What is the Antikythera Mechanism?

What is the Antikythera Mechanism?

It is 2000 year old, the world’s first analogical computer, used by ancient Greeks to chart the movement of the sun, moon and planets, predict lunar and solar eclipses and even signal the next Olympic Games, also used to track the four-year cycle of athletic games which was similar to an Olympiad.

The Antikythera mechanism was recovered from the sea in 1901, and was recognized as a gear wheel by archaeologist Valerios Stais on May 17, 1902.

At first glimpse, the piece of brass found near the wreck looks like something you might come across in a junkyard or hanging on the wall of a maritime-themed dive bar. What continues to be of the mechanism is a set of corroded brass gears placed into a rotting wooden box.

Its construction depended on concepts of astronomy and mathematics formulated by Greek astronomers during the second century BC, and it is approximated to have been made in the late second century BC or the early first century BC.

The Antikythera mechanism had the first known set of scientific dials or scales, and its great importance was acknowledged when radiographic images displayed that the remaining fragments contained 30 gear wheels.

Antikythera Mechanism YouTube

The Antikythera mechanism was made of bronze plate, and originally it would have been in a case about the size of a shoebox. The doors of the case and the faces of the mechanism are covered with Greek inscriptions, and it is clearly inscribed with the letters in the Churches to refer to the manufacturer’s astronomical or calendrical as much as the step of declaring, that with purpose.

It is assumed that a hand-turned shaft, which was connected by a crown gear to the main gear wheel, that forced the further gear trains, with each revolution of the main gear wheel corresponding to one solar year. It is a complicated clockwork mechanism made up of at least 30 meshing bronze gears.

The Antikythera mechanism is the only known physical survivor of mechanical astronomical representations of long tradition.

The Antikythera Mechanism Research Project, under the aegis of Greece’s Hellenic Ministry of Culture, facilitates an international collaborative effort and hard work by academic researchers to analyze the Antikythera mechanism.


1. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Antikythera-mechanism
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