Technology in the Han and Roman empires had come a long way since earlier times. However, some of the people of these great states seemed to take this for granted. At least that was the attitude I got from three of the documents provided. But, mostly the attitude was positive. From the perspective of these government officials and philosophers, I perceived an attitude that ranged from very positive to openly negative. ?Two of the negative documents came from upper-class leaders. Document two, the only negative view from the Han dynasty, and Document 5, from a Roman political leader.
A Han government official complains of the crude and dysfunctional tools workers were required to use in the second document. In early times, tools were manufactured by individual families and were well made, but when they monopolized salt and iron trades their tools were provided for them. Those tools were very hard and brittle, and no official was available to take complaints. The fifth documents’ author complains of the jobs these tools were used for. He states that the jobs hired workers take on are vulgar and unbecoming to gentlemen, and complains that their labor is purchased rather than their skill.
He also thought that all craftsmen spent time in vulgar occupations and no workshops were enlightening. ?Documents three and seven were both written by philosophers with contrasting views. The third document was written by a Han philosopher, who speaks of the benefit of the pestle and mortar. He explains how when animal power was added, efficiency and benefit increased ten times, and then a hundredfold when water power was added. The seventh document was written by a Roman philosopher, who unlike the Han philosopher was negative.
He believed that tools for crafts were not invented by wise men, nor did they have great or elevated minds, even if they were nimble and sharp. ?Documents one and four were both Han government based and focused on planning. A government official in document one writes a plan to local officials concerning flood prevention. The plan is more neutral than positive, but it has absolutely nothing negative about it. He requests water conservation offices staffed with experienced workers, including one high official and one deputy.
He also orders inspections to be carried out, and enough workers to repair any damage found. Document four describes Tu Shih, who was appointed governor of Nanyang. He was a generous and peaceful man known for his good planning. That planning destroyed evil-doers and established his dignity. He also invented a water powered blowing engine for casting iron and agricultural implements that allowed people to enjoy little labor. This invention was widely adapted and used. ?Documents six and eight from the Roman view were also positive.
They focus on the excellence of Roman road building and aqueducts. The roads spoken of in document six carried straight through the country without wavering in their grace and beauty. It goes into detail with the process of building the roads and the careful planning it took to make them. Document eight promotes the numerous and indispensable structures that made up the aqueducts. They flowed into the city at different elevations, providing a volume of water not only sufficient for public and private use, but for pleasure as well.
They are put opposite to the pyramids and famous works of the Greeks, which seem idle and useless in comparison. ?Based on the documents provided, the attitude was mostly positive. Saying this is the attitude of the whole state though would be incorrect. To analyze that I would need to have a few documents from the point of view of a common person instead of just this select group of people. This select group seemed pretty happy with their technology, and even though some people may have opposed it, the majority had something positive to say.