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Were Greeks 1,400 years ahead of their time?
The Scotsman ^ | June 7, 2006 | EBEN HARRELL

Posted on 06/07/2006 3:58:41 PM PDT by aculeus

FOR decades, researchers have been baffled by the intricate bronze mechanism of wheels and dials created 80 years before the birth of Christ.

The "Antikythera Mechanism" was discovered damaged and fragmented on the wreck of a cargo ship off the tiny Greek island of Antikythera in 1900. Advert for The Scotsman Digital Archive

Now, a joint British-Greek research team has found a hidden ancient Greek inscription on the device, which it thinks could unlock the mystery.

The team believes the Antikythera Mechanism may be the world's oldest computer, used by the Greeks to predict the motion of the planets.

The researchers say the device indicates a technical sophistication that would not be replicated for millennia and may also be based on principles of a heliocentric, or sun-centred, universe - a view of the cosmos that was not accepted by astronomers until the Renaissance.

The Greek and British scientists used three-dimensional X-ray technology to make visible inscriptions that have gone unseen for 2,000 years.

Mike Edmunds, an astrophysicist at Cardiff University, who is heading the British team, said: "The real question is, 'What was the device actually for?' Was it a used to predict calendars? Was it simply a teaching tool? The new text we have discovered should help answer these questions".

The mechanism contains over 30 bronze wheels and dials and was probably operated by hand, Mr Edmunds said. The most prominent appraisal of the mechanism's purpose was put forward in 2002 by Michael Wright, the curator of mechanical engineering at the Science Museum in London, who said it was used to track the movements of all the celestial bodies known to the Greeks: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

Mr Wright's theory is that the device was created in an academy founded by the Stoic philosopher Poseidonios on the Greek island of Rhodes. The writings of the 1st-century BC orator and philosopher Cicero - himself a former student of Poseidonios - cite a device with similarities to the mechanism.

Xenophon Moussas, a researcher at Athens University, said the newly discovered text seems to confirm that the mechanism was used to track planetary bodies. The researchers are looking at whether the device placed the sun, not the earth, at the centre of the solar system.

He said: "It is a puzzle concerning astronomical and mathematical knowledge in antiquity. The mechanism could rewrite certain chapters in this area."

Yanis Bitsakis, also of Athens University, added: "The challenge is to place this device into a scientific context, as it comes almost out of nowhere ... and flies in the face of established theory that considers the ancient Greeks were lacking in applied technical knowledge."

Mr Edmunds said the researchers were prepared for an onslaught of conspiracy theories. "There's no indication that the device is anything we wouldn't expect of the Greeks or something that would require an extra-terrestrial explanation.

"I think it is a great testament to the sophistication of the Greeks and how far they advanced before the jackboot of the Romans came through." A timeshift in the history of astronomy

IF THE Antikythera Mechanism turns out to have been a machine for showing the movements of the planets around the sun, it would greatly alter our understanding of the history of astronomy.

Although at least one Greek thinker posited a heliocentric view of the solar system, the dominant view at the time was Aristotle's - that the Earth was the centre of the universe and that everything rotated around it in perfect, circular orbits.

It was not until 1,400 years later that Copernicus and Galileo conclusively proved the heliocentric view, which greatly altered man's understanding of his importance and position in the universe.

Their work was met with stern resistance, as the Church believed the Aristotlean view - which put humanity at the centre of the cosmos - was integral to man's direct relation to God.

Researchers are now searching for clues that the Antikythera Mechanism might have been governed by heliocentric principles. If they are successful, it would suggest the heliocentric world-view was more accepted by the Greeks than thought.

This article: http://news.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=838112006

Last updated: 07-Jun-06 16:43 BST


TOPICS: Extended News
KEYWORDS: antikythera; antikytheramechanism; godsgravesglyphs
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A handout photo shows the Antikythera Mechanism (R), a mysterious bronze device recovered from a Roman-era shipwreck located in 1900, and its x-ray made by a Greek-British team of scientists at the Athens National Archaeological Museum. Photograph:X-TEK GROUP/AFP/Getty Images

1 posted on 06/07/2006 3:58:43 PM PDT by aculeus
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To: aculeus

The History Channel program on the Antikythera mechanism was awesome...as were their other shows on ancient technologies like the first steam engine...


2 posted on 06/07/2006 4:02:13 PM PDT by Al Simmons (Hillary Clinton is Stalin in a Dress)
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To: aculeus
Yeah, I had one of those.


3 posted on 06/07/2006 4:02:39 PM PDT by billorites (freepo ergo sum)
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To: billorites

I HEART Wordstar.


