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Antikythera mechanism

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Author Topic: Antikythera mechanism  (Read 852 times)
Trinity
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« on: June 17, 2010, 03:19:33 pm »

Speculation about its purpose
Derek J. de Solla Price suggested that it might have been on public display, possibly in a museum or public hall in Rhodes. The island was known for its displays of mechanical engineering, particularly automata, which apparently were a speciality of the Rhodians. Pindar, one of the nine lyric poets of ancient Greece, said this of Rhodes in his seventh Olympic Ode:
"The animated figures stand
Adorning every public street
And seem to breathe in stone, or
Move their marble feet."
Arguments against it being on public display include:
1.   The device is rather small, indicating that the designer was aiming for compactness and, as a result, the size of the front and back dials is unsuitable for public display. A simple comparison with size of the Tower of the Winds in Athens could give us a hint to suggest that the aim of the Antikythera mechanism manufacturer was the mobility of this device rather than its public display in a fixed place (such as a temple, museum or public hall).
2.   The mechanism had door plates attached to it that contain at least 2,000 characters, forming what members of the Antikythera mechanism research project often refer to as an instruction manual for the mechanism. The neat attachment of this manual to the mechanism itself implies ease of transport and personal use.
3.   The existence of this "instruction manual" implies that the device was constructed by an expert scientist and mechanic in order to be used by a non-expert traveler (the text gives a lot of information associated with well known geographical locations of the Mediterranean area).

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