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3004Re: [ANE-2] Re: Antikythera Mechanism, in Nature

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  • Ariel L. Szczupak
    Dec 5, 2006
      At 18:16 30/11/2006, funhistory wrote:

      >Most of the fragmentary Greek inscription is available in Section 2 of
      >this Supplementary Notes file:
      >ANE-2 question: Is this the earliest known "instruction manual" for
      >the operation of a device, or are there any cuneiform parallels
      >describing how to operate a tool or piece of equipment?

      I see that no one else replied, so a quick note:

      There are of course texts that instruct, ranging from how to be a
      better, wiser person to how to build a doomsday ark. But I think you
      mean "operations manual" texts, and that's another story.

      An operations manual is for complex equipment that can be operated
      using the manual. You don't need an operations manual for simple
      equipment and you can't use an operations manual by itself if using
      the equipment requires also training or an apprenticeship. And most
      of the equipment in the ANE is either simple, or requires
      training/apprenticeship, or both.

      The only "class" of texts I can think of that resembles an operations
      manual is mathematical or astronomical texts that deal with complex
      operations that are repeatable and don't require muscle memory,
      weather sense, etc - but they deal with calculations, not with equipment.

      And another note:

      As far as I can tell from the English translation, if you
      disassociate the Antikythera text from its material context (from the
      device) and take out lines 31-33 of the back door inscription, what
      you get is a very ambiguous text that would be more likely to be
      interpreted as a mystical text, as the description of a ritual or
      dance, etc. So it's not clear if an ANE text that is an operations
      manual can be recognized as being one without a material context
      and/or some words that have only a literal meaning.


      [100% bona fide dilettante ... delecto ergo sum!]

      Ariel L. Szczupak
      AMIS-JLM (Ricercar Ltd.)
      POB 4707, Jerusalem, Israel 91401
      Phone: +972-2-5619660 Fax: +972-2-5634203
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