4 posted on 06/07/2006 4:04:17 PM PDT by MarkeyD (Make Love, Not Cartoons. I really, really loathe liberals.)
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To: MarkeyD

Ctrl/K D


5 posted on 06/07/2006 4:07:16 PM PDT by billorites (freepo ergo sum)
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To: billorites

Ctrl/K S


6 posted on 06/07/2006 4:09:47 PM PDT by ShakeNJake
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To: aculeus

bttt


7 posted on 06/07/2006 4:12:50 PM PDT by clyde asbury (Adagio sostenuto)
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To: ShakeNJake
I have even mapped Word to the Wordstar Diamond.

Damn Word and it's lack of persistent blocks.
8 posted on 06/07/2006 4:12:54 PM PDT by MarkeyD (Make Love, Not Cartoons. I really, really loathe liberals.)
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To: aculeus

9 posted on 06/07/2006 4:13:35 PM PDT by xcamel (Press to Test, Release to Detonate)
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To: billorites

Remember "Electric Pencil" running on TRSDOS in the 70s.


10 posted on 06/07/2006 4:14:50 PM PDT by MindBender26 (Having my own CAR-15 in RVN meant never having to say I was sorry....)
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To: aculeus
The mechanism contains over 30 bronze wheels and dials and was probably operated by hand, Mr Edmunds said.

That or they had a nuclear reactor way ahead of their time...

11 posted on 06/07/2006 4:15:33 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: tortoise; SunkenCiv

the Antikythera Mechanism may be the world's oldest computer, used by the Greeks to predict the motion of the planets.


12 posted on 06/07/2006 4:16:28 PM PDT by george76 (Ward Churchill : Fake Indian, Fake Scholarship, and Fake Art)
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To: MarkeyD

LOL! I hated Word when it first came out and refused to use it.

Hey, I even used the CPM/80 version for Apple IIe of Wordstar, Calcstar, and Datastar! Now that was back in the day!


13 posted on 06/07/2006 4:16:42 PM PDT by ShakeNJake
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To: aculeus
"FOR decades, researchers have been baffled by the intricate bronze mechanism of wheels and dials created 80 years before the birth of Christ." ----

Patrick Heron -

http://www.nephilimapocalypse.com/_welcome/welcome.asp

By the way .................. “Apocalypse” in Greek means the UNVEILING.

14 posted on 06/07/2006 4:17:06 PM PDT by beyond the sea (Scientists Itching to Blame Poison Ivy's Effect on Global Warming)
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To: Billthedrill

Acropolis Now


15 posted on 06/07/2006 4:17:49 PM PDT by battlegearboat
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To: billorites
Yeah, I had one of those.

.Dir

16 posted on 06/07/2006 4:18:11 PM PDT by humblegunner (If you're gonna die, die with your boots on.)
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To: ShakeNJake
Me too, but I used it on this:
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Heath Z-100
17 posted on 06/07/2006 4:19:56 PM PDT by MarkeyD (Make Love, Not Cartoons. I really, really loathe liberals.)
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To: Al Simmons; aculeus

I saw the program on the History Channel. What was really impressive was the fact the mechanism was hand-made. The show also demonstrated how the Greeks also had an early version of the flame-thrower and napalm. They used it as a devastating naval weapon. Great show.


18 posted on 06/07/2006 4:21:32 PM PDT by edpc
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To: aculeus
Xenophon Moussas

Typical Greek geek name!

19 posted on 06/07/2006 4:30:21 PM PDT by operation clinton cleanup
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To: edpc

And don't forget "Archimedes' Death Ray" that he used to set the ships of the Roman Navy afire during the Roman siege of Syracuse...both a Greek historian in the 1970s, and, more recently, The Myth Busters showed that it could (fairly easily) be accomplished by focusing the sun's rays with hundreds of mirrors (or highly polished shields, as Archimedes had the Syracusan Army do) on one point on the side of the ship......


20 posted on 06/07/2006 4:31:08 PM PDT by Al Simmons (Hillary Clinton is Stalin in a Dress)
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To: george76

It's a fascinating piece of hardware. Thanks for the ping.

Did The Ancient Greeks Make A Computer?
An Article | 1977 | Lionel Casson
Posted on 11/01/2003 12:21:03 PM EST by Holly_P
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1012790/posts

The Antikythera Mechanism: Physical and Intellectual Salvage from the 1st Century B.C.
USNA Eleventh Naval History Symposium | 1995 | Rob S. Rice
Posted on 08/14/2004 6:01:21 PM EDT by SunkenCiv
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/1191651/posts


21 posted on 06/07/2006 4:32:10 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (All Moslems everywhere advocate murder, including mass murder, and they do it all the time.)
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To: aculeus
So, this "text," what does it say?

