The Let's Play Archive

Civilization 4

by Zoolooman

Part 18

The Changing Century contd.

Aside posted:

The discovery of liberalism generally represents a turning point in Civilization IV. It opens up two of the game's strongest civics, it gives you a free technology if you're the first to discover it, and it leads to Communism (which gives you the powerful State Property civic.)

If you're the first to discover liberalism, your choice of free technology influences the course that your civilization follows during the Renaissance. One of the most popular choices is Nationalism, which opens up the moderately powerful Nationalism civic and leads to Military Tradition, which gives you the insanely powerful Calvary unit. Another popular choice is Astronomy, since it unlocks observatories (another research boosting building) and gives you galleons--the perfect ship for colonization. The third most popular choice, and the choice I've chosen, is the Printing Press. The Printing Press is almost as expensive as Nationalism, and it gives villages and towns extra commerce. In a large empire like mine, the effect of the Printing Press can be massive.


An Image of Archimedes, recovered from the remains of Geoff Filoktimon's personal library after the fire of 1932.

Archimedes (born Aggei Bober) was the son of a Denaturalist philosopher, guaranteeing him access to the increasingly exclusive University at Moscow. At the age of twelve he earned a reputation for genius by publicly humiliating the famous mathematician Alexandre Kirillov.

Kirrilov claimed that a kind of real number, known as a non-zero infinitesimal (or infinitely small number) existed in the set of all real numbers. He was demonstrating his logic to the crowd by asking them to think of a number between one and zero, and then asking that person if they could think of a smaller number between that number and zero. The lesson is that the person could always think of a smaller number; hence, if he could do this forever, then at the end of forever he could think of an infinitely small number, an infinitesimal.

Archimedes was instantly doubtful that such an infinitely small number could exist, since he felt on an intuitive level that such a number couldn't be written or used in any kind of known arithmetic. His counterproof was brilliant, and earned him the name Archimedes, which means "Architect of Numbers." The event is recalled in the 1422 book, "A Hundred Years of Mathematics."

Skip This If You Aren't Feeling Nerdy posted:

In the market, Archimedes stood before the crowd and called for silence. What audacity he had. He was twelve, yet he fearlessly interrupted the discussions of his elders.

To Kirrilov, he addressed this question, "Teacher, can you imagine lengths of string?" Many of the onlookers laughed.

"I have seen forty years more string than you, boy," said Kirillov.

"Then imagine two lengths of string, each as long as a number. One piece of string is as many inches long as your non-zero infinitesimal, and the other string is as long as my thumb. Do you follow?"

"Yes," said Kirillov, "this is familiar. You are going to say if a number is real, then it must correspond to a real length in geometry."

"Would you disagree?" asked Archimedes.

Kirillov raised an eyebrow. "No, boy, only a moron would."

"If an infinitesimal is a real number," Archimedes continued, "then the infinitesimal string must have a definite length. Therefore, you may take the shorter piece of string, lay it beside the longer, and use it as a guide to cut infinitesimally long pieces. Do you agree?"

Kirillov stared for a moment. It must have dawned upon him, then, that he stood in the shadow of a burgeoning master. However, he could not avoid the trap. "Yes." His voice was like the winter. "I agree."

"Then how many equally infinitesimal pieces of string could you cut from the thumb-length piece of string?"

Kirillov answered promptly, "An infinite number."

Archimedes feigned shock. "But Teacher," he said, "that is impossible! If a piece of string has a real length, then that length can only be cut so many times from another piece of string."

Kirillov blushed, but he had one more trick up his sleeve. "Where is your proof? How can you be sure that I cannot cut an infinite number of equally long pieces from a finitely long piece of string?"

Archimedes gave Kirillov a keen-eyed stare. Then he explained in a slow, methodical voice: "Let the letter x represent the length of your infinitesimally long string, and let the letter y represent the length of my thumb-length string. If x is a real number, then arithmetic and geometry apply to it. Consider this geometry: take a line segment of y length and lay line segments of length x end to end alongside of it. You will discover that there is no concievable non-zero length x which requires us to lay down an infinite number of line segments in order to exceed the length of y.

