2000 year old computer

AntikytheraOh, baby. Forget steampunk. I am so writing an ancient Greek Gearpunk story or novel. Go check out this article in Gear Factor

An Anglo-Greek team of scientists has revealed what they consider the true workings of the Antikythera mechanism, a 2,000 year-old analog computer recovered from a Mediterranean shipwreck over a century ago.

The article also reference a 9th century book called, The Book of Ingenious Devices, which I now want a copy of.

For the moment, I’ll settle with picking up a copy of the new Nature, which has a really in depth article on the Antikythera, fortunately online. Aside from talking more about the details of how the thing works, the author asks the question, “How can the capacity to build a machine so magnificent have passed through history with no obvious effects?” No kidding! He speculates that it’s because it was made of bronze and that most of them were melted down to make weapons at some point, but still, you have to wonder what makes technology disappear.

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8 Responses

  1. Sarah

    A wonderful analog computer. One wonders why there are no precursors? Surely something that complex and sophisticated didn’t just jump full-grown from the inventor’s mind. And then nothing more heard from the workshop/creator/artisan/scientist? It just seems very strange….

  2. Rick Novy

    Stonehenge is an ancient computer of sorts. All sorts of elegant techniques and machines have already been lost in the past. It makes you wonder how well we really would do if we had to start over.

  3. Maggie

    Thanks, Mary! This is some wonderfully fascinating stuff.

    (Briefly wishes I was back in school, in one of my archy classes, to discuss this.)