Ancient History


Eqyptian water clock

1400 BC

Bestiary and Moralized Natural History

1230 CE

About real and imaginary animals and their uses

Holkham Bible Picture Book

1300 CE
  • Husbands reasons that his wife is doing the metalworking because he is injured/has a disease

The Romance of Alexander


Medieval Story Book on Alexander on Great (Fictitious)

Historical Events

Hellenic Period

2000 BC - 338 BC

Location: Mediterranean World

Lyric Age

800 BC - 500 BC

Location: Coasts of Black Sea, Ionian Sea and Northern Aegean Sea; Southern Italy, Southern Gaul, Spain, Sicily and North Africa
- Greek geographical expansion, accompanied with Greek cultural, political, and artistic expansion.
- Causes: Land Hunger, Curiosity, Social and Political Tension

Classical Period

500 BC - 338 BC

"Peak of the Greeks"

Polis ("The City State")

400 BC
  • Polis: city and its surrounding countryside
  • Acropolis, Agora, Polis Wall
  • Government Systems: Monarchy, Oligarchy, Aristocracy, Democracy

Philip of Macedon conquers Greece

338 BC

Macedonians overpowered Greece.
Location: Greece

Philip of Macedon dies

336 BC

Assassinated with a dagger.

Alexander the Great Ruled

336 BC - 323 BC

Alexanders dies in Babylon in 323 BCE.
The Great Crusade by Alexander to capture the Eastern Mediterranean ends at the Hyphus River in India and Lasted 10 Years.

Hellenistic Period

336 BC - 146 BC

Location: Eastern Mediterranean (Persia to India)
- Alexander and The Great Crusade
- Spread of Hellenism - Greek culture, way of thinking, way of life
- 3 Chief Macedonian Officers: Ptolemy, Seleucus, Antigonus

Roman Villa/Farmstead

50 BCE

Location: Mediterranean Basin, Roman Empire

Parts of the Roman Farmstead:

  1. Domus: Lavish Residence of the Absentee Land Owner

  2. Service Areas: Working areas for food storage and processing and laborer residence

    • Attached to Domus A. Food Processing Rooms (Flour mills, Olive presses, Grape Presses) B. Cellars (Storing Grape Juice for Fermentation, Olive oil) C. Wells (Water supply) D. Courtyard (Small slumber rooms for labourers and slaves) E. Public Baths F. Latrines (Kitchens)
  3. Polygonal Walled Enclosure

    • Housing and raising livestock
  4. Villa Rustica

    • Farmland: Cultivating crops, and harvesting yield. Threshing grain.
    • Manure pits (for soil replenishment)
  5. Leisure Areas

    • Courtyards and Gardens for loitering

Sources of Information for Roman Villa:
1. Visual Evidence
- Mosaics, Frescos

  1. Textual Evidence
  2. Technical monographs by Cato, Columella, Pliny

  3. Archeological Evidence

  4. Excavation Finds

  5. Scientific Analysis Accompanied

  6. Carbonization and very arid or wet soil conditions for preserving plant remains

  7. Comparative Anthropology

Crops Grown:
- Different Soil conditions, Yields and Harvesting Periods

  1. Perennial Woody Crops (Grapevines, Olive Orchards)
  2. Higher Yield and Lifetime
  3. Remnants of Processing (fruit peels, grape skins) used as animal fodder
  4. Old trees logged down for fuel
  5. Wine and oil making

  6. Cereals (Wheats, Barley, Flaxseed)

  7. Ground in Floor as Storable Surplus

  8. Must be replanted every year

  9. Threshing to release grain

  10. Lentils, Beans and Nuts

Storage Surplus:

  • Harvest crops must be processed for preservation
  • Grain ground into flour
  • Grapes pressed into wine, dried as raisins
  • Fruits processed to jams

The Roman Empire

27 BCE - 476 CE

Location: Majority of the Mediterranean Basin

Byzantine Empire

300 CE - 1453 CE

Location: Eastern Mediterranean
300 CE: Formation of Eastern Roman Empire
1453 CE: Invasion by Ottoman Turks

