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Encyclopedia > Roman technology
The Pont du Gard in France is a Roman aqueduct built in ca. 19 BC. It is one of France's top tourist attractions and a World Heritage Site.
The Pont du Gard in France is a Roman aqueduct built in ca. 19 BC. It is one of France's top tourist attractions and a World Heritage Site.

Rome technology is a set of artifacts and customs which supported Roman civilization and made the expansion of Roman commerce and Roman military possible over nearly a thousand years. Pont du Gard, France Image by ChrisO File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Pont du Gard, France Image by ChrisO File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... The Pont du Gard is an aqueduct in the south of France constructed by the Roman Empire, and located near Remoulins, in the Gard département. ... Centuries: 2nd century BC - 1st century BC - 1st century Decades: 60s BC 50s BC 40s BC 30s BC 20s BC - 10s BC - 0s 10s 20s 30s 40s Years: 24 BC 23 BC 22 BC 21 BC 20 BC 19 BC 18 BC 17 BC 16 BC 15 BC 14 BC... A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a specific site (such as a forest, mountain, lake, desert, monument, building, complex, or city) that has been nominated and confirmed for inclusion on the list maintained by the international World Heritage Programme administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 State... Roman commerce was the engine that drove the growth of the Roman Empire. ...


The Roman Empire had the most advanced set of technology of their time which in most areas was lost during the turbulent eras of Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. Gradually, some of the technological feats of the Romans were rediscovered and/or improved upon and some others - such as firearms, advanced sailing ship technologies and moveable type printing, went ahead of what the Romans had done by the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the Modern Era. However the Roman technological feats of many different areas, like civil engineering, construction materials, transport technology, and some inventions such as the mechanical reaper went unmatched until the 19th century. For other uses, see Roman Empire (disambiguation). ... Late Antiquity is a rough periodization (c. ... Justinians wife Theodora and her retinue, in a 6th century mosaic from the Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna. ... The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three ages: the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times, beginning with the Renaissance. ... The Modern-Era of NASCAR is a dividing line in NASCARs history. ... Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ...

Contents

Process of acquiring new technology

Foreign influence

Much of what is described as typically Roman technology, as opposed to that of the Greeks, comes directly from the Etruscan civilization, which was thriving to the North when Rome was just a small kingdom. The Etruscans had perfected the stone arch, and used it in bridges as well as buildings. Etruscan cities had paved streets and sewer systems, unlike most Hellenic city-states, which had muddy roads and no sewers save filthy open-air trenches. Extent of Etruscan civilization and the twelve Etruscan League cities. ...


A great part of later Roman technologies were taken directly from Greek civilization. Much of the implements of land based Roman armies came out of the experimentation and the new developments in weapons of the Hellenistic wars that raged for decades between the successors of Alexander the Great. Most of the Greek city states abandoned the new weapons[citation needed] developed during these wars, reverting to simpler Macedonian arms and tactics of old, while the Romans took the newest developments and adapted them to their social forms. For the film of the same name, see Alexander the Great (1956 film). ...


Roman fleets were based directly on Carthaginian quinqueremes but were quickly adapted with the Roman innovation of the corvus (Polybius 1,21-23). A quinquireme was a galley, a warship propelled by oars, developed from the earlier trireme. ... A corvus (meaning raven in Latin) was a Roman military boarding device used in naval warfare during the First Punic War against Carthage. ...


Slowness of innovation

Transparent glass bowl of fruit. Wall painting in the Roman Villa Boscoreale, Italy (1st century AD).
Transparent glass bowl of fruit. Wall painting in the Roman Villa Boscoreale, Italy (1st century AD).

Roman society was conservative and had little regard for abstract thought. Roman science was virtually non-existent, especially compared with Hellenistic science. Romans thought of themselves as practical, so small scale innovation was common as devices were gradually made more efficient, for example we have the improvement of the overshot water wheel and the improvements of wagon construction. Technology could and did evolve. But without science, step change innovation was almost impossible. The scale of the Empire did encourage the geographical spread of innovations. The ideal Roman citizen was an articulate veteran soldier who could wisely govern a large family household, which was supported by slave labor. Innovators did have some prestige; Pliny, for example, often records their names, or has some story to account for the innovation. Romans also knew enough history to be aware that technological change had occurred in the past and brought benefits. Military innovation was always valued. One text, De Rebus Bellicis, devoted to a number of innovations in military machinery, has come down to us. Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 526 × 599 pixelsFull resolution (1069 × 1218 pixel, file size: 394 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Faithful reproductions of two-dimensional original works cannot attract copyright in the U.S. according to the rule in Bridgeman Art Library v. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 526 × 599 pixelsFull resolution (1069 × 1218 pixel, file size: 394 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Faithful reproductions of two-dimensional original works cannot attract copyright in the U.S. according to the rule in Bridgeman Art Library v. ... This article is about the material. ... Ancient Rome was a civilization that grew from a small agricultural community founded on the Italian Peninsula circa the 9th century BC to a massive empire straddling the Mediterranean Sea. ... Transparent glass bowl of fruit. ... Anonymi Auctoris De Rebus Bellicis is a 4th or 5th century writer on Roman warfare, especially about war machines used by the Roman army of the time. ...


