« Stuff You Missed in History Class

SYMHC Classics: The Antikythera Mechanism

2021-04-24 | 🔗

Today we revisit a 2013 episode. In 1900, a shipwreck was discovered near the island of Antikythera, including an assortment of luxury goods: statues, silver coins, vases ... and what turned out to be an amazing 2,000-year-old mechanism.

Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Support for the daily show, with Trevor Noah Ears Edition in the following message: come from Amazon Music, which is now offering millions of park as episodes. Anna slate of original programming you can. You can listen to the daily show ears addition, along with other popular pot, catch across culture. Comedy true crime and music all on Amazon, music, listening I guess it's never been so simple. Amazon music makes it easy to find the pie cash you like, and millions of other episodes for your curious mind dive into next with the listening on mobile web in the car at the gym, Amazon music offers a convenient, podcast listening experience that fits your lifestyle buying show and discover new trending podcast. Today. Listen the daily show ears addition on Amazon, music Will the Amazon music out now
on two time: NBA all star, Baren Davis, on the point God Podcast as a Twotime Allstar. I know not. All men are created equal. Some are born with true God, given talent, I'm Baron Davis, and on my new ihar podcast point. God we get to dive deep into the art strategy, the science the mathematics around what it means to be a point guard on the point: God Podcast on the ihar radio, app apple podcast or wherever you download your podcast happy Saturday everybody. This week we are putting out our unearthed episodes for the first quarter of twenty twenty one and to wet everyone's appetites. We thought that we would replace an episode that is related to one of the things we're going to talk about. That's the anti kids: a mechanism which we first Governor Michaud on July. Twenty ninth, twenty thirteen so enjoy, welcome
stuff you missed in history class, a production of heart radio hello and welcome to the podcast. My name is Holly FRY and I'm Tracy V Wilson and Been on your definition of a computer, the subject of today's protest could qualify as the oldest that we know of this story. Has all the makings of a good thriller. There's a ship brag there, the mysterious device, that's kind of out of court in time, and there is actually an ongoing debate over the origin of it and who built in the first place and it's been studied. Extensive but even so it still here this sort of level of mystery about it. Maybe aliens, is one of those things that people like to say yeah, but not very many serious scholars go a lot. Serious scholars do not generally blame things on a lie. They have a couple of theories that are, you know, some water, but it still up for debate great,
I mostly said, maybe aliens thing, because it is cool in weird enough. Yet it's yet, evidently an oddity in the context of the time in which it was made, at least as far as we know right. So what this thing is whole story really starts. It actually starts two thousand years ago, but where modern, stories picked, it up was in nineteen hundred and at that time a shipwreck was discovered near the island of Antikythera by a sponge, and his crew. So this is like off the coast of Greece and the ship that they discovered had been carrying an assortment of luxury goods when it sank, sober on their marble, statues, silver coins, glassware jewelry, rodion, vases and several other things, but all pretty much luxury goods. And, with all those other treasures, the divers brought up a rusted bronze mass in hitherto, while studying artifacts archaeology.
