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10 Times Humanity Found the Answer (and Then Forgot)

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9 Fascinating Facts About Julius Caesar, 'Dictator for Perpetuity'

9 Fascinating Facts About Julius Caesar, 'Dictator for Perpetuity'

The Roman general and statesman's romantic exploits and bloody betrayal were juicy enough to fuel two different Shakespeare plays. We find out more.


Author's Note: 10 Times Humanity Found the Answer (and Then Forgot)

It's unfortunate that so many of these examples came from the Western world. This is a consequence not of a lack of great inventions from the rest of the world — quite the opposite, in fact. Rather, because of such a continuity of civilization and preserved culture in places like China and India, it was difficult to find examples of answers that had actually been lost — although those who value cultural antiquities might argue that such is happing today in China. In places where it did happen, tragically — I'm thinking here of the despoiling effect of the African slave trade or the post-Columbian loss of so much Native American material culture — it is no easy task to find clear accounts of what exactly was lost.

To end on a more positive note, human minds are inexhaustibly fertile and somehow find a way to inventively solve persistent problems, whether that means reinventing the wheel or rendering it obsolete. So long as we can turn that resourcefulness away from destruction, we as a species can continue to progress.

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