The apparent period in which technological progress was fastest and greatest was during the 2nd century and 1st century BC, which was the period in which Roman political and economic power greatly increased. By the 2nd century AD, Roman technology appears to have peaked and it would take nearly two thousand years for all of its technological advancements to be rediscovered by other civilizations. But our understanding of Roman technology is so dominated by Pliny's Natural History that our dating of technological advance may have major errors. By the beginning of the 1st century, most of what is considered today as typical Roman technology was already invented and refined, such as: concrete, plumbing facilities, cranes, wagon technology, mechanized harvesting machines, domes, roman arches, wine and oil presses, and glass blowing. The 2nd century is the period from 101 - 200 in accordance with the Julian calendar in the Christian Era. ... The 1st century was that century that lasted from 1 to 100 according the Gregorian calendar. ... The 2nd century is the period from 101 - 200 in accordance with the Julian calendar in the Christian Era. ... The 1st century was that century that lasted from 1 to 100 according the Gregorian calendar. ... This article is about the construction material. ... A plumber wrench for working on pipes and fittings A complex arrangement of rigid steel piping, stop valves regulate flow to various parts of the building. ... A modern crawler type derrick crane with outriggers. ... This article is about gathering crops. ... St Peters Basilica, Rome A dome is a common structural element of architecture that resembles the hollow upper half of a sphere. ... For other uses, see Wine (disambiguation). ... Synthetic motor oil For other uses, see Oil (disambiguation). ... A glass pipe made by lampworking Hand-blown glass beads and pendants Glassblowing is the process of forming glass into useful shapes while the glass is in a molten, semi-liquid state. ...


The energy constraint

All technology uses energy to transform a, usually material, object. The cheaper energy is, the wider the class of technologies that are considered economic. This is why technological history can be seen as a succession of ages defined by energy type i.e. human, animal, water, peat, coal, oil etc. This is a gross simplification which still has value. The Romans had water but not wind power. Although there were huge reserves of peat and coal in the Roman Empire, to be of use these reserves had to be easily transportable to the major urban centres. In this sense, the Romans lacked efficient fossil energy. The very early industrial revolution would rely on cheap fossil energy. First peat, that would fuel the Dutch Golden Age, then coal, mainly from the coalfield just north of Hadrian's Wall which supplied London. Later the Ruhr coalfield would dominate. These easily worked fuel reserves were all just over the border from the Empire. The Romans worked almost all the coalfields of England that outcropped on the surface, by the end of the 2nd century (Smith 1997; 323). But after c.200 AD the commercial heart of the Empire was in Africa and the East. There was no large coalfield on the edge of the Mediterranean. If there had been, history may have been different. As it was, under-floor heaters called hypocausts did allow them to exploit very poor quality fuels like straw. The vast majority of today's technologies would not be economic at the Roman cost of energy. Rembrandt The Nightwatch (1642) The Golden Age (1584-1702) was a period in Dutch history, roughly spanning the 17th century, in which Dutch trade, science, and art were among the most acclaimed in the world. ... Ruins of the hypocaust under the floor of a Roman villa. ...


The energy constraint shows up in archaeology by the extent to which energy intensive technologies exploited economies of scale e.g. pottery kilns with 40,000 items and baths with 1,600 bathers. La Graufesenque is an archaological site 2km from Millau, Aveyron, France at the junction of the Tarn and Dourbie rivers. ... The Baths of Caracalla, in 2003 The Baths of Caracalla were Roman public baths, or thermae, built in Rome between 212 and 216 AD, during the reign of the Emperor Caracalla. ...


