History of The Battery - Antiquity

Antiquity

The Baghdad Battery, sometimes referred to as the Parthian Battery, is the common name for a number of artifacts created in Mesopotamia during the Iranian dynasties of the Parthian or Sassanid period (the early centuries AD).

In 1938, German archaeologist Wilhelm König and other associates purportedly uncovered—there are conflicting versions of the details of the discovery—a set of terracotta jars in a village called Khujut Rabu, near Baghdad. Each jar contained a rolled-up sheet of copper surrounding an iron rod. Some scientists speculate that these are ancient galvanic cells, roughly 2,000 years old, though the artifacts' age is still debated. The jars have been dubbed the "Baghdad Batteries".

It is believed a common food acid, such as lemon juice, wine or vinegar, would have served as an electrolyte. Modern replicas have successfully produced small electrical currents, lending credence to this hypothesis. If the items were indeed voltaic cells, they could possibly have been used for electroplating jewelry, or to produce mild electric shocks as a source of religious experience, although no such secondary artifacts have been discovered. The jars resemble another type of object with a known purpose: namely, storage vessels for sacred scrolls from nearby Seleucia on the Tigris. Those vessels do not have the outermost clay jar, but are otherwise almost identical. In this way, they could have been simply used to store ancient scrolls.

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