And what exactly suggests that the Greeks were aware of the heliocentric model?

If the "established theory" (whatever!) is that the Greeks weren't great at applied science, this isn't the only thing flying in the face of that theory. Greek mariners were "lacking in applied technical knowledge?" LOL.

22 posted on 06/07/2006 4:35:04 PM PDT by Graymatter
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To: billorites

BAD MEMORY Ping


23 posted on 06/07/2006 4:37:14 PM PDT by H. Paul Pressler IV
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To: Billthedrill
That or they had a nuclear reactor way ahead of their time...

Were technologies like falling weights unknown?

24 posted on 06/07/2006 4:37:26 PM PDT by supercat (Sony delenda est.)
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To: ShakeNJake
Hey, I even used the CPM/80 version for Apple IIe of Wordstar, Calcstar, and Datastar! Now that was back in the day!

I've got copies of all of the various Wordstar programs running on several machines from very early CP/M boxes up through the IBM PCs and ATs in my collection. . . (www.vintage-computer.com)


25 posted on 06/07/2006 4:37:54 PM PDT by Filo (Darwin was right!)
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To: ShakeNJake

My first was a Digital Group (26 k ram) Z-80 system with cassette tape software loading/storage back in '76. I built it from a kit. 64 chips per 8 k board. Lot of soldering. Word processore was WOPROC.


26 posted on 06/07/2006 4:40:34 PM PDT by Right Wing Assault ("..this administration is planning a 'Right Wing Assault' on values and ideals.." - John Kerry)
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To: aculeus

*


27 posted on 06/07/2006 4:42:07 PM PDT by Sam Cree (Delicacy, precision, force)
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To: aculeus

All those words, and not even a clue as to what the "hidden inscriptions" say?


28 posted on 06/07/2006 4:44:22 PM PDT by Publius6961 (Multiculturalism is the white flag of a dying country)
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To: Filo
Sorry, I meant to attach this picture to my first reply but mucked it up somehow. . .

A front-on view of the MITS Altair 8800

One of many cool machines on my site and in my collection, if you're into that sort of thing! :)
29 posted on 06/07/2006 4:44:35 PM PDT by Filo (Darwin was right!)
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To: aculeus; blam
Deja vu all over again.
30 posted on 06/07/2006 4:45:41 PM PDT by vetvetdoug
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To: Al Simmons
Nice Calculator. I've got one just like it.

Semper Fi

31 posted on 06/07/2006 4:51:48 PM PDT by An Old Man (USMC 1956 1960)
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To: Graymatter
And what exactly suggests that the Greeks were aware of the heliocentric model?

"That Aristarchus of Samos actually put forward the heliocentric hypothesis is made certain by the evidence of no less a person than Archimedes, who was a younger contemporary of Aristarchus" - Heath in _Greek Astronomy_ ( Dover )

The book includes Archimedes statement to this effect from The Sand Reckoner. Aristarchus lived circa 310-230 B.C.

32 posted on 06/07/2006 4:53:19 PM PDT by dr_lew
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To: aculeus

One of my professors way back used the example of the ancient Greek steam engine as an argument against slavery. Since people could be forced to work, there was no interest in labor-saving devices, thus setting back the advancement of mankind, what...2,000 years or so.


33 posted on 06/07/2006 4:56:01 PM PDT by warchild9
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To: dr_lew

I was referring to this statement: "The researchers say the device indicates a technical sophistication that would not be replicated for millennia and may also be based on principles of a heliocentric, or sun-centred, universe."

What about the device indicates it may have been based on "principles of [heliocentrism]"?


34 posted on 06/07/2006 4:59:37 PM PDT by Graymatter
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To: Publius6961
All those words, and not even a clue as to what the "hidden inscriptions" say?

I found translation of the inscription.

"Drink More Ovalteen"

PS
"Ann Coulter Rocks"

35 posted on 06/07/2006 5:02:17 PM PDT by ChadGore (VISUALIZE 62,041,268 Bush fans. We Vote.)
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To: MindBender26

Aah, TRSDOS, how many granules were on your floppies?
;)


36 posted on 06/07/2006 5:06:09 PM PDT by bwteim (bwteim = begin with the end in mind)
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To: Filo

Nice site. I have it book marked.


37 posted on 06/07/2006 5:12:34 PM PDT by bwteim (bwteim = begin with the end in mind)
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To: aculeus

Were Greeks 1400 years ahead of their time?

Platos dialectic is the basis of Western Civilization.

