island of Rhodes

Ancient Greek computer from 100 B.C.: Archimedes strikes again ?



By Paul Wallis

A device for computing the calendar called the Antikythera Mechanism was found on an ancient shipwreck over 100 years ago.

Reexamined using modern technology, an advanced mechanism has been deciphered and its functions reconstructed. One look at this mechanism is impressive.

It becomes more so, as you discover it uses gears and dials, a whole new class of technology, and complexity, in the world of 100 B.C.

Archimedes, who lived in Syracuse and died in 212 B.C., invented a planetarium calculating motions of the Moon and the known planets and wrote a lost manuscript on astronomical mechanisms.

Some evidence had previously linked the complex device of gears and dials to the island of Rhodes and the astronomer Hipparchos, who had made a study of irregularities in the Moon’s orbital course.