Antikythera mechanism

Antikythera Mechanism Research ProjectOrrery
The Antikythera mechanism is an ancient Greek analogue computer used to predict astronomical positions and eclipses for calendar and astrological purposes decades in advance.wikipedia
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Analog computer

analogue computeranaloganalog computers
The Antikythera mechanism is an ancient Greek analogue computer used to predict astronomical positions and eclipses for calendar and astrological purposes decades in advance.
The Antikythera mechanism was an orrery and is believed to be an early mechanical analog computer, according to Derek J. de Solla Price.

Astronomy

astronomicalastronomerastronomers
The Antikythera mechanism is an ancient Greek analogue computer used to predict astronomical positions and eclipses for calendar and astrological purposes decades in advance.
The Antikythera mechanism (c.

Antikythera wreck

Antikythera shipwreckAntikytheraAntikythera ship
This artefact was retrieved from the sea in 1901, and identified on 17 May 1902 as containing a gear by archaeologist Valerios Stais, among wreckage retrieved from a wreck off the coast of the Greek island Antikythera.
The wreck yielded numerous statues, coins, and other artifacts dating back to the fourth century BC, as well as the severely corroded remnants of a device many regard as the world's oldest known analog computer, the Antikythera mechanism.

Astronomical clock

astronomicalastronomical clock towerastronomical clock towers
Similar technological works later appeared in the medieval Byzantine and Islamic worlds, but works with similar complexity did not appear again until the development of mechanical astronomical clocks in Europe in the fourteenth century.
The sun is often represented by a golden sphere (as it initially appeared in the Antikythera Mechanism, back in the 2nd century BC), shown rotating around the earth once a day around a 24-hour analog dial.

Clockwork

clockwork motorclockworksClockwork Doll
It is a complex clockwork mechanism composed of at least 30 meshing bronze gears.
The earliest known example of a clockwork mechanism is the Antikythera mechanism, a first-century BC geared analogue computer, somewhat astrolabe-like, for calculating astronomical positions and eclipses, recovered from a Greek shipwreck.

Gear

single reduction geargearscogwheel
The disk has four "ears" which have holes in them, and it was thought by some that it may have been part of the Antikythera Mechanism itself, as a "cog wheel".
The earliest preserved gears in Europe were found in the Antikythera mechanism, an example of a very early and intricate geared device, designed to calculate astronomical positions.

Antikythera

AntikythiraCerigottoAnticythera
This artefact was retrieved from the sea in 1901, and identified on 17 May 1902 as containing a gear by archaeologist Valerios Stais, among wreckage retrieved from a wreck off the coast of the Greek island Antikythera.
It is notable for being the location of the discovery of the Antikythera mechanism and for the historical Antikythera wreck.

Michael T. Wright

Michael Wright was the first person to design and build a model with not only the known mechanism, but also, with his emulation of a potential planetarium system.
He is known by his analysis of the original fragments of the Antikythera mechanism and by the reconstruction of this Ancient Greek brass mechanism.

History of science in classical antiquity

ancient sciencescienceGreek
The instrument is believed to have been designed and constructed by Greek scientists and has been variously dated to about 87 BC, or between 150 and 100 BC, or to 205 BC, or to within a generation before the shipwreck, which has been dated to approximately 70–60 BC.
The level of Hellenistic achievement in astronomy and engineering is impressively shown by the Antikythera mechanism (150–100 BCE).

Archimedes

Archimedes of SyracuseArchimedeanArchimedes Heat Ray
Syracuse was a colony of Corinth and the home of Archimedes, and the Antikythera Mechanism Research project argued in 2008 that it might imply a connection with the school of Archimedes.
Modern research in this area has been focused on the Antikythera mechanism, another device built c.

Byzantine Empire

ByzantineEastern Roman EmpireByzantines
Similar technological works later appeared in the medieval Byzantine and Islamic worlds, but works with similar complexity did not appear again until the development of mechanical astronomical clocks in Europe in the fourteenth century.
A mechanical sundial device consisting of complex gears made by the Byzantines has been excavated which indicates that the Antikythera mechanism, a sort of analogue device used in astronomy and invented around the late second century BC, continued to be (re)active in the Byzantine period.

Epicyclic gearing

epicyclicepicyclic gearboxplanetary
The Moon position was not a simple mean Moon indicator that would indicate movement uniformly around a circular orbit; it approximated the acceleration and deceleration of the Moon's elliptical orbit, through the earliest extant use of epicyclic gearing.
The Antikythera Mechanism, circa 80 BC, had gearing which was able to approximate the moon's elliptical path through the heavens, and even to correct for the nine-year precession of that path.

