Antikifery mechanism — the first computer of the ancients.

In addition to the brilliant knowledge of astronomy The ancient Greeks were also incredibly talented engineers. More in the second century BC they managed to create mechanism, reproducing the motion of celestial bodies in the solar system with perfect precision!

He was named the "The mechanism Antikifery"

One spring day in 1900 the Greek diver Elias Stadiatos found a 43-meter depth near the small island of Antikythera wreck of an ancient sunken ship. Local authorities, having learned of the discovery of Stadiatosa, organized a group of divers out of ten people to raise to the surface alleged ancient relics. During the ten-month operation, one of the divers was killed and two were crippled.

The award is for their heroism were a variety of bronze and marble statues, amphorae, gold jewelry, silver vases, coins and other items, presumably dating from the I century BC. e. All the findings were sent for further study to the Athens Museum of Natural History.

In May 1902 the archaeologist Valerios Stais, sorting Antikythera collection came across a strange object made of bronze, which looked so reminiscent of an element of the movement (it was later discovered dozens of smaller obscure bronze fragments). Stais suggested that this bronze relic — a part of some astronomical instrument of the ancient Greeks, and wrote about it in one of the scientific journals. Version Staisa was met by his colleagues in arms: the existence in antiquity of anything even remotely resembling an astronomical clock, the science was not entirely known. One of the critics of the hypothesis Staisa wrote, "we know from the many written sources of scientific instruments of the ancient Greeks, of course, argue in favor of the fact that their authors had considerable mathematical ingenuity, but a purely mechanical performance of these devices was very primitive (by today's standards). Yes, the ancient Greeks had a general idea of the gear train, but its practical application is limited to only the most basic mechanisms. "

On the subject of the mysterious long forgotten and remembered only in the late 1950s. British science historian Derek de Solla Price, who worked at Yale University, the first systematically studied the Antikythera mechanism, to be exact, 82 covered with a thick layer of rust bronze fragment, once integrated. In June 1959 Price published in the journal Scientific American article with the intriguing title "Ancient Greek Computer" in which the Antikythera find is called "the most perfect mechanism created by scientists and technologists of the ancient world."

Since this publication has been almost half a century, but explain what actually was a mysterious device was only recently. With the latest technology (three-dimensional X-ray computed tomography and high-resolution scanning of the surface layers of different fragments) scientists were able to almost completely restore the text from the wreckage, which contains about two thousand letters, and to reconstruct the majority of the missing parts.

In the journal Nature, November 30, 2006 published a series of articles Antikythera mechanism researchers from the UK, Greece and the United States, combined their efforts in the framework of a special project (Antikythera Mechanism Research Project). Content authors came to the conclusion that the ancient device combines the intricate complex of various astronomical devices designed for high-accuracy time position in the sky of the Sun, the Moon and the five naked-eye planets in the solar system, as well as calculations of the timing of lunar and solar eclipses. This embodied in bronze multifunctional mechanism was placed in a wooden case with dimensions of 31,5 x 19 cm and a thickness of about 10 cm wide, the unit was the pinnacle of scientific thought and the astronomical knowledge of ancient scholars. Anyway, to create something like that mankind could only more than a millennium and a half.

Time and creators

A group of researchers from the Antikythera Mechanism Research Project (leadership of the project is being carried out by two of Britain's Cardiff University, astronomer Mike Edmunds and Tony Freeth mathematician) has specified the creation of Antikythera mechanism — between 150 m and 100 years BC. e.
Antikeriysky mechanism consisted of thirty-seven bronze gears, reproducing the movement of the heavenly bodies with remarkable accuracy

In earlier studies, the instrument dated 80 mi years BC. e. This assessment was based primarily on the accompanying artifacts found in the wreck famous French submariner Jacques Yves Cousteau in the 70s (Cousteau discovered the coins minted in the mid-80s BC. E.). Antikythera mechanism carrying out ship with a cargo of various luxury items, probably from Rhodes, a wealthy trading port of the time — this is indirect evidence found at the bottom of the sea vase, made in the style of Rhodes. And besides the fact that Rhodes was one of the centers of ancient Mediterranean trade, he was also a recognized center of ancient Greek astronomy II-I centuries BC. e.

