The Hi-Tech Inventions of the ANCIENT GREECE THE ORIGINS of our modern Technology

This exhibition is a selection from the exhibits of the Museum of Ancient Greek Technology Kostas Kotsanas that operates at Katakolon port and Ancient Olympia.

The museum revives approximately 350 functional models of extraordinary ancient Greek inventions (from the robot - servant of Philon to the cinema of Heron and from the automatic clock of Ktesibios to the analog computer of Antikythera) which were constructed  through a longtime extensive study of ancient Greek, Latin and Arabic literature, vase painting information and minimal relevant archaeological finds.

Complemented by the Museum of Ancient Greek Technology, this exhibition aims to demonstrate that the technology of the ancient Greeks, just before the end of the ancient world, was shockingly similar to the beginning of our modern technology.

For example, the bolts and nuts, gears and rules, pulleys and belts, sprockets and roller chains, pistons and cylinders, springs, hydraulic controllers and valves, programmers and auto-pilots (all parts of the engine of a modern car) are just some of the inventions of the ancient Greeks which were the foundations of their complex technology.  These legacies, identical and irreplaceable, continue today to constitute the building blocks of our modern technology, the development of which would be doubtful without its effortless and undemanding adoption. Only after a millennium of maturation was humanity able to ”recover”  this remarkable forgotten technology.

The exploration of this age, when ownership for peak technology was not claimed, demonstrates how much more (than we think) the modern Western Technological  Civilisation owes to the Greeks.


  • Robotics

The automatic servant of Philon (3rd c. B.C.)

  • Computing

The Antikythera calculating mechanism (2nd c. B.C.)

  • Automation and programming

Τhe automatic theatre of Philon (3rd c. B.C.) 

  • Automotive and automatic navigation

The car - puppet show of Heron (1st c. A.C.)

  • Jet propulsion

The flying pigeon of Archytas (5th c. B.C.)

  • Astronomy

The spherical astrolabe of Ptolemy   (1st c. A.C.)

The tetrantas (Quadrant) of Hipparchus (2nd c. B.C.)

The four- cubit dioptra of Archimedes (3rd c. B.C.)

  • Measuring time

The alarm clock of Plato (4-5th c. B.C.)

The hydraulic clock of Κtesibios (3rd c. B.C.)

  • Tools and machines

The bow lathe

The nut fabrication machine of  Heron  (1st c. A.C.)

The pantograph of Heron  (1st c. A.C.)

  • “Pneumatic” automata

The hydraulic automaton of the “chirping birds” and of the “returning owl” ” (3rd c. B.C.)

  • Gadgets

The automatic goblet of Philon  (3rd c. B.C.)

The) magic fountain of Heron (1st c. A.C.)

The ingenious wine-jug of Philon (3rd c. B.C.)               

The “philosopher’s stone”of Heron (1st c. A.C.)

  • Geodesy and mapping

The dioptra of Heron (1st c. A.C.)

  • Religious technology

The automatic opening of the temple gates after sacrifice had taken place on its altar (1st c. A.C.)

The automatic holy water server with coin-collector (1st c. A.C.)

The rotating chirping bird (melagkoryphus) (1st c. B.C.)

  • Music technology

The “hydraulis” (organ) of Ktesibios (3rd c. B.C.)

  • Telecommunication

The  “hydraulic telegraph” of Aeneas (4th c. B.C.)

Fire signals and beacons (3rd c. B.C.)

  • Cryptography

The diptych waxed plates / The cryptographic (Laconian) relay /Aeneas' cryptographic disc

  • Athletic mechanisms

The “hysplex” (5th  c. B.C.)

  • Measuring instruments

The  “hodometer” of Archimedes (3rd c. B.C.) 

  • Ηoisting machines

The tripod crane (6th c. B.C.)

  • Catapults

The “gastraphetes” (belly-releaser)

  • Hydraulic technology

The hydraulic endless screw of Archimedes (3rd c. B.C.)

The fire pump of Heron (1st c. A.C.)

  • Toys technology

The Pythagoras cup (6th c. B.C.)

The gimbal-joint (of inkwell) of Philon (3rd c. B.C.)

The (o)stomachion of Archimedes (3rd c. B.C.)

  • Steam mobility

The aeolipile of Heron (1st c. A.C.)

  • Medical technology

The colposcope (3rd c. B.C.)

The suction cup (3rd c. B.C.)

The ''pyoulkos'' (syringe)

Audiovisual material