The Hi-Tech Inventions of Ancient Greece

The origins of our modern Technology

H έκθεση αυτή αποτελεί μία επιλογή από τα εκθέματα του Μουσείου Αρχαίας Ελληνικής Τεχνολογίας Κώστα Κοτσανά που λειτουργεί στο Κατάκολο και στην Αρχαία Ολυμπία.
Το μουσείο ξαναζωντανεύει 350 περίπου λειτουργικά ομοιώματα εξαιρετικών εφευρέσεων των αρχαίων Ελλήνων (από το ρομπότ – υπηρέτρια του Φίλωνος μέχρι τον κινηματογράφο του Ήρωνος και από το αυτόματο ωρολόγιο του Κτησιβίου μέχρι τον αναλογικό υπολογιστή των Αντικυθήρων) που δημιουργήθηκαν κατόπιν πολύχρονης ενδελεχούς έρευνας και μελέτης της αρχαιοελληνικής, λατινικής και αραβικής γραμματείας, των αγγειογραφικών πληροφοριών και των ελάχιστων σχετικών αρχαιολογικών ευρημάτων.

For example, the bolts and nuts, gears and rules, pulleys and belts, sprockets and roller chains, pistons and cylinders, springs, hydraulic controllers and valves, programmers and auto-pilots (all parts of the engine of a modern car) are just some of the inventions of the ancient Greeks which were the foundations of their complex technology. These legacies, identical and irreplaceable, continue today to constitute the building blocks of our modern technology, the development of which would be doubtful without its effortless and undemanding adoption. Only after a millennium of maturation was humanity able to ”recover” this remarkable forgotten technology.

The exploration of this age, when ownership for peak technology was not claimed, demonstrates how much more (than we think) the modern Western Technological Civilisation owes to the Greeks.




The automatic servant of Philon (3rd c. B.C.)

The Antikythera calculating mechanism (2nd c. B.C.)

Automation and programming
Τhe automatic theatre of Philon (3rd c. B.C.)

Automotive and automatic navigation
The car – puppet show of Heron (1st c. A.C.)

Jet propulsion
The flying pigeon of Archytas (5th c. B.C.)

The spherical astrolabe of Ptolemy (1st c. A.C.)
The tetrantas (Quadrant) of Hipparchus (2nd c. B.C.)
The four- cubit dioptra of Archimedes (3rd c. B.C.)

Measuring time
The alarm clock of Plato (4-5th c. B.C.)
The hydraulic clock of Κtesibios (3rd c. B.C.)

Tools and machines
The bow lathe
The nut fabrication machine of Heron (1st c. A.C.)
The pantograph of Heron (1st c. A.C.)

“Pneumatic” automata
The hydraulic automaton of the “chirping birds” and of the “returning owl” ” (3rd c. B.C.)

The automatic goblet of Philon (3rd c. B.C.)
The magic fountain of Heron (1st c. A.C.)
The ingenious wine-jug of Philon (3rd c. B.C.)
The “philosopher’s stone”of Heron (1st c. A.C.)

Geodesy and mapping
The dioptra of Heron (1st c. A.C.)

Religious technology
The automatic opening of the temple gates after sacrifice had taken place on its altar (1st c. A.C.)
The automatic holy water server with coin-collector (1st c. A.C.)
The rotating chirping bird (melagkoryphus) (1st c. B.C.)

Music technology
The “hydraulis” (organ) of Ktesibios (3rd c. B.C.)

The “hydraulic telegraph” of Aeneas (4th c. B.C.)
Fire signals and beacons (3rd c. B.C.)

The diptych waxed plates / The cryptographic (Laconian) relay /Aeneas’ cryptographic disc

Athletic mechanisms
The “hysplex” (5th c. B.C.)

Measuring instruments
The “hodometer” of Archimedes (3rd c. B.C.)

Ηoisting machines
The tripod crane (6th c. B.C.)

The “gastraphetes” (belly-releaser)

Hydraulic technology
The hydraulic endless screw of Archimedes (3rd c. B.C.)
The fire pump of Heron (1st c. A.C.)

Toys technology
The Pythagoras cup (6th c. B.C.)
The gimbal-joint (of inkwell) of Philon (3rd c. B.C.)
The (o)stomachion of Archimedes (3rd c. B.C.)

Steam mobility
The aeolipile of Heron (1st c. A.C.)

Medical technology
The colposcope (3rd c. B.C.)
The suction cup (3rd c. B.C.)
The ”pyoulkos” (syringe)