Gears from the Greeks:
The Antikythera Mechanism
an ancient astronomical computer ?
- Without doubt, one of the most astonishing and intriguing artefacts of
the ancient world: the Antikythera Mechanism. Is this a machine built according
to the likeness of Archimedes' Sphere alluded to by Cicero ? Where is Archimedes'
lost manuscript ``On Sphere-Making'' to clarify to us the astonishing technological
knowledge of the Ancient World ?
``For when Archimedes fastened on a globe the movements of moon, sun
and five wandering stars, he, just like Plato's God who built the world in the
``Timaeus'', made one revolution of the sphere control several movements utterly
unlike in slowness and speed. Now if in this world of ours phenomena cannot take
place without the act of God, neither could Archimedes have reproduced the same
movements upon a globe without divine genius''
Cicero, Tusculan Disputations, Book I, Section XXV
- As a fitting testimony to the genius of the antiquity, here a series
of photographs (Rien van de Weygaert, Sept. 2002, National
Archaeological Museum, Athens), presenting an impression of the refined
technological knowledge and skills which produced this apparatus with at least
32 gears, including a differential, around the year 80 B.C.
the Antikythera Mechanism:
Ingenuity and High-tech from Graeco-Roman Antiquity
Central Gear House
sideview front central gear house:
lower half & zoom-in
View from above
front dial: front view
front dial: side view
Backside central gear house
Backside central gear house:
sidelong view of gears
sidelong view plate layers
zoom-in onto plate layers
view righthand side
Central Gear House: