7 Modern Things We Have Thanks to Ancient Times
Today we have many inventions that we can’t imagine living without. Most of those things are considered innovations of the modern age, but their origins can be traced back to our ancient ancestors. Some inventions from the ancient era were so controversial that they couldn’t be accepted because of the limitations of the time. However, over time they became a part of the everyday routine and shaped the world we know today.
To show you how much ancient society has influenced our modern life, Bright Side brings you a list of 7 ancient inventions that we still use today.
1. Fast food restaurants existed in Pompeii.
We usually think of fast-food restaurants as modern inventions. It turns out that street food was present in ancient times as well. Archaeologists studying Pompeii recently discovered a Roman version of fast food restaurant called a thermopolium. Typical dishes included duck, salty fish, baked cheese, and honey-roasted rodents. Today, visitors cannot enjoy delicacies from the ancient era, but they can walk through the site and admire the fresco paintings.
2. Makeup originates from ancient Egypt.
The history of makeup dates back to ancient times — it came into use around 4,000 BCE. Ancient Egyptians used to make makeup from natural ingredients, like malachite, kohl, red ochre, or henna. The time-consuming process of preparation included mixing the minerals into a powder and then combining them with a binder ingredient — usually animal fat. However, makeup wasn’t used solely for aesthetical purposes, like it is today. Namely, Egyptians believed that it offered them protection against evil since eyes without makeup were more vulnerable to the Evil Eye.
3. Alarm clocks were invented in ancient Greece.
We are so used to technology that we probably cannot imagine how we would wake up in the morning without setting the alarm on our mobile phones. On the other side, people in the past used to get up at sunrise and sometimes they had to wake up before that. That’s why the Greek philosopher Plato made the first version of an alarm clock. He used a water clock, a popular clock in Ancient Greece, with an added feature. To announce the beginning of his lectures at dawn, Plato attached whistles that produced a sound similar to a water organ.
4. The oldest door locks were made by the ancient Egyptians.
The oldest door lock was made around 4,000 BCE by Egyptians. Ancient locks were similar to pin-tumbler locks but much bigger than those we use today — sometimes reaching up to 2 feet in length. And in contrast to the latter locks that were made out of wood and metal, ancient Egyptians used only wood, even for their keys.
5. Ancient Romans had central heating.
Central heating dates back to ancient Rome. A hypocaust is a system of central heating that produces and circulates hot air through pipes below the floor. The heat was produced by a fire. According to archaeologists’ findings, this heating system was present in baths and upper-class homes.
6. Sumerians developed the first writing system.
Even though we use modern and simplified letters today, we should thank Sumerians for inventing the first writing system. In the beginning, written communication came down to simple pictures called pictographs. As the human need for writing down more abstract ideas grew, people started combining pictographs into more complex symbols. Through the centuries, the writing system continued to evolve and today we have what we call a modern alphabet.
7. Old Greeks used to make pancakes for breakfast.
According to analyses of starch grains on 30,000-year-old grinding tools, scientists supposed that Stone Age cooks were making flour and mixing it with water to make something similar to a pancake mixture. However, the first recorded mention of pancakes dates back to ancient Greece. Greek physicist Galen wrote many books on medicine and health, but one of them is focused on diet. It turns out that pancakes are not a typical American breakfast as it’s often thought today — according to Galen’s writings, ancient Greeks also enjoyed this sweet breakfast.
Can you imagine life without these inventions? Do you know of any other ways that ancient society shaped modern life?