Tuesday, September 03, 2013

The siege of Syracuse

An architect discussing yesterday's melting of a Jaguar by sun's rays reflected by the "Walkie Talkie" building at 20 Fenchurch Street, reminded listeners of the siege of Syracuse. In 214-212 BC Syracuse was besieged by sea and land by the Roman Republic. The great mathematician and inventor, Archimedes, was called to help the city. One of his weapons of mass destruction, known as the Claw of Archimedes, was a great hook which lifted ships out of the sea and then dropped them back in from a great height. Another of his successful ideas was to build a huge mirror and reflect the sun's rays onto the wooden ships of the Romans, thereby setting them on fire. The Romans eventually managed to breach the city's defences while the people of Syracuse were partying at the Festival of Artemis. The Roman General Marcus Claudius Marcellus gave orders that Archimedes, then 78, should not be killed. He continued his mathematical studies under the Roman occupation but not long after the siege a Roman soldier burst into his house, annoying Archimedes who in no uncertain terms told him to leave. The soldier killed him on the spot.


Anonymous kinglear said...

yes you piss off Roman soldiers at your peril. And every other known soldier on the planet in any given era ( see stories of squaddies on a jolly in NYC assaulting a police officer. The one I always liked was Dirty Den in Eastenders who served time for murder when in the army in Germany. Shows that rehabilitation CAN work ( if you discount the you tube video)

10:27 am  
Blogger Winchester whisperer said...

Hi KL!

9:10 am  
Blogger Angus said...

This can't have been good news for Jaguar. Their plastics must be very low grade if reflected sunshine can melt them.

9:41 am  
Blogger Winchester whisperer said...

That's true, Angus! I don't think it was an E-type...

9:46 am  
Blogger Angus said...

WW - Having now had a chance to read this mornings Telegraph I have to apolgise for the churlishness of the previous comment about Jaguar plastics. The Daily Telegraph reporters hair caught on fire when he went to investigate - the beam gets up to 70C !

9:50 am  
Blogger Winchester whisperer said...

How long did he stand there before his hair caught fire?

9:56 am  

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