The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #48580   Message #730569
Posted By: Deda
15-Jun-02 - 02:20 PM
Thread Name: Letter to Syracuse
Subject: RE: Letter to Syracuse
The original, ancient Syracuse was the capital city of Sicily, and had been settled by Greek colonists, maybe from Corinth(?), and had then become allied with Carthage, Rome's enemy. There was an astonishing mathematician and inventor who lived there during the second (i.e. worst)Punic War, Archimedes (~287-211 BC). He figured the value of pi, as closely as could be done at the time. He also invented some incredible machinery which devastated the Roman fleet: He had pulleys and ropes at the city walls that hooked onto and then yanked the prows of the Roman ships up out of the water, and then released them and crashed them down on the rocks. The Romans came back with a reinforced fleet and took the city, and orders were given to take Archimedes alive. When a Roman soldier found him, he was working in his study and he yelled at the soldier to move because he was blocking the light. The soldier, not aware of who Archimedes was, ran him through with his sword. This is extreme thread creep, but an interesting story about a place named Syracuse.