Article

Ancient Written Sources for Engineering and Technology

Serafina Cuomo

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

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780199734856
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199734856.013.0002

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Ancient Written Sources for Engineering and Technology

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This article tries to illustrate an idea of the range of extant ancient textual sources for engineering and technology. It also presents a broad outline of how the production of texts dealing specifically with technical matters changed in the course of antiquity. In order to combine the two aims, it proceeds chronologically, focusing on two or three examples from each period, chosen to represent both different types of textual evidence and the technological practice of the period in question. The status of technology in classical Athens is first discussed. Additionally, the technical texts from Hellenistic kingdoms are described. It is stated that the technical texts from the Roman Empire have to be seen not only as providing information, but also as constructing a certain way of knowledge, and a certain identity for their authors. The technical texts from antiquity are then addressed.

Keywords: ancient textual sources; engineering; technology; classical Athens; Hellenistic kingdoms; Roman Empire; antiquity

Article.  9928 words. 

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

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