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A Hodgepodge of Ancient Greek Trivia III
Posted In: Ancient Civilizations  8/26/12
By: Yona Williams

Ancient civilizations were pretty intelligent and observant for their time. They learned how to use nature, science, and other fields to their advantage. During these days, they also explored the importance of the Solar System with many scholars vying for recognition of theories concerning the planet, stars, moon and sun. In this article, you will learn about some of the discoveries and theories of ancient Greek days.  

Give Credit Where Credit is Due

It's a shame when you come up with a grand idea, concept or observation, and no one will listen to what you have to say. This happened to Aristarchus of Samos who around 290 BC became the first Greek astronomer to suggest that the sun was the center of the Solar System. His ideas were ignored and the majority of his writings were lost. However, thanks to the surviving writings of Archimedes, we have learned that Aristarchus held this belief first, which was described as being a "nonsensical notion."

Aristarchus also believed that it was possible to understand the motions of heavenly bodies if all the planets (including Earth) revolved around the sun. He noted that the stars seemed far away because they did not move. The great Copernicus mentioned the views of Aristarchus in a passage he had written and then later removed.

A Truly Revealing Concept

When Archimedes discovered the principle of buoyancy while in the bathtub, he took to the streets of Syracuse – running naked and shouting "Eureka! Eureka! I have found it." However, this did not readily attract the attention he sought after since it was normal for men to be seen without any clothes on.

Ancient Steam Engine

During the first century AD, Hero was a Greek engineer who invented an elementary steam engine. Today, his idea lives on as the principle behind the rotating lawn sprinkler. Hero invented other things that you'd be familiar with. He developed what is thought the first vending machine. When a coin was placed in a slot at the top of the machine, a measured amount of holy water would come out. He also created a force pump, device that could control the delivery of air or liquid, and mechanical features of the Greek theater (such as sound effects).

Using Fish for Medical Treatments

The ancient Greeks (along with the ancient Romans) were known to use the electrical shocks of the torpedo fish in some of the medical treatments. Starting in 5th century BC, the Greeks would apply the torpedo fish on the thorax of sick people so that their vital reflexes would benefit from stimulation. The Romans noted that the fish was good for treating chronic diseases.

Seashells on Mountains

When Greek philosopher Xenophanes declared that mountains that possessed seashells must have been originally covered by water. It would take 23 centuries before his words were accepted when a geologist from Scotland (James Hutton) confirmed his assessment.


 

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