Craft basis

Roman technology was largely based on a system of crafts. Although the term "engineering" is used today to describe the technical feats of the Romans. The Greek words used were mechanic or machine-maker or even mathematician which had a much wider meaning than now. There were a tiny number of engineers employed by the army. The most famous engineer of this period was Apollodorus of Damascus. Normally each trade, each group of artisans—stone masons, surveyors, etc.—within a project had its own practice of masters and apprentices, and all kept their trade secrets carefully, passing them on solely by word of mouth. Writers such as Vitruvius were the rare exceptions. Engineering is the discipline of acquiring and applying knowledge of design, analysis, and/or construction of works for practical purposes. ... Apollodorus of Damascus, a famous Greek architect, engineer, designer and sculptor, flourished during the 2nd century AD. He was a favourite of Trajan, for whom he constructed Trajans Bridge over the Danube (104) for the campaign in Dacia. ... It has been suggested that Artisan#Artisan guilds be merged into this article or section. ... An artisan, also called a craftsman,[1] is a skilled manual worker who uses tools and machinery in a particular craft. ... Marcus Vitruvius Pollio (born ca. ...


Most of what is known of Roman technology comes indirectly from archaeological work and from the third-hand accounts of Latin texts copied from Arabic texts, which were in turn copied from the Greek texts of scholars such as Hero of Alexandria or contemporary travelers who had observed Roman technologies in action. Writers like Pliny the Elder and Strabo had enough intellectual curiosity to make note of the inventions they saw during their travels, although their typically brief descriptions often arouse discussion as to their precise meaning. For other uses, see Latin (disambiguation). ... Arabic redirects here. ... Hero (or Heron) of Alexandria (Greek: Ήρων ο Αλεξανδρεύς) (c. ... Pliny the Elder: an imaginative 19th Century portrait. ... The Greek geographer Strabo in a 16th century engraving. ...


Engineering and construction

Further information: Roman architecture and Roman engineering and Roman military engineering

The Romans made heavy use of aqueducts, bridges, and amphitheaters. They were also responsible for many innovations to roads, sanitation, and construction in general. Roman architecture in general was greatly influenced by the Etruscans. Most of the columns and arches seen in famous Roman architecture was adopted from the Etruscan civilization. ‹ The template below (Expand) is being considered for deletion. ... This does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Roman military engineering is a type of Roman engineering carried out by the Roman Army - almost exclusively by the Roman legions for the furthering of military objectives. ... For other uses, see Aqueduct (disambiguation). ... This article is about the edifice (including an index to articles on specific bridge types). ... The name amphitheatre (alternatively amphitheater) is given to a public building of the Classical period (being particularly associated with ancient Rome) which was used for spectator sports, games and displays. ... The Etruscan civilization existed in Etruria and the Po valley in the northern part of what is now Italy, prior to the formation of the Roman Republic. ...


In the Roman Empire, cements made from pozzolanic ash/pozzolana and an aggregate made from pumice were used to make a concrete very similar to modern Portland cement concrete. In 20s BC the architect Vitruvius described a low-water-content method for mixing concrete. The Romans found out that insulated glazing (or "double glazing") improved greatly on keeping buildings warm, and this technique was used in the construction of public baths. Pozzolana is a fine sandy volcanic ash, originally discovered and dug at Pozzuoli in the region around Vesuvius, but later at a number of other sites. ... This article is about the construction material. ... Centuries: 2nd century BC - 1st century BC - 1st century Decades: 70s BC 60s BC 50s BC 40s BC 30s BC - 20s BC - 10s BC 0s BC 0s 10s 20s Years: 29 BC 28 BC 27 BC 26 BC 25 BC 24 BC 23 BC 22 BC 21 BC 20 BC... Marcus Vitruvius Pollio (born ca. ... Insulated Glazing Unit or Insulating Glass Unit (commonly referred to as IGU) is described as two or more lites of glass spaced apart and hermetically sealed to form a single glazed unit with an air space between each lite. ... Roman public baths in Bath, England. ...


Another truly original process which was born in the empire was the practice of glassblowing, which started in Syria and spread in about one generation in the empire. Glassblowing is the process of forming glass into useful shapes while the glass is in a molten, semi-liquid state. ...


Machines

Reconstruction of a 10.4m high Roman Polyspastos at Bonn, Germany.
Reconstruction of a 10.4m high Roman Polyspastos at Bonn, Germany.

There were many different labour saving machines in general use in the Roman world. These included cranes, water mills, various types of presses, many types of grain mills, some primitive harvesting machines, water pumps and cargo ships. Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1280x1024, 346 KB) de Rekonstruktion eines römischen Krans, der Stadt Bonn anlässlich ihrer 2000-Jahr-Feier geschenkt en Reconstruction of a Roman crane File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1280x1024, 346 KB) de Rekonstruktion eines römischen Krans, der Stadt Bonn anlässlich ihrer 2000-Jahr-Feier geschenkt en Reconstruction of a Roman crane File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other... Bonn is the 19th largest city in Germany. ...


