Introduction water flow. This shows that the Greeks

Introduction

    As Milani-Santarpia and Vargas-Villalba
(2017)1stated: The definition of technology
is the use of knowledge and science to develop tools and methods which allow
individuals and society to solve problems. This is a paper discussing how
technology in ancient Greece and Rome influenced the economy. In the following,
I would like to introduce the technology in both ancient Greece and Rome respectively
and the relative economic contribution.

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Technology in Ancient Greece

    First of all, the Greeks developed water
management and the mining. For the water management, according to Stewart &
Howell (2003)2, the
Greeks created various ways to manage water including groundwater exploitation,
flood protection, drainage and irritation. Buffet and Evrard (1950)3
stated that each section of the clay pipes used in Greece in classical times
was firmly connected to one end. Sediment could be flush with the increasing
rate of water flow. This shows that the Greeks were knowledgeable to get
potable water for themselves. With the source of water, the Greeks constructed
aqueducts for transporting and suppling water. According to Murray (1984)4,
in order to prevent flooding, a stone dam was built in the 5th
century BC in the city in Western Greece. The dam could be divided into two
parts: the upper zone and the bottom zone. Blocks were evenly distributed and
in regular shape with smaller or even no gaps in the upper zone, while blocks
were roughly distributed and in irregular shape with larger gaps in the bottom
zone. Small stones were used to fill the large gaps. Angelakis and Rose (2014)5
pointed out that elliptical pipelines were constructed underground for drainage
along the streets in ancient Greek. Rainwater or even the flood could be
drained away.

    Furthermore, for the mining, according to Economopoulos
(1996)6, ores were smelted and cupellated to
extract and purify the valuable metals. The enriched ores were taken to
vertical furnaces which were using charcoal as the reducing agent. The radius
of the internal furnaces was about half a meter and the height was about four
meters. Since an extremely high temperature (1000° to 1200° C) would be
reached, the internal walls of the furnaces were made up of fire clay. A
mixture of ore and charcoal will be placed from the top of the furnace. Hand
blowers were presented to pump necessary air in in order to be guaranteed the
reactions taking place. The product—a mixture of lead and silver existed
eventually at the tap hole of the furnaces. Pure lead and silver were needed so
the ancient Greeks used the cupellation furnaces to separate them. With the
heat of burning with wood and pumping air more vigorously in the cupellation
furnaces, lead would be oxidized but leaving the molten silver. This process
could be done at the temperature 900° to 930° C. Although a large amount of metal
mixtures was required, only a relatively small quantity of silver was
extracted.

 

The impacts of ancient Greek technology on
economy

    The advantage of water management was
facilitating the productivity of the ancient Greeks. With the help of pipes of
the aqueducts, potable water was supplied to different district in Greece. According
to Hanemann (2006)7, the
contributions of water supply to economic growth and development is obvious. Extensive
network of water supply especially contributed to the agriculture development
in Greece. There would be better harvest with stable water supply. An increase
in agricultural production benefited the Greek economy since more products could
be traded and exported to other countries. Other than water supply, the flood
protection also played an important role. The fields of crops could be
protected by the dam and prevented from flood. The loss of agricultural
production was minimized. The economy would not be greatly declined even if
flooding occurred. Therefore, the productivity in agriculture increased because
of water management in ancient Greek.

    Moreover, mining helped create currency and
produce valuable products. Economopoulos (1996) 6 stated that most of the silver was
minted into coinages in Athens. Greece could also make profits by exporting the
qualitied silver. The presence of currency affected every economic activity.
For example, on exports and imports, the currency could either make imported
merchandises cheaper or more expensive. Cheaper imported merchandises
encouraged more imports and increased the trade deficit. There would be economic
growth with higher value of net exports.

Other than
silver, copper and iron were good raw materials to make products or tools such
as vessel or utensil. These products could either be exported or for domestic.
Therefore, mining undoubtedly contributed to the Greek economy by creating
currency and producing products.

 

Technology in Ancient Rome

    According to Maynard (2005)8, the Romans constructed the roads,
bridge and mills. For the road, Labate (2016)9 pointed out that the Via Appia
connected Rome to Capua was built in 312 BC. Branch roads were accessed by the
important cities along the path. Road construction was complicated that
involved in land excavation and transport of backfill materials. Before
flattening the roads, pipes were built underground for water drainage. With the
gravelly layers of Roman roads, the roads were able to withstand freezing or
floods but only required little maintenance relatively. For the bridges,
according to Labate (2016)9, they were initially built with
stone but turned to used concrete since the mid-second century BC. With the
addition of the arches for structural benefits, the concrete bridges were
stronger and more durable. Force was enabled equally downward from the top of
the bridge arch to the ground. So, the Roman arch bridges could carry as many
weights as themselves or even more.

    For the mills, Labate (2016)9 also stated that Roman mills were
made for agricultural, mining and constructive use. There were three types of
mills for use in agriculture, including hand-driven mills, animal-driven mills
and water-driven mills. The mills kept having improvements that the
water-driven mills finally came in last century BC to save humans and animals
from milling drudgery. Watermills generated much greater power than that
provided by hand-driven mills or animal-driven mills. The one used in mining
was stamp mill. It was used to crush ores into smaller pieces for facilitating
further processing. Otherwise the metal ores would be difficultly smelted. Both
the watermills and stamp mills required the force of water so the aqueducts
were often built near agricultural and mining sites. According to Maynard
(2005)8, mills used in construction was
called sawmill. Its function was to cut woods, marbles and stones so as to save
labor. Different from watermills and stamp mills, the waterwheel of the
sawmills was linked to a rod connecting some saws.

 

The impacts of ancient Roman technology on
economy

    The contribution of roads and bridges was
facilitating trade. Bridging rivers or extreme lands allowed the connection of
people on the opposite sides. Not only could People travel more easily, but the
trade would also be increased between mines, ports or even cities. Pritchard
(1992)10
pointed out that when people travelled from other cities, they often consumed
the local products. This would stimulate the local economy. And the increase in
imports and exports helped Rome make profits. Therefore, roads and bridges
built by the Romans contributed to economy.

    The construction of mills helped increase
the productivity and decrease the reliance on labor. Labate (2016)9 stated that mills played an
important role to Roman economy. Take the mills used in agriculture for
example. It was initially driven by human labor. But human needed to rest after
driving a period of time. This encouraged people to improve the mills and
finally designed for animal-driven. Since animals drove faster and required
less rest, the output and the quality of products were better. However, the
Romans still dissatisfied with the animal-driven mills and they made further
improvement. The water-driven mills were created. It worked nonstop, with
excellent quality and output of products. The exist of mills accelerated the
process in agriculture, mining and construction. Both the efficiency and productivity
were improved at the same time so that the demand of trading was satisfied. As
a result, mills helped promote economic growth in Rome.

 

Conclusion

To sum up, technology in both ancient Greece and
Rome was very impressive. It was a way to show the ancient intelligence to the
descendant. Undoubtedly, ancient technology had an inestimable influence on the
economy. But it did not only favor