Article ID: CBB063081688

From Babylonian Records to Pin and Slot: A Possible Path (2017)


The Antikythera Mechanism is a mechanical astronomical instrument that was discovered in an ancient shipwreck at the beginning of the twentieth century, made about the second century B.C. It had several pointers showing the positions of the moon and sun in the zodiac, the approximate date according to a lunisolar calendar, several subsidiary dials showing calendrical phenomena, and also predictions of eclipses. Scholars agree that it probably also showed the position of the planets in the zodiac. In 2012 Carman and Evans on the one hand, and Freeth and Jones on the other, independently published very similar proposals for the planets based on the pin and slot device, already deciphered for the Moon by Freeth & al. in 2008. One year later, Evans and Carman suggested that the epicycle and deferent system could have been originated using the pin and slot device as an inspiration, and not the other way around. According to that proposal, pin and slot devices were conceived as a mechanical solution for producing anomalistic motions in geared mechanisms and only afterwards, considering the device, some geometer proposed the epicycle and deferent model. We did not propose, however, any particular way in which the pin and slot model could have been designed starting only with astronomical data, being unaware of the epicycle and deferent model. In this article I offer a possible path that the maker of the mechanism could have followed.

Citation URI

Similar Citations

Article Paul Iversen; Alexander Jones; (2019)
The Back Plate Inscription and Eclipse Scheme of the Antikythera Mechanism Revisited (/isis/citation/CBB030582602/)

Book Efthymios Nicolaidis; Constantine Skordoulis; (2016)
Inscriptions of the Antikythera Mechanism (/isis/citation/CBB706945238/)

Article Anastasiou, Magdalini; Seiradakis, John H.; Evans, James; Drougou, Stella; Efstathiou, Kyriakos; (2013)
The Astronomical Events of the Parapegma of the Antikythera Mechanism (/isis/citation/CBB001200856/)

Article M. T. Wright; (2013)
The Antikythera Mechanism: Compound Gear-Trains for Planetary Indications (/isis/citation/CBB030390010/)

Article Edmunds, M. G.; (2011)
An Initial Assessment of the Accuracy of the Gear Trains in the Antikythera Mechanism (/isis/citation/CBB001023570/)

Article Carman, Christián C.; Thorndike, Alan; Evans, James; (2012)
On the Pin-and-Slot Device of the Antikythera Mechanism, with a New Application to the Superior Planets (/isis/citation/CBB001231604/)

Article Evans, James; Carman, Christián C.; Thorndike, Alan S.; (2010)
Solar Anomaly and Planetary Displays in the Antikythera Mechanism (/isis/citation/CBB000952814/)

Chapter Wright, Michael T.; (2011)
The Antikythera Mechanism: Reconstruction as a Medium for Research and Publication (/isis/citation/CBB001250766/)

Article James Evans; Christián C. Carman; (2019)
Babylonian Solar Theory on the Antikythera Mechanism (/isis/citation/CBB975989293/)

Chapter Grasshoff, Gerd; (2012)
Globalization of Ancient Knowledge: From Babylonian Observations to Scientific Regularities (/isis/citation/CBB001422688/)

Article Steele, J. M.; (2006)
Miscellaneous Lunar Tables from Babylon (/isis/citation/CBB000670057/)

Article Aristeidis Voulgaris; Christophoros Mouratidis; Andreas Vossinakis; (2018)
Conclusions from the Functional Reconstruction of the Antikythera Mechanism (/isis/citation/CBB719052359/)

Book Jian-Liang Lin; Hong-Sen Yan; (2015)
Decoding the Mechanisms of Antikythera Astronomical Device (/isis/citation/CBB869025618/)

Article Christián C. Carman; (2017)
The Final Date of the Antikythera Mechanism (/isis/citation/CBB211711892/)

Article Knox-Johnston, Robin; (2013)
Practical Assessment of the Accuracy of the Astrolabe (/isis/citation/CBB001421461/)

Book Steele, John M.; (2008)
A Brief Introduction to Astronomy in the Middle East (/isis/citation/CBB000831263/)

Article Aristeidis Voulgaris; Christophoros Mouratidis; Andreas Vossinakis; (2023)
The Initial Calibration Date of the Antikythera Mechanism after the Saros Spiral Mechanical Apokatastasis (/isis/citation/CBB277632147/)

Authors & Contributors
Carman, Christián Carlos
Evans, James
Jones, Alexander
Steele, John M.
Thorndike, Alan S.
Vossinakis, Andreas
Journal for the History of Astronomy
Archive for History of Exact Sciences
Mariner's Mirror
Da Capo Press
Oxford University Press
Institute for the History of Science, Polish Academy of Science
Antikythera mechanism
Instruments, astronomical
Scientific apparatus and instruments
Computers and computing, analog
Geminus of Rhodes
Time Periods
20th century
Middle and Near East
Babylon (extinct city)

Be the first to comment!

{{ comment.created_by.username }} on {{ comment.created_on | date:'medium' }}

Log in or register to comment