New PDF release: Ancient Technology

By John W. Humphrey

ISBN-10: 0313327637

ISBN-13: 9780313327636

Since precedent days, technological advances have elevated man's possibilities for survival. From the practicality of a Roman aqueduct to the paintings of the written observe, guy has continually tailored his atmosphere to fulfill 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 historical technology—energy, machines, mining, metallurgy, ceramics, agriculture, engineering, transportation, and communication—Humphrey asks questions imperative to knowing the impression of historical instruments at the glossy global: What activates switch? What cultural traditions inhibit switch? What impact 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 development of the Parthenon, and Rome's city water process. targeted line drawings of instruments and machines make historic mechanics extra simply obtainable. fundamental records, thesaurus, biographies, and a timeline relationship from the Palaeolithic age to the Roman Empire around out the paintings, making this a great reference resource for knowing the instruments of the traditional world.

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Additional info for Ancient Technology

Sample text

E. 1 hp, the output of a human). One of its principal limitations was the absence of a cheap, efficient, and portable source of heat: though coal and petroleum were recognized in antiquity, only charcoal was extensively used, in pottery kilns and smelting furnaces, for example. Mechanical Devices It is seldom possible to determine exactly when a particular mechanical device was discovered or invented, but in general the chronological development was as follows. The principle of the lever was certainly known as early as the Upper Paleolithic Age, when it was employed in such composite tools as the spear-thrower; at the same time the concept of rotary power is evident in the use of the bow drill.

For a greater supply of water artesian wells were often sunk, but the time and labor involved in such work limited them to highly organized societies. Most ancient wells were public and protected by the state, since water was a necessity common to all; upkeep was a serious matter, the wells being regularly cleaned and usually lined with stone, terracotta, or wood to prevent collapse. The dangers of contamination were well understood by the ancients: they kept human and animal waste well away from their water sources, and almost always built up the wellheads with stone or terracotta to prevent the accidental poisoning of the supply by the corpses of stray animals.

Especially among the Romans, texts reflect an urban rather than rural perspective. 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.

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Ancient Technology by John W. Humphrey

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