"If you try to imagine a length that requires an infinite number of line segments to exceed y, then you will discover that you cannot add them together as I have described, since no number of them would ever form a finitely long line segment of any length except for zero. And excuse me Teacher, but weren't you trying to prove that non-zero infinitesimals are real?"

Kirillov grabbed the boy by the collar and slapped him, and though most of the crowd could not understand what had happened, a handful of educated onlookers stepped out to defend the boy. Though Archimedes had been rude, he had at least been correct.

After the marketplace incident, Archimedes earned the patronage of several minor scholars of history, including my ancestor, Bogumil Savostin. He studied independently at the Great Library until he was 16, when Boris Chicherin recruited the Inevitabilists as proponents of his new philosophy, Liberalism.

A few insightful Denaturalists--including Archimedes's father--percieved the allure of the new philosophy, and, as a preventative measure, they hid their brightest students in the Denaturalist-controlled University of Moscow. Archimedes joined this elite group and spent the next decade of his life studying Denaturation and mathematics. During this period, he took little interest in the affairs of the outside world. However, his intellectual quarantine couldn't outlast the liberal revolution, which brought itself to the very doorstep of the University District. On the day that Boris gave the Address to the University Forum, Archimedes snuck out to gaze at the mobs, and was incidentally converted by Boris's message of hope and individual freedom.

For the first time in his life, Archimedes thoroughly understood that politics wasn't just abstract philosophy; it was the struggle and sweat of hundreds of thousands of people banding together to efficiently express their collective wills. He would later write, "There was a world of people who not only desired justice, but acted upon that desire. Inspired by this, I desired to aid them however I could, and I acted upon that desire."

Archimedes contacted Bogumil Savostin and reapplied for apprenticeship at the Great Library. He was accepted as a student of political philosophy under Bogumil, and there he began to study liberalism.

An image of Ilyvich Prostov Lenin, drawn after he became the "temporary" regent of the Russian Empire.

After executing the old Tsar's court, Lenin siezed their assets for the state and began buying back the loyalty of the various Grand Duchies which had effectively seperated during the Tsar's silence. Lord Khav of Crimea, son of a member of the Tsar's court, planned on rebelling against Lenin's rule and seceding from the Russian Empire, but Duke Igorevich was quick to assassinate him, take over his territory on the northwest frontier, and swear loyalty to the new government. In the lands of India, the switch to Taoism aggravated religious leaders and lead to several minor revolts, but Lenin dedicated much of his newfound wealth to the construction of roads and infrastructure in the east, and combined with the looming shadow of the Russo-Chinese war, his aid peacefully quashed dissension.

During the same period, Boris Chicherin assembled a dozen of his supporters into a parlaimentary structure. This parlaiment was headed up by a triumvirate including Bogumil Savostin, Gustav Shpet, and Boris himself. They quickly produced a first draft constitution known as the Library Letters, but when they brought the document to Lenin, they were snubbed.

Lenin said that the Denaturalists had shown him a fundamental flaw in liberalism: that a majority could become a tyranny over the minority. Furthermore, the Denaturalists claimed that Boris's constitution represented the first act of that tyranny; hence, in order to maintain the spirit of freedom that had placed him in power, Lenin refused to implement any liberal government that was not ratified by all accredited scholars at both the University of Moscow and the Great Library.

Boris was not a fool. He understood that Lenin could care less about the politics or the philosophy. The Denaturalists were working to stymie the development of a liberal system, and Lenin would utilize this conflict to remain in power for as long as possible. The only solution, then, was to try and eliminate the credibility of the Denaturalists.


The invention that gave liberalism its legs.

In order to secure the future of the liberal government, Boris had to do two things: he had to gain a majority of supporters in the combined population of the Great Library and the University, and he had to gain the overwhelming popular support of the Russian Empire. He assigned Bogumil and Gustav to the problem of recruitment in the Great Library and the University, while he and Protas began to work on the problem of the empire.

