How would the Romans have used gunpowder?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Malone, Oct 12, 2017.

  1. Malone Well-Known Member

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    If sometime in the 2nd century ad the formula for gunpowder was developed in Rome how would it have been put to use?

    We have the real world differences in the context of how the Chinese first used gunpowder vs the Europeans.
     
  2. Philippe le Bel Le Roi de Fer, Roi Très Chrétien

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    I think that given that the metalwork and steel quality weren't highly enough developed to produce anything close to a gun, or even a cannon, the Romans would have primarily been making bombs with gunpowder. Loading big gunpowder-filled stones (hollowed out) or maybe amphorae into their ballistas and letting fly, or placing under city walls while sapping. Would work wonders. Romans were great siege engineers.
     
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  3. Md139115 Bring back the Inquisition!

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    Many early cannon were made of bronze. Would that be within Roman capabilities?
     
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  4. Skallagrim Not the one from YouTube. Different other fellow.

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    Romans being great engineers, might their main interest in explosive powder not lie in more peaceful uses? I'm thinking mining and infrastructure (blowing up inconvenient rock formations when building roads etc.) might be things they're going to be very interested in trying explosive powder for.
     
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  5. Philippe le Bel Le Roi de Fer, Roi Très Chrétien

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    Great thinking! There I go thinking about military technology straightaway :D Yes, absolutely, lots of passes in the Alps just waiting to get blown up to make road building easy. Should vastly improve the economic worth of some regions and bolster trade. Perhaps, since travel to northern Gaul and farther Spain will be easier now, they will at least have a fighting chance at keeping up economically with the eastern provinces?

    Also lots of rock to be blown up in the eastern provinces, too. And mines, of course. Should be very useful for the silver deposits in the Balkans.
     
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  6. A Most Sovereign Lady Marylandic Princess

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    Industry.
     
  7. Escape Zeppelin Well-Known Member

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    The first Chinese gunpowder weapons were fire lances made of bamboo.