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How advanced were the Romans and Greeks?

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Imperatore Dario I View Drop Down
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  Quote Imperatore Dario I Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: How advanced were the Romans and Greeks?
    Posted: 13-Mar-2005 at 08:18
Just saw something on the history channel, it was talking about how amazingly sophisticated the ancients were.  My question is, exactly how advanced were the Greek and Roman civilizations? What kind of inventions did they create that  we were forced to reinvent over 2,000 years after their glorious eras?  Like the antikatherya (sp?) mechanism, for example?

Let there be a race of Romans with the strength of Italian courage.- Virgil's Aeneid
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  Quote white dragon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Mar-2005 at 17:25
correct me if im wrong, but
i believe we only recently(10-15 years?) found out how to build the tireme correctly
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  Quote Imperator Invictus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Mar-2005 at 17:43
correct me if im wrong, but
i believe we only recently(10-15 years?) found out how to build the tireme correctly


We cannot easily reconstruct everything because we dont' know their method of construction, not because we can't construct it our way. For example, we can't duplicate the greek fire of ages ago, but we can construct our own version of it.
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  Quote Miller Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Mar-2005 at 19:54

I would be skeptical of anything seen on the History Channel. They are called history but sometimes what they put on the air is more fictional and inaccurate than most other channels. It seems that they partly are motivated by rating and partly by prejudice and agenda of the managers. I don't know if they can be sued for false advertising in using the name History but sometimes I feel they should be.




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  Quote Spartakus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Mar-2005 at 04:50
The antikatherya mechanism:
"There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them. "
--- Joseph Alexandrovitch Brodsky, 1991, Russian-American poet, b. St. Petersburg and exiled 1972 (1940-1996)
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  Quote Spartakus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Mar-2005 at 04:52
"There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them. "
--- Joseph Alexandrovitch Brodsky, 1991, Russian-American poet, b. St. Petersburg and exiled 1972 (1940-1996)
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  Quote Spartakus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Mar-2005 at 04:53
"There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them. "
--- Joseph Alexandrovitch Brodsky, 1991, Russian-American poet, b. St. Petersburg and exiled 1972 (1940-1996)
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  Quote Spartakus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Mar-2005 at 04:55
"There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them. "
--- Joseph Alexandrovitch Brodsky, 1991, Russian-American poet, b. St. Petersburg and exiled 1972 (1940-1996)
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  Quote Spartakus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Mar-2005 at 09:25

A reconstruction of the Antikythera device.

"There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them. "
--- Joseph Alexandrovitch Brodsky, 1991, Russian-American poet, b. St. Petersburg and exiled 1972 (1940-1996)
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  Quote Phallanx Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Mar-2005 at 10:29
We could actually add many inventions to this list, but I find these to have been at least facinating.

THE EFPALINION AQUEDUCT OF SAMOS

Efpalinion excavation (ditch) is a mechanical wonder in the history of Mechanic Technology. this indicates the high level of scientific knowledge by the Hellene mechanics of the sixth century b.C. The great ancient Hellene mechanic Efpalinos succeed in opening a water supply channel (duct) through a mountain in order to supply with water the capital city of Samos (Pythagorion) .
The water supply channel (duct) consisted of three unequal parts .The first was on the land travelling 900 m. from the spring , it ended at the bottom of mountain Ambelos where it connected with the entrance of the channel (tunnel) which was the main construction .
The channel (tunnel) was 1036 m. long and its excavation started simultaneously from both sides of the mountain .
The two working groups met in the center of the channel and they had only 0,6 m. error !!


!!


Archimedes Burning Mirrors (A primitive form of Lazer?!?!?!)

George Louis LeClerc, Comte de Buffon, in 1747 assembled 168 mirrors 8in. by 10in. adjusted to produce the smallest image 150 feet away. The array turned out to be a formidable weapon. At 66 feet 40 mirrors ignited a creosoted plank and at 150 feet, 128 mirrors ignited a pine plank instantly.

In another experiment 45 mirrors melted six pounds of tin at 20 feet. Dr. IoannisSakkas, a Greek engineer, demonstrated in 1973 that the feat is technically possible. With the help of 50 sailors holding 31 bronze-coated mirrors, he set fire to a wooden boat 160 feet offshore.
A.C. Claus of Loyola University in Chicago, O.N. Stavroudis of the Optical Sciences Center, University of Arizona and E.A. Phillips after seeing the experiment succeed they all agreed it is possible.

Here is a pic from the Sakas experiment:


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  Quote Imperatore Dario I Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Mar-2005 at 15:45
Originally posted by white dragon

correct me if im wrong, but
i believe we only recently(10-15 years?) found out how to build the tireme correctly


What's the tireme?

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  Quote Qnzkid711 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Mar-2005 at 15:49
Its a ship. I think it was originally invented by the Carthagenians. Romans copied it after they found one that had crahsed ashore. Since it was labeled they copied it and were able to use it.   

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  Quote Phallanx Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Mar-2005 at 20:17
I think it was originally invented by the Carthagenians. Romans copied it after they found one that had crahsed ashore.