The problem was one of numbers. Even though liberalism was popular amongst the Moscovians, Groznians and Petersburgians--all of which were mostly Taoist--the Hindus were generally Denaturalist, and the rest of the empire was mostly Hindu. In order to spread his philosophy to them, he had to produce intelligent adherents capable of repeating and defending his arguments against the prepackaged Denaturalist defenses. For a heavy price, he could produce a handful of pamphlets for the literate Russian nobility, but the public dissemination of his ideas could only come from trained public speakers. Unfortunately, the number of public speakers well-versed in liberalism included himself and Protas. The rest of his parlaiment hadn't the skill for public discourse.

Boris and Protas contacted the Taoist head priest of the Dai Miao at Grozny with a plea for funding. The Taoist head priest, Sergey Torop, agreed to pay for the training of twenty men, and Boris and Protas set about the difficult task of identifying them.

At the same time, Bogumil Savostin and Gustav Shpet began to look for a way to overwhelm the Denaturalists. Bogumil knew that in an average year, about a dozen people retired from the Great Library and were replaced by apprentices. Since almost all retirees were Denaturalists, they figured that if they could reliably recruit a supermajority of the apprentices to their cause, then they could gain a majority influence in the Great Library by 1339 AD. The problem, as Bogumil's student Archimedes put it, was "finding a reliable method to persuade literate nobles that illiterate peasants were worthy of ruling themselves."

Three theories were produced:

Bogumil suggested that the best route was human companionship; if the liberals could convene in private with the various apprentices, they could personally convince them that liberalism was meritous. Archimedes objected to this system, stating that "there simply aren't enough skilled liberals." Self-effacingly, Archimedes proferred himself as the perfect example of an adherent that couldn't effectively convince anyone else to agree with him.

Gustav suggested that the best route was public debate; if the liberals could routinely defeat the Denaturalists in a public environment, the apprentices would defect to their side out of a desire to study under the "intelectually superior" liberals. Unfortunately, as Bogumil pointed out, liberalism was still a philosophy-in-progress, and only Boris was really capable of creating fresh arguments out of whole cloth. If the Denaturalists presented a new argument without Boris present, they might risk an extreme public humiliation from which the movement might not recover.

Archimedes suggested saturating the environment with a progressive spirit; if the liberals were seen everywhere at the forefront of productivity and creativity, the new apprentices would join them in order to be a part of a great social movement. Gustav objected and said, "Archimedes, your solution for progress is progress. So where does progress begin?"

Then, one night, while reading over the first draft of Bogumil's essay, "Government and Liberty," Archimedes thought to himself, "If only every literate man could read this man's words and discuss them, then they would believe as I do."

Unfortunately, the production of a copied manuscript required hundreds of hours of skilled craftsmanship, and so the essay would probably only ever be copied a handful of times, if it was ever copied at all. Each letter had to be printed by hand, in ink, on a sheet of paper.

Archimedes later wrote,


"As I lay down to bathe in the water that Asma had boiled, I tried to imagine a device with a thousand hands, each capable of writing a single letter on the page. Then each page could be written all at once, and the process of copying a manuscript would proceed a thousand times faster. Hundreds of books could be produced in a week, and Bogumil's brilliant writing could be simultaneously appreciated by scholars throughout the Empire.

"Such a device was impossible. I wiggled my hand through the bathwater and watched my bones and tendons writhe beneath my skin. Only something cosmic could have engineered a machine capable of writing, and I couldn't possibly engineer a machine capable of writing a thousand times at once.

"Frustrated, I called for Asma and enjoyed her company in the bath. After she had left, I relaxed and stared at a xylographic print set above the door. In relief letters, the artist reminded the servants to empty the tubs before they rusted through.

"I'd seen a few books that had been mass-produced through xylography, but it cost far too much money to carve each individual page into wood. We could never afford it. What we needed was a single wooden surface that produced the letters for each page, and then could be rearranged to produce the letters for the next page.

"Suddenly, I had an insight. In my mind's eye, pieces literally fell into place. I could set hundreds of little wooden blocks into a grid, and each wooden block could have a letter or a space on it. Then I could arrange the letters into each page, print the page as if it were a xylographic carving, and then rearrange the letters to print the next page. I would only have to pay for a few carvings rather than a new carving for every page.

"I was so excited, I cried out, 'I've done it!' and leapt out of my bathtub. Asma was frightened when I ran into her quarters stark naked, rapidly speaking her name at the top of my lungs, 'Asma! Asma! Asma! I've done it Asma, I've done it! I have a solution, Asma!'"