Heres a bit from "The Republic"



That was my meaning when I said that we must teach music before gymnastics.

Quite right, he said.
You know also that the beginning is the most important part of any work, especially in the case of a young and tender thing; for that is the time at which the character is being formed and the desired impression is more readily taken.

Quite true.
And shall we just carelessly allow children to hear any casual tales which may be devised by casual persons, and to receive into their minds ideas for the most part the very opposite of those which we should wish them to have when they are grown up?

We cannot.
Then the first thing will be to establish a censorship of the writers of fiction, and let the censors receive any tale of fiction which is good, and reject the bad; and we will desire mothers and nurses to tell their children the authorised ones only. Let them fashion the mind with such tales, even more fondly than they mould the body with their hands; but most of those which are now in use must be discarded.




so much for gangsta rap


38 posted on 06/07/2006 5:39:05 PM PDT by spanalot
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To: MarkeyD
Click below for ad audio:
 
http://www.clayloomis.com/algore6.wav
 

39 posted on 06/07/2006 5:54:56 PM PDT by george76 (Ward Churchill : Fake Indian, Fake Scholarship, and Fake Art)
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To: bwteim

I was still using my Trash 80 Model 2 in 1989. Tandy had stopped giving tech support and somehow considered me the expert on the daisey wheel printer, and referred three support calls to me!

Oh well.


40 posted on 06/07/2006 5:58:33 PM PDT by MindBender26 (Having my own CAR-15 in RVN meant never having to say I was sorry....)
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To: aculeus

"Were Greeks 1,400 years ahead of their time?"

And WE'RE curious about THEIR time keeping
mechanisms?



41 posted on 06/07/2006 6:08:57 PM PDT by righttackle44 (The most dangerous weapon in the world is a Marine with his rifle and the American people behind him)
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To: MarkeyD

Ok .. you win. I refuse to admit being OLD enough to have used one of those!


42 posted on 06/07/2006 6:11:12 PM PDT by ShakeNJake
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To: Filo

Cool site! Whodathunkit that one day, computers would become "collectibles". Maybe I shoulda kept that old Vic-20 after all!


43 posted on 06/07/2006 6:12:12 PM PDT by ShakeNJake
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To: Right Wing Assault

I waited to get into computers until building it yourself was no longer required. I was too busy raising kids actually. By the time I went back to college (studied computer information systems) you no longer had to submit your programs on punched cards but could enter them directly yourself.

Wow, a whole whopping 26k of RAM? Whatever did you do with all that memory!


44 posted on 06/07/2006 6:15:22 PM PDT by ShakeNJake
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To: MindBender26

"daisey wheel printer"

They were big $$$$$ and clunky, yet they represented sort of a transition between electric typewriters and the dot-matrix printers. It took a while to wean some people from using typewriters and calculators into computers, and DWPs were one way to move them.


45 posted on 06/07/2006 6:23:14 PM PDT by bwteim (bwteim = begin with the end in mind)
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To: An Old Man
Nice Calculator. I've got one just like it.

Me too! Curtas were cool.

46 posted on 06/07/2006 6:53:57 PM PDT by aculeus
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To: bwteim; SunkenCiv

I still have my daisy-wheel printer, which is also a typewriter.

Boy! That was some state of the art back then!


47 posted on 06/07/2006 6:56:00 PM PDT by NicknamedBob (I grew up so long ago that being grown-up was more fun than being a kid!)
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To: MindBender26
Tandy had stopped giving tech support and somehow considered me the expert on the daisey wheel printer, and referred three support calls to me!

I lost your phone number... what was that again?

48 posted on 06/07/2006 7:03:41 PM PDT by operation clinton cleanup
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To: bwteim
"daisey wheel printer"

They were big $$$$$ and clunky, yet they represented sort of a transition between electric typewriters and the dot-matrix printers.

It took a while to wean some people from using typewriters and calculators into computers, and DWPs were one way to move them.

Dot matrix printers were never a choice for business correspondence. I couldn't get a word processor into one of my old offices until the daisy wheel printers came out. All letters and specification had to appear professional and only character impact printers delivered. Other side of the problem was that copiers degraded legibilty of the already poor originals.

Transitions in office environs went like this: IBM Executive; IBM Selectric; Daisy Wheel printers: laser printers.

Line printers, small dot matrix printers were for in house drafts by techs, acct'g, basic back office stuff.

49 posted on 06/07/2006 7:04:03 PM PDT by Covenantor
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To: aculeus

Cool!


50 posted on 06/07/2006 7:05:22 PM PDT by Ciexyz (Let us always remember, the Lord is in control.)
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