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 percentages for survival. From the practicality of a Roman aqueduct to the paintings of the written observe, guy has regularly tailored his surroundings to satisfy his wishes, and to supply himself with sustenance, convenience, convenience, rest, the next 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 parts of old technology―energy, machines, mining, metallurgy, ceramics, agriculture, engineering, transportation, and communication―Humphrey asks questions relevant to figuring out the influence of old instruments at the sleek global: 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. exact line drawings of instruments and machines make historical mechanics extra simply available. basic files, thesaurus, biographies, and a timeline relationship from the Palaeolithic age to the Roman Empire around out the paintings, making this an awesome reference resource for realizing the instruments of the traditional world.

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Cattle were kept principally as draft animals, their meat being marketed only after long service in the field: little wonder, then, that in the fourth century we know that it was priced with goat and mutton, considerably cheaper than pork, lamb, and venison. Chickens doubled as a source of eggs, and sheep and goats as sources of milk and cheese. Bees, though not domesticated, provided the principal ancient sweetener. AGRICULTURAL IMPLEMENTS Working the Soil The plow was one of the most important inventions of the Bronze Age, since it was more efficient than the simple Neolithic hoe: by cutting deeper into the earth it helped prevent the exhaustion of the soil.

The beam-press was a form of lever: a horizontal beam was hinged at one end, weighted with stones at the other, and a bag of grapes or olives placed under the middle. Hero of Alexandria was said to have used rope wrapped around a kind of ratcheted drum to draw down the beam-end. E. even greater pressure could be applied to the bag of pulp with the introduction of the screw, either to pull down the beam-end or, placed immediately above the fruit with a board between, to apply direct pressure (Figures 6 and 7).

Nuts and oil-bearing seeds like the opium poppy and olive were of great importance in cooking, lamps, medicines, cosmetics, and for industrial uses. We know from the mythological stories told of Dionysos that the vine was imported into Greece from the Near East, probably by the early second millennium, and viticulture became so widespread in a mountainous land unfriendly to cereal crops that wine was soon being exported by Greek city-states in exchange for basic foodstuffs like grain. The cultivation of the olive, still an essential element of the Mediterranean diet, is something of an 21 22 ANCIENT TECHNOLOGY anomaly in the history of the diffusion of technologies: while most originated in the east of the Mediterranean and gradually spread westward, the olive appears to have been cultivated first in Spain, and did not reach Greece until the late Bronze Age.

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