Ancient Greek Inventions Facts

The ancient Greeks are famous for their important contributions in such areas as math, philosophy, architecture, government, politics, and science. However the ancient Greek civilization is responsible for numerous other inventions, many of which we still, in a more modern form, use today. On this page we list 5 of these important ancient Greek inventions with facts about each; including who the inventor was, when they were invented, and how they were used. Whether you are kid researching a school paper or an adult interested in this topic we hope you find the below list helpful.


The ancient Greeks pioneered map making. Although maps had been used for thousands of years before the formation of ancient Greece they were primitive and usually inaccurate. The earliest maps were made by cavemen drawing pictures of different landforms on cave walls. The ancient Greeks invented accurate maps and invented the concept of longitude and latitude for plotting of a position. Early Greek cartographers (a person who creates maps) include Anaximander (610 BC - 546 BC) who made a map of the then known world, Hecataeus of Miletus, Herodotus, Ptolemy, and Eratosthenes.


The world's first cranes were invented in ancient Greece in the late sixth century BC; the names of the inventors have been lost to history. These early cranes were powered by men and animals such as donkeys. Prior to the invention of the crane large stones had to be lifted into place by building long ramps such as the ancient Egyptians did to build the Great Pyramid. With the invention of the crane large stones could be moved into place more easily. As they say necessity is the mother of all innovation, and the Greeks desire to build huge temples to honor their gods lead to the invention of the crane.


Is a device that uses flowing water to drive a mechanical process such as grinding or hammering. The ancient Greeks pioneered this invention; the earliest example is the Perachora wheel dating to the 3rd century BC. The remains of this invention were excavated from Perachora, an inland settlement in in the north-eastern part of the Greek Peloponnese peninsula.

Alarm clock

The world's first alarm clock was created by the ancient Greek inventor and mathematician Ctesibius (285 BC - 222 BC). This clock was a Clepsydra, which is an ancient device utilizing the flow of water to measure time. Ctesibius created a complex device which made various sounds at a specified time interval.


Most modern day cars and trucks have odometers which display the number of miles (or kilometers) the vehicle has travelled. This was an invention of the ancient Greeks and was described in the writings of the Roman author Vitruvius around 27 and 23 BC. Although the inventor is not known for sure many historians suspect it was the famous Greek inventor Archimedes. The word odometer is derived from the Greek words hodos (path) and metron (measure). The device used a mechanical process to determine the distance traveled by a chariot. When the chariot wheel rotated a certain amount of times a pebble would drop into a box on the chariot. The distance traveled could be determined by counting the number of pebbles.