. But by heaven, I can tell you it’s the devil of a job to keep the thing in sight.”

There was a few moments of silence, then de Champlain could contain himself no longer:

“Well, captain - can you see any moons?”



Samuel de Champlain pictured when he was slightly younger​

“Moons? Hell’s bells, man, I’m lucky if I can see the blessed planet for two seconds at a time! Here, see what you can do.”

He handed the telescope to his companion, who spent a good half minute staring through it at the heavens without saying a word. Finally he spoke:

“Jupiter I can see, and I could make out what I think was a moon to one side of it, but I’m blessed if I could match up what we’re looking at to this!” He waved Professor Gassendi’s precious tables in the air.

“Perhaps with a more powerful instrument?” suggested Vaubeuge.

“Perhaps,” said de Champlain dubiously. “But with these things more powerful means longer, and longer means more difficult to keep it pointing straight on the deck of a ship.”

“Hmmm. That’s true,” agreed the captain, trying once more to view the planet through the telescope.

“No, my friend,” said de Champlain, “Professor Galilei may be correct in theory, but I fear he is no seaman. I cannot conceive that this method will ever be of much use at sea.”

With a shrug he handed the tables back to the captain.

“Still,” he said, brightening a little, “whenever we make landfall we may be able to achieve more. Who knows - we may even be able to determine where we are!”

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>O<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<​

No seventeenth century mariner ever left home without his trusty astrolabe - that’s what that circular brass thing at the top of the post is. It was a very simple device which was used to measure the altitude of the sun at midday or of a star at its highest point at night. By this means it was a simple operation to work out one’s latitude - distance north or south of the equator. This was of course very useful, and had been standard practice since antiquity.

The great problem had always been that nobody had ever worked out how to determine one’s longitude - distance east or west. In general you got where you wanted to go by sailing to the correct latitude, then turning east or west according to which way you expected to find your destination. It was crude and certainly not conducive to accurate mapmaking when sailing in unexplored waters.



For those who like screenshots...​

So desperate were the kings and rulers of the day to be the first to exploit the secret of longitude that they frequently offered fantastic prizes and rewards to whoever discovered it. In 1598 Philip III of Spain, for example, had promised a prize of 6000 ducats, plus an annual salary of 2000 ducats, to “the discoverer of longitude”.

This of course brought hordes of crackpot amateur scientists out of the woodwork with all manner of hare-brained schemes which they proposed to what they hoped would be gullible royal patrons. In general most people agreed, however, that some sort of accurate method of time-keeping, which could be sustained during a long journey or voyage, was the key to the problem. Thus, by comparing local time, as indicated by the sun, with the time at one’s starting point, as indicated by the timepiece, one could determine one’s longitude - a sort of seventeenth century measurement of jet lag.

Unfortunately for Galileo, by 1616 when he first wrote to the Spanish court proposing the use of the motions of the moons of Jupiter as a “celestial timepiece”, Philip III had all but lost interest in the problem, having had so many crackpots in and out of his audience chamber. The Italian inventor’s poor relations with Rome didn’t help of course, and he never did succeed in claiming the prize, although his tables did prove of some use for measuring longitude on land. At sea the method never worked however, and the problem of position still remained.
 
Last edited:

AmbassadeBelgie

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Great including of the problem of longitude! I think it was extremely well explained, liked the screenie too :p. Looking forward to the next update.

Th :rofl:
 

unmerged(26933)

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I love reading this now, I find out more things. I thought the first way to work at sea was an accurate time piece invented in England and the guy got screwed out of his prize, I'm not 100% sure, but I think that's how it went.
 

AmbassadeBelgie

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Either way, the Chinese found it before any Europpean did!! (see 1421 by Gavin Menzies...GREAT book). Either way, Seeing as I now hijacked this thread I must say something tactful...?
I hope the next update is soon, and THANK YOU OH HONOURABLE ONE for the SCREENIE :p Farquharson rocks!!! Repeat after me!!!:D

Th :rofl:
 

TreizeV

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An excellent AAR my friend! Aside from the story, this feels like a history lesson on its on :D

I particularly like this quote

“My good fellow, the mistake Signor Galilei made was to point his telescope at the heavens. Keep it firmly horizontal...”, he paused to demonstrate that this was in fact just about possible even on the deck of a ship at sea, “... and you won’t run foul of Mother Church in any way.”
 

CatKnight

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The lion and zebra will be back after these messages from our sponsors:


Great work so far, Farq! Your attention to historical science is stunning. This is really fascinating!
 

Rythin

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I did beat up some innocent natives in South America though - does that count?
No, I'm afraid. That would be evil warmongering if you did beat up French as those natives.
 

AmbassadeBelgie

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WHEN's THE NEXT UPDATE??? :D Am waiting (im)patiently :p

Th :rofl:
 

coz1

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I have a feeling I am going to learn quite a bit while I am enjoying this AAR. Keep it up. :D
 

Farquharson

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Zeno: Yup - there was a book came out a couple of years ago I think? "Longitude" by someone or other. When I first saw it (while the Farquharson clan were pillaging in the Midlands) I was afraid my planned AAR would look to much like plagiarism, but no, in fact it hardly mentions Cassini and Huygens, so that was a relief.

Th(omas): The Chinese had discovered longitude in 1421? That I hadn't found out yet - I will look into it, but it sounds fascinating.

TreizeV: Thanks! But of course, telescopes seemed destined to get pointed upwards sooner or later!

CatKnight: I eagerly await our four-footed friends' return! ;)

Rythin: OK, well how about this - I beat up some Spanish in Atacama when I wasn't even at war with Spain - is that evil warmongering or what! :D ?

Xizo: Well, I will try to keep up the standard. More is coming soon but I've been a bit distracted the last few days - also massive thunderstorms in Marseille have meant the PC has been kept off a fair bit - lame excuses, I know...

I thought I told you Troggle - NO POSTS HERE TILL YOUR 1200TH!!! :p

coz1: Glad you like it - I'm learning a lot myself, of course!

So, no update right now, sorry. But I can promise that the next one will actually get beyond 1617! Richelieu has now appeared to lead France into a glorious age of colonization and scientific enterprise! To boldly go where no frog has gone before... :D
 

Rythin

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Farq - okay, you're evil warmonger. But that's still not ultimate evil warmonger. Check AAR in the sig :p