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According to Greek historical tradition, India received water-mills from the Roman Empire in the early 4th century AD when a certain Metrodoros introduced "water-mills and baths, unknown among them [the Brahmans] till then".An Afghan water mill photographed during the Second Anglo-Afghan War (1878-1880).

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Reynolds suggests that the first water wheels were Norias and, by the 2nd century BC, evolved into the vertical watermill in Syria and Asia Minor, from where it spread to ancient Greece and the Roman Empire. Lewis assigns the date of the invention of the horizontal-wheeled mill to the Greek colony of Byzantium in the first half of the 3rd century BC, and that of the vertical-wheeled mill to Ptolemaic Alexandria around 240 BC.Although to date only a few dozen Roman mills are archaeologically traced, the widespread use of aqueducts in the period suggests that many remain to be discovered.Recent excavations in Roman London, for example, have uncovered what appears to be a tide mill together with a possible sequence of mills worked by an aqueduct running along the side of the River Fleet.They also seem to be indicated about the same time by the Christian saint Gregory of Nyssa from Anatolia, demonstrating a diversified use of water-power in many parts of the Roman Empire.The Romans used both fixed and floating water wheels and introduced water power to other provinces of the Roman Empire.

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