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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 paintings of the written notice, guy has regularly tailored his atmosphere to satisfy his wishes, and to supply himself with sustenance, convenience, convenience, rest, a better caliber of dwelling, 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 components of historic technology―energy, machines, mining, metallurgy, ceramics, agriculture, engineering, transportation, and communication―Humphrey asks questions principal to figuring out the impression of old instruments at the smooth global: What activates switch? What cultural traditions inhibit switch? What influence 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. basic records, word list, biographies, and a timeline relationship from the Palaeolithic age to the Roman Empire around out the paintings, making this an awesome reference resource for knowing the instruments of the traditional world.

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With the collapse of the Hittite Empire and Troy, and the arrival in the Greek peninsula of the relatively backward Iron-Age Dorian Greeks, we enter a period often called the Dark Ages since the art of writing in the area was temporarily lost. By ca. E. in Greece proper, aristocracies (literally, ‘‘rule by the best,’’ that is, by the well-born) had replaced most of the old Mycenaean kingdoms, and the polis—the city-state—emerged in the form of an urban center (Athens, for example) surrounded by agricultural land (Attica).

From the former there developed first a pushing mill with a hopper in the upper stone to feed the grain, which allowed continuous milling (Figure 1), and later the rotary quern of two superimposed, flat, circular stones, the upper one with a vertical wooden handle for turning (a breakthrough in energy efficiency, since rotary motion is more productive than reciprocal motion) (Figures 2 and 3). By the Roman Empire the hand mill had evolved into the large, hourglass-shaped rotary quern powered by men or animals and capable of milling sufficient grain for a relatively large population; in this, the hollow upper stone was carefully balanced on a central wooden pivot to keep its inner surface slightly above the grinding surface of the lower stone, and was fitted with horizontal wooden beams to which were harnessed the animals or slaves that would turn it unceasingly as grain was fed into the upper hopper and emerged as flour beneath (Figure 4; Document 7).

Woven Fabrics Spinning Yarn. Most natural textile fibers were used in antiquity: wool, flax, silk (always imported from the Far East), and cotton. Both wool and flax required considerable preparation before their fibers could be spun: the flax fibers were soaked (a procedure called ‘‘retting’’) to decompose the outer layer, then beaten and combed; wool needed to be cleaned and carded (from the Latin word for ‘‘thistle’’) to loosen the tangled fibers, before being combed into parallel strands. Spinning of the fibers involved drawing them out and twisting them together to form threads, a task usually accomplished by using a tapered stick (spindle) weighted at one end, fastened to the fibers, and allowed to drop and twist (Documents 10 and 11).

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