The most used type of mill was the donkey mill. Its wide use was brought about by two factors:

  • It could be built in any location in contrast to the water mills.
  • donkeys were much cheaper and stronger than slaves, who operated the small and inefficient hand mills and then did not complain.

There were many types of presses to press olives, grapes and cloth. In the 1st century, Pliny the Elder reported the invention and subsequent general use of the new and more compact screw presses. However, the screw press was almost certainly not a Roman invention. It was first described by Hero of Alexandria, but may have already been in use when he mentioned it in his Mechanica III. Binomial name Linnaeus, 1758 For other uses, see Donkey (disambiguation). ...


Cranes were widely used in the Roman empire. They were used for construction work and possibly to load and unload ships at their ports, although for the latter use there is according to the “present state of knowledge” still no evidence.[1] Most cranes were capable of lifting about 6-7 tons of cargo. A modern crawler type derrick crane with outriggers. ...


Roads

Via Appia, a road connecting the city of Rome to the Southern parts of Italy remains usable even today.
Via Appia, a road connecting the city of Rome to the Southern parts of Italy remains usable even today.
Main article: Roman road
Further information: Roman bridge

The Romans primarily built roads for military purposes. They allowed the legions to be rapidly deployed in far reaches of the realm. However, their economic importance was probably also significant, although wagon traffic was often banned from the roads to preserve their military value. At its largest extent the total length of the Roman road network was 85 000 km (53 000 miles). Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (1280x960, 436 KB) Description: Via Appia Antica in Rome Author: MM, Foto taken himself Source:Italian wikipedia, 02. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (1280x960, 436 KB) Description: Via Appia Antica in Rome Author: MM, Foto taken himself Source:Italian wikipedia, 02. ... Remains of the Appian Way in Rome, Italy The Appian Way (Latin: Via Appia) is a famous road built by the Romans. ... For other uses, see Rome (disambiguation). ... Not to be confused with Romans road. ... A Roman bridge in Vaison la Romaine, France Roman bridges, built by ancient Romans, were the first large and lasting bridges built. ... The Roman Legion (from Latin , from lego, legere, legi, lectus — to collect) is a term that can apply both as a transliteration of legio (conscription or army) to the entire Roman army and also, more narrowly (and more commonly), to the heavy infantry that was the basic military unit of...


Way stations providing refreshments were maintained by the government at regular intervals along the roads. A separate system of changing stations for official and private couriers was also maintained. This allowed a dispatch to travel a maximum of 800 km (500 miles) in 24 hours by using a relay of horses.


The roads were constructed by digging a pit along the length of the intended course, often to bedrock. The pit was first filled with rocks, gravel or sand and then a layer of concrete. Finally they were paved with polygonal rock slabs. Roman roads are considered the most advanced roads built until the early 19th century. Bridges were constructed over waterways. The roads were resistant to floods and other environmental hazards. After the fall of the Roman empire the roads were still usable and used for more than 1000 years. Bedrock is the native consolidated rock underlying the Earths surface. ...


Aqueducts

Main article: Aqueduct
Further information: Roman aqueduct

The Romans constructed numerous aqueducts to supply water to cities and industrial sites. The city of Rome itself was supplied by eleven aqueducts that provided the city with over 1 million cubic meters of water [1], sufficient to supply 3.5 million people [2] and with combined length of 350 km (260 miles).[3] Most aqueducts were constructed below the surface with only small portions above ground supported by arches. The longest Roman aqueduct, 141 km (87 miles) in length, was built to supply the city of Carthage.[4] For other uses, see Aqueduct (disambiguation). ... Pont du Gard, France, a Roman era aqueduct circa 19 BC. It is one of Frances top tourist attractions at over 1. ... For other uses, see Rome (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Carthage (disambiguation). ...


Roman aqueducts were built to remarkably fine tolerances, and to a technological standard that was not to be equalled until modern times. Powered entirely by gravity, they transported very large amounts of water very efficiently. Sometimes, where depressions deeper than 50 m had to be crossed, inverted siphons were used to force water uphill.[2] An aqueduct also supplied water for the overshot wheels at Barbegal in Roman Gaul, a complex of water mills being hailed as "the greatest known concentration of mechanical power in the ancient world".[2] Gravity is a force of attraction that acts between bodies that have mass. ... Inverted siphons are pressurized piplines that force water uphill. ... The Barbegal aqueduct and mill is a Roman water-mill complex mills near the town of Arles, France. ... Gaul in the Roman Empire Roman Gaul consisted of an area of provincial rule in what would become modern day France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and western Germany. ...


