A bronze Greek device constructed in around 80BC could be the world's oldest computer, joint British-Greek research seems to suggest.
The "Antikythera Mechanism" - consisting more than 30 bronze dials and wheels - was recovered from the wreck of a cargo ship off the Greek island of Antikythera in 1900, the Scotsman reports. Its exact purpose was unknown, although a previous theory centred on it being used to calculate the movement of the planets then known to the Greeks: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.
The researchers from the universities of Cardiff, Athens and Thessalonika now believe they are close to cracking the mystery, by bringing to bear very modern X-ray technology which has revealed a previously-hidden Greek inscriptions which may confirm the planetary hypothesis.
The imaging was done by the X-Tek Group using a "unique" and snappily-named "400kV microfocus Computed Tomography System". British team leader Mike Edmunds of Cardiff University enthused: "The outstanding results obtained from X-Tek's 3-D X-rays are allowing us to make a definitive investigation of the Mechanism. I do not believe it will ever be possible to do better."
The exact nature of the inscriptions is not reported, and while Athens university researcher Xenophon Moussas is reported as saying the "newly discovered text seems to confirm that the mechanism was used to track planetary bodies", Edmunds advised caution. Acknowledging there was one word identified which may give an indication of the device's purpose, he said lots of decipherment work remained. He told El Reg: "It's still up in the air, and there's plenty of work yet to be done."
If the Antikythera Mechanism is indeed what the investigators believe it is, then there are further suggestions that it may be based on a heliocentric view of the solar system - highly unusual at a time when most Greeks accepted Aristotle's view that the universe revolved around the Earth.
According to Michael Wright, the curator of mechanical engineering at the Science Museum in London - who in 2002 advanced the planetary calculator theory - the device may have been constructed in an academy "founded by the Stoic philosopher Poseidonios on the Greek island of Rhodes". Poseidonios's student Cicero later described a device with "similarities" to the Antikythera Mechanism.
Although the researchers seem close to discovering the device's purpose, one poser still remains, as Edmunds explained: "The real question is, 'What was the device actually for?' Was it a used to predict calendars? Was it simply a teaching tool? The new text we have discovered should help answer these questions".
According to Yanis Bitsakis of Athens University, the challenge is to "place this device into a scientific context, as it comes almost out of nowhere ... and flies in the face of established theory that considers the ancient Greeks were lacking in applied technical knowledge".
Edmunds agreed, saying: "I think it is a great testament to the sophistication of the Greeks and how far they advanced before the jackboot of the Romans came through." ® Go to Comment
Another most excellent post. Two paws up. If it had been fleshed out a bit more (additional details, some more explanation of the world and history (the whys and such), and so on), it would be a HoH contender. Go to Comment
I think this only makes sense, if there is really some compelling reason for them to keep this for themselves. Are they an oppressed minority? A conquered people? Another minor race? Memebers of an odd religion?
It is just, "we don't want to change and we don't like those other people".
I mean, sure their life might change, but what is so great about their life that the influx of money and jobs that mining this stuff would bring could not compensate for?
Is nobody poor enough that leaving the area and telling someone might be worth it?
Does the local priest belong to a "bigger church"? Might not that be mentioned in a report of some kind to them?
Actually, I saw this one in the plot seeds a long time back, remembered it, and wrote it up. A decent filler item to add for the players to discover honestly.
It took me a moment to understand what you were asking, but I think I understand the question now. Basically, you wish to know why they keep it to themselves, ayuh? The simplest explaination is that which is in the post: they don't want their way of life interrupted. Things are peaceful in the village, and while there is probably a village drunk or two, nobody is poor enough to need to go try and sell Hry'un.
Besides, when you have something so obviously useful that people will definitely want, they tend to come and take it no matter what you wish (Hello, remember the Aztecs? The Incas? The Indians?). If they're stronger than you, they'll take it, and so by keeping the secret, such a thing is avoided.
Also, not sure where the priest thing came from, but in Tyren, there isn't any sort of over-arching Church (ala' Roman Catholicism) that regulates things. Each priest is entrusted to guide his congregation by the tenants set down in the Triguian (Holy Book of Trigu). So no, there would be no such report that would have it mentioned. Go to Comment
This item is a classic McGuffin. It is not that the item itself is important, it is simply a motivator to get character's into a dramatic situation (i.e. a story).
It took a while to wade through the slighty confusing write up. It is an interesting piece that is a good legend, and maybe an event that will occur around the PCs... so they have to respond/ react to the events that occur. Go to Comment
Not a bad idea, but it is way to powerful for my liking (and I've posted some powerful items, and people have said the same about my work). The backstory is not bad, but I am still bothered by the suicidally powerful nature of the item. Go to Comment
Kassil hit it right on the head there. The holy beings part can be explained by "Divine intervention" on behalf of the being in question, but that allows the person to destroy said artifact. *self note: write up Tear of Trigu* Go to Comment