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Ancient Greek technology

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Ancient Greek technology

Ancient Greek technology developed during the 5th century BC, continuing up to and including the Roman period, and beyond. Inventions that are credited to the ancient Greeks include the gear, screw, rotary mills, screw press, bronze casting techniques, water clock, water organ, torsion catapult, the use of steam to operate some experimental machines and toys, and a chart to find prime numbers. Many of these inventions occurred late in the Greek period, often inspired by the need to improve weapons and tactics in war. However, peaceful uses are shown by their early development of the watermill, a device which pointed to further exploitation on a large scale under the Romans. They developed surveying and mathematics to an advanced state, and many of their technical advances were published by philosophers, like Archimedes and Heron.

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Water technology

Some fields that were encompassed in the area of water resources (mainly for urban use) included groundwater exploitation, construction of aqueducts for water supply, stormwater and wastewater sewerage systems, flood protection and drainage, construction and use of fountains, baths and other sanitary and purgatory facilities, and even recreational uses of water.

Mining

The Greeks developed extensive silver mines at Laurium, the profits from which helped support the growth of Athens as a city-state. It involved mining the ore in underground galleries, washing it and smelting it to produce the metal. Elaborate washing tables still exist at the site, which used rain water held in cisterns and collected during the winter months. Mining also helped to create currency by the conversion of the metal into coinage.

Technology

The failure of the Greeks to develop their technology has sometimes been attributed to the low status of people providing labor. Manual labor was despised, and anyone applying science to it was likely to lose status in society, removing much of the incentive to seek technological innovation. A sophisticated tunnel built for an aqueduct in the 6th century BC by the engineer Eupalinos at Samos has led to some reevaluation of the skills of the Greeks.

References

Ancient Greek technology Wikipedia


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