Αγώνας
DID THE PTOLEMIES HAVE A STEAM-POWERED FORCE-PUMP?
GREECE, 2015, 17'
  by AGON - Monday, 18 July 2016

During the past decades, international and Greek research efforts have shown even more definitively that technology constituted a major part of Ancient Greek civilisation, from Mycenaean to Hellenistic times.
The Hellenistic period in particular represents the high point of this technological evolution, so much so that the question is raised of why the industrial revolution did not take place in Alexandria. There are numerous explanations for the halting of technological development in the Hellenistic kingdoms; at the same time, however, contemporary historiography underplays (or perhaps ignores?) the significance of the most important technical feats of the Alexandrines, to the point that even the authenticity of the first analogue computational device in history (namely the Antikythera mechanical device) was being questioned until recently. Another device of immense scientific and potentially practical importance of the Alexandrines is the air-pump driven by wind power, invented by Heron of Alexandria. This is perhaps the first complete machine in the history of humankind, one which is not, in fact, driven by human (slave) or animal. The current project aims to show, in both historical and engineering terms, that this machine could have easily been modified by the Alexandrines into a steam-powered water-pump, the hallmark, in other words, of the English industrial revolution. But time was not on their side…

Watch the trailer


Director: TH. P. TASSIOS, G. POLYZOS, N. MIKAS
Producer: DEPA