Top 3 Greatest Ancient Greek Inventors That Changed History

The ancient Greeks supplied some of the greatest inventors the world has ever known. Hundreds of inventors would come out of the Hellenistic world however there are 3 that are by far the greatest.

In order to have ended up on the list of the 3 greatest ancient Greek inventors each of the following inventors would have had to create an invention that forever changed history. This is measured by the impact the invention had upon the following centuries and how widespread this invention is today.

The following list is the top 3 greatest ancient Greek inventors that changed history.

  • Hero of Alexandria
  • Archimedes
  • Ctesibius

Each of these ancient Greek inventors below have an entire section dedicated to them and their inventions. Further, each section has another article tied to them if you would like to know more about how the Greek inventor changed history.

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Without further ado, here are the top 3 greatest ancient Greek inventors that changed history.

1.) Hero of Alexandria

Born10 AD
Died70 AD
Known ForAncient world ingenious inventions, mathematical genius
Region of WorldAlexandria, Roman Egypt
Further ReadingThe 3 Inventions of Hero of Alexandria That Made Him Famous

Hero(Heron) of Alexandria was a man who lived during the start of the Roman Empire. Hero lived in the ancient city of Alexandria that was founded by Alexander the Great almost 4 centuries prior.

Not much is known about Hero himself. There are accounts that from an early age he was fascinated with tools. Being born into Alexandria, Hero would have access to the world’s knowledge from scrolls left over from the Library of Alexandria.

By reading this knowledge Hero would begin to experiment and build ancient Greek machines from the height of Alexandria’s past. From this Hero would build 3 devices that forever changed history.

  • Histories First Wind Powered Device
  • The Modern Thermometer
  • Histories first Steam Engine

Each of these inventions were astounding to the ancient Greeks and Romans who marveled at the inventor. From Heron/Hero’s inventions history would forever be changed.

One of the largest impacts of Hero of Alexandria was the creation of the first steam engine in history. So influential was this machine that for almost 1,500 years few people understood how it worked.

In the 18th century the world began to experiment with theoretical steam powered machines and inventions. We have accounts of 18th century inventors digging up the diagrams for Hero’s steam engine and experimenting with how to apply it to power machines.

This one invention forever changed society and led to the industrial revolution and steam power coal engines.

As a result of this Hero of Alexandria easily lands on this list of the top 3 greatest ancient Greek inventors that changed history.


Born287 B.C.
Died212 B.C.
Famous Quote“Man has always learned from the past”
Known ForStarting field of mathematics, Large scale engineer, numerous inventions
Region Of WorldItaly/Sicily, 3rd Century B.C.
Further ReadingThe 3 Inventions That Made Archimedes Famous

Another one of the top 3 greatest ancient Greek inventors that changed history Archimedes remains one of the most influential inventors of all time.

Archimedes lived during the 3rd century BC in modern Sicily. He was born into a harsh world with an incredibly inquisitive mind. Today Archimedes is considered one of the most intelligent people to have ever lived.

One of the reasons that Archimedes is considered one of the top 3 greatest ancient Greek inventors that changed history was his development of applied mathematics and his inventions.

Archimedes was born into the town of Syracuse and in 214 was tasked with defending the city from the invading Romans. To do this Archimedes came up with two inventions that still fascinate people to this day.

The first, was his heat ray. Archimedes would position polished copper shields around the harbor of the city and focus them upon the wooden Roman ships. The ships would combust into flames and sink.

The second invention was the claw of Archimedes. A metal hook that would be dropped out over ships. Once the hook latched onto the ship, men on the shore would raise the ship out of the water and then drop it, cracking the hull and sinking the ship.

However, while these practical inventions stunned the world and made Archimedes famous it was his pioneering work in mathematics that forever changed history.

Archimedes would write highly advanced mathematical works that detailed how to measure a circle, basic calculus, basic geometry, and work surrounding liquids. One of his major accomplishments in this regard was creating exponents, the Archimedean spiral, and the approximation of Pi.

Each of these mathematical inventions and discoveries would forever change history. Today nearly the entire field of mathematics stems from the discoveries and inventions of one of history’s greatest Greek inventors, Archimedes.


Born285 BC
Died222 BC
Famous ForCreating several ancient world changing inventions
Region of WorldAlexandria, Greek Egypt
Further ReadingThe 3 Inventions of Heron of Alexandria That Made Him Famous and Ctesibius of Alexandria: The 3 Influences Of His Machines Upon History

The last of the 3 greatest Greek inventors that forever changed history is none other than Ctesibius of Alexandria.

Little is known about Ctesibius. He lived during the same time as Archimedes and it is theorized that they shared information. From other sources such as Vitruvius and Pliny the Elder we know that Ctesibius himself was widely regarded during his time as one of the greatest Greek inventors who ever lived.

The reason for this was Ctesibius’s work on pressurized containers. Ctesibius was one of the first people in the world who believed that atoms existed and made up all matter on earth.

From this foundational theory Ctesibius would perform all sorts of experiments. From these experiments several inventions would spring forth. Out of these several inventions there are three that forever changed history.

First, was the discovery of pressurized containers. In contemporary accounts Ctesibius was known to heat up containers and experiment with the pressurized gas. He wrote down his discoveries but unfortunately they do not survive. We can see the impacts of his designs however in the adoption of Ctesibius’s air pumps throughout the ancient world. These pumps allowed massive cities to form though the creation of aqueducts.

Second, was the creation of mechanical musical instruments. Ctesibius was the first ancient Greek inventor to create the pipe organ. A device that could play music to an entire crowd. This drastically impacted the development of later church organs who borrow the exact design from Ctesibius.

Third, The last major invention of this ancient Greek inventor that changed history was the creation of the world’s first accurate clock. Before Ctesibius water clocks were used to keep time but they became less accurate over time. Ctesibius would fix this by making two water clocks working together. Today all modern analog clocks still use his pointer and indicator system.

As such Ctesibius remains one of the greatest ancient Greek inventors that changed history.


There you have it; an entire article dedicated to the top 3 greatest ancient Greek inventors that changed history.

The ancient Greeks would inspire the ancient Romans to begin to experiment and build amazing objects. Today billions of people around the world have been influenced by these top 3 ancient Greek inventors. As such, each of these guys have changed history forever.

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