2nd Edition

Greek and Roman Technology A Sourcebook of Translated Greek and Roman Texts

    772 Pages 98 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    772 Pages 98 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    In this new edition of Greek and Roman Technology, the authors translate and annotate key passages from ancient texts to provide a history and analysis of the origins and development of technology in the classical world.

    Sherwood and Nikolic, with Humphrey and Oleson, provide a comprehensive and accessible collection of rich and varied sources to illustrate and elucidate the beginnings of technology. Among the topics covered are energy, basic mechanical devices, hydraulic engineering, household industry, medicine and health, transport and trade, and military technology. This fully revised Sourcebook collects more than 1,300 passages from over 200 ancient sources and a diverse range of literary genres, such as the encyclopaedic Natural History of Pliny the Elder, the poetry of Homer and Hesiod, the philosophies of Plato, Aristotle, and Lucretius, the agricultural treatises of Varro, Columella, and Cato, the military texts of Philo of Byzantium and Aeneas Tacticus, as well as the medical texts of Galen, Celsus, and the Hippocratic Corpus. Almost 100 line drawings, indexes of authors and subjects, introductions outlining the general significance of the evidence, notes to explain the specific details, and current bibliographies are included.

    This new and revised edition of Greek and Roman Technology will remain an important and vital resource for students of technology in the ancient world, as well as those studying the impact of technological change on classical society.

    List of Illustrations

    Preface and Acknowledgements

    List of Abbreviations


      1. Society and Technology in Antiquity
      2. Literary Sources for Ancient Technology
      3. Archaeology as a Source for the History of Technology
      4. Ancient Weights, Measures, and Coinage

    1 The Rise of Humans and Human Technology

    2 Sources of Energy and Basic Mechanical Devices

      1. Sources of Energy and Prime Movers
      2. Basic Machines
      3. Mechanical Gadgets

    3 Agriculture

    4 Food Processing

    5 Mining and Quarrying

      1. Mining
      2. Quarrying

    6 Metallurgy

    7 Sculpture

    8 Construction Engineering

    9 Hydraulic Engineering

    10 Household Crafts, Health and Well-Being, and Workshop Production

      1. Metal-Working
      2. Wood-Working
      3. Textiles and Leather
      4. Ceramics and Glass
      5. Applied Chemistry
      6. Health and Well-Being
      7. Large-Scale, Organized Production

    11 Transport and Trade

      1. Land Transport
      2. Navigation
      3. Standards of Trade

    12 Record-Keeping

      1. Time-Keeping
      2. Writing and Literacy

    13 Military Technology

    14 Attitudes towards Labour, Innovation, and Technology


      1. Index of Passages Translated
      2. Subject Index


    Andrew N. Sherwood is associate professor in the School of Languages and Literatures at the University of Guelph, Canada.

    Milorad Nikolic is associate professor in the Department of Classics at Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. John’s, Canada.

    John W. Humphrey is retired from the Department of Classics and Religion at the University of Calgary, Canada.

    John P. Oleson is retired from the Department of Greek and Roman Studies at the University of Victoria, Canada.

    "‘Greek and Roman Technology’ is one of my favourite sourcebooks, as it covers so much material and has reliable, clear translations. As the authors rightly point out, there have been several advances in the field in recent years, and a new edition is welcome. The addition of line drawings and the new section on technologies of the life cycle (not called like this by the authors, but that is how I think of that chapter) are particularly welcome." - Laurence Totelin, Cardiff University


    "In my opinion, this manuscript should be most definitely updated and revised! Our understanding of ancient technology is best obtained from the testimony of those who lived with and experienced it first-hand. Therefore listening to the ancient voices express their opinions, reactions, descriptions, and musings regarding their own technology is extremely important to the modern student and scholar. The proposed expanded commentary, bibliographical citations, additional line drawings, new units, and incorporation of newly acquired data since the earlier addition will make this a valuable resource for study of ancient technology." - Jill Baker, Cardiff University


    "I have thought since the first edition of this book that the authors deserve high praise for compiling such a useful compendium... The second edition of the book deserves as much gratitude; it has more illustrations, more texts, and an updated bibliography. This book is thoughtful, useful, and compiled with skill." - Bryn Mawr Classical Review