Technologies of Calculation

Andrew Meadows, Karin Tybjerg and Charlotte Wikander

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

 Technologies of Calculation

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  • Ancient Greek History
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This article first divides the various categories of measurements (volumes: dry or wet, etc.) over a wide geographical and chronological span. The close connection between the coinage system and daily weighing activities is reflected in the names for denominations of coins. The carefully calculated weight standards behind Athenian coinage in the fifth century bc and behind the coinage of Alexander in the fourth century helped promotes trade and prosperity in both periods. The advent of coinage led to an important monetary development in the form of fiduciary financial instruments, although there were, in fact, much earlier precedents. Coinage had given Romans and Greeks that freedom and was the most potent of all ancient technological advances. It is often claimed that mathematics and technology were unconnected in antiquity and that this separation barred progress. Geometrical techniques and proofs for measuring heights, areas, and volumes are employed in a number of technical disciplines.

Keywords: heights; areas; volumes; coinage; mathematics; technology; measurements

Article.  10538 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Ancient Greek History ; Historical Archaeology

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