Were There Robots in Ancient Times?

Robots are no longer a thing of the future. With the rapid advancements in technology, robots have become a part of our daily lives.

They help us with various tasks, from manufacturing to cleaning our homes. But have you ever wondered if robots existed in ancient times? Let’s explore this fascinating topic.

What is a Robot?

Before we dive into the topic, let’s define what a robot is. A robot is a machine that can be programmed to carry out a series of actions automatically. It can be controlled by a computer or operate autonomously.

Ancient Robots

When we think about ancient times, we often imagine people using primitive tools and techniques for their daily tasks. However, there are some interesting examples of advanced technology from ancient civilizations that might suggest the existence of robots.

The Antikythera Mechanism

One such example is the Antikythera mechanism, discovered in 1901 in Greece. The mechanism was built around 100 BC and was used to predict astronomical positions and eclipses for calendrical and astrological purposes.

The Antikythera mechanism consisted of over 30 bronze gears and displayed information on dials visible through its front face. It has been described as an “ancient Greek computer,” making it one of the earliest known examples of complex mechanical devices.

The Chinese Automatons

Another example comes from China, where intricate automatons were built during ancient times. These automatons included mechanical animals such as crickets and birds that could move and make sounds through complex clockwork mechanisms.

One such automaton was created during the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD) by Zhang Heng, an inventor, astronomer, and mathematician. His mechanical device included eight interconnected metal spheres that would align with constellations in the sky and drop metal balls to represent stars.


While we may not have concrete evidence of robots in ancient times, the Antikythera mechanism and Chinese automatons suggest that advanced mechanical devices existed during those times. These examples show that humans have always been fascinated with creating machines that can mimic their own actions and perform tasks automatically.

As we continue to advance in technology, who knows what other ancient inventions we might discover that will provide us with more insight into the history of robots.