The ancestor of television & cinema, remote control, sound and effects 2200 years ago

Heron's automatic theater and the technology explosion during the Hellenistic period

During the Hellenistic period in Alexandria, a stunning technological explosion occured, but that was based on earlier knowledge. Heron of Alexandria in the introduction of his «Spirituals» work, he writes: "We need to put in order, all the ancients left us (engineers) and add to them what we found new. "

Heron of Alexandria was an engineer of the 2nd century BC, and he managed to connect art with technology. He discribes mechanisms, such as doors opening and closing automatically, fountains decorated with birds singing and moving, etc.. Even in his 'spiritual' explanation of the two big secrets that led to technological revolution of the locomotive:

• The transformation of pressure of steam in rotary movement, solution of energy problem of locomotive ([aiolosfaira], “Intellectually [B]΄”, Theorem 11).

• The automatic control systems with feedback solution control speed of an engine (check fluid level with a mechanical valve. 'Copyright N' theorem 31 based under earlier ideas of Fylon the Ctesibius).

But where Heron really pioneered was the construction of automated theater. Automatic theater was a mechanism that had a temple of Dionysus in various forms (priestesses). Where they could move, start fires while listening various sounds of drums and cymbals. These constructions considered geniuses because they were programmed to say such arrangements can make different things. During the operation showed scenes of "effects" such as moving ships in the fleet provision, storms, fires and disasters.

This is a theater, which was presented in public performances. In particular, the automatic was in standard size, which allowed the private use. That had everyone saying his house a portable format closely TV or a small home theater system!.

Heron describes the function:
"Initially placed in an automatic position and taking away after some time goes automatic to a certain other place. And when stopped, the fire is lit on the altar in front of Dionysus. ... And from the wand of Dionysus spurts milk or water and the cup poured wine ... And with flowers lined the entire area around four thick bases. And turning round placed Bacchae dancing around the small church. Sounds and sound of drums and cymbals ... "(Heron, Aftomatopoiitiki, 4, 2).

Extremely complicated and complex systems, supposedly by some unusually for the era, such as hydraulic valves, mechanical switches, wheels, valves, and programmable movements with an external command (remote control)!.At his thester, Heron presents the myth of Nafplio who wants to avenge the Achaeans who killed his son Palamides in Troy.

Scene 1: Achaeans repair their ships, moving forms, beating with hammers and sawing and banging sound like real instruments.

Scene 2: Achaeans pushing their ships to the sea.

Scene 3: At sea ships suddenly appear, navigate to device fleet moving and lost - the stormy sea - and reappearing ships in rough sea running continuously. Dolphins often come in from the sea.

Stage 4: The Nauplius promontory, with a lighted torch, gives false signal to the Achaeans, prompted by Athena.

Scene 5: In the stormy sea seen scattered wreckage of boats and Ajax to swim. Athena appears (as a deus ex machina), wandering and lost, falling lightning, thunder sounds and lost the form of Ajax.

The curtain opens and closes between scenes. And all this themselves with the power of a lead weight of a falling with the same speed in an hourglass with sand. To start the show enough to pull the rope in front of the base.To mobile automated theater rebuilt Heron for the first time in 1997 by Mr. D. Kalligeropoulos, Mechanical and Electrical NTUA, Dr. of Technical Sciences in automatic control and professor of TEIs Piraeus (presented in the exhibition of Ancient Greek technology in the Roman Forum in Thessaloniki and currently in the Science center (formerly the Technical Museum) in Thessaloniki. Reconstructed again in 2002 and presented the exhibition "Ancient Greek Technology in the Technopolis of Athens. In the preface of his book "The Aftomatopoiitiki", Heron of Alexandria writes: 

"Heron's Automatic Theaters is a work of art, yet a high technologies. With his
Automatic, a very complex cretion of Hellenistic art, in that at planning, no distinction between a modern programmable logic robot is theater, sculpture, painting, poetry and art. Presented a performance becomes a public spectacle, with exclusively for admiration, "its dramatic theory. Innovation, which introduced, not only technological. It is an innovation in art. He is a curtain opened at the new arts. Where joy does not just the spectators, but also the Creator, who succeeded in the artificial creation of the world, so "as if the veracity made" became like all in reality".


Post a Comment

Contact Form


Email *

Message *

Copyright 2007 Melita Insula