Valeria space identified. What he thought was a corroded gear wheel further examination reveal that there were dozens of individual, broken pieces and the mass and that they were poor, of some sort of clockwork style mechanism, along with there's other pieces that were retrieved through the years. Eighty one different fragments have been identified as of this mystery object and the time of the findings analysis there? In early nineteen hundreds, it was dated to approximately one hundred fifty b c e, not the issue did a little bit with additional analysis to being sometimes is listed as closer to one hundred BC, sometimes fifty BC And in the nineteen seventies, famous diver, explorer. Jacques Cousteau found coins at that same site that date the shipwreck to around eighty five BCE. Although its belief that the device-
probably existed for as long as two decades before the sinking so depending one whose analysis you look. And somewhere between one hundred fifty b c and fifty BC, which is really a pretty small time frame when you consider how far backward looking that's a pretty pinpointed narrow range right, so for a long time. No one really new at this was for mean it wishes to of rusty, broken parts, some of them were arrested together. Many so you're, not not really easy to determine what what it was meant to do. It's believed to possibly originated on the island of roads which have a vertical reputation for making automata and other mechanical artistry, as well as an advanced knowledge of astronomy. In the context of the time ship was believed to have been travelling. The dozen of broken elements. P
together would form dozens of dials that interlocked and move together in a fairly complex layered mechanism in me, hands the artifacts have had an interesting history and they ve continually challenged the people who have studied them. So as early as the nineteen. Fifty ease, researchers and enthusiasts were actually attempting to replicate the anti Kith her. You know that. Tell that there were gears and colleagues and they were trying to figure out what exactly it was foreign. Some of them took the approach of let's try to build a replica of it and they will reveal what it's for. You There was always this gap in the information of how the mechanism worked, because so many people were corroded together. That There was never really any big success along those lines. Nineteen. Seventy one to scientists used x, rays and gamma rays to further analyze the fused, but fragmented mechanism Their names were
Dr Tiselle Price and DR care. Carlos there were brought to light some of the complexity that the mechanism had It really shed some light on TAT had just how many pieces in Gears within this lump that they had solidified and rested into, but even so it was hard for them to make out individual pieces with any kind of specificity so doktor to solve. Rice develop a model of how he believed the mechanism worked, but it couldn't account all the pieces, because the depth of the arrangement of gears just wasn't clear from all of their imaging work there. Is also an australian researcher named Alan George Bromley, who took more x rays and data little bit more analysis, but he really felt strongly that new approaches to imaging we're going to need to be. Left if they were ever gonna, truly gain an understanding of this mechanisms. Workings at this point, a former carry here at the Science Museum in London named Michael Right, developed,
specialized linear demography, machine that he was going to use. Capture, more thorough images of the Anti Catherine and inner workings. In linear tomography, X, ray images are collected while the x ray tube actually moves through a range of positions. So you up with a series of exposure angles, and it gives you a more comprehensive data set for analysis of an object and he actually kind of built this on site, where the Anticastro was kept, because they had to kind of custom, build it. A handle this one thing. We should also remember his name. He has a long and heavy involvement on research with the device yeah he's. Very famously connected to the internet through. So Then there there continue to be steady throughout the M late nineteen hunter and then in two thousand five. There were a batch of new pieces found in this
catalyzed a consortium to come together to try to finally former conclusive analysis of this devices, workings and purpose so, along with Hewlett Packard, an Ex tax systems if university, the national and cap industry and University of Athens, the Aristotle you, Kirsty of Vessel key and the National Archaeological Museum of Athens all joined forces to get to the bottom of this mystery of your leg, we're, never gonna eat figure sat on our own. Let's all put our resources and our minds together and see what the heck this thing actually is. Support for this podcast comes from pay pal, business owners turn your smartphone into a cash register. Pay pal cure are the safe and easy way to get paid in store and they deliver the same security and trust. Paypal is known for online in person, even if your cash, We business with pay pal. You are codes, you can accept credit or debit with everyday life,
fees, there's no additional hardware or software needed, generate your unique cure code from the pay pal app and display it on your device or print it to display in store customer scan. Your with their pay pal app. You only need your smartphone learn more at pay, pal dot com, slash! U S, flesh get cure code hi, I'm shall see Clinton hosted the pod cast in fact When we look at why public health matters especially now, look, we learn from other public health issues, and how do we do better? Each we got in fact, I sit down with experts activists and a few surprise guests from than Van Ness DC mayor Muriel, Bouser to Jane Fonda, to explore the most important stories in public health. So please join me: listen to it, act on the I hurried you out, Apple podcast, or wherever you get. Your podcasts casts
So in September, two thousand five Hewlett Packard was able to take a series of reflectance imaging photos of the pieces of the mechanism, so is a process that captures repeated images of a surface under different lighting conditions than that reveals details that we might otherwise miss the machine was custom built to do all this imaging and it reportedly cost about half a million dollars to build a Hewlett, Packard actually still has many of the images of the Anti Catholic in an interactive online gallery, and it is super duper cool, see. You connect look at how the different lighting affects the details that you can see and you can play with sliders and look at it and see like what it would look like non corroded, finish and we'll link to that in the show notes? Because it's very fun to play this but morning, you're, going out a rabbit hole. You could lose an hour or two very easily ex tech brought a twelve tonne. Michael
focus computerized demographer to the party, and it was a to complete internal competition models of the pieces and really great detail So, in November, of two thousand six Athens actually hosted a conference dedicated to the Anti Catherine entitled decoding the insecure through mechanism, science and technology in ancient Greece, and at this conference The detailed findings of that analytical consortium worthy to the World and their analysis had identified that all of those cogs in pieces and pointers and knobs were part of what were calling a fairly complex analogue computer, and this was kind of groundbreaking information, because these were mechanisms that were at a level of complexity that this Oracle record, has no, to until later, thousand years later so It was a really extraordinarily complex mechanism.
