Article ID: CBB063081688

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

unapi

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.

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Authors & Contributors
Carman, Christián Carlos
Evans, James
Jones, Alexander
Steele, John M.
Thorndike, Alan S.
Vossinakis, Andreas
Journals
Journal for the History of Astronomy
Archive for History of Exact Sciences
Almagest
Mariner's Mirror
Publishers
Brepols
Da Capo Press
Oxford University Press
Saqi
Springer
Institute for the History of Science, Polish Academy of Science
Concepts
Astronomy
Antikythera mechanism
Instruments, astronomical
Scientific apparatus and instruments
Cosmology
Computers and computing, analog
People
Geminus of Rhodes
Ptolemy
Time Periods
Ancient
20th century
Medieval
Renaissance
Places
Greece
Middle and Near East
Babylon (extinct city)
Mesopotamia
Egypt
Europe
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