The ancient Greeks were so ahead of their time that sometimes you are truly humbled. Just look at the amazing calendar device called the Antikythera mechanism. (Video included further down.)
The Antikythera mechanism did several things:
- It showed the position and movement of the sun, moon and planets.
- It worked as a calendar.
- It kept track of when the Olympic games and other events were being held.
- It predicted solar eclipses.
It’s the world’s oldest known complex scientific calculator, and some have even gone as far as calling it a computer.
The amazing thing here is that although the device has been dated to around 100 BC, the complexity of the clockwork-like mechanism is comparable to watches made in the 18th century. It was 1800 years before its time.
Here is a video of a working model of a reconstructed Antikythera mechanism. The demonstration is just a couple of minutes long and is well worth the watch. It’s quite amazing.
Who knows where we would have been if the knowledge of ancient Greece hadn’t been lost for so long? A prominent example is their knowledge of mathematics, which was on a level which wouldn’t be rivaled until after the Renaissance. We lost more than a thousand years of scientific development.
Just imagine if we had invented the Internet hundreds of years ago. Where would we be today?