What Is The Antikythera Mechanism?

A 2,000-year-old analog computer system from Ancient Greece is called the Antikythera Mechanism.

The ancient Olympic Games were announced using it, which was also used to monitor the positions of the moon and sun, predict eclipses, and indicate them. Additionally, the machine could do addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division operations.

The thirty bronze gears that make up the Antikythera Mechanism. A shoe-sized box made of wood and brass constructed at the end of the second century BCE houses these gears.

The gears resemble computers from the 20th and 21st centuries to some extent. Along with the gears, some calendars and orbs stand in for the sun, moon, and solar system. According to studies, there was a central lever that oversaw all operations.

A small Greek inscription is found on the exterior surface. This annotation helped researchers completely comprehend how the gadget operated. Both the front and rear doors have these inscriptions.

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Finding And Origin

Greek divers made the first discovery of the Antikythera mechanism in 1900. The gadget was discovered 148 feet under the ocean off the Greek island of Antikythera one year later, in 1901.

Before its true capabilities were found, the gadget and other relics were given to the government and kept in a museum for two years. More expeditions have been dispatched back to the site as other bits of the gadget go missing, hoping to find more parts.

The quality and intricacy of the mechanism, as determined by research into the device, point to its creation by Greek astronomers and mathematicians during the Hellenistic era.

The device’s initial date was about 85 BCE, although recent studies have shown that it may be earlier than that, perhaps going back to around 150 BCE.


Two concentric circles are on the front face of the Antikythera mechanism. Greek zodiac signs are marked within the circle with divisions in degrees. The 365 calendar days are marked on the outside circle.

At least two points indicated the locations of the heavenly bodies and the circles. One of the points indicated the moon’s position, while the other indicated the sun’s location and maybe the current date.

Five dials are located on the mechanism’s back or rear face: the Exeligmos, the Games or Olympiad Dial, the Saros, the Metonic (each of which has three smaller points), and the Callippic. There are also two enormous displays on the mechanism.

Only the Games Dial rotates counter-clockwise as time passes. All other dials revolve clockwise. The Olympiad dial was changed to the Games dial when research into the instrument revealed that it did not predict the Olympiad years.

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