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Technology in Western Civilizations

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Technology in Western Civilizations Throughout history humans progress as a species, using their surroundings and resources to advance themselves. To progress they had to begin somewhere, and this is what the past humans did, which enabled them to progress into what we are currently. In the stone age humans discovered fire which while it seems common place today, was something unheard of during that day in age and changed many things, allowing them to cook food, make tools, and many other things. Once the Paleolithic era began things started to develop even more dramatically, mostly due to the fact that human populations started to also increase. This was due to the fact that humans of the time were better nourished, partly due to the new technologies that were created. Tools were also used to make paintings. An example of these paintings are the caves of lascaux which housed various paintings that were mostly animals. These showed the species of the animals that they hunted. Humans around this time were primarily hunter and gatherers, which brought their focus to food, and produced technologies that would make acquiring food to sustain them easier. After this time period, the next would bring along great progress for the human race. The Neolithic Revolution brought along the building of civilization, which ended the times of humans only roving around in groups. Agriculture was started during this period, which allowed the people of this time to make their own resources and cultivate it to sustain life. Having resources meant that you had something of value, and it could be used to attain something else also of value. This led to settlements trading with each other and in turn making communities become more stable. Climate change caused it to be warmer, but some species of the time were not used to it, and migrated north where it was still cold. This also led to some people following them also as they are their food source. Others took advantage of the warmer climates to start producing food, like growing grain. This meant that you could settle down instead of having to always be on the move looking for a source of food. They saved grain for use during winter months when they knew they would not be able to grow it. Domesticated animals were also a step forward for them as they helped with work and they were also a food source. The sudden rise of the population paved the way for settlements to come together, and this brought the need for protection, which was given by city walls that protected from weather and kept intruders out. A big technological development was writing, which wasn't advanced as it is now, but it was a start, which then led to the further advancement of it. Writing was first used as a way of recording records, and started as pictures, called pictograms. Back then in society not everyone could read and right. Only a select few people called scribes could, which was a small group of people who were highly looked upon and influential in Sumerian society. The Sumerian people were seen as the most technologically advanced people in the ancient word because the fact that they did not trust their gods or their environment so they took a hands on approach to everything making them fairly self reliant. They used metals to create tools and weapons. One of the main accomplishments of this era is the creation of the wheel. The wheel brought along many advantages. In military the wheel was used for chariots, which gave their soldiers great advantages over other foot soldiers. The workforce also benefited from the wheel as they are put on carts and used to make work faster, increasing their productivity. Mathematics were also a crucial part of their society, as they used it to use it for architecture to allow them to build things that were not common place at the time. The middle ages was another period of great technological involvement. Agriculturally they advanced on old technologies by improving them. Tools used by the animals that were improved allowed for the animals to be more effective which in turn made it a little easier to do the tasks. This lead to there being surpluses of product, which was used for trade. Instead of using bronze, iron was used for tools, which made tasks faster. The medieval period also brought along the manor system, which merged many small properties into whole pieces of land. This system allowed greater productivity, and also made it so the owner of the manor could take any surpluses the manor produced, this soon led to some of the citizens of manors to become like slaves, and couldn't leave the land without the permission of the lord of the manor. The manor system brought along advances because it made things easier, cost less, and made things more productive. A system that was used in part because of the manor system was the crop rotation system, which was that one piece of land would be used as a pasture, another planted with winter wheat, and another piece planted in the spring, and then these fields were rotated in a three year cycle. This system lead to the land bringing able to produce about 50 percent more than usual. This also was able to provide extra fields if something happened to one, as you would have two more that you could readily depend on. The system was able to also spread labor over the year, which made it to be convenient and used by many. The production of these systems helped grow cities and sustain them without complication. In the roman empire technology was used a lot for construction and engineering. They built roads and bridges, which were to be used by roman armies to move into new territories easier than previously. Water is an essential part of life, and the Romans understood that, so that led them to construct several aqueducts which brought water into the city to be used for drinking, bathing, and their sewage system. Even with all the growth happening the Romans could not stop the fall of their empire. During the last 400 years of the empires reign the technological advances started to decline. One thing that did not decline was the ever rising population of the empire. This made the empire not able to produce enough goods for its continuously growing population. This and the fact that they faced attacks from barbarians also drained their military spending. this lead to them pulling back their forces and leaving them vulnerable for attack. Germanic forces saw this as their chance to make a move and used it, as they went to take over the roman empire and succeeded, leaving the remnants of the roman empire in disarray. Ancient Egyptians were not as advanced as some of the other civilizations at the time but one thing that they did have the upper hand in was the telling of time. Since their people observed the sun frequently because of their religious connection to it, they were able to make a calendar based off of the sun, which was more accurate then the calendar that was based off the moon. Unlike civilizations that developed labor saving technology, the Egyptians did not bother with doing that because they used slaves for labor, and they had all the productivity they needed from slaves. The Hellenistic era provided an outburst of knowledge due to many reasons, but mostly because of the fact that travel was now quick and affordable, so knowledge and ideas now traveled with ease. This lead to leaders all wanting to have the newest technology and would pay to put research into it. The use of a common language also made the surge of knowledge happen as many people began to speak Latin. This period was a time where scientist took substantial interest in astronomy. One particular astronomer stated that the sun was the center of the universe, and the earth and other planets revolve around it. This view went against previous teachings by Aristotle stating that humanity and the earth was the center of the universe. The European empires focused on domination of the seas to pursue their naval venture. Slowly the vessels made by Europeans got bigger by using bigger masts. To navigate the seas, sailors used astrolabes, but soon they changed over to using compasses. Through out the beginning of time technology has been something that has kept the human race striving for something greater than what they already have at the present. This drive has brought humans from rubbing sticks together in caves and trying to withstand the elements to humans providing food for themselves and mastering the elements and using the elements as a way to produce something for themselves.…...

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