National Archaeological Museum, Athens

National Archaeological Museum of AthensNational Archaeological MuseumArchaeological Museum of Athens
All known fragments of the Antikythera mechanism are now kept at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, along with a number of artistic reconstructions and replicas of the mechanism to demonstrate how it may have looked and worked.

Month

calendar monthmonthssynodic month
The Metonic cycle, defined in several physical units, is 235 synodic months, which is very close (to within less than 13 one-millionths) to 19 tropical years.
Metonic calendars include the calendar used in the Antikythera Mechanism about 2000 years ago, and the Hebrew calendar.

Posidonius

PoseidoniusPosidonius of ApameaPoseidonios
The ship carrying the device also contained vases in the Rhodian style, leading to a hypothesis that it was constructed at an academy founded by Stoic philosopher Posidonius on that Greek island.
Posidonius constructed an orrery, possibly similar to the Antikythera mechanism.

Valerios Stais

This artefact was retrieved from the sea in 1901, and identified on 17 May 1902 as containing a gear by archaeologist Valerios Stais, among wreckage retrieved from a wreck off the coast of the Greek island Antikythera.
Valerios Stais also became the first to recognise the Antikythera mechanism from the lumps of archaeological material which was retrieved from the wreck.

Derek J. de Solla Price

Derek de Solla PricePrice's lawPrice
Investigations into the object were dropped until British science historian and Yale University professor Derek J. de Solla Price became interested in it in 1951.

Metonic cycle

Metonic19-year cycleCycle
In 2008, continued research by the Antikythera Mechanism Research Project suggested that the concept for the mechanism may have originated in the colonies of Corinth, since they identified the calendar on the Metonic Spiral as coming from Corinth or one of its colonies in Northwest Greece or Sicily. On the back of the mechanism, there are five dials: the two large displays, the Metonic and the Saros, and three smaller indicators, the so-called Olympiad Dial, which has recently been renamed the Games dial as it did not track Olympiad years (the four-year cycle it tracks most closely is the Halieiad), the Callippic, and the Exeligmos.
A mechanical computation of the cycle is built into the Antikythera mechanism.

Differential (mechanical device)

differentialdifferential geardifferentials
It requires a differential gear, a gearing arrangement that sums or differences two angular inputs.
The earliest known use of a differential gear is in the Antikythera mechanism, circa 80 BCE, which used a differential gear to control a small sphere representing the moon from the difference between the sun and moon position pointers.

Hellenistic period

HellenisticHellenistic eraHellenistic Age
The quality and complexity of the mechanism's manufacture suggests that it must have had undiscovered predecessors made during the Hellenistic period.
The level of Hellenistic achievement in astronomy and engineering is impressively shown by the Antikythera mechanism (150–100 BC).

Orrery

orreriesorrary(sic)orrerie
Cicero's De re publica, a 1st-century BC philosophical dialogue, mentions two machines that some modern authors consider as some kind of planetarium or orrery, predicting the movements of the Sun, the Moon, and the five planets known at that time.
The Antikythera mechanism, discovered in 1901 in a wreck off the Greek island of Antikythera and extensively studied, exhibited the diurnal motions of the Sun, Moon, and the five known planets.

Planetarium

planetariaand planetariumColombo Planetarium
Michael Wright was the first person to design and build a model with not only the known mechanism, but also, with his emulation of a potential planetarium system. Cicero's De re publica, a 1st-century BC philosophical dialogue, mentions two machines that some modern authors consider as some kind of planetarium or orrery, predicting the movements of the Sun, the Moon, and the five planets known at that time.
The discovery of the Antikythera mechanism proved that such devices already existed during antiquity, though likely after Archimedes' lifetime.

Saros (astronomy)

Saros cycleSarosSeries
On the back of the mechanism, there are five dials: the two large displays, the Metonic and the Saros, and three smaller indicators, the so-called Olympiad Dial, which has recently been renamed the Games dial as it did not track Olympiad years (the four-year cycle it tracks most closely is the Halieiad), the Callippic, and the Exeligmos.
According to Tony Freeth, mechanical calculation of the saros cycle is built into the Antikythera mechanism.

Exeligmos

54 yearsExeligmos cycles
On the back of the mechanism, there are five dials: the two large displays, the Metonic and the Saros, and three smaller indicators, the so-called Olympiad Dial, which has recently been renamed the Games dial as it did not track Olympiad years (the four-year cycle it tracks most closely is the Halieiad), the Callippic, and the Exeligmos.
A Greek astronomical clock called the Antikythera mechanism used epicyclic gearing to predict the dates of consecutive exeligmoses.

Ancient Greek calendars

Hellenic calendarsGreek calendarHellenic
The pointer points to the synodic month, counted from new moon to new moon, and the cell contains the Corinthian month names.
The Antikythera mechanism calendar (which is a Corinthian calendar) months and their order is known from the sequence on the dial of the Antikythera mechanism