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Digital culture
Prolegomena to Educatio Digitale
Thursdays 10:15 - 11:45, Hardenbergstr. 33, R110

Semester 0 :: Historical Context
Session 2 :: Antiquity

Order of the day
  1. Repetitio :: Mythology
  2. Questio :: What is a machine ?
  3. Lectio :: Antiquity
    • Antikythera mechanism
    • Heron of Alexandria
    • other traditions
  4. Exercitio :: Introduction to Abacus
  5. Disputatio :: What is NOT a machine ?
Question of the day
What is "a machine" ?

Etymology of the word "machine"
Oxford dict. definition of a "machine"
An apparatus using mechanical power and having several parts, each with a definite function and together performing a particular task.
The Antikythera mechanism
The main gear (fragment A) of the Antikythera mechanism
a first "computer"
Heron of Alexandria (c. 10 AD - c. 70 AD)
17th-century German depiction of Hero
Some inventions by Heron

Windwheel organ (ὕδραυλις) of Hero of Alexandria (62AD)
Heron's automatized temple door opener

Heron's oracle machine
Heron's 1st "programmable" robot

other Traditions :: middle East

"When King Solomon stepped upon the throne, a mechanism was set in motion. As soon as he stepped upon the first step, the golden ox and the golden lion each stretched out one foot to support him and help him rise to the next step. On each side, the animals helped the King up until he was comfortably seated upon the throne. No sooner was he seated than a golden eagle brought the great crown and held it just above King Solomon's brow, so that it should not weigh heavily on his head."

We'll discuss the Persian & Arab traditions next week.

other Traditions :: China
The king stared at the figure in astonishment. It walked with rapid strides, moving its head up and down, so that anyone would have taken it for a live human being. The artificer touched its chin, and it began singing, perfectly in tune. He touched its hand, and it began posturing, keeping perfect time...As the performance was drawing to an end, the robot winked its eye and made advances to the ladies in attendance, whereupon the king became incensed and would have had Yen Shih executed on the spot had not the latter, in mortal fear, instantly taken the robot to pieces to let him see what it really was. And, indeed, it turned out to be only a construction of leather, wood, glue and lacquer, variously coloured white, black, red and blue. (3rd century B.C.)
other Traditions :: India

Exercicio :: Abacus
Abacus homework
What is NOT "a machine" ?


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