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Legacy of the Ancient World

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Presentation on theme: "Legacy of the Ancient World"— 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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