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The Antikythera Mechanism

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The Antikythera mechanism - complex ancient mechanical device designed to predict astronomical phenomena and keep track of the cycles in the Solar System.

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The Antikythera Mechanism

  1. 1. The Antikythera mechanismµηχανισµóς των AντικυθηρωνPrzemysław Jacewicz11 April 2011The Antikythera mechanism Przemysław Jacewicz
  2. 2. THE ANTIKYTHERA WRECKThe Antikythera mechanism Przemysław Jacewicz
  3. 3. THE ANTIKYTHERA WRECK TREASURESThe Antikythera mechanism Przemysław Jacewicz
  4. 4. THE ANTIKYTHERA WRECK1. discovered on 17th May 19022. more than 80 pieces, with 3 big ones3. gears and gear teeth clearly visibleThe Antikythera mechanism Przemysław Jacewicz
  5. 5. THE ANTIKYTHERA MECHANISM NOWNational Archaeological Museum of Athens (2010) – copyright prof. SołtanThe Antikythera mechanism Przemysław Jacewicz
  6. 6. THE ANTIKYTHERA MECHANISM NOWNational Archaeological Museum of Athens (2010) – copyright prof. SołtanThe Antikythera mechanism Przemysław Jacewicz
  7. 7. BRIEF MODERN HISTORY1. DEREK J. DE SOLLA PRICE with CharalamposKarakalos (both physicists);• first scientific investigations in 1950’s – using X andγ rays• 1974 – first full description• built a replica of the mechanism2. MICHAEL WRIGHT• X-ray tomography• significant new discoveries• also built a replica3. THE ANTIKYTHERA MECHANISM RESEARCHPROJECT• Cardiff University + National and KapodistrianUniversity of Athens + Aristotle University ofThessaloniki + X-Tek System UK + HP USA• 3-D surface imaging + tomography• new discoveries – more than 1000 new letters foundThe Antikythera mechanism Przemysław Jacewicz
  8. 8. THE ANTIKYTHERA MECHANISM ANALYSISThe Antikythera mechanism Przemysław Jacewicz
  9. 9. THE ANTIKYTHERA MECHANISM ANALYSISThe Antikythera mechanism Przemysław Jacewicz
  10. 10. THE ANTIKYTHERA MECHANISM ANALYSISThe Antikythera mechanism Przemysław Jacewicz
  11. 11. THE ANTIKYTHERA MECHANISM – CURRENT STATUSTHE ANTIKYTHERA MECHANISM - complex ancient mechanical devicedesigned to predict astronomical phenomena and keep track of the cyclesin the Solar System.Main facts:1. recovered by sponge divers on 17 May 1902 from a wreck near theisland of Antikythera2. time of construction - 150-100 BC (current estimate)3. made in Greek speaking world - words written in Koine Greek (300BC – 300 AD)4. mechanical sophistication - comparable to 19th century Swiss clocks !5. complexity and workmanship - comparable to 14th century !The Antikythera mechanism Przemysław Jacewicz
  12. 12. THE MECHANISM OVERVIEWMain features:1. 37 bronze gears – new studies72 gears2. estimated size (cm): 33 x 17 x 93. current date entered by a crank4. geocentric model5. 3 dials6. front dial• Sun and Moon• 5 known planets (?)7. upper back dial• Metonic cycle• Callippic cycle• Olimpiad cycle8. lower back dial• Soros cycle• Exeligmos cycleThe Antikythera mechanism Przemysław Jacewicz
  13. 13. THE FRONT DIALOverview:1. outer scale – Egyptian calendarwith 365 days (12m x 30d + 5d)2. inner scale – Greek signs of theZodiac divided into degrees3. leap year compensation:rotational outer scale4. 3 hands: Sun (counterclockwise),Moon (clockwise), date (input)5. planets – hypothetically• the words ’Mars’ and ’Venus’were found• unnecessarily large wheel forthe Sun6. Moon hand• black and white spheredisplays lunar phase• additional mechanism –anomaly of the Moon’s orbitFONT DIALThe Antikythera mechanism Przemysław Jacewicz
  14. 14. ANOMALY OF THE MOONOverview:1. caused by elliptic orbit2. additional gears introduced toinclude the anomaly3. eccentric = epicyclic4. distances chosen to matchHipparchus’s values5. Moon: eccentric hypothesis –nonconcentric gear connection6. Sun: epicyclic hypothesis –gears attached to the edge ofthe Sun’s wheel• Sun epicyclic gearing not found7. planets – epicyclic gear trainsimilar to Sun’s gearingECCENTRIC GEARINGThe Antikythera mechanism Przemysław Jacewicz
  15. 15. THE BACK DIALSThe Antikythera mechanism Przemysław Jacewicz
  16. 16. THE BACK DIALS ILower back dial:1. spiral scale with 223 divisions per 4 handturns – SAROS CYCLE223 synodic months ≈ 6585 1/3 days(almost) eclipse cycle2. eclipses marked on the scale3. movable tongue showed which turn of thescale to read4. smaller dial showed the EXELIGMOS CYCLE= 3 x Saros (54 years) – allows furtheradjustmentThe Antikythera mechanism Przemysław Jacewicz
  17. 17. THE BACK DIALS IIUpper back dial:1. spiral scale with 47 divisions per hand turn2. 5 hand turns = a cycle3. 5 x 47 = 235 – METONIC CYCLE (432 BC)235 synodic months ≈ 19 julian years ≈ 6940 days4. one small dial – 4 year OLIMPIAD CYCLE – discovered recently byAMRP5. second small dial – 4 divisions – CALLIPPIC CYCLE (330 BC)4 x Metonic cycle = 76 julian years ≈ 940 synodic monthspurpose:• improves the approximation in the Metonic cycle• allows to compare distant datesThe Antikythera mechanism Przemysław Jacewicz
  18. 18. SUN–MOON ACCURACYThe Antikythera mechanism Przemysław Jacewicz
  19. 19. ORIGINSThe constructors:1. HIPPARCHUS (c. 190 BC – c. 120 BC) and the Academy of Posidoniuson Rhodos – center of astronomy and mechanical engineering inAncient Greece2. ARCHIMEDES (c. 287 BC – c. 212 BC) and his pupils in the coloniesof CorinthThe ship1. circumstances under which themechanism came to be on thecargo ship are unknown2. suggestions: ship traveling toRome with treasures lootedfrom the island to support atriumphal parade being stagedby Julius CaesarThe Antikythera mechanism Przemysław Jacewicz
  20. 20. Thank you!The Antikythera mechanism Przemysław Jacewicz
  • julieannmunozbelasa

    Feb. 5, 2020

The Antikythera mechanism - complex ancient mechanical device designed to predict astronomical phenomena and keep track of the cycles in the Solar System.

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