Legacy of the Ancient World

Steven Dutch, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

Pre-Greek Accomplishments

Greek Technology and Science

Major traditions

The major Greek traditions represent ways of thinking that have been independently discovered many times. All are appropriate in certain situations: it is wrong to stereotype any as "helpful" or "harmful" to science and technology.

Why the Greeks never developed modern science

The Etruscans

The Etruscans spoke a non-Indo-European language and occupied the northern half of Italy in Pre-Roman times. Because their language is extinct and unrelated to European languages, there was once little hope of deciphering their history. Thanks to modern techniques of linguistic analysis, much of their language can now be read.

The Etruscans were a fairly sophisticated people, with expertise in iron working and extensive trade contacts. Their principal importance is as a link between the Greeks and the Romans. The Etruscans used the Greek Alphabet to write their own language, and passed it on to the Romans, along with many other Greek ideas. 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.

Roman Science and Technology

Early history

Accomplishments

Fall of Rome

Summary of Events

Possible Hypotheses that have been advanced for the collapse of Rome

Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 1782

Author Edward Gibbon suggested four reasons for fall of Rome.

Gibbon's errors

An Alternate View of the Fall of Rome

Americans often idealize ancient Rome

Reality Check: Rome was a stagnant, corrupt, brutal and petty society

Rome and the early U.S: Two Choices

Conclusion: Like a baby born with AIDS, the Roman Empire was infected at birth with what eventually killed it.

After the fall of Rome

Technological innovations in post-Roman Europe

The role of Ireland

Saint Patrick

After Patrick

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Created 27 Dec 1996, Last Update 28 January 1998

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