In about nine months, Archimedes had engineered the prototype of the printing press:

Aside posted:

This is a turning point in Civilization IV. Now my towns produce an extra two commerce, which increases my research speed by about 20% compared to pre-Printing Press times. During the Renaissance, I should rocket ahead.


The aftermath of the printing press was massive. Entire books could be--and have been--dedicated to describing the subject in detail. Nonetheless, I can attempt to describe it in a few paragraphs.

Archimedes's second generation printing press design registered his name as one of Russia's first great engineers; it utilized fifteen completely new mechanical designs, and his paper detailing its creation (printed on the first generation press) used engineering concepts that he discovered on his own, including the mathematical descriptions of torque and force-vectors.

Renaissance engineering had come to Russia:

Though engineering had been practiced in China and Germany for almost a century, Archimedes's great leaps forward in mechanical design would eventually lead to the creation of mechanical clocks and metal-machining.

Aside posted:

Engineering allows me to build:

Pikemen, the anti-knight unit, which will be crucial if Spain gets uppity and starts a war before I'm well into the Renaissance tech tree.

Castles, which are excellent for builder empires (they give another 50% defense against non-gunpowder units).

The Hagia Sophia World Wonder, which increases the chances of the city producing a Great Engineer and halves the time necessary for a worker to complete an improvement.

Finally, Engineering increases my movement on roads by 1 tile, which gives me an advantage in defense, since even my slowest unit can now outrace enemy calvary as long as they're on my roads.

Bogumil Savostin's pamphlet Government and Liberty was the first thing to be mass-printed, though it was not the first thing to ever be printed. A fisher by the name of Peregud had picked up the practice of sighting landmarks with a German telescope, a piece of fresh German technology which had gained rapid popularity in Port Kavkaz and Novgorod. During a storm he had dropped the telescope and cracked the lens, and had contacted a relatively unknown engineer in Novgorod to repair it. This engineer, Ivan Yarkovsky, reverse-engineered the lens-grinding technique from the remains of the lens. He wrote a one page report on the process, complete with illustrations, which he sent to the Great Library. When Archimedes set out to test his first printing press, he randomly selected Yarkovsky's paper as his text subject. 112 copies were produced before the prototype failed, all of which were distributed to the various students of engineering at the Library. If it weren't for this distribution, it is hard to say whether or not the basic principles of optics would have been discovered for hundreds of years.

Whatever the case may be, the engineers (and later Archimedes) hashed out many of the mathematical concepts necessary to describe light and optical refraction. Optics were added to the repotoire of the Russian Empire.

Aside posted:

Optics increases the ease of scouting the world's coasts and oceans. It gives you caravels, which are the first naval unit that can attempt transoceanic journeys, it allows you to harvest the whale resource, and it leads to Astronomy, which is one of the game's strongest technologies.

Most importantly, in 1327, Archimedes finished the second-generation printing press and produced in the course of one year approximately thirty-thousand copies of Government and Liberty for the equivalent price of two handwritten copies. Archimedes wrote, "Gustav said that we needed progress to create progress. I have brought progress; now I leave this task to him and Bogumil. They must think of that which I cannot."


An original copy of Government and Liberty.

This is the decade that marked the rise of liberalism. Essays like Bogumil's Government and Liberty were produced and sold to liberal supporters throughout the Russian Empire for a tiny profit. In turn, they sold or donated the pamphlets to libraries and 'self-taught scholars' called Renaissance Men--nobles and merchants with enough money to buy a literate education.

These pamphlets were also pushed by Boris Chicherin's "Talking Twenty," his trained public speakers. Their propaganda method was surprisingly simple: each of the Talking Twenty hired his own squad of criers, who each took a copy of the essay into a slum or village and read from its contents. Once the essay had been read to the illiterate, all their questions were directed back towards the Talker, who would hold a followup meeting the next day. These meetings generally allowed the Denaturalists to air their suspicions, which the trained Talker could defeat in debate. Afterwards, the liberal converts were encouraged to round up their friends and take them to a crier so that the process could repeat itself.

