EUREKA. Science, Art and Technology of the Ancient GreeksNOVEMBER 3, 2017-MARCH 7, 2018

Under the auspices of the Hellenic Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs/General Secretariat for Research & Technology, the Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


The exhibition "EUREKA. Science, Art and Technology of the Ancient Greeks" in Beijing, is organized jointly by the Museum Herakleidon and the Association for Ancient Greek Technology Studies (AAGTS), in collaboration with the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports. Mr. Theodosis P. Tasios, professor emeritus of the National Technical University of Athens and President of AAGTS is the scientific consultant. 

The exhibition "EUREKA" will present for the first time to the Chinese people the most representative of the ancient Greek technological accomplishments, in areas such as building and construction, time measurement, engineering,
astronomy, shipbuilding, the arts and sports, communications, military technology and automata. Significant among the exhibits are the operational reproduction of the Antikythera Mechanism, the mobile servant girl of Philon, the aelosphere, the pump of Ktesibios, the hydraulis (hydraulic organ), the sewage system of Akrotiri in Thera and the Athenian trireme. The presentation of “EUREKA” is a result of the exhibition exchange agreed upon by the China Museum of Science and Technology in Beijing and the Museum Herakleidon. In Athens an exhibition of Ancient Chinese Science and Technology opened on September 23rd in the two buildings of the Museum Herakleidon. The exchange of the two exhibitions aims to strengthen the ties between the two nations through the mutual discovery and promotion of the important cultural heritage of each.

The exhibition is supported by Hublot, the Swiss watch manufacturing company, which has financed recent underwater research in Antikythera and agreed to share with us the most recent discoveries. Hublot also loaned us for the duration of "EUREKA" one of the three unique watches that were manufactured exclusively in celebration of these discoveries. One such watch is also on exhibit at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens. Thus, the unit on Astronomy will cover the 67 years of research regarding the Antikythera Mechanism, beginning with the first effort of Dr. Price to create a model of the mechanism in the early 1950s. It is the first time ever that all the objects are being exhibited together.

This project is also supported by the Institute of Electronic Structure and Laser of the Foundation for Research and Technology- Hellas (IESL-FORTH) in the framework of its collaboration with the Palace Museum in Beijing and the establishment of the common research laboratory “NIKI: China-Greece Laser Technology Joint Laboratory on Cultural Heritage”, which aims at introducing the innovative laser technologies developed by IESL for the study and preservation of Cultural Heritage objects to the Palace Museum.

The Ancient Greeks were particularly linked to technology, as evidenced in their mythology and in Homer’s epics. As early as in prehistoric times, the Minoans were building multi-storied buildings and the Mycenaeans had developed, among other achievements, an unbelievable for the time technology for draining lakes. In the 6th cent. BC, the positive influence of science on the until then empirical technology resulted in such feats of large scale public works as the Eupalinos tunnel and in furthered the development of shipbuilding and metallurgy. It reached its apex during the Hellenistic period, with a plethora of mechanical engineering inventions, such as the two-cycle pump, catapults, hydraulic timepieces, the hydraulic organ (hydraulis), the automata of Philo and Heron, as well as the first analog simulator of the movement of celestial objects, the Antikythera Mechanism.

The exhibition is divided into the following units:
- Building and large-scale technical works
- Measurement of time and space
- Engineering
- Automata
- Astronomy, Antikythera Mechanism
- Shipbuilding
- Technology in the arts and sports
- Military technology
- Communications


1. From their first appearance during prehistoric times, the Ancient Greeks had a close relationship with technology, as evidenced by the following: first, they had introduced technology into their religion. The theomachy (battle among the gods) was stopped by Zeus, thanks to the thunderbolt, a technological achievement of his allies, the Cyclops. Second, the myth of Prometheus states that the human race survived destruction thanks to the “technical wisdom”, a godly gift that came from the head of Athena.
In Homer’s epics, the Greeks described automata that belonged to the gods, while the king of the Phaeacians possessed a robotic ship. The Mycenaeans developed the technology for large scale works such as the drainage of lakes, specialized metallurgy, and advanced shipbuilding that resulted in the penteconter, a ship that ruled the Mediterranean for almost five hundred years.

2. Following the scientific revolution in Ionia in the 6th century BC, the positive influence of science on technology, which until then had been empirical, led to major achievements: large scale construction and technical works, such as the tunnel of Eupalinos and the diversion of the Alyos river, which required calculations and theoretical geometry; the development of shipbuilding leading to the trireme, which combines several technologies; the progress of metallurgy in the Lavrion area, with the vertical integration of production, the construction of waterproof tanks and spiral shaped vats for washing metal ore, the evolution of metal casting et al.

3. Ancient Greek technology reached its apex during the Hellenistic period with the development of a plethora of mechanical inventions, such as the hydraulic pump of Ktesibios, the water-powered pump of Philo, the Helepolis, catapults, hydraulic timepieces, the hydraulis (hydraulic organ), the automata of Heron and Philo, and, of course, the analog computer of the movement of celestial objects that became known as the Antikythera mechanism.

4. The above are evidence that Ancient Greek technology is a fundamental component of Ancient Greek civilization, let alone the already established dialogue with art and science.

Coordination and management: Eleni Nomikou, General Director of the Museum Herakleidon
Scientific and organizational oversight: Theodosis Tassios, President of AAGTS
Curator and exhibition design: Clairi Palyvou, General Secretary of AAGTS
Exhibition design: Fotini Belliou
Graphic Design: Alexandra Papadimouli, Matenia Hadjigeorgiou
Photography and Video: Small Planet Productions
Technical support: Lead technician Yannis Exintaris, Assistants Isa Hoti, Sophia Papadopoulou

Thanks go to:
Acropolis Museum
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Archaeological Museum of Ioannina
University of Applied Sciences of Piraeus
Municipality of Samos
Hellenic Embassy in Beijing
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
G. Karadedos
M. Korres
D. Maras
S. Miller
A. Economides
S. Economopoulos

The Museum Herakleidon has been bringing art, education, and culture to the general public since 2004. Based on its philosophy of Science, Art and Mathematics, it provides original educational programs for students, teachers and adults as well as exhibitions of art and science. The Museum Herakleidon is honored and delighted to announce its official collaboration with the China Science and Technology Museum of Beijing, with the objective of organizing and exchanging exhibitions of ancient science and technology, in parallel, in 2017, which has been declared the "2017 Year of Cultural Exchange and Cooperation between the Cultural Industries of Greece and China". More info, at the website of the Secretariat General for Media and Communication of the Ministry of Digital Policy, Telecommunications and Information. 

ASSOCIATION of ANCIENT GREEK TECHNOLOGY STUDIES (EMAET) is a scientific Society founded in 1993, to encourage research and dissemination of knowledge regarding the technological achievements of Ancient Greeks, up to the Byzantine period. EMAET organizes open scientific sessions, lectures, presentations of books and films, as well as archeological visits in sites with technological interest, seminars for groups of special interests (teachers, students) etc. EMAET has also organized a series of national and international Exhibitions and Congresses on Ancient Greek Technology. Actually, there are 125 Full Members and 102 Friends of EMAET.



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