The Tomb of Archimedes, Genius of Syracuse, Concealed by a Naiad | Ancient Origins Members Site


The Tomb of Archimedes, Genius of Syracuse, Concealed by a Naiad

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Cicero proudly shows his discovery of the 'Tomb of Archimedes' by Martin Knoller (1775) (Public Domain)

The Tomb of Archimedes, Genius of Syracuse, Concealed by a Naiad

First century AD Roman statesman and orator, Cicero’s claim that he had found Archimedes’ tomb may be refuted.  In Greek mythology Ciane is a freshwater nymph, who tried to save Persephone from being abducted by Hades, god of the underworld. As punishment he turned her into a stream.  Does the Ciane river near the ancient Sicilian city of Syracuse, point to the location of the tomb of its most famous son?

Thoughtful Archimedes by Domenico Fetti  (1620) (Public Domain)

            Thoughtful Archimedes by Domenico Fetti  (1620) (Public Domain)

Cicero on a Quest

One may not have faith in the words of Marcus Tullius Cicero - who has been harassing students of Latin with the obligatory translations of 'De Divinatione' or, even worse, 'De natura Deorum' at the desks of the Lyceum - when he seriously proclaims: "When I was a quaestor we discovered his tomb, all surrounded and covered with brambles and prunes, of which the Syracusans were unaware of the existence, indeed they ruled out that there was... On the top of the sphere was placed a sphere with a cylinder...". (Tusculanae Disputationes, V, 23). To whom did the mysterious ‘sepulcher, all surrounded and covered with brambles and prunes’ belong?


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