The Evolution of Technology – Episode 3

From Tools to Machinery Part 2: The Graeco-Roman Influence

Nothing beats a classic, this saying rings true in the case of the Classical Civilisations’ impact on the evolution of technology.

In this post, we’ll delve into the achievements of the Graeco-Roman World and how visionary thinking would inspire many technological advances.

Technology Takes A Turn

By the end of the Iron Age, many new tools and techniques had been developed which enabled settled community living as operations and industries scaled up. Graeco-Romans took well to this new way of life, displaying a penchant for making things better.

Technology in Context

These days, most of us tend to think of science, engineering, computers, and even the Internet of Things when we hear the word, “technology”. However, what we consider technology to be today is vastly different from what technology was in prehistoric times. The meaning of the word technology has undergone an evolution of its own, and this is why so many definitions of the term exist today.

The people of Greece and Rome pushed the boundaries of scientific investigation and brought about some impressive technological achievements. They improved the innovations of the Ancient World , pioneering civil and mechanical engineering. Their contributions to writing and communication helped to share their knowledge with the rest of the world.

The spirit of enhancement starts with the transition from the Iron Age. Although the previous period was characterised by its use of Iron tools, smelting Iron was not mastered until the Classical Age.

Iron Was Mastered In The Mediterranean

Iron was popular because it was abundantly available and so much stronger than copper and bronze. However, despite using charcoal and foot bellows to increase the heat in furnaces, they could not reach the temperatures needed to reduce iron ore to metal.

Instead, Graeco-Romans found that Blooms (spongey balls of iron) formed at the bottom of their furnaces and this could be hammered into bars of wrought iron. With further heat and hammering, wrought iron could be shaped as desired to develop coats of steel, tempered knives and sword blades.

It Was Time To Tell The World

Writing and communications did not escape the Grecian need to enhance existing systems. They adapted the Phoenician alphabet to Greek and included symbols to represent vowels. By doing so, they created the first complete phonetic writing system. They also changed the direction of writing from left to right for good measure.

Armed with a legible and comprehensive system of communication, the Greeks could now convey messages in script with higher accuracy. This meant they no longer had to worry about misinterpretation when sending messages over long distances.

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