The Grandeur that was Archimedes, and the Glory that was Rome

There's something about an activity that can entrance one so willingly that even war itself cannot distract him. This was the case for the bearded man above. His glory was so great Plutarch, that sage of sages, describes him in a passages and also describes his death. The man is Archimedes.

The granduer of archimedes (plutarch):

" Archimedes..possessed so lofty a spirit, so profound a soul, and a wealth of scientific inquiry. He believed the business of mechanics and every utilitarian art as ignoble and vulgar [and] gave his zealous devotion only to those subjects whose elgance and subtlety are untrammeled by the necessities of life.. [he was] continually bewitched by some familar siren dwelling within him, he forgot his food and neglected the care of his body; and how, when he was dragged by main force, as often happened, to the place for bathing and annointing, he would draw mechanical figures in the hearths, and draw lines with his finger in the oil with which his body was annointed, being overcome by great pleasure and in truth..

But what specially grieved Marcellus was the death of Archimedes. For it chanced that he was alone, examining a diagram closely, and having fixed both his mind and his eyes on the object of his inquery, he perceived neither the inroad of the Romans nor the taking of the city. Suddenly a soldier came up to him and bade him follow to Marcellus, but he would not go until he had finished the problem and worked it out to the demonstration. Thereupon the soldier became enraged, drew his sword and dispatched him. Others, however, say that the Roman came upon him with drawn sword intending to kill him at once, and that Archimedes, on seeing him, besought and entraced him to wait a little while so that he might not leave the question unfinished and only partly investigated; but the soldier did not understand and slew him.- 100 AD, Plutarch, on Archimedes "

Restoring the Glory of his fall (cicero)

" When I was in siciliy in 75 bc.. I managed to track down his grave. The Syracusians knew nothing about it, and indeed denied that any such thing existed. But there it was, completely surrounded and hidden by bushes of brambles and thorns. I remembered having heard of some simple lines of verse which had been inscribed on his tomb, referring to a sphere and cylinder modelled in a stone on top of the grave. And so I took a good look round all the numerous tombs that stand beside the Agrigentine Gate. Finally I noted a little colume just visible above the scrub; it was surmounted by a spherre and a cylinder. I immediately said to the Syracusans, some of whose leading citizens were with me at the time, that I believed this was the very object I was looking for.

So one of the most famous cities in the Greek world, and in former days a great centre of learning as well, would have remained in total ignorance of the tomb of the most brilliant citizen it had ever produced, had a man from Arpium not come and pointed it out! http://www.math.nyu.edu/~crorres/Archimedes/Tomb/Cicero.html "

1 comment:

  1. I'm digging the new blog big guy. Are you doing a new mathematician every day?