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Technology In Late Antiquity: A Bibliographic Essay

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Chapter Summary

This chapter presents a representative overview of the available literature on technology in the period, ca. A.D. 300?700. It consciously strays beyond Late Antiquity in many places, including Early Imperial or Hellenistic studies, and references to Early Islamic work. The technology of the Roman world was for a long time characterised as stagnant, for the large part relying upon existing knowledge and lacking innovation. A number of contemporary writers display some degree of technical knowledge, or technical interest in different crafts. Historians of power supply have traditionally either seen the period as suffering from an abundant supply of slave labour, which discouraged labour-saving projects or devices, or as characterised by the rise of the watermill. The preservation of textiles and other organic materials is dependent on specific climatic conditions. Egypt has been shown to possess extraordinarily good conditions for the preservation of textiles, especially in burial contexts.

Keywords: Early Imperial period; Egyp; Hellenistic peiod; Late Antiquity; Roman world; watermill

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