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