The technological achievements of the Greeks and Romans continue to fascinate and excite admiration. But what was the place of technology in their cultures? Through five case-studies, this book sets ancient technical knowledge in its political, social and intellectual context. It explores the definition of the techne of medicine in classical Athens, the development of new military technology in Hellenistic times, the self-image of technicians through funerary art in the early Roman Empire, the resolution of boundary disputes in the early second century AD, and the status of architecture and architects in late antiquity. Deploying a wide range of evidence, it reconstructs a dialectic picture of ancient technology, where several ancient points of view are described and analyzed, and their interaction examined. Dr Cuomo argues for the centrality of technology to the ancient world-picture, and for its extraordinarily rich political, social, economic and religious significance.
S. Cuomo is Lecturer in the History of Science and Technology, Imperial College London.
Introduction; 1. The definition of techne in classical Athens; 2. The Hellenistic military revolution; 3. Death and the craftsman; 4. Boundary disputes in the Roman Empire; 5. Architects of late antiquity; Epilogue.