10 ancient Greek inventions that changed the world

Table of contents:

10 ancient Greek inventions that changed the world
10 ancient Greek inventions that changed the world

Ancient Greece was the progenitor of modern civilization. Many inventions that appeared in Greece at that time are still used in our daily life.

In addition, important discoveries in the fields of astronomy, mathematics and geography were made in Ancient Greece, which influenced the development of civilization in the future.

Below are the 10 most important inventions of the Greeks.

1. Olympic Games


The tradition of holding the Olympic Games, which existed in ancient Greece, originated as part of a religious cult. Games have been held since 776 BC. NS. to 393 AD BC, a total of 293 Olympiads were held in Olympia, which was considered a sacred place among the Greeks. The name of the games also originated from Olympia.

Information about the origin of the games has been lost, but several myths have survived that describe this event (according to legend, the games were established by Hercules). Many documents, buildings and sculptures of that period have come down to us from history. The first documented celebration dates back to 776 BC. NS.

At the time of the Games, a sacred truce was declared, at this time it was impossible to wage a war, although this rule was repeatedly violated.

The Olympic Games lost their significance significantly with the arrival of the Romans. After Christianity became the official religion, games began to be seen as a manifestation of paganism, and in 393 AD. NS. they were banned by Emperor Theodosius I.

2. Astrolabe


The astrolabe first appeared in Ancient Greece. The principle of stereographic projection, which translates a circle onto a sphere into a circle on a plane, was discovered by Apollonius of Perga.

Vitruvius, in his work "Ten Books on Architecture", describing an astronomical instrument called a "spider", says that it was "invented by the astronomer Eudoxus, and others say - Apollonius." One of the components of this instrument was a drum, on which, according to Vitruvius, "the sky with the zodiacal circle is drawn."

Described stereographic projection in the 2nd century AD. NS. Claudius Ptolemy in Planisphere. However, Ptolemy himself called another instrument "astrolabon" - the armillary sphere.

The final form of the astrolabe was developed in the 4th century. n. NS. Theon of Alexandria, who called this device "small astrolabon". The first surviving treatises on the astrolabe belong to the philosophers and theologians Sinesius (IV-V centuries A. D.), John Philopon (VI century A. D.), North Sebokht (VII century A. D.)

3. Theater


The ancient Greek theater was born out of mysteries dedicated to the patron gods of agriculture, primarily Dionysus: during the festivities dedicated to him, the chorus of "satyrs" dressed in goatskins sang songs (praises), the content of which was the myths of the Dionysian circle.

The word "tragedy" (literally - "song of the goats") also originated from the chorus of satyrs. The year of birth of the world theater is considered to be 534 BC. e., when the Athenian poet Thespides during the Great Dionysius, along with the chorus, used one actor-reciter.

The reciter, which in the VI century BC. NS. was called "hypocritus" ("respondent" or "commentator"), could enter into a dialogue with the chorus, depict various characters of myths in the course of the narration, and thus elements of acting were mixed into the dialogue.

Later, Aeschylus added a second reciting actor to the chorus, and Sophocles a third, in the 5th century BC. NS. The "hypocrites" were already able to communicate not only with the choir, but also among themselves, which made possible a dramatic action independent of the choir, and as a result - the transformation of the choir of satyrs into drama.

4. Water clock


The water clock in ancient Greece was used in court to limit the time of speech of speakers. In the army, where the night was divided into 4 shifts of three hours each, the changing of the guards was carried out according to the water clock.

Later, the Greeks made a significant contribution to the history of water clocks and their further improvement.

Using an improved clepsydra, Plato invented the first alarm clock to summon his students for morning talks.

Around 130 BC BC, for the first time in history, an automatic water clock was constructed that showed the time and gave sound signals. Their author was Ktesibius.

5. Greek fire


Greek fire is a combustible mixture used for military purposes during the Middle Ages. It was first used by the Byzantines in sea battles. It was used in the Byzantine army and navy in naval battles and during the siege of fortresses.

