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Author Topic: ANTIKYTHERA Mechanism  (Read 4454 times)
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« Reply #30 on: August 15, 2008, 08:38:57 pm »


The mechanism is the oldest known complex scientific instrument.

It has several accurate scales, and is essentially an analog computer made with gears. It is based on theories of astronomy and mathematics developed by Greek astronomers.

It is estimated that it was constructed around 150 to 100 BC. The circumstances under which it came to be on the cargo ship are unclear. The ship is estimated to have sunk between 80 to 60 BC and was a Roman or Greek ship with cargo for Rome, perhaps part of official loot. It contained more than 100 statues similar to the ones the Romans took to Italy after their conquest of Greece.

Consensus among scholars is that the mechanism itself was made in Greece.  All the instructions of the mechanism are written in Greek.

One hypothesis is that the device was constructed at an academy founded by the ancient Stoic philosopher Posidonius on the Greek island of Rhodes, which at the time was known as a centre of astronomy and mechanical engineering. Investigators have suggested that the ship could have been carrying it to Rome, together with other treasure looted from the island to support a triumphal parade being staged by Julius Caesar.

As the new finds of the Antikythera Mechanism Research Project suggest that it was made around 150 to 100 BC, well before the time of Posidonius, it is possible that the astronomer Hipparchus was the engineer who constructed it. Hipparchus was the most important astronomer of that time and worked for a long period in Rhodes, Greece. The Mechanism contains a lunar mechanism which uses Hipparchus' theory for the motion of the Moon and this also suggests strong ties of the Mechanism to Hipparchus.

The most recent published findings of The Antikythera Mechanism Research Project, as published in the July 30, 2008 edition of Nature, indicate that the concept for the mechanism originated in the colonies of Corinth in Sicily which implies a connection with Archimedes.
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