As liberalism spread through the old Russian empire, many people volunteered to aid the spread of the movement. These people proved critically important in India and the conquered provinces of China, where cultural and linguistic barriers would have prevented the spread of the philosophy. Archimedes designed a third generation printing press, and movable type sets were created with Chinese characters and Indian characters. Essays were translated and provided in these regions as well.

Though the Denaturalists attempted to respond with printed pamphlets of their own, their lack of access to Archimedes's shops was a crippling disadvantage. Inevitably, they responded with criminal activity. In 1338, a group of three men broke into Archimedes's workshop in the night and stole a third-generation press. After taking it back to the university, they broke it apart and copied its exact design. Within a month, they had prepared their own printshop. The liberals at the Great Library attempted to press charges through the courts, but Prostov Lenin intervened before the case was set before any judge.

He declared the technology of the printing press to be "far too influential to remain in the hands of one political organization." He further wrote, "As the liberals say, men of all views must be able to express themselves however they please, yet the liberals unwittingly commit hypocrisy by attempting to restrict access to the best means of communication.

"I anticipate that their most fervent supporters will see this pardon as an an act of partisanship, but I assure everyone that I favor nobody, and that if I favor anyone, I favor the liberals and not the Denaturalists. They gave me the power to help them police themselves."

Nonetheless, the liberal influence was widely felt. The combination effort of Bogumil's human strategy, Gustav's debate strategy, Archimedes's progress strategy, and Boris's popular support was enough to convert approximately 80% of the new apprentices to the liberal cause; and many of them were often converted before they applied to the Great Library. By 1339, their prediction had come true: the Great Library was infused with fresh liberal blood, and the Denaturalists had to retreat to the University, where they could carefully control the influx and exposure of the students.

In 1340, Boris Chicherin returned to the palace and met with Lenin to discuss the ratification of the Library Letters. The population of the Great Library easily overshadowed the population of the University, and the vast majority of accredited scholars now supported the implementation of the government described therein. All that remained was for Lenin to step down and let the liberal government step up. In a battle of wills that nearly came to blows, Boris subtly threatened Lenin that he would face a general revolution if he did not relinquish his illegitimate throne.

In response to this, Lenin produced a letter in the Tsar's spidery handwriting, and it became clear to Boris that he had made a mistake by letting the Tsar age and die of natural causes. The words were short, irregular, but unmistakable: "I give the crown to Illyvich Prostov Lenin." At the bottom of the page was the Tsar's ornate seal and a series of signatures: the names of all the Dukes of all the Grand Duchies in Russia. The mad Tsar had given away his kingdom, and his nobility had signed onto the coup.

If Boris tried to challenge his claim to legitimate government, Lenin could show the world that he was the next Tsar.


The Last Speech of Gustav Specht.

Boris initially chose a peaceful method of attack. He grabbed ahold of Lenin's original promise and publicly asked him--as regent of Russia--to step down and let the liberal government take his place. Lenin's response was as savvy as ever: he claimed that the Library Letters were biased, and their ratification was an example of a true tyranny of the majority. His intention had been for the Denaturalists to have a hand in the creation of the government; not for the liberals to push the Denaturalists out of the Library in order to gain votes. "Until a hybrid constitution is produced," he said, "I will not accept what you ratify."

Boris understood that what Lenin asked was impossible. The Denaturalists refused to discuss the creation of a constitution, since they felt any liberal government, no matter how comprimised, would threaten the long term development of national spirit and unity. According to them, liberalism would always represent the urge of the anarchic individual: the murderer, the revolutionary, and the destroyer of peace. In effect, as long as Lenin ignored the liberal cry for new government and the Denaturalists ignored the liberal cry for comprimise, nothing would happen, which is what everyone but the liberals wanted.

This prompted an outcry from members of the Library, who took to the streets and openly called for a second liberal revolution, this time to correct their mistake. They had replaced one king with another, except that the second hid behind the title of regent. This attempt at revolution had less vitality than the first--revolutions tend to be strongest in only their original incarnation--but it was still fervent enough to warrant a response from Lenin. He organized a meeting in the Tsar's court, to discuss a peaceful resolution to the conflict before it spiralled out of control.

