Attitudes Towards Technology in the Han and Roman Empires

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Attitudes Towards Technology in the Han and Roman Empires
DBQ 2

Technology is always changing. New ideas are being introduced, and innovations to current technologies are always taking place. Some may see changes in technology as a vital and helpful thing, while others may oppose. Upperclassmen’s attitudes toward technology, especially advancements within technology, in the Han Empire, were very approving and encouraging. In the Roman Empire, the majority of upperclassmen’s attitudes toward technology were very supportive, as long as the technology or advancement was invented by someone of a highly philosophical mind.

Roman upperclassmen in general had positive attitudes towards technology, as well as innovations in technology. Some higher classmen, however, looked highly upon themselves, and felt like anything not originating from their minds or hands was below them. Some philosophers had the attitude that anything they did not invent was only mediocre and sufficient, instead of excellent and great. (Doc. 7) Along with that, some upper class political leaders believed that it was vulgar and degrading of any man to be employed in any field of labor. (Doc. 5) I placed these documents in a group together because of the fact that both of the authors of the documents had extremely opinionated outlooks on technology formed by lower classmen. Both authors stated in their documents that anything created by a lower classman was only mediocre in comparison to improvements in technology created by a higher classman like a philosopher. Therefore, their attitudes toward technology was positive...as long as it was created by a man higher up in society.

In Document 7, an upper-class Roman philosopher and adviser to Emperor Nero named Seneca expresses that any tools created by men who are not philosophers are mediocre and insignificant. His point of view is that he feels that the minds that did create the current technological advances in tools were nimble and sharp,...
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