The Modern Legacy of Ancient Technology

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Machines at Sea—Ancient Ships
Spurred by their dependence on maritime trade, the ancient Greeks became masters of nautical engineering. Follow the development of their ship design and sailing techniques, which were adopted by the Romans and paved the way for the great age of exploration in the 15th century.
Ancient Olympia: Gods, Games, and Temples
Investigate the practices and culture of the original Olympic games at sites including the palaestra, where important athletes trained; the stadium; and the unusual Temple of Hera. Sense the heat and drama of the contests, as you contemplate the mind-set of the competitors and the significance of athletic competition as…
Exploring Crete: Realm of Ancient Minoans
On this greatest of Aegean islands, you encounter the very origins of European civilization. Here, take three memorable excursions: first, to the elaborate Minoan palace of Malia, then to Gortyn, Roman capital of Crete: which boasts Europe's first written law code: and finally, to Crete's Venetian capital and the massive…
Technology in the Classical World
Begin your exploration of ancient Greek and Roman engineering by probing the technological edge that allowed the Greeks to beat the Persians at the Battle of Salamis. Then survey the aims of the course and preview an impressive piece of technology that you will encounter in a later episode.
The Substance of Technology—Materials
Study the engineering materials available in classical antiquity. First look at the simple physics of compression and tension. Then consider six specific materials: stone, wood, clay, copper, bronze, and iron. Examine how they came into use and how their properties influenced the design of technological systems.
The Byzantine Empire and the Legacy of Rome
The eastern Roman: or Byzantine: Empire would outlast its counterpart in the West by a thousand years. Follow the fortunes of this flourishing hub, which included one of the most powerful women of antiquity and one of the ancient world's most globally influential legacies.
Great Ziggurat at Ur—Ancient Architecture
With the magnificent ziggurats, ancient people reached for the sky, which was the domain of the deities. Learn about Nanna, the Sumerian moon god, and experience the architectural grandeur at the heart of Sumerian daily life. While wars, climate, and looting have wrought their damage on the ziggurat at Ur,…
Greek - Neolithic Period to Modern Day
Using an easy to follow progressive timeline from early beginning to more modern day, students will follow the emerging development and ultimate sophistication of this most notable civilization. Broken down into sub-chapters of information, each program covers the most important topics and concepts associated with this unique culture and history…
The Derveni Papyrus - With Professor Richard Janko of the University of Michigan
In 1962, a half-burnt scroll was discovered in an excavated grave in Derveni, Greece. Though nearly discarded as a burnt stick, it was later revealed to be the oldest surviving European manuscript. Richard Janko, the Gerald F. Else Distinguished University Professor of Classical Studies at the University of Michigan, is…
Byzantium: Beyond the Cliché - With Professor Mavroudi of UC Berkeley
Maria Mavroudi, Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley, talks passionately about the Byzantine Empire, which has repeatedly been undervalued by historians despite its having been a military and cultural powerhouse for more than a millennium.
From Quarry to Temple—Building in Stone
Gain a deeper appreciation for the ancient world's most important construction material by following a block of stone from a quarry to its final resting place in the wall of a Greek temple. Learn how stone blocks were extracted from solid bedrock, moved many miles, and then fitted together without…
Stone Masonry Perfected—The Greek Temple
Focus on the classical-era temple, one of the crowning achievements of Hellenic civilization. Where did it originate? Why are the many examples so architecturally consistent? What were the principles of Greek temple design? And what were its structural limitations?