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The Water Clock in the Tower of the Winds

p The Water Clock in the Tower of the Winds

The Water Clock in the Tower of the Winds Noble and Price 's in-depth article examining the specific technical attributes of the water clock in the Tower of Winds in the Roman Agora of Athens purports to be a virtual reconstruction of the Tower of Winds and , specifically , the water-clock and supporting water-tower within The article is just that -- and little else . While steadfastly maintaining through out the article that the water-clock and the Tower of Winds have received too little

literary and scientific attention over the centuries and lamenting that such a wonderfully curious structure (which has been maintained and continuously occupied over the many centuries since its construction , the authors do little to dramatize the Tower 's existence or bring the rich archaeological evidence and information made available by the structure into vivid , documentary


True enough , the Tower and the water-clock are generally passed over by scholars . An example is G . J . Whitrow 's mention of the Tower of Winds in his book "Time in History : Views of Time from Prehistory to the Present Day " which states simply "there is evidence of more elaborate instrumentation , such as the 'Tower of the Winds ' which can still be seen in Athens , north of the Acropolis . Designed and built by the astronomer Andronicus Kyrrhestes of Macedonia in the second quarter of the first century BC , with a wind vane and complicated sundials on each of its eight walls , its most interesting feature is a reservoir in a smaller building that stood next to its south side " 1 with the implication that the rest of the structure was , in fact , of little interest

Ironically , the very concept of a water-clock provokes a sense of mystery and interest . The origin of water-clocks is presumed to be Egyptians who developed the water-clock as a method for keeping track of time at night when sun-dials were , obviously , incapable of functioning "To provide a means of measuring time at night the Egyptians also invented the water-clock , or 'clepsydra ' as the Greeks later called it .Vitruvius , writing about 30 BC , described a number of types " 2 so the history of the water-clock is deep and richly extensive

The Noble-Price article hints at this rich history for the technological and cultural significance of the water-clock , but evades any real crystallization of the possible incarnations of water-clocks which preceded the massive example in the Tower of Winds . Before examining the strengths and weaknesses of the article 's largely technical explication , it may be useful to summarize in general what a water-clock is and what it is intended to do . Although the Noble-Price article certainly fulfills this need for preliminary information , the Columbia Encyclopedia does a far better job of stating , succinctly , the overall historical evolution of the water-clock

More elaborate clepsydras were later developed . Some were double vessels , the larger one below containing a float that rose with the water and marked the hours on a scale . A...

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