Ancient Technology (Greenwood Guides to Historic Events of by John W. Humphrey

By John W. Humphrey

Since precedent days, technological advances have elevated man's probabilities for survival. From the practicality of a Roman aqueduct to the artwork of the written note, guy has constantly tailored his atmosphere to fulfill his wishes, and to supply himself with sustenance, convenience, convenience, rest, a better caliber of residing, and a thriving tradition. This concise reference resource takes a better 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 components of old technology―energy, machines, mining, metallurgy, ceramics, agriculture, engineering, transportation, and communication―Humphrey asks questions relevant to figuring out the impression of old instruments at the glossy international: What activates swap? What cultural traditions inhibit swap? What impression 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 construction of the Parthenon, and Rome's city water approach. precise line drawings of instruments and machines make historic mechanics extra simply available. basic files, word list, biographies, and a timeline courting from the Palaeolithic age to the Roman Empire around out the paintings, making this an amazing reference resource for knowing the instruments of the traditional world.

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This unprepossessing discovery was to prove to be a late-Hellenistic instrument that, through an intricate system of gears and dials, allowed complex calculations of data apparently related to the solar and lunar calendars. Understandably, this bit of ancient high technology is often identified as the primitive ancestor of our modern computer. This is a bit of a simplification, since the gears of the mechanism bear a greater relationship to Renaissance mechanical astrolabes and clockworks than to the binary system on which our computers are based.

It is from pottery that we learn much about the armament of hoplite soldiers, the vessels used in symposia (literally, drinking parties), the styles of Greek household furniture, and theatrical and athletic competitions. Roman wall paintings and mosaics are equally informative: depictions of country houses, farms, and agricultural tasks; of recent events like a gladiatorial riot in Pompeii’s amphitheater; of religious ritual; and of family activities like buying bread or dining in the triclinium.

Threshing and Winnowing Once harvested, the grains needed to be extracted from the seed pods by threshing the sheaves (Document 5). This was usually accomplished in one of two ways, both making use of the farm animals on hand for other purposes: the harvest was first spread out on a circular, hard-packed threshing floor, and animals either were driven over it to crush the pods with their hooves and release the grain, or pulled a threshing sledge whose undersurface was studded with flint or metal blades that chopped the harvest and cut open the pods, a technique that can still be witnessed in some areas of the eastern Mediterranean.

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