We in the context of the time it was dated two but then comes the question of, but what does that analogue computer compute exactly so when we get to make a replica yeah. So remember, Michael right from before he factors in really hugely at this point in two thousand and eight Michael Wright who was working in his workshop in Hammersmith completed, this major labor of love that he had been working on for years, and that is the replica of the Antikythera mechanism and it works beautifully. It really does brass, rather than bronze for most of the project. Yes, though, he had been working on this with those teams from like the seventies on through so decades of his life that he had kind of dedicated to this, and when you see it, it's sort of breathtaking, there is a knob at the side of the mechanism and his turn by a user, is sets in motion the move a multiple dials on this impressive little machine
inside there are more than thirty gear wheels, but it's a really fine example of an intuitive user interface, because to use it You don't see any of the complex mechanisms on the inside you just have to to This knob an seamlessly smoothly. All of these differ, I'll turn and show you different information, Allow me original machine all the gears inside the replica have triangular teeth. Of them have as few as fifteen teeth and others have as many as two hundred and twenty three each piece on original artifact would have been hand cut from a sheet of bronze, so the front mechanism includes pointers that featured the Greek Zodiac, the location of the moon and the five planets the Greeks knew about. So that's Venus. Mercury Margie during Saturn image calendar and
front dial is actually two separate dials, one that sits within another and the inner ring includes the Zodiac, and the outer ring is a three hundred and sixty five day calendar and when the knob, turn the device predicts the motions of the Heavens. So when you select a date on the calendar by turning the knob, the heavenly bodies on their respective pointers will rotate into their expected positions in the sky. For that it is pretty awesome. I literally kind of get Just talking about gas has its mind blowing it's really astounding. There's more information even than that on the back onto dials, their stacked one above the other. The top dial display he's a nineteen year. Two hundred thirty five month calendar in it among other things, the scheduling of the Olympic Games, which is kind of a cool little function, for it have and it features individual months that are marked out along the exterior ring of the dial
The bottom dial shows a saloon calendar of seventy six there's, including predictive model of lunar and solar eclipse is, and what You sort of interesting about this little analogue computer is its size. Its like this as of issue box, it's really quite small, so anything all the things you can do by turning one single knob. That's why I said it's kind of abuse please simple user interface, considering that all of those moving parts insider predicting all of those things at the same time again might blowing feel like it's a tiny shoe box version of that massive planetarium thing, kind of inside, like Andre's house. The dirtiest all, and that brings up question of just who made this amazing mechanism, not Gelfling and the short answer to the question is almost that, though we don't know now, it could have been gelfling sure not really, but but there is a longer answer.
