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The Back Plate Inscription and eclipse scheme of the Antikythera Mechanism revisited

TitleThe Back Plate Inscription and eclipse scheme of the Antikythera Mechanism revisited
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsIversen, Paul A., and Jones Alexander R.
Journal TitleArchive for History of Exact Sciences
Abstract

This paper presents a new edition of the Back Plate Inscription (BPI) of the
Antikythera Mechanism, a series of descriptions of circumstances associated with
eclipses indicated cyclically by the inscriptions of the Mechanism’s Saros Dial
Scale. Our edition features several significant new readings as well as the confirma-
tion of a disputed reading pertaining to one of the index letters by which the BPI’s
paragraphs are linked to the specific eclipse glyphs of the Saros Dial. On the basis of
the new text, we deduce a revision of the established models for determining which
lunar months of the Saros cycle had solar and lunar eclipse possibilities (EPs) and
for assigning the solar EPs to paragraphs of the BPI. We further confirm that the
entire extant part of the BPI comprises consecutive paragraphs concerning the solar
EPs, all inscribed along the right side of the Mechanism’s Back Plate, and we revisit
the questions of what the BPI’s predictions mean and how they relate to the model
for the solar EPs.

URLhttps://link.springer.com/epdf/10.1007/s00407-019-00229-9
DOI10.1007/s00407-019-00229-9