Sanitation

Roman public baths in Bath, England. The loss of the original roof has encouraged green algae growth.
Roman public baths in Bath, England. The loss of the original roof has encouraged green algae growth.
Further information: Thermae

The romans were one of the first known civilizations to invent indoor plumbing. The Roman public baths, or thermae served hygienic, social and cultural functions. The baths contained three main facilities for bathing. After undressing in the apodyterium or changing room, Romans would proceed to the tepidarium or warm room. In the moderate dry heat of the tepidarium, some performed warm-up exercises and stretched while others oiled themselves or had slaves oil them. The tepidarium’s main purpose was to promote sweating to prepare for the next room, the caldarium or hot room. The caldarium, unlike the tepidarium, was extremely humid and hot. Temperatures in the caldarium could reach 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit). Many contained steam baths and a cold-water fountain known as the labrum. The last room was the frigidarium or cold room, which offered a cold bath for cooling off after the caldarium. Roman Bath at the archaelogical site in Bath, England Taken by user tonywieczorek in November 2003. ... Roman Bath at the archaelogical site in Bath, England Taken by user tonywieczorek in November 2003. ... Roman public baths in Bath, England. ... , Bath is a small city in Somerset, England most famous for its historic baths fed by three hot springs. ... Roman public baths in Bath, England. ... Children bathing in a small metal bathtub Bathing is the immersion of the body in fluid, usually water, or an aqueous solution. ... Roman public baths in Bath, England. ... The apodyterium was the primary entry in the baths, comprised of a large changing room with cubicles or shelves where citizens could store clothing and other belongings while bathing. ... The Tepidarium (1881), by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema The tepidarium was the warm (tepidus) bathroom of the Roman baths heated by a hypocaust or underfloor heating system. ... Caldarium from the Roman Baths at Bath, England. ... Celsius is, or relates to, the Celsius temperature scale (previously known as the centigrade scale). ... A labrum (Latin for lip) is the large vessel of a warm bath in the Roman thermae. ... A frigidarium is a large cold pool to drop into after enjoying a hot Roman bath. ...


The Romans also had flush toilets. Close coupled cistern type flushing toilet. ...


Science, logic, and mathematics

A reconstruction of a Roman abacus in the Cabinet des Médailles, Bibliothèque nationale, Paris.
A reconstruction of a Roman abacus in the Cabinet des Médailles, Bibliothèque nationale, Paris.
Further information: Roman arithmetic and Roman numerals

If we define Roman by period then the stunning Antikythera mechanism is a Roman analogue computer. Reconstruction of a Roman Abacus, made by the RGZ Museum in Mainz, 1977. ... Reconstruction of a Roman Abacus, made by the RGZ Museum in Mainz, 1977. ... In Rome, merchants used Roman numerals to perform basic arithmetic operations. ... Roman numerals are a numeral system originating in ancient Rome, adapted from Etruscan numerals. ... The Antikythera mechanism (main fragment). ...


The Romans developed the Roman abacus, the first portable counting device, based on earlier Greek counting boards. It greatly reduced the time needed to perform basic Roman arithmetic operations, and was used heavily by merchants, tax collectors and engineers. It was also used by rich schoolchildren, and another version was to help calculate the movement of the planets. The Romans developed the so-called fucken Roman abacus, or rather a portable counting board, based on previous Greek counting boards. ... In Rome, merchants used Roman numerals to perform basic arithmetic operations. ...


Roman numerals, the basis for Roman mathematics, were derived from the earlier Etruscan numerals. Roman numerals are a numeral system originating in ancient Rome, adapted from Etruscan numerals. ... The Etruscan numerals were used by the ancient Etruscans. ...


Roman military technology

Further information: Roman military engineering

The Roman military had some of the most advanced technology available to armies of the time. This ranged from personal equipment and armament to deadly siege engines. They inherited almost all ancient weapons. Roman military engineering is a type of Roman engineering carried out by the Roman Army - almost exclusively by the Roman legions for the furthering of military objectives. ... Mêlée (the specific definition, not the rough one that includes polearms) Axe Masakari Sagaris Tomahawk Cestus Club Eku Gun (staff) (not the projectile weapon) Knife Kukri Mace Mere Meteor hammer Pugio Katar Sappara Sword Surujin Polearms Falx Hasta Javelin (also ranged) Soliferrum (ditto) Lathi (in a sense; it...


