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date: 29 November 2022


, mathematician, c. 287–212/211 BCE


, mathematician, c. 287–212/211 BCE
  • Reviel Netz


Born at *Syracuse, son of an astronomer Phidias, and killed at the sack of the city by the Romans under M. *Claudius Marcellus (1), he was on intimate terms with its king *Hieron (2) II. He may have visited Egypt, but lived most of his life at Syracuse, corresponding with *Conon (2), *Dositheus (1), *Eratosthenes, and others. He became a figure of legend and popular history (see Plut. Marc. 14–19) knew him as the inventor of marvellous machines used against the Romans at the siege of Syracuse, and of devices such as the screw for raising water (κοχλίας); for his boast ‘give me a place to stand and I will move the earth’ (Simpl. In Phys. 1110. 5); for his determination of the proportions of gold and silver in a wreath made for Hieron (εὕρηκα, εὕρηκα, ‘Eureka! I have discovered it!’ Vitr.


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