The longer answer is because of the other relics on board and the location of the shipwreck which hell the device, as we mentioned earlier on. Historians have sort of considered it may have originated on roads. Then there additional evidence to support that theory. The famed Greek astronomer Hipparchus is believed to have worked on the island of Rhodes from around one hundred forty BC until his death in one twenty b c E. So for twenty years he was there and later Posey Danny S the philosopher and a follower of her purkis actually set up an astronomer. School there at roads. Is, he was the moment. No get mintaka me work as we know why you're here so good, vinegar, red nose, my Yoda settlers bit, then this will exceed their steered, the Mama gibbons upbringing. Ok, you're, practically Mcnuggets perspective, Mr Elliot Noisy, really that gun, doin, ok, steel ion deal
the recipe yet in Mcdonald Fellows but would eat those coming nuggets. It he's. Peace has not big MAC when a quarter pounder with cheese openly officially to give us a proper moorland. Putting me delicacy participating whether my opinion about implicitly what I'm an amended its comedian, Nicky Glaser, and I have a new pod gas. With my best friend Andrew made Andrew call an army under value. I didn't know you. Let me speak as I look in the mirror, and I go here thirty six year old woman living with Europe male best friend platonic late, and how did you get here? You know why do you do they understood? I wasn't. I wouldn't tell me: what's your dinner up before, do the face, like I give more in the care of the pot gas, and they can't see that you look like the euro and a barely sounds like we're. Having a blast over the Nicky plays their part gas from the big money players network, and I heard radio Monday Thursday every day by day, servers so got every day, but listen, Nicky, Glaser, passed on radio apple pie, gas or wherever you listen, you're pod gas.
In the writings of Cicero, the first century BCE, roman lawyer and console a reference to the mechanism made by Posey. Posidonius is made quote, which Each revolution produces the same motions of the sun, the moon and the five planets that take place in the Heavens every day and night. This has course led many to believe that the device is the work of posted on or another Parkas follower follower supporting this belief is the fact that, when imaging gave clear views of the interior workings the ratios of two of the gear wheels within the device produce emotion that very closely mimics the way way park parkas described the varying motion of the moon around the earth, which had not happened prior to him. I don't believe. That's not the only story that has some weight behind it in terms of potential origin.
The month names inscribed on the object were only used in certain parts of northwestern Greece and Sicily calendar would have been used in the sicilian city of Syracuse Home to archimedes. Since archimedes. He was a mathematician and astronomer was known to have built some astronomical models and mechanisms of his own. Some story and want to a tribute. The anti gather to him however, because archimedes was killed at the seed of Syracuse and to twelve b c e, puts his death several decades before the machine is believed to have been built Scholars still feel that the machine can be part of a tradition, perhaps descended from archimedes and his work, but the jury is still out but origin. There's no definitive accepted origin story for it, but those are the two pack leaders and then, of course, of alien theorists bent
they don't really have any. There was kidding, I search history to back, don't wanna possess. Secondly, when I think I'll flings, only a little But then this all makes me ponder, and I think many other people so weird This wonderful thing in the history. And why haven't we seen more of these kinds of computing artifacts? And there, is a woman named Joe merchant who has written a great deal about the m. The insecure threats and shit can write a book about it called the coding, the Heavens, but in an article that she wrote for nature. She made the following. Quote that I really enjoyed- and it was more rising to an observer from the progress obsess twenty first century is the apparent of a subsequent tradition based on the same technology of ever better. Awkward spreading out around the world. How can the caprice need to build a machine so magnificent have passed through history with no obvious effects. Sylvia was
this wondrous creation, just a one off of us, an especially gifted engineer. He wanted to show off some extremely amazing skills, or is it really the only surviving piece of a part of history? We ve somehow not ever found other evidence of Michael right, who we reference before that is really quite famous for making this beautiful replica it gave a quote the BBC in two thousand six, where he said, and he said it similarly and other interviews designer and maker of the device knew what they wanted to achieve and they did it expertly. They made no mistakes to do this and have been very far from their everyday stock work and he eyed watched lay in the game after we prepped our show nodes, another interview with him, or he was saying normally. If you look at historical clockworks, you cannot see where the plan
was amended or the clockmaker kind of changed his mind about how something's gonna function. But there are no such apparent changes in this. It really is all put together beautifully No, it doesn't look. There was ever any editing the plan yeah salmon Researchers agree with right, but this couldn't have been a one of a kind object. One explanation for why we haven't found anything else like this piece is that it just survived almost entirely by blind look, I mean it is more than two thousand years old. Yes, so time for you know for something to survive, especially considering that bronze and other metals at the time were really frequently melted down to make other objects. But this thanks to the bottom of the sea, and it remained relatively intact there for context Athens Museum has only ten major bronze statue used, Romania, Greece, nine of which are from shipwrecks