While heavy, intricate armour was not uncommon (cataphracts), the Romans perfected a relatively light, full torso armour made of segmented plates (lorica segmentata). This segmented armour provided flexibility and protection of most vital areas, and was not associated with the laborious craftwork that other armours (such as chainmail) were. Furthermore, the rest of the Roman soldier's equipment used similarly innovative and effective technology. The cataphract was a type of heavy cavalryman used primarily in eastern and southeastern Europe, in Anatolia and Iran from late antiquity up through the High Middle Ages. ... A reenactor dressed as a Roman soldier in lorica segmentata The lōrīca segmentāta was a type of armour primarily used in the Roman Empire, but the Latin name was first used in the 16th century (the ancient form is unknown). ... David rejects the unaccustomed armour (detail of fol. ...


Roman siege engines such as ballistas, scorpions and onagers were not unique, but nonetheless were manufactured efficiently enough to provide support for the Roman legions. In Rome the war known as the Punic war was between Carthignians and the Romans. Romans used things like the full body armour. Though it was heavy, it proved to be useful in the end.


List of Roman inventions and Roman-developed technologies

Technology Date Comment
Abacus, Roman Portable.
Amphitheatre See e.g. Colosseum.
Aqueduct, monumental
Arch, monumental
Bath, monumental public (Thermae) See e.g. Baths of Diocletian
Book (Codex) First mentioned by Martial in the 1st C. AD. Held many advantages over the scroll.
Bridge, monumental stone See e.g. Roman bridge in Chaves, the Severan Bridge or Trajan's bridge over the Danube.
Concrete Pozzolana variety
Crane, Roman
Dome, monumental See e.g. Pantheon.
Flamethrower (Is this Roman? trad date 670 AD Greek Fire)
'Flos Salis A product of salt evaporation ponds (probably Dunaliella salina) used in the perfume industry (Pliny Nat. Hist. 31,90)
Glass blowing
Dichroic glass as in the Lycurgus Cup. [5] Note, this material attests otherwise unknown chemistry (or other way?) to generate nano-scale gold-silver particles.
Glass mirrors (Pliny the Elder Nat. His 33,130)
Greenhouse cold frames (Pliny Nat. Hist. 19.64; Columella on Ag. 11.3.52)
Hydraulis A water organ. Later also the pneumatic organ.
Hydrometer Mentioned in a letter of Synesius
Hypocaust A floor and also wall heating system.
Knife, multifunctional [6]
Machines, water powered reciprocating, i.e. trip hammers M.J.T.Lewis presents good evidence that water powered vertical pounding machines came in by the middle of the 1st c. AD for fulling, grain hulling (Pliny Nat. Hist. 18,97) and ore crushing (archaeological evidence at Dolaucothi Gold Mines and Spain).
Mills
Grainmill, rotary. According to Moritz (p57) rotary grainmills were not known to the ancient Greeks but date from before 160 BC. Unlike reciprocating mills, rotary mills could be easily adapted to animal or water power. Lewis (1997) argues that the rotary grainmill dates to the 5th century BC in the western Mediterranean. Animal and water powered rotary mills came in the 3rd century BC.
Sawmill, water powered. Recorded by 370 AD, using horizontal reciprocation. Attested in Ausonius's poem Mosella. Translated [7]"the Ruwer sends mill-stones swiftly round to grind the corn, And drives shrill saw-blades through smooth marble blocks"
Watermill. Improvements upon earlier models. For the largest mill complex known see [8]
Newspaper, rudimentary See Acta Diurna.
Odometer
Paddle wheel boats In de Rebus Bellicis (possibly only a paper invention).
Pewter Mentioned by Pliny (Nat. Hist. 34,160-1). Surviving examples are mainly Romano-British of the 3rd and 4th centuries e.g.[9] and[10]. Roman pewter had a wide range of proportions of tin but proportions of 50%, 75% and 95% predominate (Beagrie 1989).
Piston pump
Plough
iron-bladed (A much older innovation (e.g. Bible; I Samuel 13,20-1) that became much more common in the Roman period)
wheeled (Pliny Nat. His. 18.171-3) (More important for the Middle Ages, than this era.)
Pottery, glossed i.e. Samian ware
Reaper An early harvesting machine: vallus (Pliny the Elder Nat. His. 18,296, Palladius 7.2.2-4 [11])
Sails introduction of fore and aft rigs 1) the Lateen sail 2) the Spritsail, this last solely attested as a carving of a decked ship on a 3rd century AD sarcophagus (Toby ref.) Note: there is no evidence of any combination of fore and aft rigs with square sails on the same Roman ship.
Sausage, fermented dry (probably) See salami.
Screw press
Sewers
Soap, hard (sodium) First mentioned by Galen (earlier, potassium, soap being Celtic).
Stenography, a system of See Tironian notes.
Street map, early See Forma Urbis Romae and [12]
Sundial, portable See Theodosius of Bithynia
Surgical instruments, various
Tooth implants, iron See [13]
Towpath E.G. beside the Danube, see the "road" in Trajan's bridge
Tunnels Excavated from both ends simultaneously. The longest known is the 5.6km drain of the Fucine lake
Vehicles, one wheeled Solely attested by a Latin word in 4th C. AD Scriptores Historiae Augustae Heliogabalus 29. As this is fiction, the evidence dates to its time of writing.
Wood veneer Pliny Nat. Hist. 16.231-2

