Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Pondering the Roman economy

Before the 3rd century AD the Roman world was mining and smelting metals on a scale which wasn’t matched until the 18th century. Samian production easily outstripped that of the potteries in the 17th century. In fact given that the steam engine was known in the ancient world the Roman train could have been technologically feasible. The conditions were so close to the 18th century. Obviously why the Romans didn’t have an industrial revolution is a main theme that researchers like to worry at, but there is the interesting implication that the Roman world managed this without the aid of the printing press as a means for information dissemination. It may be worth think about how many books were available in the Roman world, how quickly they were disseminated and how they were mass produced and what the implications are for the role of information dissemination in development of technology.

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