By John W. Humphrey
Since precedent days, technological advances have elevated man's percentages for survival. From the practicality of a Roman aqueduct to the artwork of the written notice, guy has constantly tailored his surroundings to satisfy his wishes, and to supply himself with sustenance, convenience, convenience, relaxation, the next caliber of residing, and a thriving tradition. This concise reference resource takes a more in-depth examine six technological occasions that considerably impacted the evolution of civilization, from the Palaeolithic age to the peak of the Roman Empire. As he touches at the universal parts of historic technology—energy, machines, mining, metallurgy, ceramics, agriculture, engineering, transportation, and communication—Humphrey asks questions imperative to knowing the influence of old instruments at the glossy international: What activates swap? What cultural traditions inhibit switch? What impact do those alterations have on their societies and civilization?
Humphrey explores applied sciences as either actual instruments and as extensions of the human physique, starting with the discovery of the Greek alphabet and together with such accomplishments as early Neolithic plant cultivation, the discovery of coinage, the development of the Parthenon, and Rome's city water approach. special line drawings of instruments and machines make old mechanics extra simply obtainable. fundamental files, word list, biographies, and a timeline courting from the Palaeolithic age to the Roman Empire around out the paintings, making this an incredible reference resource for realizing the instruments of the traditional world.
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Extra info for Ancient Technology
Emperors came and went, sometimes violently, but the imperial administration first established by Augustus managed to preserve the social and economic stability of the Mediterranean world. The Graeco-Roman cities and culture of the eastern empire flourished, and the art and architecture of the period show a fine, eclectic combination of the best from both the Greek and the Roman traditions that reached its apex during the reign of Hadrian, Rome’s philhellenic and peripatetic emperor. 9 10 ANCIENT TECHNOLOGY Not surprisingly, this is the period during which many of our literary descriptions of technology were written: the earlier agricultural manuals of Cato and Varro had been fair reflections of the rural interests of many Romans in the late Republic, but now we have the great engineering handbooks of Vitruvius and Frontinus, and the extensive if not always reliable encyclopedia of the Elder Pliny.
Harvesting Harvesting in the Neolithic Age was done with small, straight sickles grooved to hold flaked flint blades; subsequently curved blades were made of bronze or iron, but it remained for the Romans to invent the properly balanced sickle that we are familiar with today, which replaced the old 23 24 ANCIENT TECHNOLOGY sawing or hacking motion with a more efficient sweeping technique that was also easier on the harvester’s wrist (Document 4). Though the Elder Pliny describes a kind of automated reaping machine from the Roman Empire, for which there is also some sculptural evidence, it was likely used only in the dense crops typical of northern areas outside the Mediterranean basin; true mechanization of harvesting would not occur until the Middle Ages.
The poets Horace and Juvenal, and the admirable Younger Pliny may sing the praises of the quiet, private country life, but they all persisted in living in Rome. ‘‘Civilization’’ was practically (as well as etymologically) related to cities, though the great majority of the population lived in the country. The ancients were almost always ethnically biased, and usually saw little of interest or usefulness in the ways of foreigners. So our Greek sources dismiss the achievements of their eastern neighbors and predecessors, though they were often more technologically advanced; and the Romans, who had all the benefits of a world empire, still found their ideal in the traditional Italian landscape.