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Ancient Greece: Philons "Bird and Snake"

- 8:49 PM
As far as we know The Bird and Snake invention does not have any practical use. The ancient Greek invention was a presentation of a bird protecting its little ones from an invading snake looking for a snack. This was likely just used for amusement and served no real purpose. However, this didn't make the physics behind the presentation any less impressive.

The Philons Bird and Snake was created by Philo of Byzantium. Although sometimes he was also called Philo Mechanicus. Philo was a Greek mechanics writer and engineer sometime during the second half of the 3rd century BC.

How Did it Work? (Animation)


There is water in the reservoir. A bole is mounted on it. It has libs, a bird's nest and birds mounted on it.

A snake is swimming in the water. When water is filled in through the small holes on the right, the water rises and the snake rises, heading towards the birds.

The great bird now defends its little fellows. The rising water moves the bird and swings it's wings.

By decreasing the water, the snake hides somewhere and the bird, now sure of its success, goes back to the little birds. The presentation is finished.

The second half of the animation below was not part of the presentation. It is simply what the presentation would look like if it was invisible. Making it easy to see behind the scenes and uncover how the ancient invention worked. 



Who Was Philo of Byzantium?

He spent the majority of his life in Alexandria, Egypt, but he was actually from Byzantine. He was likely younger slightly than Ctesibius but this is not for certain. This one does not have any practical use. It might just be used for amusement. You can find many more inventions by Philo in his comprehensive work called Mechanical Syntax. This was a Comppendium of Mechanics he wrote that contain many designs of his ancient inventions.


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