May 12, 2007

The Mechanism

While I've always had a deep and abiding passion for ancient history, I never had the marks to match the love. I found all things Greek and Roman fascinating, and spent more time being awed then actually memorizing the dates and the names of the armless statues.

But this, this is cool. In 1900, a sunken ship was discovered off the coast near Greece. Artifacts found on board indicated it had gone down during the first half of the first century A.D. With marble, bronze and coins among the stash, there was also a weird mystery imbedded in several pieces of corroded material. It took over a hundred years, and eventually a high tech X-ray machine, to finally understand what it was.

Referred to as the Mechanism, it is hauling into question everything we believed we knew about ancient inventors and scholars. Apparently, it is the first evidence of a complicated system predicated on the solar and lunar calendars. Scientifically precise metal gears were not thought to have been invented until 1400 years after the ship went down.

This is an excellent article. It traces how many discoveries were made because of the aesthetic value they added to lives - rather than as time-saving devices. It's a neat contrast to the way we live today, where the only things we value are those that can make us do something faster, or not at all. A discussion of ancient weaponry recognizes that the ancient Greeks valued bravery in the war arena, hence weapons of mass destruction were not sought. Good thing. They probably wouldn't have found any there, either.

I follow debates about how long we can now live, and how our standard of living has increased. And then I read a piece like this and realize how little our designer, spoiled, selfish lives really matter.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Mother's Day! Thanks for the link - I was fascinated & awed as well by the article. Congrats on your ongoing success - we are happy to share you with others. Keep up the good work. Sandie (the Avon lady)

May 13, 2007 8:21 AM  

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