Archimedes of Syracuse (c. 287 – 212 BCE) was one of the most unique figures in history. Archimedes definitely surpassed the power of the mind of most of those whom we commonly and universally consider to be brilliant.
He was certainly the greatest mathematician of antiquity and one of the greatest in history. According to Karl Friedrich Gauss, only Isaac Newton matched his mathematical talent …
We owe most of what we know about Archimedes to his enemies and killers – the Romans. They gave him respect and admiration, mainly because he has really gotten under their skin when they besieged Syracuse.
During the Second Punic War he managed engineering works on the defense of Syracuse. The Romans thought that the gods themselves were defending the city, because the machines constructed by Archimedes and hidden behind the walls were throwing missiles at them or overturning Roman ships attacking the city from the sea.
Archimedes’ great contribution to the defense of Syracuse is demonstrated by the praise that Roman historian Polibius wrote in his honor: “It turns out that one husband and one spirit, if he has the appropriate aptitude for any activity, can do great and amazing things. At least the Romans, having such significant combat forces on land and sea, they were sure that they would immediately take over the city if one old Syracusean man were removed; however, since he was in place, they did not dare to tempt, at least not on the path where Archimedes could resist “. Thanks to him, Syracuse bravely resisted Roman power for two years.
Eventually, Marcellus resorted to laying siege and attempting to starve the defenders of Syracuse rather than send in more troops; it was only when pro-Roman defender betrayed the city ands let in the Romans that the city finally fell.