Antikythera Mechanism

Antikythera Mechanism

This here is the Antikythera Mechanism. Discovered along the coast off the Greek Island of Antikythera in 1902 by archaeologist Valerios Staiswas; the Antikythera Mechanism was found in the wreckage of a Roman ship believed to have sunk around 60 BC. The device itself dates back to 85 BC and recent studies suggest that it might be even older, and could be from about 150 BC.

The Antikythera Mechanism is the world’s first analogue computer and studies have suggested that its most likely use was to chart the movement of the sun, moon and planets, predict lunar and solar eclipses and even signal the next Olympic Games. This two millennium old device was also a calculator and could add, subtract, multiply and divide as well as being able to display the position of the sun and the moon in the zodiac. Apparently, the device also had a fortune telling aspect.

A very sophisticated device for its time, the Mechanism had thirty gears housed in a shoebox sized wooden and bronze case. The gears allowed for complex calculations otherwise virtually impossible without the Mechanism.

Today marks the 115th anniversary of the discovery of the Mechanism, most likely built in the island of Rhodes and most likely not one of a kind, although no others have ever been found. There has been numerous references to such devices in the pages of classical literature dating from 300 BC to 500 AD.

The device is a technological wonder and some its components are as intricate as eighteenth century locks. And although there were inscriptions on the device (about its workings and so), its technological and mechanical complexity was lost for at least another thousand years. Today’s Google Doodle pays an homage to the Antikythera Mechanism – from one technological marvel to another!

Antikythera Mechanism

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