Greek and Roman Technology : A Sourcebook of Translated Greek and Roman Texts book cover
2nd Edition

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

ISBN 9781138927896
Published November 7, 2019 by Routledge
754 Pages 98 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

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.

Table of Contents

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

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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.