John W. Humphrey's Ancient Technology PDF

By John W. Humphrey

ISBN-10: 0313327637

ISBN-13: 9780313327636

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 be aware, guy has constantly tailored his setting to fulfill his wishes, and to supply himself with sustenance, convenience, convenience, relaxation, 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 historical technology—energy, machines, mining, metallurgy, ceramics, agriculture, engineering, transportation, and communication—Humphrey asks questions imperative to knowing the influence of historical instruments at the smooth 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 construction of the Parthenon, and Rome's city water process. precise line drawings of instruments and machines make historical mechanics extra simply obtainable. fundamental records, word list, biographies, and a timeline relationship 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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Grains were usually eaten in the form of unleavened biscuits or gruel; when the latter was fermented, as it almost certainly was early in the Neolithic, it produced a simple beer. Green vegetables such as cabbage, lettuce, and spinach are found from the Neolithic onward. Root vegetables included carrots and radishes, but not of course the potato, a seventeenth-century importation into Europe from the New World. Beans, peas, and lentils were more popular in antiquity than in many cultures today because they were common, were easily stored, could be ground into flour as a substitute for cereals, and had a high protein content that could compensate for the absence of meat in societies with limited means to preserve foods.

Perhaps the single most remarkable example of the ancients’ skill in designing machines based on these basic mechanical principles is the now-famous Antikythera mechanism. Just over a hundred years ago, sponge fishermen working in the waters off an islet near the Greek island of Kythera discovered an ancient shipwreck, and hauled up from it (among other things) an encrusted mass of bronze. 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.

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. 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.

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Ancient Technology by John W. Humphrey

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