Windmill with wooden sails

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a windwheel operating an organ, described by Hero of Alexandria in 1 AD.
mosaic from the Church of San Vitale,Ravenna, thought to depict Belisarius
horizontal mill
Windmills – history I

There are thousands of redundant wind-engines in Mallorca including hundreds of flour windmills, thousands of water pumping mills plus watermills and animal-powered mills and devices. Although there are no rivers on the Island, seasonal steams flow in the northern range and once drove primitive horizontal water wheels.

Known to date back to 3000 BC, these horizontal flour waterwheel mills were gradually replaced by vertical machines at the beginning of the first century AD. In Mallorca, however, where there were some two hundred of the former at the time of the Christian Conquest in 1229, these were not replaced until the eighteenth century. Up to then, the cheaper sources of power continued to be men and animals.

The earliest horizontal wheels were most likely brought to the Islands by the Moors, unrivalled in their hydraulic expertise, or by the Romans, who had seven grades of flour or wheat products, ranging from the whitest of the richest to the brownest of the poor.

Belisarius, the Roman general who sent Apollinarius to rid Mallorca of the Vandals in 534, was defending a besieged Rome, three years later, when the Goths cut off the city water supplies. Belisarius ordered floating mills installed near the Tiber bridges whose piers accelerated the current. Two rows of boats were anchored with waterwheels suspended above them. Its success was such that it was soon copied all over Europe.

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