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Global Thematic: Technology Essay

History has seen its fair share of technological innovations that were significant and impactful to the people and society of that time period. These advancements in technology brought about monumental changes, for good and for worse. An example of a noteworthy innovation was Johann Gutenberg’s printing press. During the Renaissance, the printing press played a key role in the spreading of new ideas. The use of roads was a technological innovation as well.

During the reign of the Roman Empire, roads impacted humankind in multiple aspects of life, such as trade and transportation. After the study of the printing press during the Renaissance, and roads of the Roman Empire, one could make an argument that each was a significant technological innovation and had effects on their respective time periods.

The printing press, invented by Johannes Guttenberg, was a technological advancement that had effects on humankind throughout history. Specifically, during the Renaissance, the printing press was impactful on society through the spreading of ideas. The Renaissance, literally “rebirth,” was a time period in which Europe flourished culturally and economically. In this golden age, philosophers, writers, and other thinkers expressed ideas that were revolutionary to society. Humanism and individualism were big parts of Renaissance thinking.

A positive effect of the printing press, these ideas were spread to the public. Martin Luther expressed revolutionary ideas in his 95 Theses, thanks to the printing press. Furthermore, books became plentiful. The printing press catalyzed literacy, since works of literature were no longer a scarcity. Knowledge exploded as every corner of realms of thinking were explored and documented. The printing press, without a doubt, was an innovation of technology that impacted humankind during the Renaissance.

An additional advancement in technology was the use of roads. The Roman Empire, a vast kingdom of lands including Europe, North Africa, and Asia Minor, all located around the Mediterranean, was connected through a network of roads. Covering thousands of miles, dirt trails wouldn’t work. The Romans engineered road by laying down large sheets of rock or bricks, fitting them together like puzzle pieces to form a flat surface for trade and transportation.

Wheel ruts wouldn’t be present, so travel was possible all year round no matter the weather. During a time period under Augustus Caesar known as Pax Romana, the Romans experienced 200 years of peace, in which trade flourished, cultural aspects of Rome thrived. The entire Mediterranean region was united and stable, thanks to an unwavering road system. A strong central government was able to protect its people and spread its ways to lands far from the center.

The Twelve Tables were able to influence people from Europe, North Africa, and Southwest Asia, all because of perfectly engineered roads. A prosperous Roman Empire was able to provide a high standard of living to its people through booming trade, security provided by Roman legions, and a uniform law code. Roads in the Roman Empire were most certainly a crucial technological advancement to its time period.

Technological innovations have marked their spots in history, two being the printing press and roads. Humankind and society alike have been impacted by these advancements. The printing press was a driving force in the Renaissance, spreading ideas. Renaissance thinking such as humanism and individualism were spread, and literacy boomed.

Roads were also a huge technological innovation. In the Roman Empire, roads were the network connecting the empire, making Pax Romana possible. Roman culture spread, and economies boomed. Following the study of the printing press and roads, and their effects on their respective time periods, one could verify the fact that technological advancements have had effects on humankind and society.


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