enigma of world’s oldest computer solved, ancient palimpset by archimedes also included other works

thinking bout things, bigger.

Enigma of ancient world’s computer is cracked at last

A 2,100-year-old clockwork machine whose remains were retrieved from a shipwreck more than a century ago has turned out to be the celestial super-computer of the ancient world.

Using 21st-century technology to peer beneath the surface of the encrusted gearwheels, stunned scientists say the so-called Antikythera Mechanism could predict the ballet of the Sun and Moon over decades and calculate a lunar anomaly that would bedevil Isaac Newton himself.

Built in Greece around 150-100 BC and possibly linked to the astronomer and mathematician Hipparchos, its complexity was probably unrivalled for at least a thousand years, they say.

“It’s beautifully designed. Your jaw drops when you work out what they did and what they put into this,” said astronomer Mike Edmunds of Cardiff University, Wales, in an interview with AFP. (photo at the link.)

The Aztecs had a pretty sophisticated grasp of time and the movement of celestrial bodies, but they didn’t really flourish as a sophisticated culture until the 13th-15th century. So their calculations and findings about time and astronomy were at least 1300 years or more after Hipparchos.

Its not celebration of ancient Greeks day, but I happened across this story too. Between the lines: A rare Ancient Greek text is found 

The Archimedes Palimpsest, sold at auction at Christie’s for $2 million in 1998, is best known for containing some of the oldest copies of work by the Greek mathematician who gives the manuscript its name. But there is more to the palimpsest than Archimedes’s work, including 10 pages of Hyperides, offering fresh insights into the critical battle of Salamis in 480 B.C., in which the Greeks defeated the Persians, and the battle of Chaeronea in 338 B.C., which spelled the beginning of the end of Greek democracy.

snip

Hyperides lived from 390 or 389 B.C. until 322 B.C. and was an orator who made speeches at public meetings of the citizen assembly. A contemporary of Aristotle and Demosthenes, he wrote speeches for himself and for others and spoke at important political trials. In 322 B.C., Hyperides was executed by the Macedonians for participating in a failed rebellion.

It is thought that the writings or in this case the ancient transcriptions of Hyperides writings are important because of the history of the war mentioned in the article and because he was a kind of devotee of language and made speeches that were like performances. So they would be both a history and an example of early stage craft and drama.