Lighting the Ancient World - Research Article from Science and Its Times

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Lighting the Ancient World

Overview

Until the nineteenth century—ironically, on the eve of the light bulb's invention—methods of lighting remained more or less unchanged since earliest antiquity. Three forms of lighting existed, in order of their appearance: torches, lamps, and candles, all of which used animal fat or, in the case of lamps in the most advanced ancient societies, vegetable oil. Thus people thousands of years ago rolled back the darkness, not only of night, but of remote places far from the Sun.

Background

In the characteristic abode of prehistoric man, the cave, light remained a necessity at all hours, because typically the Sun's illumination did not penetrate the rocky depths of these homes. Though popular belief pictures fire and the wheel as more or less simultaneous discoveries—give or take a few thousand years—in fact the wheel only...

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This section contains 1,516 words
(approx. 6 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Lighting the Ancient World Encyclopedia Article
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Science and Its Times
Lighting the Ancient World from Science and Its Times. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.