Jump to content
UNRV Ancient Roman Empire Forums
Sign in to follow this  
barca

Hero of Alexandria

Recommended Posts

I recently watched a show about Hellenistic Egypt. They pointed out that Hero of Alexandria invented a steam powered device which could have been a precursor to the steam engine. They brought up the question: why didn't the Hellenistic Greeks ever develop steam power for practical use? The answer they gave was that all the work was done by slaves so they didn't have the need for steam power. I'm not totally convinced by that answer.

 

Fast forward to the Modern Industrial Revolution of the late 18th but mostly 19th century in the Western World. It is interesting that it coincides somewhat with the abolition of slavery in the Western World. The free states in the US were in the industrialized north and the slave states were in the rural south.

 

So what came first. Was it technology that made slavery superfluous, or was it the abolition of slavery that prompted innovation in technology to find efficient ways to get the work done?

 

With or without slaves, a steam engine would have taken transportation to a new level. They would have still used slaves to lay down the tracks, but there's no way you could have slave powered train that could move at the speed of a steam engine.

Edited by barca

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't believe in a link between slavery and the development of technology. We had a long debate about it some (long) time ago.

Hellenistic states and Romans were far below the cultural, scientific and technological level of pre-industrial West. The economy of late XVIII century was already global.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hellenistic states and Romans were far below the cultural, scientific and technological level of pre-industrial West.

 

 

They had a 2000 year advantage, but culturally and scientifically, the Hellenistic Greeks were ahead of their time. Why were they not able to apply their knowledge to the real world and develop technology that could have raised their standard of living.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Map of the Roman Empire

×