Between 150 and 100 BC, the ancient Greeks built a mechanism, called Antikythera, Depending on who you ask, it is the first computer or the first calculator in history. The size of a shoebox, with two spheres in the front and one in the back, as well as needles, wheels, cranks and gears, the contraption was capable of determining the orbit of the five planets known to the Hellenes — Mercury. , Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn–, predict solar and lunar eclipses and set the exact date on which the Olympic Games should be held.
Sorry: is able to do all of that. The skilled hands of Michael Wright, a former British museum curator accustomed to working in absolute solitude, have reconstructed the amazing invention, more than two millennia later of sinking in the Aegean Sea.
Experts explain that the mechanism, whose sophistication would not be seen again until 1,000 years later, is equivalent to the hypothetical discovery of an internal combustion engine in the tomb of Tutankhamun: an invention that transforms part of the ideas that were held about ancient Greece, until recently ignored due to its alleged technological ignorance.
In 1901, on the small island of Antikythera, between Crete and Kythera, a diver found, by pure chance, a sunken ship full of marble and bronze sculptures, amphoras and coins. Among so many colorful pieces, the mechanism, which owes its name to the island, was eclipsed. It was divided into 81 pieces almost indistinguishable from the surrounding maritime dirt, and besides, who would have believed that the Hellenes could design such a machine? The contraption was given a number — 15087 — and was left parked, forgotten in a side corridor of the Archaeological Museum of Athens.
Until, in the second half of the last century, a series of historians and scientists they began to rack their brains over the enigmatic device. This new trend has just now flowed into Wright’s workshop. It is not the first replica of the contraption, but no one doubts that it is the most complete, the most similar to the arcane piece. Its resemblance led the British to build it with recycled metal plates, like the original, since the Antikythera mechanism is also the first ecological computer in history.