Not sure where you got this info, but it's wrong.
As both Thucydides in his "Peloponnesian War 1.13.1" and Pliny the Elder "Natural History 7.57". It was the Corinthians that first built the trireme and to be exact it was first built by Aminocles of Magnesia (approx 650BC).
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  Quote conon394 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Mar-2005 at 09:56

Thucydides does not really say Corinth invented the Trireme (Trieres), just that the Corinth was the first place in Greece to build them.  It is really much more likely that they were built first at Sidon, at the behalf of the Persians, who had lots of money to spend on very expensive ships, and an enemy (Egypt) that had a very powerful fleet.


Pliny is just citing Thucydides.




Edited by conon394
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  Quote Phallanx Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Mar-2005 at 11:32
Well, he clearly said:

"It is said that the Corinthians were the first to approach the modern style of naval architecture, and that Corinth was the first place in Hellas where galleys were built; [3] and we have Ameinocles, a Corinthian shipwright, making four ships for the Samians. Dating from the end of this war, it is nearly three hundred years ago that Ameinocles went to Samos."

source: perseus.tufts

If we look at Pliny we find:

"according to Thucydides,104 Aminocles, the Corinthian, first constructed them with three banks of oars;"

(same source)

The way I see it, he does mean invented. Otherwise he would have noted that he was the first to construct them in Hellas. As he clearly gives the locations were ships with 4,5,6-10 oars were first built (invented).
He also mentions that :

"the Cop invented the oar, and the Platans gave it its broad blade.108 Icarus was the person who invented sails,109 and Ddalus the mast and yards"

If he thought differently I do believe he would have recorded it as he does with the Phoenicians:
"We are indebted to the Phnicians for the first observation of the stars in navigation;"

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  Quote conon394 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Mar-2005 at 16:04

There is a counter to Pliny in Clement of Alexandria.  He suggests that the trieres was invented at Sidon (Stromateis 1.16.36).  The online translations I have found all use Carthaginian and I have never found a version, either text or on line the original Greek , but the two books I have by modern historians both state he in fact is saying Sidon (and suggest he is following Philostephanos of Cyrene writing in the 3rd century B.C.). Ill admit the Clements work is polemical (he is going out of his way to argue everything was not invented by the Greeks), but Piney is not particularly convincing either (on this point).

 

First Pliny is basically just citing Thucydides, not say Ephorus or Theopompus (in other words he is not adding any new information). Second many of Plinys inventor citations are Greek mythological figures. The complete list (at 7.57) is not in fact accurate. It is really a list of where the Greeks tended to think the origin of things occurred. Thus for example, Pliny is correct in noting Athens as the first democracy, but Egypt is not the first Monarchy. Summer was dead and gone from living memory; for the Greeks (and Pliny), Egypt was obviously the oldest civilization, and thus the oldest monarchy.

Third it worth pointing out he is clearly contradicting Diodorus on the invention of the five (really a 2 or 3 banked galley, with multiple rowers per oar). 

 

 

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  Quote Phallanx Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Mar-2005 at 08:53
Though the origin of the "invention" is still obscure (for some), I find it interesting that everyone strives to be named the invertors of something that was considered a "joke" and an impossible feat, not so many years ago.

The oldest evidence we have, is a fragment of Atiik pottery that depicts a trireme dated approx. 750BC, we also find Herodotus to mention an Egyptian Pharaoh Necho (6th cent) to be building triremes on the Nile. This Pharaoh is known to have hade very close ties to Corinth, so this is most probably where he got the designs for it.

In anyway, whoever may have first built the trireme, if it was a Hellinic original or just a copy. It is an undisputible fact that it met its glory under the hands of the Hellinic crew and through the Hellinic "myths".

 
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  Quote Yiannis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Mar-2005 at 10:46

Triremes were first designed by the Phoenicians. The Corinthians however perfected the design by solving the space problem of the 3rd oarsman. That was done by extending the oarsmen space outwards by 50cms. That way they helped stabilize the ship and allowed it to become longer and faster.

These were (mostly) the triremes that defeated the Persian (largelly Phoenician) fleet at Salamis.

 

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  Quote druidebaron.nl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Mar-2005 at 15:44
The steam machine was invented by Heron of Alexandria and they did almost nothing with it. From inventing a steam engine it is still a long way to 19th century industry, trains etc, but it is also an example of how one the side Greek and Roman society were very sophisticated, but on the other side they were also very conservative; very slow in adopting new inventions. You also see this conservatism in, for example, architecture.
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  Quote conon394 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Mar-2005 at 20:41
druidebaron.nl

I don't really think you can draw that  general conclusion. Conservative compared to whom? The classical world simply never had the watershed event that was the Black Death. A combination of a massive reduction in manpower (and thus technological solutions were relatively cheap) and at the same time, an inability to import manpower from elsewhere via conquest or slave trade.

You also see this conservatism in, for example, architecture


 How do you mean. Style-wise modern Western civilization still chooses Greco-Roman forms for public buildings  The Greco-Roman world adopted vaulting, cement, and glass windows almost as soon as each technology was invented or encountered.

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