Archimedes and the siege of Syracuse

(To Alessandro Rugolo)

Often from reading a book, curiosities arise that will lead you inexorably to read other books, visit places, meet people and works ...
In my case, from reading the biography of "Hannibal" by Baker, I went on to deepen some passages of Polibio and to learn about the work of Giulio Parigi. At a certain point in the book on Hannibal it speaks of the siege of Syracuse by Marco Marcello, then Roman consul.

We find ourselves projected into the 212 BC, which we must not forget!
Syracuse, as we all know, was the home of Achimedes. 
Di Archimede is always told that he was the inventor of the burning mirrors. 
But this was not the only war weapon of the great mathematician.
Polibio, great historian of antiquity, tells that during the siege of Syracuse by the Romans, the consul Marco Marcello was at the head of the fleet led to the conquest of Syracuse.

In the book the author thus writes of Archimedes' inventions: 
"... Archimede foiled the console projects. The wall had been pierced because the beards and scorpions could pull, today one would say, point blank. And not only the assailants had to endure these devices, but they had to face something more frightening: large arms, fitted at their ends with an iron hand and a chain, passed over the battlements. Those hands swept the soldiers who were ahead, dropping huge weights; then they grabbed the prows of the ships. Then the vessels were seen to rise above the water. When it seemed to the man who maneuvered those machines that the boat was sufficiently raised up high, he opened his iron hand by pulling a rope and letting it fall back. Some fell on one side, others turned upside down, others fell down with all occupants ... 
It was necessary to retreat again.

Today we can say that the great Archimedes used, apparently, huge cranes as a weapon, undoubtedly effective on the material level. We can only try to imagine what psychological effect Archimedes' science had on his adversaries!