This scientific glory of the island in the first place must greatest astronomer of ancient Greece and the ancient world Nicene Hipparchus (190-125/120 BC. E.), Which is the main part of his life spent in Rhodes (see "Hipparchus of Nicea").

After the death of the astronomer, one of his followers — the philosopher Posidonius of Rhodes founded the astronomical school, continuing the tradition of Hipparchus. According to Edmunds and Frith, or Posidonius himself or one of his closest associates, most likely, was the ideologist of creation Antikythera mechanism. And another researcher of this ancient instrument — Dutchman Philip Coppens believes that the most suitable candidate for this honorable role was stoic hemin (135-51 years BC. E.), One of the disciples of Posidonius.

An indirect confirmation of this version is one of the works of the famous Roman orator, writer and politician I century BC. e. Cicero, who had spent some time in Rhodes and was well acquainted with Posidonius. In this study (De Re Publica) Cicero mentions "tool recently created Posidonius, which allows each time they play back exactly the everyday movements in the sky the sun, moon and five planets."

Finally, another important specification that enables a high degree of probability that the inspiration for the designers was great Hipparchus of Nicea, was done by Edmunds and Frith in the three-dimensional analysis of the fragments of the device. Edmunds and Freeth came to the conclusion that one of the components of this multi-functional tool was complicated moon dial, which is responsive to the unevenness of the orbital motion of our satellite (moon turns not a circle but an ellipse). To do this, the creators of Antikythera mechanism made a special toothed gear with a displaced center of rotation, which is in contact with another cog periodically slow down or speed (simulating the corresponding position of the moon relative to the Earth). It was first revealed that Hipparchus' lunar feature "and its view of the trajectory of the moon counted (for details, see" Hipparchus of Nicea ").
Antique tech

As well looked Antikythera mechanism? According to the latest reconstruction Edmunds and Frith, it consisted of 37 bronze gear wheels (gears). The main element of the front panel was astronomical calendar, clock, counting down the usual for us 365 days, and every four years, who made the leap year correction in one day. And in addition to the "basic" dial-calendar, which followed the Egyptian calendar, mechanism designers have also made individual wheels counting down the days, according to other calendar systems — in particular, metonskomu cycle, cycle Callippus, estimated duration of four lunar months (for more details about these cycles and months cm . "Hipparchus of Nicea").

In this panel, we found all the ancient zodiac signs (stars and constellations of the "celestial sphere") and with individual gears shows the annual path of the sun, moon and five visible planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn) with respect to the zodiacal constellations. The top two gears on the back of the creators of the Antikythera mechanism used for predicting solar and lunar eclipses: as it was known long before Hipparchus, every 18 years, and 10.3 days (about 223 lunar months) — a period called Saros, or Saros cycle — solar or lunar eclipse is repeated. Finally, the lower rear gears were already mentioned above for exact adjustment calculation of the motion of the moon.

This complex structure is now almost a product of alien civilization. Which alone is worth, say, gear that was used for the Saros cycle, which consisted of 223 teeth! Obviously, for creating such a high-tech product, other than the most complex theoretical calculations required a truly titanic hand-made by cutting out all these gears and compliance with stunning precision of the many gears.

Most likely, the Antikythera mechanism was unique. One of the leading Russian experts on the history of ancient astronomy Gennady Kurtik notes that "in a variety of extant written sources (primarily trinadtsatitomnom" Almagest "Ptolemy) does not mention the existence of such complex astronomical instruments." The only "witness protection", in fact, is still Marcus Tullius Cicero, but his mention of the "miraculous astronomical instruments" still nothing more than a layman's notes.

Writing in the journal Nature, Mike Edmunds asks a series of questions, clear answers are not yet able to give one of the many researchers Antikythera mechanism, when, by whom, for whom and for what practical needs has been made with this device? What technologies are used to create it? What else is like this device could invent the ancient Greeks? Add one more: why so perfect scientific mechanisms of Hellenistic civilization in the future were almost forgotten, and humanity had to re-invent the astrolabe and other astronomical (and not only astronomical) devices?

How bitterly points out in his article in Nature editor of the news department of Joe Merchant, "the Athens Museum of Natural History is stored only ten bronze statues of ancient Greek, and nine of them survived only thanks to the shipwrecks. The rest of the heritage of antiquity went to the smelter. " The notorious Atlantis really existed, but we were looking for her, not where it was in reality.



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