Greek and Roman Contributions to Modern Society

1785 Words Dec 8th, 2012 8 Pages
Both Greece and Rome made significant contributions to Western civilization. Greek knowledge was ascendant in philosophy, physics, chemistry, medicine, and mathematics for nearly two thousand years. The Romans did not have the Greek temperament for philosophy and science, but they had a genius for law and civil administration. The Romans were also great engineers and builders. They invented concrete, perfected the arch, and constructed roads and bridges that remain in use today. But neither the Greeks nor the Romans had much appreciation for technology. The technological society that transformed the world was conceived by Europeans during the Middle Ages.

Greeks and Romans were notorious in their disdain for technology. Aristotle noted
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The First Crusade was launched in 1095, and Jerusalem was captured from the Seljukian Turks in 1099.

The prosperity created by the new agricultural technologies subsidized education and the growth of knowledge. In the late eighth century, Charlemagne had revived education in Europe by setting up a general system of schools. For the first time, not just monks, but also the general public were educated. As the European economy prospered, students multiplied and traveled, seeking the best education they could find. Christian Cathedral Schools evolved into the first universities. The Universities of Paris and Oxford were founded c. 1170, Cambridge in 1209 AD.

The harnessing of water power began around 200 BC with the invention of the quern, a primitive grain mill consisting of two rotating stones. The Romans had been aware of water power but made little use of water wheels and mills. In contrast, by the tenth century, Europeans had begun a wholesale conversion of their civilization from human and animal power to water power. The water-mill came to be viewed not just as a grain mill, but as a generalized source of power that could be adopted for many uses. This new approach was to fundamentally alter the fabric of human civilization.

By the thirteenth century, water power was being utilized in sawmills, tanning mills, and iron forges. Mechanical power derived from moving water was used to process beer