Sunday, December 12, 2010

Ancient Greek "Clockpunk" like device

This is one of the most fascinating and marvelous geared clockwork devices ever built in any time anywhere, and it was made over 2000 years ago near Syracuse  on the island of Sicily, or possibly in Northwestern Greece.  It uses an extremely complex system of high precision gears to anticipate and precisely predict all forms of eclipses and some other significant astronomical events.  It also has a sort of religious and pop culture use in tracking what Olympic games are held in which years.   Most of our Steampunk and Clockpunk friends don't realize that Leonardo de Vinci (or someone around his time anyway)  built the first clockwork robot, as a metal lion the walked up to a visiting monarch, sat, opened it's chest, and presented a bouquet of flowers from inside.  They also don't realize that Hero of Alexandria invented the steam engine long before 1 AD (even though he never figured out a way to make it a useful engine at the time).  They certainly don't realize this happened in the 1st century BC.  Sorta throws out the whole idea of setting a specific time line for Steampunk and Clockpunk background don't it?  Unless of course you actually start speculating about use of a "Tardis" or some other time travel device eh what?

(Thanks to Zak-Tzu for pointing out some incorrect data I had received regarding dates and inventors in the above which are now about as corrected as anything can be when referring to ancient history which is usually pretty inaccurate by the time it gets to any of us)


  1. Leonardo da Vinci built that lion robot, actually.

  2. Oh, and it was Hero of Alexandria that built the first steam engine.

  3. Hero invented the steam engine sometime between his birth and his death, which was between 10 AD and 70 AD.