Close Window
Today we celebrate . . . .
287-212 B.C.

In 212. B. C., a Roman army laid siege to Syracuse, a Greek colony in Sicily.  The Roman commander Marcellus ordered his soldiers not to harm Archimedes.  Plutarch writes . . . .

"Archimedes ... was ..., as fate would have it, intent upon working out some problem by a diagram, and having fixed his mind alike and his eyes upon the subject of his speculation, he never noticed the incursion of the Romans, nor that the city was taken. In this transport of study and contemplation, a soldier, unexpectedly coming up to him, commanded him to follow to Marcellus; which he declining to do before he had worked out his problem to a demonstration, the soldier, enraged, drew his sword and ran him through."

The tomb of Archimedes near Syracuse in Sicily, Italy.

Cicero was in Sicily in 75 BC.  He writes about his search for Archimedes' tomb.

"... and found (the tomb) enclosed all around and covered with brambles and thickets; for I remembered certain doggerel lines inscribed, as I had heard, upon his tomb, which stated that a sphere along with a cylinder had been put on top of his grave. Accordingly, after taking a good look all around ..., I noticed a small column arising a little above the bushes, on which there was a figure of a sphere and a cylinder... . Slaves were sent in with sickles ... and when a passage to the place was opened we approached the pedestal in front of us; the epigram was traceable with about half of the lines legible, as the latter portion was worn away."