Historiography and Theoretical Approaches

Kevin Greene

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

 Historiography and Theoretical Approaches

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  • Classical Studies
  • Ancient Greek History
  • Ancient Roman History


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This article explores the work performed on Greek and Roman technology in recent decades. It then addresses how technology has come to be perceived as an integral component of the society and economy of the classical world. The academic study of sources and evidence for Greek and Roman technology has made excellent progress in recent years. It is hardly surprising that technological determinism became a feature of the period between the two world wars of the twentieth century. Ethnography has enhanced the significance of the material world and artifacts. For several centuries archaeologists have approached material culture through the classification of collections. Alongside ethnographic and contextual studies of technology, reflection about the nature of change has stimulated the exploration of evolutionary ideas. The Loss of Innocence is described. Key terms such as discovery, invention, and innovation are specifically discussed before further approaches to technology are examined.

Keywords: Greek technology; Roman technology; technological determinism; ethnography; material culture; Loss of Innocence; historiography

Article.  13123 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Ancient Greek History ; Ancient Roman History

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