Archimedes in Ancient Roman World
Cicero’s rediscovery of Archimedes’ tomb shows the interest for the Sicilian scientist in Rome, even if in Italy Archimedes’ geometry was put into practice only by architects and by Gromatici, a sort of practical technicians who worked primarily in military and agricultural fields (we have some clear information about their work in a wonderful manuscript of the sixth century now in Wolfenbüttel). Some poets of the classical period were interested in the combination of numbers (like Catullus’ 5 or 7 and Virgil’s Georgics 2), but they never did open references to Archimedes, for metrical difficulties and embarrassed by his astonishing killing during the Roman occupation of Syracuse. Archimedes’ life and death had an important part on the confluence of eastern and western culture in the third and second centuries B.C., but a good image of the scientist received serious obstacles by the difficulties of his theoretical works (Cicero also didn’t read and understand the mathematical and physical ones) and by his strong and open struggle against the Romans.
KeywordsIntellectual Capital Sixth Century Open Reference Roman Supremacy Arab Source
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