Division of the Roman Empire

300 CE

Location: Mediterranean Basin
- Roman Empire divided into "Western Roman Empire" and "Eastern Roman Empire"


330 CE

Hailed as the new capital of Byzantine Empire (Prior to this, was called Byzantium)
Infrastructure Complete by 330 CE

  • Major Aqueduct System (aqueduct bridges and channels) and Cisterns (Open-air Cisterns and Closed Cisterns)

Causes: Part of Fortification (Water Reservoirs were needed in case enemy blocked water supply), To accommodate the hot seasons, poor water sources due to local geology

Valens Aqueduct Line

367 CE - 378 CE

Location: Constantinople, Byzantine Empire

  • Gravity-based water supply system
  • Valens Aqueduct bridge built to span 3rd and 4th hill

Christianity adopted as State Religion of Byzantine Empire

383 CE

Location: Eastern Mediterranean
- Christianity adopted as State Religion by Emperor Constantine

Fall of Western Roman Empire

476 CE

"Barbarian Invasions" lead to Fall of Rome.

The Rule of Emperor Justinian

527 - 565

Location: Eastern Mediterranean (Byzantium Empire)

  • Procopius: Biographer

    1. First Text: "History of the Wars"
    2. Second Text: "Secret Histories"
  • Inappropriate marriage to Prostitute Theodora

Haghia Sophia (Initial Construction)

532 CE - 537 CE

Location: Constantinople, Byzantine Empire
- Emperor Justinian employ Isidorus - Theoretical Architect
- Opened on Christmas

Reasons for Initial Failure:
1. Bricks and Mortar did not have time to settle and harden - Emperor Justinian hastened the building process
2. "Shallow Dome" build instead of "Taller Dome" = weight of dome exerted LATERALLY on walls.
Lateral stress caused walls to topple down.

Civil war between "Blues" and "Greens"

532 CE - January 5, 0532

Location: Constantinopole, Byzantium Empire

  • "Blue" = Upper and middle class, devout Christians
  • "Greens" = working class, radical thinkers
  • Destroys much of Constantinople
  • on 5th day, Justinian commits mass slaughter of civilians in Hippodrome

Basilica Cistern

541 CE

Location: Constantinopole, Byzantine Empire

Closed cistern commissioned to be built by Emperor Justinian after the Civil War
- "Ruins" of Constantinople from the Civil War were used in Construction = SPOLIA
- Waterproof mortar were used to construct brick walls
- Medusa Head Columns positioned sideways or upside down = MESSAGE by Romans of disbelief in Greek Religion

Haghia Sophia Fails

558 CE

Location: Constantinople, Byzantine Empire
- Rebuilt by Isidorus's Nephew, but "Shallow Dome" fixed with "Taller Dome"

  • Haghia Sophia fails two more times (989 CE and 1346 CE)

Gutenberg Printing Press in Use

1450 CE - 1800 CE

Location: Europe

Printing Process:
1. Type chase for holding movable types
2. A hinged frame to Type chase (Tymphan) for inserting printing paper
3. Platen - applies pressure, part of screw press

Historical Figures


400 BC
  • Historian of Science and Technology (Eqyptian Pyramids)
  • Storytelling about the Scythians and their poison Scythion


300 BC
  • Greek Engineer and Mathematician Location: Greece


300 BC

Location: Syracuse, Sicily (Center for Science and Philosophy)
- Called himself a "Mathematician"
- 2-D and 3-D Geometry
- Archimedes' Principle for finding the volume of a complex 3D object
- Archimedes' Water Screw (Eqypt), Archimedes' Claw
- Archimedes' Compound Pulley System (Single Fixed Pulley vs. Single Movable Pulley)

Decrease Applied Force = Decrease Height of Elevation = Increase Length of Rope Pulled


200 BC
  • Physician who invented "Pocket Clepsydras" to measure Pulse accurately


200 BC

Greek Inventor and Engineer
Dual piston powered water pump


150 BC

Farmer who wrote a technological monograph on Roman Agriculture:
- Collection of facts, ideas and advice on Agriculture (e.g. Accommodation of Labourers - Food rationing,
wine supplement, and clothing; Conditions for Farmland)
- Abrupt and Disorganized - Confusing


