Roman and Han Attitudes Towards Technology
The Roman Empire and The Han Dynasty both had positive views on technology. (Doc. 1, 3, 4, 6, and 8) However there were also people who were against it (Doc. 2, 5, and 7). Although this is true, China was much more open and positive towards technological advancements, while Rome was more of a class-divided society, which in turn causes the general opinion on technology and advancements to be low.
It should be noted that all of the documents herein are sourced from men who are wealthy and or government officials. In order to correctly state each society’s views, there should be a document sourced from a woman, a minority, and or a lower class citizen. For example, in Doc. 7, an upper-class roman philosopher and advisor to Emperor Nero, stated “...invented by someone with a mind that was nimble and sharp, but not great or elevated.” When referring to the hammer and the tongs, his point of view is that rather than making something meaningful, they use their sharp mind for making manual labor easier thus encouraging laziness. As an upper-classmen he is paying for the manual labor and not for his workers to be doing the easiest job they can find. Therefore, until we have one additional document for each society, we cannot truly understand Rome and China’s complete views on technology.
Several people from both Rome and China who were sourced believed technology was very important. A Han government official from early second century B.C.E. (Doc. 1) had a very positive attitude towards technology because he believed that it was only beneficial to society. He writes, “I request that you establish water conservation offices in each district and staff them with people who are experienced in the ways of water.” He not only suggests the need for these offices, he requests them. His point of view is that technology, especially when it comes to flood control, is important for China.
Another source who was for technology was...