The Romans developed the so-called fucken Roman abacus, or rather a portable counting board, based on previous Greek counting boards. ... The Colosseum in Rome, Italy. ... The Colosseum by night: exterior view of the best-preserved section. ... For other uses, see Aqueduct (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Arch (disambiguation). ... Roman public baths in Bath, England. ... The basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri, built in the tepidarium of the baths The church of San Bernardo alle Terme recycled an old circular tower at the southwestern corner of the perimeter wall of the baths, one of four towers defining its grounds. ... First page of the Codex Argenteus A codex (Latin for block of wood, book; plural codices) is a handwritten book, in general, one produced from Late Antiquity through the Middle Ages. ... Marcus Valerius Martialis, known in English as Martial, was a Latin poet from Hispania (the Iberian Peninsula) best known for his twelve books of Epigrams, published in Rome between AD 86 and 103, during the reigns of the emperors Domitian, Nerva and Trajan. ... A Roman bridge in Vaison la Romaine, France Roman bridges, built by ancient Romans, were the first large and lasting bridges built. ... Photo by J.B. Cesar Chaves is unique in Portugal in that it still has a Roman bridge in relatively good shape crossing the river and uniting the two most important parishes in the town. ... The Severan Bridge (Turkish: Cendere Köprüsü) is located near the ancient city Arsameia (today Eskikale), 55 km from Adıyaman in southeastern Turkey. ... Drawings of the still-standing pillars Trajans Bridge was the first bridge built on the lower Danube river, east from the Iron Gates, near what is now the city of Drobeta-Turnu Severin, Romania and Kladovo, Serbia. ... This article is about the construction material. ... Pozzolana is a fine sandy volcanic ash, originally discovered and dug at Pozzuoli in the region around Vesuvius, but later at a number of other sites. ... A modern crawler type derrick crane with outriggers. ... For other uses, see Dome (disambiguation). ... Facade of the Pantheon The Pantheon (Latin Pantheon[1], from Greek Πάνθεον Pantheon, meaning Temple of all the gods) is a building in Rome which was originally built as a temple to the seven deities of the seven planets in the state religion of Ancient Rome. ... Greek fire was a burning-liquid weapon used by the Byzantine Greeks, typically in naval battles to great effect as it could continue burning even on water. ... Pink-colored Dunaliella salina within sea salt. ... A glass pipe made by lampworking Hand-blown glass beads and pendants Glassblowing is the process of forming glass into useful shapes while the glass is in a molten, semi-liquid state. ... Pliny the Elder: an imaginative 19th Century portrait. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... A hydrometer is an instrument used for determining the specific gravity of liquids. ... Synesius (c. ... Ruins of the hypocaust under the floor of a Roman villa. ... The Dolaucothi Gold Mines (grid reference SN662399), also known as the Ogofau Gold Mine, are a Roman deep mine located in the valley of the River Cothi, near Pumsaint, Carmarthenshire, Wales. ... Decimus Magnus Ausonius (c. ... Watermill of Braine-le-Château, Belgium (12th century) A watermill is a structure that uses a water wheel or turbine to drive a mechanical process such as flour or lumber production, or metal shaping (rolling, grinding or wire drawing). ... Acta Diurna (lat: Daily Acts sometimes translated as Daily Public Records) were daily Roman official notices. ... A modern non-digital odometer A Smiths speedometer from the 1920s showing odometer and trip meter An odometer is a device used for indicating distance traveled by an automobile or other vehicle. ... A paddle steamer, paddleboat, or paddlewheeler is a ship or boat propelled by one or more paddle wheels driven by a steam engine. ... Anonymi Auctoris De Rebus Bellicis is a 4th or 5th century writer on Roman warfare, especially about war machines used by the Roman army of the time. ... Pewter plate Pewter is a metal alloy, traditionally between 85 and 99 percent tin, with the remainder consisting of 1-15 percent copper, acting as a hardener, with the addition of lead for the lower grades of pewter, which have a bluish tint. ... piston pump ... The traditional way: a German farmer works the land with a horse and plough. ... For other uses, see Iron (disambiguation). ... Image:Samian. ... For other uses, see Reaper (disambiguation). ... Pliny the Elder: an imaginative 19th Century portrait. ... A vessel (xebec) with three lateens Dhow with lateen sail in bad tack with the sail pressing against the mast, in Mozambique. ... A form of sailing rig mainly employed on the Thames Sailing Barge, which uses two similarly sized spars to form the framework for the sail area. ... Salami Salami is cured sausage, fermented and air-dried. ... Sewers transport wastewater from buildings to treatment facilities. ... For other uses, see Galen (disambiguation). ... Shorthand is a writing method that can be done at speed because an abbreviated or symbolic form of language is used. ... Tironian notes (notae Tironianae) is a system of shorthand invented by Ciceros scribe Marcus Tullius Tiro. ... Reconstruction of part of the Forma Urbis with cavea of theatrum Pompei shown The Forma Urbis Romae a. ... Theodosius of Bithynia (ca. ... A surgical instrument is a specially designed tool or device for performing specific actions of carrying out desired effects during a surgery or operation, such as modifying biological tissue, or to provide access or viewing it. ... Drawings of the still-standing pillars Trajans Bridge was the first bridge built on the lower Danube river, east from the Iron Gates, near what is now the city of Drobeta-Turnu Severin, Romania and Kladovo, Serbia. ... The Fucine Lake (Italian: Lago Fucino or Lago di Celano) was a large lake in central Italy. ... The Augustan History (Lat. ... In woodworking, veneer refers to thin slices of wood, usually thinner than 3 millimetres (1/8 inch), that are usually glued and pressed onto core panels (typically, wood, particle board or medium density fiberboard) to produce flat panels such as doors, tops and side panels for cabinets, parquet floors and...

