National Watch & Clock Museum Director Noel Poirier, during his Lunch Time presentation of the Antikythera Mechanism.
Because ancient people believed that celestial events affected the outcomes of weddings, wars, and the installment of new rulers, it’s easy to understand why the Antikythera Mechanism would be a powerful tool. The day before his presentation, Poirier and I discussed how such a device would be useful to an oracle. We theorized how an individual who could accurately predict the movement of the known cosmos could be considered a consult to the gods.
This very discussion is telling about what makes this device so fascinating. There is enough information to know its function but nothing that divines its purpose. There is no specific mention of the mechanism in ancient texts and nothing that resembles it in any other ancient tool or mechanism. Lost to the ravages of time, it is up to us, the modern-day storytellers, to theorize who made it, who used it, and why.
Lunch Time talks at the National Watch & Clock Museum are free to the public. Visit the National Watch & Clock Museum on Facebook to find the next scheduled event. If you want to know more, please read “Clockwork Before the Clock and Timekeepers Before Timekeeping” written by Derek de Solla Price himself for the October, 1976, issue of the Watch & Clock Bulletin.
Replica of the front (left) and back (right) view of the Antikythera Mechanism.