In one fell swoop, an expert in ancient Greek sculpture has debunked an Internet conspiracy theory that argues a statue depicts a figure holding a laptop, thereby offering proof of time travel.
And Janet Burnett Grossman didn’t brush off the theory by saying time travel isn’t possible, or simply pointing out that the figure is likely holding a mirror, chest, or jewelry box. Grossman pulled apart the theory with some simple time travel logic in an explanation to Discovery.
“Any time traveler would know that laptops are powered by electricity, whilst the Greeks did not have sockets.”
And that’s true. If time travelers do indeed exist, they’d well know which eras were blessed with electricity and which were not. So why would one bring such a thing to ancient Greece? That argument seems to be lost on YouTube conspiracy theorist “Still Speaking Out,” who in 2014 posited that the Greek statue depicted a laptop; his presumptions have just now gone viral.
— Vipul Jasani (@Taxtreats) February 5, 2016
The response from experts is pretty much unanimous: “Seriously? That’s not a laptop.” But before that argument is laid out, what exactly is this Greek statue?
It’s called “Grave Naiskos of an Enthroned Woman with an Attendant,” was made in 100 B.C., stands about 37 inches tall, and depicts a woman sitting on a throne while a young slave holds a thin box open for her to look at, USA Today explained.
The statue is actually a common ancient Greek funerary relief, which were all the rage from about the sixth to first century B.C., Live Science explained. Reliefs like this one were placed above the grave or naiskos, which is a small temple dedicated to the dead person.
There are tons of these reliefs. This one likely had the dead woman’s name painted on top, explained Jeffrey Spier, who’s the curator at the museum in California that owns the ancient Greek artifact.
“We have a number [of naiskos] in the museum. They show young girls with their toys or with pets. They are very nostalgic and sympathetic.”
According to the museum, these reliefs often depict the deceased person reaching out for an item held by a servant, a symbol of the hope presented by living on in the afterlife. In this statue, the seated woman’s snake bracelets and her fancy chair suggest she was wealthy; the clothes and hairstyle of the person holding the box suggest she’s a slave.
So those are the historic facts. Now for the conspiracy.
As far as Still Speaking Out is concerned, the item in the slave’s hand bears a striking resemblance to a modern laptop and is far too thin to be a jewelry box. He also believes that the wealthy woman is gazing at the item as if looking at a screen, and the holes drilled into the sides are USB ports.
Still Speaking Out also believes that the computer links to the Oracle of Delphi, which allowed “priests to connect with the gods to retrieve advanced information and various aspects,” the conspiracy theorist said.
According to Live Science, his theory is that the Oracle predicted the invention of the technology and shared that knowledge with other people. He noted, “I’m not saying that this relief was depicting an ancient laptop computer.”
If the ancient Greek “laptop” was indeed proof of time travel, that would be cool — but the odds are against Mr. Still Speaking Out. For one thing, his contention that the item is too thin to be a laptop has a reasonable explanation: ancient Greek artists weren’t known for depicting anything realistically in their work.
And the “USB ports?” Likely just holes drilled so that a bronze object could be attached to the marble statue.
The fact of the matter is, there are plenty of other more likely things this laptop could be: a wax tablet, a jewelry box, a cosmetic box, or a hinged mirror. Heck, it could even be a pizza with the dead woman’s favorite toppings.
But a computer? Sorry — but no.
[Photo By YouTube]