The ancient Greeks built a machine that can predict, for many years ahead, not only eclipses but also a remarkable array of their characteristics, such as directions of obscuration, magnitude, colour, angular diameter of the Moon, relationship with the Moon’s node and eclipse time. It was not entirely accurate, but it was an astonishing achievement for its era.
An epoch for the Antikythera Mechanism in 205 BC brings it close to the life of Archimedes, who was killed in the siege of Syracuse in Sicily in 212 BC. It is known from the writings of Cicero that Archimedes built a machine just like the Antikythera Mechanism : “… the famous Sicilian had been endowed with greater genius than one would imagine it possible for a human being to possess… this… globe… on which were delineated the motions of the sun and moon and of those five stars which are called wanderers… (the five planets)… Archimedes… had thought out a way to represent accurately by a single device for turning the globe those various and divergent movements with their different rates of speed…”
Cicero, De re publica, 54–51 BC