Ancient Technology 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 notice, guy has regularly tailored his atmosphere 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 historical technology—energy, machines, mining, metallurgy, ceramics, agriculture, engineering, transportation, and communication—Humphrey asks questions vital to knowing the influence of historic instruments at the smooth international: What activates switch? What cultural traditions inhibit swap? What impression do those adjustments 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 procedure. targeted line drawings of instruments and machines make historic mechanics extra simply available. basic records, thesaurus, 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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With his remarkable conquests and foundation of cities in lands previously tribal (many of which were named after him, including Afghan Kandahar), the young Alexander spread Greek culture throughout the eastern Mediterranean and as far eastward as the Indus River: and the benefits were reciprocal, as contact with new cultures as far away as India brought innovations and improvements to the technological level of the classical world. Alexander’s untimely death caused the disintegration of the largest empire the western world had yet seen, though its influence was to endure 7 8 ANCIENT TECHNOLOGY in a new world order fostered first by his Macedonian successors and then by a new power rising in the western Mediterranean: Rome.

The Roman censor Appius Claudius commissioned construction of the Appian Way and of Rome’s first aqueduct; coinage was extended to the western Mediterranean; and the first surviving prose work in Latin—a handbook on agricultural techniques—was written by the dour Elder Cato. Though initially uninterested in overseas conquests, Rome was first challenged by Carthaginian control of trade in the western Mediterranean, and a series of three wars brought it the grain-rich island of Sicily and then Spain with its productive silver mines.

But the device remains one of the most intriguing and advanced applications of mechanical theory in antiquity. CHAPTER 2 FOOD AND CLOTHING For the first 98 percent of the 500,000 or so years of truly human existence, small bands of nomadic hunters and gatherers kept themselves nourished and clothed by stalking herds of wild animals and gathering wild fruits and nuts. This simple and mobile life produced few technological innovations, but those few were of enormous significance, not just for the survival of the tribes but for the evolution of human societies: the flaked stone tools for killing game, cutting meat, and scraping hides for warmth; the later composite hunting devices like spear-throwers and bows and arrows; and the mining of pigments and invention of lamps for the production of the remarkable cave paintings of the Upper Paleolithic.

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