Friday, March 30, 2012

Engineering an Empire – Greece

Greece, which was one of the greatest empires in the history, was a wonderful territory with their amazing engineering capability along with the creativity.  Greeks were rich in military power, wealth as well as knowledge. According to the documentary of “Engineering an Empire-Greece”, this empire was a great example for applications of the engineering and technological knowledge.
As a result of the geographical factors such as rocky mountains and the sea, ancient Greece was divided in to separate city states which were governed by the officials of each city states such as Sparta, Athens, Samos and Thebes. There were lots of ups and downs in this system.  On one hand, these city states were powerful in many aspects and they were more like separate countries. On the other hand, they struggled with each other except uniting as a country. Accordingly, Themistocles was one of the outstanding persons who aimed to defend for Persian armies who were excellent at battling on land. His engineering skills lead the Greece to have a strong naval power in Europe designing fleets which were more like war machines. A fleet was about 150 feet long sailed using 170 rowers in three levels in the ship. There were sixty-four, fifty-four and fifty-two rowers in first row, second row and third row, respectively. These missile shaped ships were powerful enough to defeat about two hundred Persian ships with forty Greek fleets giving a victory to Greece in the battle of Salamis.
Greeks were influenced their architectural engineering ability from their ancestors. According to the legends, Greeks were descended from Mycenaean. They have erected monumental tombs with perfectly assembled heavy stone bricks. The lion’s gate, which was seen at the entrance including two lions looking at the sky, was one of the most prominent examples for their talent in architecture. It is a monument which symbolizes the power of the Mycenae. Moreover, they have used an amazing structure to build the tombs.  These tombs were consisted of a massive door way and orderly arranged circular bricks shaping a roof in a conical outline. They were designed to enhance the ability to bear and to maintain the pressure inside and outside of the tomb in order to last them for a long time. Hence, we can still evidences of the superiority of the nation. Furthermore, Polycrates who was the dictator of another city state which was called Samos created a wonderful irrigation system to supply water to the city from a fountain across the mount Castro. Polycrates’ talented engineer designed a marvelous tunnel system,  in which all tunnels get together at the center of the mountain.  This invention was improved using mathematical theories including Pythagorean Theorem. In addition, Samos also had a powerful navy. Consequently, Athens had become a super power in the world at that time excelling military, technology, and in all other aspects.  The erected the monumental building to worship the Goddess Athena who is the God for wisdom.  The white marbled temple dedicated to the Goddess Athena was one of the instances to illustrate the architectural advancement of the nation and also the prominence of the Greeks. It’s the Parthenon temple which had used magnificent engineering techniques to erect the columns in white marbles. They had used simple cranes to transport weighty marbles. That’s how the engineers of the ancient Greece made monumental structures to last long.
In conclusion, Greeks were influenced by enormous and magnificent knowledge and talent in engineering in order to build a powerful nation. They had used their abilities in various manners to make their country proud. Moreover, their technological and architectural talent had even laid the foundation to the modern engineering in building strong structures and improving various systems that are necessary for modern man.

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