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Science, Technology and Society in the Middle Ages

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Danna Mei Arguelles

on 1 January 2016

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Transcript of Science, Technology and Society in the Middle Ages

Science, Technology and Society in the Middle Ages
Science and Technology in China
Science and Technology in Arabia
Science and Technology in Europe
The Feudal System
The economy of the Middle Ages from the 5th century may be described as feudal. From 11th-14th centuries, the feudal system appears to be fully developed in Europe with its religious and political hierarchies and corresponding science,technology and art.
The Medieval Towns
These towns lived by exchanging new manufactured goods through guilds of handicraftsmen. The establishment of these towns was of crucial importance because it was from them that eventually were to come the bourgeois class to found capitalism.
The Church in the Middle Ages
It was the order and unity of the church that counteracted the anarchic tendency of the nobles providing in the process a common base of authority. The church was an essential part of the feudal system.
Universities and Scholastics
The first and most famous of these was the University in Paris in 1160. In the 11th century A.D.,medical school had been existence in Salermo. These universities which were more general and systematic in their teaching mode soon acquired a special place as repositories of learning.
The Impact of Greek and Arab Knowledge
The period from the 10th-14th century was a unitary Arabic-Latin effort to reconcile religion and natural philosophy or science.
The Medieval Science
The medieval static rational science flourished onlyin the 12th-13th century and by the early 15th century lapsed into obscurity. It was expected to give a share in justifying the divine order of the universe whose main features were given by revelation supported by reason.
The Medieval Synthesis and Medieval World-Picture
The rediscovered works of Aristotle and Pythagoras taught in the medieval universities influenced the way medieval thinkers looked at the world. Later, theologians such as Thomas Aquinas in 1250 A.D. wedded the overall beliefs of Aristotle with the basic teachings of the church, with emotionally and intellectually satisfying results.
Technology in the Middle Ages Europe
The advances in technology during the Middle Ages were made possible by the exploitation and evelopment of discoveries and inventions of the following:
New Horse Harness
This innovation came from the 7th century A.D.. China reaching Europe early in the 11th century,resulting in the horse taking the place of oxen at the plough.
Water-mill and Windmill
Watermill was invented in Stone Age. It was,however olnly in the Middle Ages that it came to be used widely. From the start, it was an integral part of the feudal economy. By using a suitable mechanism, it's rotary motion could be converted to reciprocal motion making it a source of general power.
Clock and Watch
Just like the horse-collar, the clock and watch seemed to have come from China,though it was developed into the present form in Europe. In the 11th century, an ingenious mechanism was devised which imparted a to-and-fro motion,thus the mechanical clock was born.
The Mariner's Magnetic Compass
The ability of a natural magnet to show direction was known to the Chinese several centuries ago or aboutthe 6th century A.D., before it passed to the West or Europe. Such a piece of magnet on magnetized iron showing direction was the traditional compass.
The sternpost rudder apparently came also from China. This led to the development of the sail that could be adjusted such that ship voyages could be made in the rougher weather. This,together with the compass made open sea voyages feasible and threw the oceans open to exploration for the first time.
The Sternpost Rudder
Lenses with Spectacles
The discovery of lenses resulted in the invention of spectacles in Italy around 1350 A.D.. This gave impetus to the study of light or optics. The demand for spectacles gave rise to lens grinding/trading and spectacle-making.
Gunpowder and Cannon
Of all inventions introduced to Europein the Middle Ages gunpowder of Chinese origin was to have the greatest effect scientifically, politically and economically. Their use was initiated a technical revolution in warfare comparable only to what happened at the start of the Iron Age.
Paper and paper-making originated from China based on vegetable fibers. It was already widely used in China as a cheap writing material in the first century B.C.. It was introduced in Europe through the Arabs in the 12th century.
Like paper, printing originated from China using movable wooden type. It was introduced in Europe in the middle of the 15th century A.D. and spread extraordianry and rapidly for books.
Distillation and Alcohol
The first preparation of strong spirits of wine was made in the 12th century. As the distillation of perfumes and oil was already known, alcohol was probably produced by accident in the course of some medical preparation.
Medicine in the Middle Ages
The superstition and dogmatism after the fall of Rome flourished throughout the middle ages. Astrology ruled prognosis, diagnosis was largely limited to inspection the urine. Medical learning was devoted to the study of ancient authorative texts. Therapy was through prayer, magic, charms, amulets and faith healing. Various herbs were used widely. Hygiene and sanitation were at very low level.
The Interaction of Medieval Technology and Medieval Economy
The development of technology in the early part of the Middle Ages influenced the economy and ideas of the late Middle Ages. Over the countryside mproved production and transport increased surplus of the village and the amount of consumption of manufacturers which was dominated by town of merchants.
The first civilization in China emerged independently in the fertilized river valleys of Huang Ho and Yangtze rivers. China was much more efficient and productive in applying knowledge of nature to practical purposes than the European West. There were several great important extraordinary inventions and technological advances that appeared first in China hundred of years before they found their way to Europe.
Paper making started in 140 B.C. but was officially used in writing starting in 105 A.D.. Paper was also used for clothing, wall decor, artwork and even in toilet.
A bronze vessel with pendulum sensitive to vibration was invented to detect earthquakes in the 2nd century A.D.
Motion of solid objects was thought to be caused by force and cessation of motion due to obstacle. They believe that weight is force. They were aware that convex mirror gives only virtual image and concave mirror and inverted real image.
Physical Theories
According to Tsou Yen, the five elements were: earth, fire, metal,water, and wood. Good in man in nature and society is due to equilibrium between Yan and Yin. No distinction between mind and matter.

