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Understanding Greek and Roman Technology: From Catapult to the Pantheon

Understanding Greek and Roman Technology: From Catapult to the Pantheon

What did the Romans ever do for us? Well, they gave us roads, sanitation, a legal system, and lots of cool gadgets. The Greeks weren’t half bad either. Some of the great engineering feats of history were accomplished two millennia or so before our own era, which we tend rather arrogantly to consider the pinnacle of technology.

 

The Classical World revolutionized architecture with new arches, stonemasonry techniques, roof construction innovations, and the invention of concrete. It gave us Urban Planning and water supply systems such as the vast cisterns under what is now Istanbul. This gave us aqueducts, public fountains, and sewerage systems. It gave us large scale water-powered grain milling. It gave us well-engineered roads and bridges where previously there were mud tracks. It gave us public baths of superb design and beauty.

 

On the dark side, it also gave us machines of war: siege towers, battering rams, catapults, and other things you didn’t want to find yourself on the wrong end of. Catapults capable of launching tons of rock and other projectiles far and fast enough to smash fortifications to bits. Great ships of war propelled by rows of slave oarsmen. Stuff it was unwise to mess with.

 

Understanding Greek and Roman Technology: From Catapult to the Pantheon is a course of 24 lectures on the gizmos the Greeks and Romans came up with. Top academics with infectious enthusiasm for their subjects take learners through the whole show, from how the Greeks beat the Persians at Salamis because of their better technology, through to the legacy of Ancient Technology in modern times.