Some sources credit Greek philosopher Anaximander of Miletus (611-547 B. C.) with inventing the armillary sphere, others credit Greek astronomer Hipparchus (190 – 120 BC), and some credit the Chinese.
Armillary spheres first appeared in China during the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-220 A.D.). One early Chinese armillary sphere can be traced to Zhang Heng, an astronomer in the Eastern Han Dynasty (25 A.D.-220 A.D.).
The exact origin of armillary spheres cannot be confirmed. However, during the Middle Ages, armillary spheres became widespread and increased in sophistication.