The ‘War Technology’ Exhibit is located at 37 Apostolou Pavlou Street and presents aspects of military technology of the ancient Greeks. The building at 16 Herakleidon Street hosts the Automata and the Antikythera Mechanism, among the greatest achievements of Ancient Greek technology. The displays are part of a collection founded by the Herakleidon Museum and the Association for the Study of Ancient Greek Technology.
The exhibition on War Technology on Apostolou Pavlou highlights the important technologies developed in Ancient Greece for both naval and land battle. On the ground floor you can see the display of the Trireme or warship with the tiers of oarsmen and battering ram on its prow that was used successfully against the Persians in the battle of Salamis in 480BC. Sketches of reconstructed military ports, shipsheds and arsenals depict the innovation and great care given to preserve and protect their ships. On the first floor are the exhibits of the war machines, devoted both to siege and defense of cities. Examples include the naval Helepolis or siege machine consisting of a multi-storey tower with apertures and catapults, mounted on the deck of two ships joined together and long range weapons such as stone throwing catapults and flame throwers. At the end of the corridor is the impressive panoply of the “Hero” Warrior of the Mycenean era (15th-12th cent.BC.), and changes in the technologies of war is depicted in the evolution of the Hoplite (soldier) equipment. Telecommunication in wartime in Ancient Greece included the use of pigeons, fire beacons, cryptographic discs and hydraulic and optical telegraphs that used torches to relay messages. Apart from the exhibits, take time to admire the restored ceiling paintings as well as the original tile floors of this house which dates back to 1895.
As you make your way down Herakleidon Street, you will follow the tracks embedded in the street outside the Museum at No. 16, which were part of the original tram network of the city from 1882 to the late 1950’s. The building was built in 1898 and was originally 2 separate houses, each on a different level. During restoration, they were joined into a 2 floor complex with atrium and a courtyard with the original well.
The first floor is devoted to the Automata or automated machines developed in the Hellenic period (331BC-31BC). The most astounding example of these automatons is the Walking Servant of Heron and Pilos. This modern day wooden sculpted model of a servant girl moves towards a symposium participant, holding a jug of wine in her right hand. When a cup is placed in her left hand, she automatically pours wine and then water into the cup. Two mechanisms consisting of counterweights and rope, and air pressure and latches provide the movements. There are also models of other automata such as Heron’s automated temple gates and mobile automaton, and automatic slot machine among others.
On the second floor is exhibited the metal and plexiglass model of the Antikythera Mechanism, one of the most astonishing inventions of Ancient Greece. Constructed around the 2nd century BC, it was an analog computer that could accurately calculate the position of the sun, moon and planets as well as the phases of the moon. It could predict the eclipses of the sun and moon and determine the dates on which the ancient Olympic and other Games were held. Details of its mechanism and history of its discovery are presented in great detail.
The Ap. Pavlou Museum Shop has catalogs, posters and special publications.
The Herakleidon Street Gift shop has mechanical construction kits, toys involving experiments and robotics, puzzles and brain teasers, books and posters.
Visiting hours are Wednesday-Sunday 10am-6pm. General Admission is €7 and reduced €5.
Further information on guided tours and events is available on www. ancientgreektechnology.gr/en
Or by calling +30 2103461981 or +30 211 0126486.
Cover Photo Credits: Athens Insiders