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Legacy of the Ancient World. Pre-Greek Accomplishments  Agriculture, irrigation, animal domestication  Calendar  Metallurgy: Mining, smelting, metal-work,

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Presentation on theme: "Legacy of the Ancient World. Pre-Greek Accomplishments  Agriculture, irrigation, animal domestication  Calendar  Metallurgy: Mining, smelting, metal-work,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Legacy of the Ancient World

2 Pre-Greek Accomplishments  Agriculture, irrigation, animal domestication  Calendar  Metallurgy: Mining, smelting, metal-work, casting  Ceramics  Glass-making

3 Why Agriculture? Hunter-gatherer lifestyle provides ample food with minimal effort and ample leisure Cultivation may be more dependable Agriculture leads to: – Greater population density – Social Stratification – Urbanization

4 Prerequisites for Agriculture Most plants have no use as food Mediterranean climate beneficial – Seeds can survive long dry spells – Perfect for storage Selective breeding – Self-fertilization Wind pollination and animal dispersal means uncontrollable offspring – Single mutations of desirable traits (Almonds vs. Oaks)

5 Animal Domestication Taming = training a specific animal to behave as desired Domestication = changes in animal genes to permanently instill desirable traits Do we really care if a rabbit is tame or domesticated? Ability to tolerate human proximity Dominance Hierarchy that humans can co-opt

6 Obstacles to Animal Domestication Inability to tolerate human proximity (gazelles) Chronically bad temperament (zebras) Dangerous (bears) No dominance hierarchy (deer) Extremely territorial Herds are territorial and won’t mix Won’t mate in captivity (cheetahs)

7 Animal Domestication Self-Domestication – Humans create a modified environment around habitations – Humans gather food and vital nutrients like salt – Unconscious selection for low fear factor – Hormonal changes: more frequent mating, mottled coats, juvenile features, floppy ears Have we ever deliberately domesticated any animal?

8 Ancient metallurgy Ancient metals: Au, Ag, Cu, Pb, Hg, Fe, plus Sn and Zn in alloys How discovered? – Campfire Theory - not hot enough – Pigments? Possibly – Need heat for a long time, plus lack of oxygen, plus experimenting – Best bet: Pottery kilns

9 Bronze and Iron Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin Where did the tin come from? How was the alloy discovered? Iron: Not better than bronze, but cheaper

10 Pre-Greek Accomplishments Architecture  Stone cutting, dressing, sculpting  Arches  Post-and-Lintel  Corbelled  Circular (only in Old World, except for Inuit igloo)  Truss-unknown until Middle Ages-requires timber

11 Pre-Greek Accomplishments  Simple machines  Wheel  Lever (wheel + lever = pulley)  Wedge (inclined plane, screw)  Heavy Woodworking  Catapults  Shipbuilding

12 Greek Technology and Science Major traditions  Ionian--mercantile, experimental.  Pythagorean-mathematical but mystical  Athenian schools: Plato, Aristotle, Socrates,  Emphasis on logic, deduction, idealization  "Golden Age" - Pericles ca. 450 B.C.  Hellenistic - exported during and after Alexander the Great (d. 323 B.C.)

13 Alexander’s Empire

14 Good Guys and Bad Guys? Ionians speak most clearly to us today, but- Science often has a faith in whole numbers that Pythagoras would recognize Scientists idealize all the time. Plato would find much familiar Where would science be without logic and deduction? It wasn’t Aristotle’s fault that people put him on a pedestal

15 Why the Greeks never developed modern science They weren’t trying to become us! It wasn’t clear that meticulous observation of nature would lead anywhere They were asking different questions, e.g., why is there cause and effect? They had all the elements but nobody ever synthesized them.

16 The Etruscans Fairly sophisticated people, with expertise in iron working and extensive trade contacts. Link between the Greeks and the Romans. A couple of tidbits from the Etruscans: the letter F and the "Roman" numerals V, L and D. For several centuries Rome was ruled by the Etruscans, but the Romans overthrew the Etruscans and eventually absorbed them.


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