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Lecture 2

NATS 1775 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Military Technology, Bookkeeping, Natural Philosophy

Natural Science
Course Code
NATS 1775
Vera Pavri

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NATS 1775
September 19, 2017
Unit 2: Technology in Ancient and Greco-Roman Civilization
I. Early Civilization
Desire to figure out why these civilizations share commonalities and development of these large-
scale water irrigation systems
Hydraulic hypothesis: rise of the Urban Revolution
Top of triangle: fewest amount people with most power
Middle of triangle: some amount people with power
Bottle of triangle: largest amount of people with power
II. Hydraulic Hypothesis
Link between the rise of early civilizations and the technology of large scale water irrigations
Primary reason and cause
Civilizations like Mesopotamia, Egypt China are “irrigation civilizations”
Control over hydraulic systems means a lot of power
o Fewer people controlling water
Example: Technological determinism is the primary agent of social, political and economical
o Hydraulic hypothesis
III. Criticisms of Hydraulic Hypothesis
Large-scale irrigation “causes “this type of hierarchal political system
Irrigation and political systems presented in these civilizations are very technologically
Hohokam society and Ancient Ceylon had large scale hydraulic systems but did not become
hierarchal or stratified societies
1. Technological determinism theory
o Too simple
2. Mesopotamia: they already had power
o The control of water for even more power
3. Ancient Ceylon: had large scale power irrigations but wanted to share the water and be equal
o Never developed into stratified societies
IV. Early Science and Technology in Ancient Civilizations
Urban civilizations mastered art of bronze metallurgy
o “Bronze age”
Metal (stone that was used before)
o Hammering and casting (1000 degrees Celsius)
Specialization of Labour
o New source of energy such as wind power boats
a. Mesopotamia
Sumerian (writing)
Schools developed to teach scribal skills
Mathematics (base 60)
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