Conspiracy theories surrounding historical concepts aren’t new, nor few in number. The latest to flood the social networks is an ancient Greek sculpture in which a woman is seemingly opening a laptop. The sculpture — dating back to 100 BC and called ‘Grave Naiskos of an Enthroned Woman with an Attendant’ — is currently on display at The J Paul Getty Museum in Malibu, California. It has especially caught the fancy of conspiracy theorists due to the presence of two holes in a tablet-like object that look like USB ports. ‘Lounging in a cushion armchair, a woman reaches out to touch the lid of a shallow chest held by a servant girl on this funerary’ is what the description of the statue says.
People have speculated as to the nature of the device handled. Most argue it looks like a modern-day laptop, considering the Oracle’s supposed supernatural abilities. The Oracle of Delphi — according to historical lore — had the ability to communicate with uber-advanced alien populations (or gods and time-travellers) on important matters — from public policies to personal affairs.
Some critics have laughed away the over-active imagination and provided their opinions on the sculpture. A realistic explanation says that the device is indeed a tablet — but just not the modern kind. They believe it is a wax tablet used for writing on with a stylus or pen. Some say it is a jewellery box. In modern day fashion, the conspiracy theorists have claimed that the device is too thin to be either, when compared to the ones appearing on other statues (MacBook Air anyone?). It’s primarily the two holes that have churned the debate.
More informed people have put forth other, more researched alternatives. One Facebook user says, “this is quite clearly a copy book, known through out the ancient world and used from sailors to schoolboys. The “USB ports” shown in the photo are actually the metal supports used within the sculpture to support the part of the copy book that is closest to the viewer.” Another suggests that, “She is holding what is called an abbacus, which was the method of measurement during the Greek era. It was widely used in Greek markets and Greek architecture. It has metal cross bars and beads for Measurements. It can’t be a laptop because there was no electricity no power charger then. They used candles and oil lamps for light.”
While that makes perfect sense, it just takes pointing a finger at the woman’s finger in the statue to fuel the debate further. Doesn’t she look like she’s handling a touch screen device? What do you think?