Greece, Ancient Greek Technology

Telecommunication (as is historically clear) determines not only the outcome of war but also the fate of whole civilisations. For instance, the spread of the Greek city-states to all the Mediterranean and the renowned expedition of Alexander the Great would not have been completed had it not been for the exceptional network of communication. The use of simple torch signals (a method of transmitting messages with firelight) and the creation of a beacon network (relay stations for message transmission) from earliest times, as far back as the Trojan war, (12th century BC) contribute to an incredibly practical method for transmitting a determined message from the boundaries to the centre of the Mycenaean world.

The need for quick transmission of multiple and various messages led the Greeks to the astonishing conception of the hydraulic telegraph (4th century BC), a hydraulic device which required the use of only one torch fire for the transmission of predetermined messages.
The need for accurate message transmission led to the ingenious invention of the coded firesignals (the transmission of a message letter by letter, 3rd century BC). The combined torch signal system resulted in the unavoidable increase of beacons due to their weakness in distinguishing the multiple and various torch lights from great distances.
The invention and the use of such advanced systems, precursors of modern technology (and unique worldwide in their kind until the 16th century AD) defined the Greeks as prodigious pioneers in the field of telecommunication.

The alarm clock of Plato, Chirping of the birds and the owl's return

Philosopher's stone, Coin automat,

Heron’s Aeolipile (Wind or Steam ball), Automatic goblet,

The Automatic Theater, The "Staton" automatic theater,


Perhaps the safest indicator of technological progress in every civilisation is the possession and the reliability of its measuring instruments. With their use, the practical technique and science achieve a two way and productive connection. The Greeks invented numerous accurate measuring systems such as the clinometre, the dioptra, the goniometre, the astrolabes, the road metre, etc. which made way for the development of all sciences from engineering to astronomy. Their distant travels, the exact calculation of the earth's diametre and the earth-sun distance and their amazing constructions are the results of the above.
Furthermore, with the invention of numerous specialised tools and the Greek incomparable aesthetics, they carved the miraculous wonder of the ancient Greek world. Finally, the invention of remarkable machines such as, the coil cutting lathe, the pantograph, etc. led in turn to the development of a multitude of complex mechanisms, instruments and machines.

Level (Alphadi)

Odometer, Nautical Odometer,

Four mast crane,

Crane for medium load,

In the art of hydraulics the Greeks assimilated the techniques of other civilizations, developed them or devised new ones with great ingenuity such as the famous machines of the 3rd cent. BC. The hydraulic screw of Archimedes, the piston pump of Ctesibius, the fire-extinguishing pump of Heron, the sub-divided wheel and chained pump of Philon of Byzantium. etc.

In the constructions of the hydraulic networks the most ancient drain network in the Kopaida area (14th cent. BC) impresses even today with its size (with more than 2300 metres of underground drain tunnel) while the tunnel of Efpalinos (6th cent. BC) on Samos island (with an underground tunnel of 1036 metres for the installation of a drinking water piper under the mountain) is one of the greatest achievements of antiquity with continous function for more than 1000 years and an object of admiration especially for the method of construction (with the simultaneous opening at both ends).

By transferring principles from the art of hydraulics to other sectors, they created unbelievable constructions (e.g. the hydraulic musical organ "Hydraulis")

Replicas and Reconstruction by Prof . Kostas Kotsanas and his students

Ancient Greek Inventions

Science, Technology, Ancient Greece, Books