This meeting, now known as the Last Speech of Gustav Specht, was held in August of 1344, and it drew a massive crowd of 400,000 people--nearly half of the Moscovian population. The proceedings of the meeting, however, were to remain private until they were completed. Lenin, many of his advisors, most of the dukes and lords of the Grand Duchies, and several notable merchants attended the meeting. Boris's entire parlaiment was present, as well as a handful of the Talking Twenty and six leading Denaturalists.

The meeting dawdled for a time as various minor figures gave their addresses to Lenin and the audience. Though each side was arguing the points of their philosophies, nobody was really broaching the issue at hand--nobody, that is, until Gustav Specht stood up. Gustav had an aggressive disposition and a tendency for speaking tactlessly. The first words out of his mouth were, "Now that we've listened to the trash speak, I can stab at the heart of this trouble."

He named several of the biggest problems faced by the Russian Empire, and then, turning to Lenin, he said,


But the biggest problem of all is you. At every step, you have hindered Boris, Bogumil, and I. You stopped us because you could, because we seemed like peaceful people. Neither Bogumil or Boris like to draw blood, even when they should.

But Lenin, you made a mistake. I am not like Boris or Bogumil. I draw blood when I must. And I'm telling you, and everyone here, that you are a thief. We let you borrow the crown while we sorted our affairs, and while we weren't looking, you stole the fruits of our revolution. Now you lie to keep your power grab a secret, when in truth, you have already made yourself Tsar.

So I advocate it; I advocate what my soft brethren will not. Step down, Lenin, and give us what we have earned, or I will step out of this door and call upon the crowd to help me take it from you.

At that moment, Lenin stood up from his throne. "Arrest these traitors!" he roared to his personal guards. Gustav, realizing what was to come, twirled about and ran for the doors. Lenin yelled at the single guard standing at the doors, "Stop him!" In a panicked moment, the guard drew his sword and tried to stand in Gustav's way, but the old philosopher ducked under the guard's elbows and pushed on the door. Surprised, the guard tried to grab Gustav, but the old man turned and bit him on the thumb. The guard cried out and instinctively struck Gustav with the grip of his sword.

A servant-girl screamed. Gustav fell against the door and tumbled into the main hall of the Tsar's palace, where he seemed to grovel and tremble under the distorted light of the half-broken, half-boarded windows. After a moment, he stopped moving, and his blood began to run across the carpet. The grip of the sword had caved in the back of his skull. He was dead.

Boris stood up upon confirmation of Gustav's death and said, "You cannot kill us all Lenin. There are millions of us. Will you make me a martyr with Gustav?"

Lenin said, "I don't want martyrs. I held this meeting to prevent people from being killed."

"So that you'll become king," said Bogumil.

"If I don't become king," Lenin said, "if you go and tell that crowd what happened, then there will be a war, and I fear that the unity of the Russian Empire will end as the Denaturalists and liberals fight."

"What other choice do we have?"

"Exile," said Lenin, "and secrecy."

And in a decision for which we all thank Boris, he accepted exile over civil war.

1350, The End of the Changing Century

While waiting on a ship in the port of Dortmund, Bogumil Savostin wrote,


The last hundred years have changed our world in ways that I can hardly grasp. Now that liberalism is established, however, one can only imagine that in the future it will continue to grow until the regent dies and the true will of the people is recognized by the nobility. Even in exile, I can see the long hand of Boris reaching over the horizon and touching the hearts of men.

As a historian, I am told to never speculate on what might come to pass; but I can say with some confidence that we have passed through the most violent stage of history, and we may look forwards to everlasting peace and freedom for all men.

On the same day, Boris wrote in his journal,


I can see the peak that the Germans call "Sunset."

Ironically, it's true glory can only be seen at sunrise, when the sun illuminates the mountain's peeling eastern ascent, but the rest of the land still lies in the shadow of the planet.

At this hour, it stands like a celestial sentinel over the sleeping port. I hear the echo of fishermen chanting in unison; they are praying for its protection. Though I dont know the words, I am going to join them. If liberalism does not survive in Russia, maybe it will find safety here in Germany.

Dawn at the port of Dortmund.

So far...

I apologize for the wait. I'll try to finish these faster in the near future. :]