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The "Staton" automatic theater by Philon of Byzantium and developed further by Heron of Alexandria. Photo : Augusta Stylianou Artist

An accurate reconstruction of the static automated theatre of Philon of Byzantium (3rd cent. BC) which is described in detail and improved by Heron of Alexandria in his work Automatopoetike. Automatic theatres were miracles of the classical and hellenistic age, works of the miracle workers of antiquity. The theatre of Heron presents automatically the myth of Nauplios who wants revenge on the Achaeans for his son's death in Troy.

1st scene: Achaeans repair their ships - we can see figures moving, hammering and sawing and we can hear the sound made by the tools as if they were real.

2nd scene: Achaeans push their boats into the water.

3nd scene: Ships suddenly appear in the sea. Wee can see them sail as a fleet, progress and finally disappear. The sea gets rough - the ships reappear in the rough sea dashing on and on. Occasionally, dolphins emerge from the sea .

4nd scene: Nauplios, standing at the foreland with a lit torch, sends a false signal to the Achaeans abetted by goddess Athena.

5th scene: We can see scattered remains of the wrecked ships and Ajax swimming in the sea. Athena appeas (as deux ex machina), crossed the stage and dissapears. While lightning strikes and the sound of thunder is heard, Ajax' figure is lost.
The stage gates open and close between scenes.
All the above take place without any human interference solely with the force of a lead weight which descends at a steady pace in a sand clepsydra.
The only manual movement required in order to put the automatic theatre into operation is to pull a string!

The "Staton" automatic theater. Photo : Augusta Stylianou Artist

The "Staton" automatic theater. Photo : Augusta Stylianou Artist

The "Staton" automatic theater. Photo : Augusta Stylianou Artist

The "Staton" automatic theater. Photo : Augusta Stylianou Artist

The "Staton" automatic theater. Photo : Augusta Stylianou Artist

From "Ancient Greek Technology" exhibition at the Evagoras & Kathleen Lanitis Centre in Carob Mill Limassol

Replicas and Reconstruction by Prof . Kostas Kotsanas and his students

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