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Ingenious inventions – Innovative ideas

Ingenious inventions – Innovative ideas: Episodes from the history of ancient technology”. Temporary exhibition at the Aquincum Museum: 31 July 2020 - 31 October 2021.

For technology, the period between the 3rd century BC and the 1st century AD was an especially productive stage in the development of ancient science. This period saw the birth of countless innovative ideas in what almost amounted to a technological revolution, and a forgotten revolution at that. Nowadays, after all, we are no longer aware of how the inventions of the modern period, and possibly even the machines, tools and appliances that we use today are often rooted in Antiquity. It was also forgotten, as certain ideas, perhaps ahead of their time, remained only the experiments of geniuses and consigned to oblivion already in the ancient world. At the same time, however, other innovations became integral parts of everyday life. The ancient engineers drew plans, used a uniform system of measurement, determined gradients, constructed angles and right-angles, and measured time and the distance travelled. They built aqueducts to bring fresh water from springs to Roman cities, constructed roads which came to define the later topography, provided streets with sewers, raised enormous vaulted and domed buildings, and moved around heavy weights with levers and pulleys. They made heating and hot water everyday comforts at least in the baths, and pumped water from mines and wells. They created various machines and devices and invented the organ. This was also the age when the first robots were built and plans for the world’s first ‘car’ were made. The exhibition introduces visitors to this forgotten, but exceptionally exciting world.

Visitors can first get a taste of the subject online, and from 31 July 2020 they can see the Ingenious Inventions and Innovative Ideas at the Aquincum Museum’s old exhibition building.

Patientia, virtus, spes – patience, courage, hope (From the funerary inscription of aqueduct-builder Nonius Datus. A good motto for all ancient engineers (and modern people)).

Please note that the Aquincum Museum’s old exhibition building is closed between 1 November and 31 March.

ONLINE EXHIBITION

We present 2000-year-old innovations in science and technology online, and give tips on how those interested can become ancient engineers.

The first episode – Ctesibius: The barber of Alexandria – the father of pneumatics – can be found here.

The second episode – Philon of Byzantium: Everyone’s favourite science teacher from Antiquity – can be found here.

The third episode – Heron of Alexandria: A real jack of all trades from the ancient world – can be found here.

The fourth episode – Heron of Alexandria II: The world’s first “automobile” and other inventions – can be found here.