CLST306

This course introduces the technologies developed and exploited in the Greek and Roman worlds, c. 1000 BCE to 400 CE, with an emphasis on their impact. Rather than focusing solely on the technological achievements of the Greeks and Romans, this course will instead explore ancient technologies in context: their intellectual, social, institutional, and economic backgrounds and effects. Throughout, we will test our modern experiences and ideas about technology and its impacts against ancient evidence to see whether we can make universal claims about technological achievement, or whether innovation is socially and culturally contingent. We will explore a number of topics that resonate in modernity, including: the relationship between human and machine labor; and the effects of mechanization; the social, economic, political, and environmental impact of innovation; the role of educational practices in shaping the development of new technologies ; the interrelationship of innovations in different “industries”; attitudes towards “progress” and the value of technology.