For throwing, copper pipes (on ships), hand siphons, "flaming horns" were used. Greek fire was also placed in barrels and earthen vessels, and then thrown by throwing machines (during the siege of fortresses). The flame of Greek fire was not extinguished by water.

The prototype of the "Greek fire" appeared presumably in 190 BC. BC when it was used in the defense of the island of Rhodes.

But back in 424 BC. NS. In the land battle of Delia, ancient Greek warriors from a hollow log produced a kind of incendiary mixture, consisting of crude oil, sulfur and oil, saltpeter and, possibly, other substances.

The Hellenistic scientist Philo of Byzantine (III century BC), who lived and worked in Alexandria and Rhodes, in his treatise "Mechanics" reports about throwing fire from a certain portable hand-held weapon.

6. Levers


The first written explanation was given in the 3rd century BC. NS. Archimedes, connecting the concepts of strength, weight and shoulder. The law of equilibrium formulated by him is still used today and sounds like: “The force multiplied by the shoulder of the force is equal to the load multiplied by the shoulder of the load, where the shoulder of the force is the distance from the point of application of the force to the support, and the shoulder of the load is the distance from the point of application of the load to the support."

According to legend, realizing the significance of his discovery, Archimedes exclaimed: "Give me a fulcrum and I will turn the Earth!"

In the modern world, the principle of the lever is used everywhere. Almost any mechanism that transforms mechanical movement uses levers in one form or another. Cranes, motors, pliers, scissors, and thousands of other mechanisms and tools use levers in their design.

7. Crane


In Ancient Greece, the works of Archimedes played an important role. He developed the theory of levers, blocks, pulleys and screws for lifting heavy weights.

This greatly contributed to the development of construction technology during that period.

Cranes designed by Archimedes were installed along the walls of the port city of Syracuse, with the help of which the Greeks resisted the enemy.

8. Water mill


Traditionally, a water mill has been used as a device that uses a water wheel or water turbine to carry out mechanical processes such as grain grinding, sharpening, tanning, cutting, or forging.

For many years, the use of a water mill has remained indispensable in the production of many material goods, including flour, lumber, paper, textiles and metal products.

The engineers of Hellas were the first to invent the two main components needed to create a water mill: a water wheel and a gear train.

The earliest information about the water wheel (in the treatise of the Greek engineer Philo of Byzantine), which has survived to this day, dates back to the 3rd century BC, the Greek scientist Perachor is considered the designer of the device.

9. Archimedes screw


Archimedes' screw is a mechanism historically used to transfer water from low-lying reservoirs to irrigation canals. It was one of several inventions and discoveries traditionally attributed to Archimedes in the 3rd century BC. NS. Archimedes' screw became the prototype of the screw.

The propeller is usually rotated with a wind wheel, or manually. While the lower end of the pipe turns, it collects a certain volume of water.

This amount of water will slide up the coiled pipe as the shaft rotates until it finally pours out of the top of the pipe, supplying the irrigation system.

The device consists of a hollow tube inclined at an angle to the horizon with a screw inside. It was invented by Archimedes around 250 BC. NS. or in Greece earlier. The screw can be thought of as an inclined plane wrapped around a cylinder.

10. Catapult


Catapult is the Greek term for any throwing machine. The oldest catapults were used in Ancient Greece.

Diodorus is credited with the invention of the catapult in 399 BC. NS. to the Syracuse tyrant Dionysius I, who gathered artisans in Syracuse in Sicily to make him an advanced weapon.

Dionysius gave the artisans a high salary, generously donated and invited them to the table, and in return they created various types of catapults, made sets of armor, and built new powerful types of rowing ships.

Already in 397 BC. NS. Dionysius used arrows from the shore against the ships of Carthage. The new weapon inflicted considerable losses and had a great psychological effect on the Carthaginians.