Skip to comments.The World's First Computer May Have Been Used To Tell Fortunes [Engraved text translation]
Posted on 06/10/2016 6:55:53 AM PDT by BenLurkin
A ten-year project to decipher inscriptions on the ancient Greek Antikythera mechanism has revealed new functions, including the first hint that the device was used to make astrological predictions. The writings also lend support to the idea that the gadget, often called the world's first computer because of its ability to model complex astronomical cycles, originated from the island of Rhodes.
Until now, scholars have focused on decoding the sophisticated array of gearwheels inside the 2000-year-old artifact.
The new publication tackles instead the lettering squeezed onto every available surface. Its like discovering a whole new manuscript, says Mike Edmunds, emeritus professor of astrophysics at Cardiff University, U.K., who edited the special issue of Almagest in which the results are published.
The spaces around the dials were filled with engraved text. AMRP researchers have now completed their efforts to read around 3,400 characters on the surviving surfaces.
Lead author Alexander Jones, a classicist at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World in New York, estimates that the original mechanism probably held up to 20,000 characters.
The letters are tinysome less than a millimeter talland often hidden beneath the surface of the corroded fragments. Jones and his colleagues used CT scans to reveal new sections of text and update previous readings. Weve made a big jump in terms of the quality of the inscriptions and their intelligibility, says Jones. He and the AMRP will officially announce their results at the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation in Athens on June 9.
The new readings are very valuable, says Michael Wright, a London-based scholar and former curator of mechanical engineering at the London Science Museum who has spent decades studying the Antikythera mechanism independently. Weve got the most reliable readings yet of each piece of inscription.
(Excerpt) Read more at smithsonianmag.com ...
Antikythera mechanism PinGGG!..................
I sat in an Athens, Greece museum last year and admired the object and the data around it.
The thing is....you sit down after a while and start asking yourself questions about the gearwheel, the amount of data being manipulated, and how smart the guy was to build it, and the guy was who carried it around with himself.
It’s a tremendous amount of knowledge that this little box has within itself. If you walked into some university with a hundred clever astronomical students and a hundred engineering students....giving them the task to build such a device....with no computers. I think they’d all just grin and walk away. They would consider it impossible. So, the question is...how did this engineer design it? And is there a possibility that others exist in today’s world....in private collections?
Whoever made it and for whatever reason, it had to have been very expensive! It would be very expensive even today to re-manufacture. 3D printing might make it a little more economical. But the real amazing thing is that its maker had to have precise knowledge of gears and ratios as well as planetary and astronomical movements........................
Beat me to it. GMTA
Computer for astrology.
The first message recovered in the hard drive was “Beware of Y1K...we’re all gonna die.”
a philosopher’s stone for soothsaying
Some kind of message from one incarnation of Dr. Who to one of his other selves?
“Riv r So g is a Dal k”
I suspect that this was not a one-off. There was probably some kind of small industry that made these things and they evolved over the years.
Think about clocks, electric drills, kitchen appliances, etc. These have evolved in our society and are common, but how many would be left in a few thousand years? I wonder what they were called back then and if there are any references to them in surviving literature? There is just so much information that has been lost.
Very interesting. It must have been based on the written records of very long-term observations made with a high degree of precision. This indicates that there was at least one observatory with precision instruments like transits, and the library of an organization that endured over many generations. The Magi would be a likely candidate, but the inscriptions are in Greek.
BS! Everybody knows the first computer was used to watch porn.
I understand the last recorded fortune read:
I see a long sea voyage in your future.
Or to quote an old comedy routine from (the now disgraced) Bill Cosby...
“How long can you tread water?”
Hey, if it had said "short" instead of "long", he'd never have got into the boat. ;') I've come to the uneducated conclusion that the mechanism was part of a load of salvage (junk) metal headed for recycling.
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