References

  1. ^ Michael Matheus: "Mittelalterliche Hafenkräne," in: Uta Lindgren (ed.): Europäische Technik im Mittelalter. 800-1400, Berlin 2001 (4th ed.), pp. 345-48 (345)
  2. ^ Kevin Greene, “Technological Innovation and Economic Progress in the Ancient World: M.I. Finley Re-Considered”, The Economic History Review, New Series, Vol. 53, No. 1. (Feb., 2000), pp. 29-59 (39)

Further reading

Current state of research

  • Andrew Wilson, "Machines, Power and the Ancient Economy", The Journal of Roman Studies, Vol. 92 (2002), pp. 1-32
  • Kevin Greene, "Technological Innovation and Economic Progress in the Ancient World: M.I. Finley Re-Considered", The Economic History Review, New Series, Vol. 53, No. 1. (Feb., 2000), pp. 29-59

General history of inventions

  • Derry, Thomas Kingston and Trevor I. Williams. A Short History of Technology: From the Earliest Times to A.D. 1900. New York : Dover Publications, 1993
  • Williams, Trevor I. A History of Invention From Stone Axes to Silicon Chips. New York, New York, Facts on File, 2000

Metallurgy

  • Neil Beagrie, "The Romano-British Pewter Industry", Britannia, Vol. 20 (1989), pp.169-91

Milling

  • Lewis, M.J.T., 1997, Millstone and Hammer, University of Hull Press
  • Moritz, L.A., 1958, Grainmills and Flour in Classical Antiquity, Oxford

Mining

  • A.H.V. Smith, "Provenance of Coals from Roman Sites in England and Wales", Britannia, Vol. 28 (1997), pp.297-324

Overview of ancient technology

  • Drachmann, A. G., Mechanical Technology of Greek and Roman Antiquity, Lubrecht & Cramer Ltd, 1963 ISBN 0934454612
  • Hodges, Henry., Technology in the Ancient World, London: The Penguin Press, 1970
  • Landels, J.G., Engineering in the Ancient World, University of California Press, 1978
  • White, K.D., Greek and Roman Technology, Cornell University Press, 1984

Sails

  • Toby, A.Steven "Another look at the Copenhagen Sarcophagus", International Journal of Nautical Archaeology 1974 vol.3.2: 205-211

Water supply

Sextus Julius Frontinus (c. ... is the 326th day of the year (327th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 326th day of the year (327th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

External links


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