Science lags behind technology. It was qualitative and dynamic.
World View
Organicist views are which every phenomenon was connected with every other according to hierarchical order.
The ancient Chinese expressed numbers decimally analytically. Decimal place-value and a blank space for zero had begun in China earlier than anywhere else in the ancient world together with the metrology.
Official astronomer's main task was to predict the government fortunes. They developed calendars within 365 and 1/4 days in a year and divided circle similarly in to 365 and 1/4 degrees.
Medicine and Biology
The ancient Chinese believed that diseases are caused by excess of 6 chhih (breathe): heat, cold, wind, rain, light and darkness, physicians prsecribed exercise, hydrotherapy and wine anesthesia.
Engineering in particular mechanical engineering was a field in which ancient or classical Chinese triumphs, harness of animals and water-power for grinding and operation of metallurgical bellows were invented.
Gun Powder
Gun powder appeared around 9th century A.D., followed by vigorous development of explosive weapons from 1040 A.D., about 3 centuries before it appeared in Europe.
Printing Press
Wooden block printing was done in China around 700 A.D.. In 1020 A.D., the first movable-type printer made from pottery was developed. Mass printing of paper money and Confucian work were made around 1200 A.D..
Magnetic Compass and Stern-Post Rudder
The magnetic compass and the invention of stern-post rudder in 6th century A.D. predated modern ships by centuries.
Science and Technology in India
Indian ancient science history can be classified into a.)proto-historical b.)period of contact with Babylonians and Greeks around 2500 B.B. and c.)period of interactions with Romans. They divided the year into 360 days with 12 months. They considered as elements: fire, earth, water, wind and space. Their medicine was based in nature and ignored supernatural diseases.
During the Middle Ages, the Arabs absorbed and preserved much work of the Ancient Greek Philosophers. In the 8th century A.D., the science and technology they encountered during their conquests were digested and then enriched by their own investigations. The 9th-10th centuries A.D. were period of learning, research and translations.
Astronomy was considered the most noble,exalted and beautiful science. They noted precession of the equinoxes; they made observations of the sun and the planets that led to the adoption of Neo-Platonic model. They used astronomy as an aid in navigation.
The Arabic mathematics was superior to that of Greeks and Indians. They had tables for trigonometric functions such as sine,cosine and tangent.
The Arabic science was the heir of Hellenistic science during the middle ages. The works of Galen, Prolemy and Erasthosthenes among others were acknowledged. The influenced of the Greek sciences were tempered with those of Indian and Persians ideas, however, the framework of Arabis science was exclusively Greek.
Mechanics and Optics
Al-Khazami studied center of gravity and equilibrium as thought by Aristotle and Archimedes.; weight of a substance, spring balances, pulleys, linear and circular motions, automatic machines, mirrors,creflection, rafraction, plane and spherical mirrors.
All natural phenomena could be explained by the 4 Ancient Greek elements: fire,earth,air and water with the 4 qualities of hot,cold,dry and wet.
Diagnostic was based on elemental balance of heat,coldness,palness,redness,emaciation,fatness,pulse-beat and color or urine. Physician excelled in the treatment of the eye's diseases. Pulmonary circulation was discovered by Al-Nafis in the 13th century.
Some Science and Technology advances in the Middle Ages
In 600 A.D., the first windmills was built in Iran.
In 700 A.D., printing with wood blocks was started in China.
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