Meccanismo di Andikithira

Il meccanismo di Andikithira è un complicato strumento per calcolare il moto del sole, della luna e dei pianeti, fabbricato da ignoti greci intorno all’87 a. C.

Poco prima della Pasqua del 1900, un gruppo di pescatori greci, fu sorpreso da una terribile tempesta. Il capitano Demetrios Condor, si rese subito conto che l’unico modo per sopravvivere era quello di fuggire dai pericolosi stretti della zona di Creta e riparare oltre la punta settentrionale dell’Isola di Andikithira.

L’uragano imperversò per una settimana.

Il capitano per tenere occupati gli uomini mandò i tuffatori a cercare spugne. Elias Stadiatis, uno degli uomini più esperti, si immerse fino ad una profondità di 42 metri, zavorrato da pesi di piombo. Ad un tratto uno strattone alla fune che lo legava alla barca, segnalò all’equipaggio che Stadiatis voleva risalire immediatamente.
Riemerse in stato di choc, parlando di visioni di donne nude e cavalli.

Il comandante, incuriosito dal racconto, decise di tuffarsi. Sceso sul fondo trovò un’antica nave, naufragata intorno all’80 a.C., con un importante carico di statue e altri oggetti perfettamente visibili.
Alla fine di novembre dello stesso anno, iniziò l’opera di recupero, che proseguì per nove mesi. Otto mesi dopo tutto il tesoro era esposto nel Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Atene.

Fu proprio un archeologo del museo, Valerios Stais, ad individuare un oggetto di grandissima importanza, un meccanismo di bronzo, simile ad un orologio, che chiamò “meccanismo di Andikithira”.

Un frammento del meccanismo riportava un’iscrizione che risultò scritta nel I secolo a.C.; la parte più completa era simile ad un calendario astronomico.

Nel 1902 Stais diede l’annuncio della sua scoperta. Il meccanismo altro non era che un antico congegno astronomico greco. Molte furono le controversie da parte degli storici. Controversie che rimasero irrisolte per quasi 70 anni.

Nel 1975 Derek de Dolla Price, dell’Università di Yale, annunciò la conclusione dei suoi studi sul meccanismo. Con la collaborazione della commissione greca per l’energia atomica e, con l’uso dei raggi gamma, era riuscito a studiare il sistema interno del meccanismo, che comprendeva più di 30 ingranaggi in bronzo.

Il recupero del meccanismo di Andikithira, cambiò l’opinione in merito all’evoluzione tecnica degli antichi Greci.

Grazie a questa scoperta gli storici hanno riconosciuto che la meccanica era un elemento importante della scienza dell’antico popolo greco, tanto da considerare il “meccanismo di Andikithira un precursore delle moderne apparecchiature scientifiche.

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