70 BC
  • Historian of Greek and Roman Rulers


50 BC


10 BCE
  • Historian on Aqueduct System

Hero of Alexandria

10 AD

Pliny the Elder

20 CE
  • Encyclopaedist

Wrote "Natural History":
- Book on Medicinal and Poisonous Plants
- Encyclopedia that Pliny continually updated throughout his life
- Written in Latin

Poisonous Plants:
1. Hellebore
- Vomits of dangerous colors
- Muscle cramps (included Heart Attacks)
- used to lower BP (but risky)

  1. Aconite (Monkshood)

    • Paralysis of the Nervous System (Internal Organ Functioning ceases, Unable to move limbs)
    • Low dose to treat neuralgia
  2. Henbane

    • Unpleasant Smell
    • Psychosis, Violent seizures of the brain
    • Anesthetic - numb the sensory receptors (Ancient - Kidney stones operations)


20 CE

Wrote technological monograph on Roman Agriculture:
- Described Parts of Roman Farmstead, Food Processing and Food storage.
- Meticulous and very well organized, highly fluid


100 CE

Wrote "On the Characteristics of Animals"
- Written in Greek
- On both poisonous plants and animals

John of Arderne

1307 - 1376

Location: England

  • Battlefield Surgeon concerned with the treatment of Amputated Limbs
  • Focused on Herbal Medicine (Example: Spring Bulb)
  • Wrote Medieval Medical Manuscripts

Johannes Gutenberg

1390 CE - 1468 CE

Location: Mainz

  • Invented Movable Type Printing Press
  • Invented oil-based ink to compliment

Paper and Printing in the Ancient and Medieval World

First Occurrence of Writing

3500 BC

Writing during the Roman Period (Centuries Later):
- Parchments
- Wax Tablets

Early Paper used by the Chinese

200 BCE

Location: Chinese
Early Paper used was a form of "Rag Paper"

Invention of Paper in China

105 CE

Location: China
- T'sai Lun
- Paper sources (cellulose-rich): Bark of mulberry tree, fabricated plant fibers (fish nets), plant fibers (hemp, grass), clothing rags (cotton, flaxseed)

Full-Page Block Printing

300 CE - 500 CE

Location: China

  • Incised Stones (Negative Prints) *300 CE

  • Relief Wood Blocks (Positive Prints) *500CE

Paper-making Process reaches Persians

700 CE

Location: Persia
- Chinese soldier captives reveal Paper-making Process to Persian Captors

Movable Type Printing by Chinese using WATER-BASED INK

1050 CE - 1300 CE

Location: China
- Wax and resin based movable types, Wooden movable types
- Movable type: held the relief of a single character

Laid Paper Mold

1100 CE

Location: Europe

Paper-making Process reaches Europeans

1100 CE

Location: Europe (Italy, Spain)

  • Paper Sources: clothing rags only (rag paper)

  • Invention of Water-powered Stamping mill

  • Paper-making process:

  1. Preparation of Pulp

    • 3 Sets of Water-powered stampers
  2. Paper Molding

    • Laid Mold vs. Wove Mold
    • Vatman and Coucher
  3. Paper Pressing

    • Initial Pressing (Required Felt Sheets in Post)
    • Successive Pressings
    • Coucher and Laymen
  4. Paper Drying

    • Drying Lofts
    • Spurs of Paper

Movable Type Printing by Gutenberg using OIL-BASED INK

1450 CE

Location: Mainz, Germany

  • Making a movable type: Steel metal punch, Copper Mould, Standard Type Mould, Typecast
  • Metal movable types (Antimony, Lead, and Tin)
  • Oil-based ink was invented (ink that could adhere to metal movable types)
  • Gutenberg Printing Press

First Book Printed: The Bible

1455 CE

Location: Mainz

Wove Paper Mold

1700 CE

Location: Europe
- Invented by John Baskerville