Yeah, bronze really was often in high demand in short supply. So if it with something, that's why need any longer or had fallen into disrepair, which you know these clockworks would presumably have needed. Upkeep melted, We make some new. We need further things that I bet, maybe a tradition should revive ourselves awhile examples of other mechanisms that model the movement of heavenly bodies have been found that are closer to the time is believed that this existed. None of them are anywhere near as detailed or sophisticated as the anti era. Its They said earlier, not until the fourteenth century that even comparable clockwork start to appear the three largest fragments of this mechanism are on display at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, Greece and the smaller pieces of it are in storage at the museum study of the
to give her at continues? I don't think anybody believes the book is closed on this one. There are He'll, conferences and symposium that are held to discuss its place in history and its origin and the last one quite recently it was June of twenty thirteen. So just a few weeks ago, really and it was a workshop to bring the other classicists. Astronomers archaeologists mathematicians and historians, and they all had the goal of discussing an innovation in antiquity around the theme of the Anti Catherine mechanism. So I'm hoping we autumn interesting papers to come out of that think there's also continuing analysis of the inscriptions on the mechanism in case there, any new revelations that people have it necessarily identified yet and in twenty ten another fully functional replica, was built this time of Lego naturally looks quite a bit different yeah, it's not a true
look right, but the function of each dial is faithfully duplicated using Lego, and there is even a neat video that explains how the mathematics of the gears work, how they come. And to perform the same functions of the Brons. Artifact does, and we will linked to that in our show notes to yeah its debts. Things that I really really is breathtaking there. Several of the links will appear in our show notes, there is a video that was done by. I believe the new scientist and it's Michael right kind of being a demonstration of it and turning the crank, and you can see all the wheels move and how beautifully and it's smooth silk there's no awkward chunky along its really really. It seemed magical which, considering how many things that are just much simpler. You have to fiddle with pretty amazing, it's really beautiful.
Like the key to my front door has to be be to work and exactly- and this is a very complex receive much more difficult than the key to my friend or built entirely replicating the specks of this two thousand year old object and it works perfectly and beautifully in his so smooth, truly quite astounding. Ah the indicative yeah. I have like romantic attachment to it because it's so amazing, I think that's valid- it. Then I think I'm not the only one. There are lots of people anytime. You see, interviews people that study it. They sort of have that lake be slash. Wistful combination were there just there blown away by it, even if they've been working with it and the data sets for decades, it's really quite cool. So that's the indicate
mechanism thanks so much for joining us on this Saturday, since this episode is out of the archive, if you heard an email address or a facebook url or something similar over the course of the show that could be obsolete, now current email address is history. Podcast at I heart, radio dot com are old, helstone. Firstly, email address no longer works and you can find us all over social media at missed in history, and you can subscribe to our shadow on apple pie, task Google podcast the heart radio app and wherever else he listened, the broadcasts stuff. You missed in history class is a production of I heart radio for more podcasts from I heart radio visit the I heart, radio, app apple podcasts or wherever you listen to your favorite, shows.
I'm mini driver, and, in my new podcast mini questions, I explore our differences and our similarities by asking people the same seven questions questions about what makes us happy what we're curious about Love means to us this season, I'll, be speaking with the brilliantly tell exactly IONA Davis, epic fighters from man, Dave Girl, actor, Adam coming wonderful, female director, SAM Taylor, Johnson and Investigative puerto roman ferret among among hence in gathering different answers to the same questions from a variety of people. I wanted to examine how we similar and also how individual spiers us. What makes us growed what makes us wonder and subscribe to many questions on the eye. Hot radioactive apple, podcast already get your podcast.
Hi- this is Rex Chapman. You might know me from my former life is an mba player or from my spectacular fall from grace, or maybe just follow me on Twitter now I'm hosting a new Pike S. College charges with Rex Chap this fog cast, will take you on a journey through some of the most fascinating scandals that have rocked the world sports. Each episode centres around an interview with the famous athlete or entertainer who ran a file of the law charges with Rex Chapman premiers may fourth listen on the heart, radio at Apple POD, gas or wherever you listened to pod, cast
Transcript generated on 2021-05-24.