Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Greedy Cup

They have it at your local library, along with The Deathray, The Ship Shaker, and The Claw. No they aren’t science fiction or horror stories. They are some of the unique inventions created in our ancient past.

Archimedes, the Greek Philosopher/Engineer and Really-Smart-Guy invented The Deathray, The Ship Shaker and The Claw. He’s right up there with Galileo, DaVinci, Newton, Plato, Socrates … you’ve heard of him … Archimedes. He’s sometimes referred to as the Grandfather of Invention.

Archimedes lived during the times when Ancient Rome was trying to conquer Carthage, a powerful city on the eastern coast of Africa … home of Hannibal. It was a city that Rome would eventually annihilate completely.

Archimedes came up with many inventions to keep the invading Romans out of Carthage. The Deathray, The Claw and The Ship Shaker were invented to protect Carthage’s harbor.

The Deathray was just what you may imagine; a ray of reflected sunshine so brilliant it would blind a man and set fire to a ship. Archimedes had a large number of soldiers polish their metal shields to blinding brilliance; and then he lined them up along the dock of the harbor and instructed them to tilt their shields into the sun … which reflected the sun onto the Roman ships entering the harbor ... blinding the Romans and in some cases, setting their ships afire.

The Claw … was a giant crane, much like today’s construction cranes, but instead of a hook or a bashing metal ball, The Claw had a grasping claw on the end of it. It was used to pick ships up out of the harbor and move them to a new position, or onto shore and back. Its primary use was in protecting the harbor from invasion by the Romans, rather than an aid for ship construction or repair.

The Ship Shaker … was just that. It was two mechanisms combined into one. First, a series of huge spikes were attached to a grid and sunk beneath the surface of the harbor. A Roman fleet would come into the harbor. The spikes would rise up and puncture the ships. Then the Ship Shaker would reach out a Claw, like the one above; grab the ship, and violently shake it until it disintegrated.

King Harrod … another familiar name … invented The Greedy Cup. He was a puppet ruler under the Romans. He figures prominently in many religions. Salome danced the dance of seven veils for King Harrod.

The Greedy Cup was used to serve King Harrod’s “greedy” banquet guests. As long as the cup was filled moderately full, it worked like a normal drinking cup. If the guest, however, asked the servant to fill it all the way full, a siphon tube would open and drain all of the contents of the cup into the guest’s lap.

Here are some other things you can learn at your Library.

The Romans had:
- Flushing toilets
- Running water … indoor and outdoor
- Spas
- Indoor pools
- Fast food and take out
- Cranes
- Dry Cleaners
- Shopping Malls
- Chefs
- Lightening rods
- Batteries (read about the Bagdad Battery)
- Clocks
- Thrift shops and High End Boutiques
- Election Debates
- Courier Services
- Public Water Fountains
- Bakeries
- Terrorists

The Ancient Greek word for “electron” was “amber.”

Cranes were also used by the ancients for theatrical use within the temples of their gods. In one, the Temple of the Undead, worshippers would first be given a mild hallucinogenic drug; then were led into a cave … where the “temple” was. Floating in mid-air above them, by the use of a crane, was one of the temple priests, dressed to represent “the dead.” He could not only “float” above the worshippers, but to some extent, “fly” as well.

The Library, it’s an endless adventure. See you there!

1 comment:

Rhia Jean said...

:) This makes me smile...