World’s first “computer” was launched in 178 BC: scientists uncovered the secret of the Antikythera mechanism

(ORDO NEWS) — The mysterious Antikythera Mechanism, considered by some to be the world’s first computer, was first “launched” on December 22, 178 BC. This is the conclusion of the authors of a new study.

Discovered by sponge divers while investigating a Roman-era shipwreck off the Greek island of Antikythera in 1901, the complex ancient shoebox-sized computer, containing gears and dials with numerous tiny inscriptions, could predict eclipses and the timing of various sports games.

Over the years, researchers have painstakingly pieced together numerous pieces of the Antikythera mechanism to figure out how it was created and how it could have been used some 2,000 years ago.

But scientists still have a lot of questions: who made it? Where did these people live? Why create it and when was it “launched”? Now, a team of scientists have determined that “turn-on” date by detailing their findings in a preprint.

When was the ancient computer launched?

In their new paper, the researchers point out a number of reasons why they believe that December 22, 178 BC, was the start date of the mechanism, that is, the earliest date on which all calculations made by this mechanism are based. This is something like absolute zero temperature on the Kelvin scale.

First, there was a solar eclipse that day that lasted over 12 minutes. Secondly, the next day, December 23, was the winter solstice, an important day for many ancient peoples. Scholars also note that the festival of Isiah – the celebration of the Egyptian goddess Isis – was celebrated at this time in both Egypt and Greece.

In addition, a new phase of the moon began on the same day. This combination of events is incredibly rare, which means that the launch of the mechanism on this day would be incredibly symbolic for the representatives of the people who made it.

This launch date matters because it will be the basis for all calculations using the engine. However, not everyone agrees with such calculations, based only on the ideas of beauty among the ancient peoples.

According to other scientists, the date of May 12, 204 BC, which was calculated in the previous two articles, is more accurate. This date was completely tied to lunar eclipses, which the ancient peoples so loved to focus on.


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