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many other kings, some of whom valued themselves for their expertness in playing on instruments, others in painting, and some on their dexterity in the turner's art, with a hundred qualities of private men, but not of a prince. His application to the mechanical arts had something great and truly royal in it ; his gallies with five benches of oars, were the admiration of his enemies, who beheld them sailing along the coasts ; and his engines called helepoles were a surprising spectacle to those whom he besieged. They were exceedingly useful to him in the war with Rhodes. ***

But the triumph of intellect, and of mathematical and mechanical knowledge over even well directed and disciplined, (or what is synonymous, Roman) valour was never more strikingly exemplified than in the celebrated siege of Syracuse. In that ever memorable instance the genius of one man baffled and held at bay for a long time the most formidable power the world ever saw, and would in all human probability have finally defeated and disgraced irreparably, the world's masters, had not treachery supplied the want of force to the conquerors. The siege of Syracuse affords so striking an exemplification of the power of mind over matter, and the importance of inventive and mechanical genius to a kingdom or commonwealth, that we cannot withstand the temptation of giving, in this place, an extract from Plutarch, descriptive of that event.

* Rollin.

6 When the Romans attacked them (the Syracusans) both by sea and land, they were struck dumb with terror, imagining they could not possibly resist such numerous forces and so furious an assault. But Archimedes soon began to play his engines, and they shot against the land forces all sorts of missive weapons, and stones of an enormous size, with so incredible noise and rapidity that nothing could stand before them; they overturned and crushed whatever came in their way, and spread terrible disorder through the ranks. On the side next the sea were erected vast machines, putting forth on a sudden, over the walls, huge beams with the necessary tackle, which, striking with a prodigious force on the enemy's gallies, sunk them at once; while other ships hoisted up at the prows by iron grapples, or hooks like the beaks of cranes, and set on end on the stern, were plunged to the bottom of the sea ; and others again, by ropes and grapples, were drawn towards the shore, and after being whirled about and dashed against the rocks that projected below the walls, were broken to pieces, and the crews perished. Very often a ship lifted high above the sea, suspended and twirling in the air, presented a most dreadful spectacle. There it swung till the men were thrown out by the violence of the motion, and then it split against the walls, or sunk on the engine’s letting go its hold. As for the machine, which Marcellus brought forward upon eight gallies, and which was called Sambuca, on account of its likeness to the musical instrument of that name, whilst it was at a considerable dis

tance from the walls, Archimedes discharged a stone of ten talents weight, and after that a second and a third, all which striking upon it with an amazing noise and force, shattered and totally disjointed it.

“ Marcellus, in this distress, drew off his gallies as fast as possible, and sent orders to the land forces to retreat likewise. He then called a council of war, in which it was resolved to come close to the walls, if it was possible, next morning before day. For Archimedes' engines they thought, being very strong, and intended to act at a considerable distance, would then discharge themselves over their heads; and if they were pointed at them when they were so near, they would have no effect. But for this Archimedes had long been prepared, having by him engines fitted to all distances, with suitable weapons and shorter beams. Besides, he had caused holes to be made in the walls, in which he placed scorpions, that did not carry far, but could be very fast discharged ; and by these the enemy was galled without knowing whence the weapons came.

“ When, therefore, the Romans were got close to the walls, undiscovered, as they thought, they were welcomed with a shower of darts, and huge pieces of rocks which fell as it were perpendicularly on their heads; for the engines played from every quarter of the walls. This obliged them to retire; and when they were at some distance, other shafts were shot at them in their retreats, from the larger machines, which

made terrible havoc among them, as well as greatly damaged their shipping, without any possibility of their annoying the Syracusans in their turn. For Archimedes had placed most of his engines under cover of the walls, so that the Romans, being infinitely distressed by an invisible enemy seemed to fight against the gods.

“ Marcellus, however, got off, and laughed at his own artillery-men and engineers. Why do we not leave off contending, said he, with this mathematical Briareus who, sitting on the shore, and acting as it were but in jest, has shamefully baffled our naval assault; and in striking us with such a multitude of bolts at once, exceeds as it were the hundred handed giants in the fable ? And in truth, all the rest of the Syracusans were no more than the bodies in the batteries of Archimedes, while he himself was the informing soul. All other weapons lay idle and unemployed; his were the only offensive and defensive arms in the city. At length the Romans were so terrified, that if they saw but a rope or stick put over the walls, they cried out that Archimedes was levelling some machine at them, and turned their backs and fled. Marcellus, seeing this, gave up all thoughts of proceeding by assault, and leaving the matter to time, turned the seige into a blockade."

Here we cannot but lament that prejudice which prevented this great man from devoting more of his time and talents to such branches of mathematical and

mechanical science, as would afford results of immediate practical utility. The speculations in which he most delighted, seem to have been too sublime for common understandings, and too subtle to afford any substantial benefit to the bulk of mankind.

6. He had," says Plutarch " such a depth of understanding, such a dignity of sentiment, and so copious a fund of mathematical knowledge, that though in the invention of his machines, he gained the reputation of a man of divine, rather than human knowledge, yet he did not vouchsafe to leave any account of them in writing. For he considered all attention to mechanics, and every art that ministers to common uses, as mean and sordid, and placed his whole delight in those intellectual speculations, which, without any relation to the necessities of life, have an intrinsic excellence, arising from truth and demonstration only."

Surely nothing can be more preposterous than to entertain an opinion that those arts, which minister to common uses are mean and sordid; yet this opinion has been more or less prevalent in every age, among those whose birth, talents, fortune, or education have placed them above the necessity of obtaining a livelihood by the practice of those arts, which minister to the necessities and comforts of life, and has, perhaps, retarded the progress of improvement in such arts more than the

ravages of time, or the devastations of war. The Romans, though originally a horde of barbarians, little more civilized than the rudest tribes of our American aborigines, yet, with the acquisition of power,

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