What was the Antikythera mechanism?

From childhood we know about sea voyages of mythical heroes Hellas – Odyssey, Argonauts and many others. In historical science It has long been established that Greek sailors mastered the waters of the Mediterranean and Black Seas. Ships built beautiful and quite perfect sea vessels of different types, navigators are perfectly guided by the starry sky. However, historians believe that the main way of navigation was coasting, i.e. swimming along the coast. And only for the ancient Greeks could separate, well-known routes to cross the sea. On the technical equipment needed by the ancients navigators know very little. By default, it is assumed that it was quite primitive, and the main factor for successful sailing was a personal experience of ancient sailors. But was this the case in reality? MYSTERY OF GEARS In 1901, not far from the remains of the ancient Greek island of Antikythera vessel. Among the many artifacts from the bottom, several bronze gears, which, thanks to the remnants of the wooden corps, turned into a monolith. This artifact remained unexplored until 1951 when the English historian Derek de Solla Price became interested in him and for the first time determined that the remains of a strange The mechanisms were once a unique computing device. What was the Antikythera mechanism?Photos from open sources Photos from open sources Price conducted an X-ray study mechanism and a few years later carried out its reconstruction, making a full-size model. In 1959, a scientist published a detailed description in Scientific American devices. Research continued. The remains of the mechanism were studied under x-rays. Full circuit The device was introduced only in 1971. With further the study revealed that there were as many as 37 gears, although only 30. After 20 years of research, Price came to the conclusion that this an artifact is a mechanical astronomical instrument, used to simulate the movement of the sun, moon and, supposedly three more planets – Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. IN the basis of the mechanism, according to the tireless researcher, lay the principle of differential transmission, which, as before It was believed that it was invented not earlier than the XVI century. After almost forty years another researcher, Michael Wright, a specialist in mechanical devices from the London Museum of Science, made a new attempt studying the ancient Greek navigator. He confirmed the main findings. about the purpose of the device made by Price. But at the same time, Wright convincingly showed that differential gear, which is so admired by lovers of antiquities, actually absent. Besides Moreover, he suggested that the mechanism could simulate movements not not only the aforementioned planets, but also Mercury and Venus. Further study revealed more and more new properties of antique gears. It turned out that the device can add, subtract and divide, and also take into account the ellipticity of the orbit of the moon. Photos from open sources TWO SIDES OF THE DEVICE The device itself had two-sided execution: the front side contained one dial, back – two. Both dials on the back had additional small dials on the central circles. All the concentric rings surrounding the dials were movable. They are driven by a swivel wheel on the right side wall of the mechanism. The front dial has been split across the system Egyptian calendar for 12 months of 365 days. It was on a movable ring with zodiac symbols is installed, which allowed the user to tune the instrument in leap years. This The dial, according to researchers, had three hands. One indicated the date, the other two – the location of the sun and moon. I.e the dial was a kind of star calendar (in Greek – parapet), which indicated sunrise and sunset certain stars. Researchers believe that images of many Stars were engraved over the entire surface of this device. Photos from open sources Photos from open sources Dials on the back located one above the other. The top is made in the form of a spiral, each the turn of which is divided into 47 parts. In total there are 235 divisions, which reflect the months of the so-called 19-year Meton cycle, which served to coordinate the duration of the lunar month and solar year in the lunar-solar calendar. This cycle was proposed in 433 BC. e. by the Athenian astronomer Methane and lay down in the basis of the ancient Greek calendar. Lower disk that had 223 division, displayed a cycle of eclipses saros, or draconic period, consisting of 223 synodic months after which the eclipses of the moon and the sun are approximately repeated in the former okay. The small dial on the upper dial was used to calculate 76-year period in the cycle of Kalipp. Small drive on the bottom the dial showed a 54-year cycle exeligmos – a period equal to approximately 19,756 days, or three saros, after which eclipses of the moon and the sun are repeated at about the same conditions. TECHNOLOGY ON THE BORDER OF FANTASY Thus the antikythera mechanism was a complex astronomical instrument, a kind of mechanical computer of antiquity, allowing not only carry out accurate astronomical calculations, but also Predict certain celestial events. Researchers have come to the conclusion that the technology embodied in the mechanism of this device, comparable to the technology of mechanical watches of the XIV century. Ah, by updated data, approximate production time The mechanism was dated 150-100 years BC. e. Reconstruction Photos from open sources Moreover, after numerous Examinations on the mechanism revealed the remains of inscriptions (about 2 LLC Greek characters). As one of the Greek informed the author researchers, among them fragments of the technical device operating instructions. That is, you can confidently suggest that such mechanisms were mass-produced and were designed for an experienced captain or skipper to own a sufficient set of navigation and astronomical knowledge for in order to receive the device and read the instructions, run it to work. This unique mechanism indicates the high level of navigational art of ancient sailors and their high technical support. What a navigation device the ancients came to our days in a single copy does not mean that he was the only such device. Rather should suggest that the level of knowledge of the ancient Greeks as in the field astronomy and navigation and in the field of precision mechanics was much more extensive and deeper than modern imagines scientists. Andrey ZhUKOV, candidate of historical sciences

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