The Antikythera Mechanism

Per this article:

So I did a brief Google search to see how they did this and got lots of links to software that will calculate various celestial events.

Would anyone point me in the direction or show me how the ancient Greeks did this?

Also where can I buy a replica or build an Antikythera Mechanism???

Wikiedia has a decent article on it, but as of a few months ago, we still do not know exactly what it does or how. So a full recreation is out of the question, but build an orrery with 37 gears and you will be close.
Non-Lego Plans


Are you asking how they designed or made the antikythera, or how they did the astronomical calculations without one?

If the latter, look up Ptolemy’s Almagest. Animated versions of some of the geometrical models (theoretical models, not physical devices) are here.

New Scientist had an update on this just a couple of weeks ago:

So you may be able to see exactly how it works, online at least.

This paper from Tufts describes some of the ways that they approached building models. It includes this link to this diagram of the gearing for the Antikythera Mechanism.

And this site notes that John Gleave, who makes orreries, built his own replica.

DON’T ask me about it, OKAY?!?

(Here are some more pretty cool photos, if you’re interested.

Out of curiosity, why do you want a replica?)

I want one too! I got Antikythera fever a few weeks ago and wanted to buy this. Turns out it’s just a computer animation. Damn.

I bet there would be a demand if some craftsman could turn out a replica and offered it for sale.

Question: has anyone analyzed the isoptic composition of the bronze or brass gear wheels? i’m wondering if the place of production of the machine could be pinned down.
Second; why was there only one machine? One would think that every temple would want sucha useful mechanism. have any ancient greek water clocks survived?

We wouldn’t because we like you and this mechanism is anti Kythereia

(blinking in confusion) Uh, because it’s COOL?

Nature has a good summary article on it, plus the actual paper from the researchers (which requires a subscription to view).

The hypothesis for why it’s the only surviving mechanism is that the metal they are composed of is more valuable than the functional device. So the others have all been melted down. Apparently all surviving Greek bronze statues were also recovered from shipwrecks; all others were destroyed.

It was found with ceramics were made in Rhodes, so it seems the ship had been there. It’s possible the mechanism was produced there as well.

What makes you think there was only ever one? There may have been lots of them, but only one has survived.

AFAIK, such elaborate orrery-type devices were never common in antiquity (although the surviving example probably wasn’t literally unique). They would have been more on the order of fancy luxury toys than routine scientific tools. If all you want is to calculate planetary positions or eclipses, it would be a lot less expense and trouble just to get a copy of Ptolemy’s Handy Tables and do the computations yourself