Dec
11
2010

“The Lego Antikythera Mechanism.”

I’m stealing the title from @bdomenech, but only because it’s a perfect description of the video:

…although I have to wonder why the ancient Greeks needed to predict solar eclipses so precisely that they actually built a machine to calculate the next one. It’s not like they’re all that common, or have any physical result on the landscape…

Lego Technic

3 Comments

  • Rob Crawford says:

    The mechanism appears to have also tracked the planets *and* given the schedule of various games. It was either a very, very rich man’s plaything, or a priest’s tool.

  • Phineas says:

    “I have to wonder why the ancient Greeks needed to predict solar eclipses so precisely that they actually built a machine to calculate the next one.”

    Astrology. The Hellenistic Greeks had inherited the practice from the Near East, probably via Alexander’s conquests. Eclipses were considered significant events and, since predictive astrology is a matter of timing, they’d want to be as precise as possible.

    What I find really fascinating (and this device is an example) is that the Greeks and the Romans seemed to have most of the building blocks for a Scientific and Industrial Revolution centuries before they actually occurred, but somehow it never quite came together.

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