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Han and Roman attitudes towards technology in the late BCE and early CE pointed towards two main categories, positive and negative.
The Majority of the documents had positive attitudes towards technology because of its obvious benefits to the author’s cities. Documents 1 and 8 show government officials in charge of water technology. Both show obvious support for the technology they are associated with, preventing floods or creating aqueducts for their cities. Also, their jobs require them to use technology so they must have an appreciation for it.
Documents 3 and 4 describe times when the technology used to help citizens direct their water to help productivity.
It is shown that both government and philosophers see a benefit of technology in society, clearly improving productivity for their whole country. Lastly, Document 6 shows Plutarch, a high government official, writing of the creation of roads that helped the mobility of horses, the organization of cities, and beauty of the land.
On the other hand, few documents show points of view seeing technology in a negative light.
Document 2 shows a govt. official describing the bad quality of technology because of lack of workers and quality labor. He also states that the lack of quality technology causes an increase in the iron and salt prices, resulting in lack of seasoning for the peasants’ food and lack of strong tools for farming. Documents 5 and 7 show two Roman upper classman opposed to technology because they believe inventors and craftsment lack wisdom and enlightenment.
Their were two main point of view that could have affected the bias of the documents’ position on the matter.
The first is shown in documents 1 and 8 where the sources are men with an occupation in technological work. This means they must have started with an appreciation for it. Also, the more they advertised the ideas of their technologies, the better the business was for them, making them more wealthy and important, thus more powerful. The second point of view comes from positions of very high power and little knowledge of the use of technology. Shown in documents 5 and 7 are two sources that have very high positions in their society where they lack experience and knowledge of the uses of technology. Had they known more and had first hand experience with tools and different crafts, they might have a better appreciation for such “vulgar” jobs.
Looking over the documents, it is made obvious that all the document come from high class citizens fiving us no perspective from the less wealthy. Had we gotten a document from a lower class citizen, we would then be able to draw info on how technology affected the larger part of societies. Also, all the sources come from male citizens fiving us no knowledge of the effect it technology had on the women. Perhaps their household lives were affected greatly by the creation of tools, an area of daily lives men of the upper class would have no knowledge of. The majority of attitude towards technology during the Han dynasty and Roman Empire reasonably was positive, but the portion of negative responses lay mostly in areas of lack of knowledge on the subject.
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