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Antique Engineering In The Byzantine World

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Chapter Summary

This chapter presents an overview of the extent to which the Byzantine Empire preserved the engineering traditions of the ancient world, passed them on to Islam and back to the West, and modified them to meet its own requirements. After about A.D. 600, expensive works of civil engineering became rare, but machines for military and agricultural purposes remained in constant and even increasing use, while fine technology saw some revival. In both civil and mechanical engineering?to use modern terms which had no currency at the time?classical Greece and Rome were famously and sometimes spectacularly proficient. The broad pattern is exemplified by costly civil engineering undertakings, like aqueducts, bridges and harbour works, and major public buildings. On a humbler plane, workaday machines for food production and processing continued in unbroken sequence, and even proliferated in number, although not in sophistication.

Keywords: ancient world; aqueducts; Byzantine Empire; civil engineering; mechanical engineering; Rome



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