Geselowitz: Classical Greeks by David Barney

Ancient Greece experienced an interval of technological and theoretical growth in the “Classical Period.” During this time, Greece was made up of several independent city-states that competed for trading and fought wars. Competition between city-states as well as Phoenician influence had allowed for technology to flourish in Greece.

The Greeks had several influences that they adopted ideas from and improved upon. From the Egyptians the Greeks learn sculpture, which over time developed into a distinctive Greek style and Architecture. The Greeks would also refine the Phoenician alphabet to create their own. The Greek alphabet would be used in everyday writing for laws, legal purposes, and trade. One of the most famous ancient Greek scientists was Archimedes. Archimedes would use his knowledge to develop the Archimedean Screw which moved water to a higher elevation.

While the Greeks used much of their knowledge for practical things, objects such as the Aeolipile, were not put to practical use. The Aeolipile was a Greek version of a steam engine that worked by having water heated up in a cauldron and sent to a sphere with nozzles that expelled the steam in a direction that would rotate the sphere. This device was developed by Hero of Alexandria who used the device for amusement rather than any practical means.

The Greeks were, at first, not as advance as the Phoenicians. But the Greeks would learn and improve on much of what they learned from the Phoenicians. The Greeks adopted the Trireme ship type. From the use of this ship it became apparent that a well-trained group was needed for success in sea battles. From this the Greeks developed the Phalanx which was a well train group of soldiers that fought on land. The Greeks developed shields and spears of varied length to be used for the Phalanx.

The Greeks would continue to take what they knew how to do and improve, leading to improved ships, construction, and weaponry. These benefits would have later implications for the success of Rome.

David Barney (Word Count 333)

2 Replies to “Geselowitz: Classical Greeks by David Barney”

  1. David,

    Very intriguing post here. I really like how you discuss the alphabet and the introduction of new tactics that advanced Greco-warfare. I would have liked to seen a few additional sources to look at, so next time make sure to do that. Nonetheless, great work and I look forward to the next post.

    Here is a scholarly article that I found on JSTOR that may help you for the future. Enjoy!


  2. The Greeks wouldn’t be the Greeks without the Phalanx formation. Such an iconic and symbolic thing in ancient Greece. All of us can remember the movie 300 I’m sure, and the extreme success the phalanx formation had while holding off the Persian advance. Yet despite all it’s fame there, the formation had a lot of weakness in that should the line not hold, it became little more than a mess of soldiers. Under Alexander the Great, he devised a way to remedy that in supporting each flank with maneuverable light infantry. Rome would like the spear idea, but favor the more flexible legion formation.
    My source, good article!

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