John Peter Oleson

in The Oxford Handbook of Engineering and Technology in the Classical World

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780199734856
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks


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  • Classical Studies
  • Greek and Roman Archaeology
  • Historical Archaeology



The first section of this text covers the ancient written sources for Greek and Roman technology, the visual representations of technological activities, and the historiography of the subject. The primary, extractive technologies, those activities that wrest raw materials and foodstuffs or energy directly from the environment appear in the second section. The third and fourth section, respectively, deals with engineering and complex machines, and the secondary processing of the raw materials. The fifth section addresses the infrastructure for land and sea transport, and also riding, harnesses, vehicles, ships, and navigation. The next section presents warfare and fortification. Moreover, the seventh section reports the technologies that have been crucial to the sophisticated development of human societies. The last section hopes that it will help to stimulate a more theoretical approach to the study of technology in the classical world.

Keywords: Greek technology; Roman technology; land transport; sea transport; human societies; classical world; foodstuffs; engineering; machines

Article.  3923 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Greek and Roman Archaeology ; Historical Archaeology

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