Ancient Greece was one of the oldest civilizations that set the foundations for the development of the Western civilization. Their findings in the area of astronomy, geography and mathematics, pioneered the age of science. Here is a list of the top 10 inventions and discoveries of ancient Greece that are remarkably used until this very day.
The alarm clock is undoubtedly one of the least favorite and most necessary devices that we use every day. One of the first known humans to have been using the alarm clock was ancient Greek philosopher Plato (428–348 BC), who used a water clock of some design that, when having counted to the desired time, played something with the sound of a water organ. He used it at night, possibly for signaling the beginning of his lectures at dawn. The Hellenistic engineer and inventor Ctesibius (285–222 BC) fitted his clepsydras with dial and pointer for indicating the time, and added elaborate “alarm systems, which could be made to drop pebbles on a gong, or blow trumpets (by forcing bell-jars down into water and taking the compressed air through a beating reed) at pre-set times.
Central heating is essential in modern societies to keep warm. Although it was Romans who perfected the design, the ancient Greeks already had a system in place. They figured out how to propel the heat from a fire through various pipes and send it to different rooms within the building. The pipes, which were hidden under the floor, would heat the surface of the floor, which would then heat the room. Of course the fire required conctant maintenance, which was peformed by slaves.
Anaximander, an ancient Greek philosopher who lived from 610 to 546 BC, was the first to create maps with the concept of latitude and longitude. It is for this reason that he is considered by many to be the first mapmaker. Anaximander was a student of the philosopher Thales, and he based his maps on his belief that the earth was cylindrical, an idea that wasn’t very common during his time.
The Antikythera mechanism
The Antikythera mechanism is an ancient Greek analogue computer used to predict astronomical positions and eclipses for calendar and astrological purposes. It could also track the four-year cycle of athletic games. It is believed by many to be the earliest known mechanical analog computer. It is a complex clockwork mechanism composed of at least 30 meshing bronze gears. It was discovered in 1901 in the Antikythera wreck off the Greek island of Antikythera, between Kythera and Crete, and has been dated to circa 100 BC. The knowledge of this technology was lost at some point in antiquity, and technological works approaching its complexity and workmanship did not appear again until the development of mechanical astronomical clocks in Europe in the fourteenth century.
The Olympic Games
The Olympic Games are considered the world’s foremost sports competition with more than 200 nations participating and a symbol of worldwide unity. But when Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the international Olympic committee started the first modern Olympics in 1896, he was extensively inspired by the ancient Olympics that used to be held in ancient Greece more than 2700 years ago. According to historical records, the first ancient Olympic Games can be traced back to 776 BC. They were dedicated to the Olympian gods and were staged on the ancient plains of Olympia. People from all over the Greece came to witness the spectacle. During the celebration of the games, an Olympic Truce was enacted so that athletes could travel from their cities to the games in safety. The prizes for the victors were olive leaf wreaths or crowns.
Concept of Democracy
Democracy (literally “rule of the people”), in modern usage, is a system of government in which the citizens exercise power directly or elect representatives from among themselves to form a governing body. Democracy was invented and first used as a governing system in ancient Athens. For this reason, Athens is regarded as the birthplace of democracy. Cleisthenes is referred to as “the father of Athenian democracy.” This transition from exploitation of aristocracy to a political system, where all the members of the society have an equal share of formal political power had a significant impact in the civilizations that came down the line. Although the Greeks drew on the ideas of various earlier civilizations, they were the people who, more than any other, handed down to us the foundations of our democracy, our notions of ethics and justice, our science, our mathematics and our music.