Engineering in the Ancient World

Engineering in the Ancient World

  • Paperback
By (author) J. G. Landels

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This extraordinary book reveals the engineering know-how of the ancient Greeks and Romans, explores in fascinating detail how they developed and constructed their machines, and considers how the same principles are used in modern-day engineering. The achievements of the Greeks and Romans in art, culture, philosophy and war are well known, but their prowess as engineers has been less well studied. They made many remarkable machines, which were not bettered until the Industrial Revolution. Using wind, water, animal and man power, they made crossbows and catapults for war; built water-mills and pumps, including fire-engines; designed cranes and hoists for building; built and sailed ships both for commerce and war; and constructed aqueducts to carry water for miles to feed their complex municipal plumbing systems. In this new, revised edition, Dr Landels has added a chapter on how - to his astonishment and delight - it has proved possible to reconstruct and sail an exact replica of an Ancient Greek trireme.

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  • Paperback | 240 pages
  • 127 x 203 x 14mm | 311g
  • 24 Aug 2000
  • Little, Brown Book Group
  • Constable
  • London
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0094804907
  • 9780094804906
  • 586,627

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Author Information

J G Landels was a Senior Lecturer in Classics at Reading University whose work, in collaboration with the Engineering Department, involved making working replicas of ancient machines and testing them in the field.

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Review text

Those who are fascinated by ancient tools and technology will greatly enjoy this handbook. The Romans in particular were brilliant engineers, unsurpassed until the industrial revolution; their inventions are clearly discussed with a large number of explanatory sketches and tables and even illustrative poetry. The author also addresses the question of why, when they understood the principles of the steam engine, did the ancients consider it a mere curiosity and not worth developing? (Kirkus UK)

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