Destiny manuscript Archimedes

The manuscript journey of the great scientist Archimedes is one of the most interesting stories in the history of science. For 2,000 years, this document was "abused", ripped apart and left to waste for time. Now, a group of American historians are reviving it ...

When the Roman army arrived in Sicily and later conquered Syracuse (at that time of the Greeks), a Roman soldier unexpectedly met an old man sitting calmly, despite the surrounding fighting, drawing pictures. learn and math equations on the sand. "Don't ruin these circles," the old man said.

However, the Roman mercenarian not only ruined the circles on the sand but also raised the sword to kill the old man! At least that is a fairly common legend about the death of Archimedes. Historical truth is different.

Assigned to study artillery systems for Hieron II (King of Syracuse from 270-215 BC), Archimedes played an important role in the military science under the occupation of Syracuse with many spectacular inventions. He invented a very powerful platform that could penetrate an enemy warship with rock bullets. He also used a large mirror to focus light to help burn the Roman warship. Thanks to him, Sicily's resistance lasted for more than 2 years.

At 73, Archimedes was killed by Rome. His death - in the ironic words of the famous English philosopher Paul Strathern - was "Roman's only prerequisite contribution to mathematics!" It is difficult to describe the foundations of mathematics in particular and science in general of Archimedes (285-212 BC), who once entered the history of human civilization with the famous saying "Eureka" (I issued show).


Unfortunately, many documents written on goatskin about the works of Archimedes have been lost, while the rest have been written in Arabic and Latin. It took a long time for people to discover the original Greek manuscript of Archimedes ...

In 1906, Danish professor Johan Ludvig Heiberg (1854-1928), when studying many ancient Greek documents, found that a collection of goat leather composed of prayer verses written in the 13th century was accompanied by an additional text. older written in the 10th century. After careful study, Heiberg confirmed that it was one of the unknown documents, recording many works of Archimedes (not long after, the document was used by mathematicians - historians). renowned Englishman Thomas Heath, 1861-1940, translated into English).

According to the website specializing in the manuscript Archimedes (, along with the sublimation of the Byzantine empire in the 9th - X centuries, when science was promoted and promoted, the copying of ancient scientific documents, including the Archimedes work began to explode. It was probably the time that the manuscript of Archimedes' goat skin was created (in 2002, using ultraviolet technology, Professor John Lowden at the Courtauld Institute at the University of London deciphered a last page of the document that dated. is 13/4/1229).

Until it was classified by the Greek scholar Papadopoulos-Kerameus in 1899, the goatskin booklet was still considered the canon. According to Der Spiegel (June 22, 2007), a historian for the Byzantine court must have written a series of goatskin books that included the Archimedes work circa 950.

In 1229, a priest used a manuscript manuscript to be "recycled" so that it could be reused. Using a sponge and lemon juice, he scrubbed the goatskin's page out of ink, cut the clean pages in half and then folded it into a new book, used to write prayers and rituals (not just Archimedes documents, The original goatskin book also has 10 pages written by Hyperides - the famous orator living in Athens around 350 BC; as well as some pages about the philosopher Aristotle).

Manuscript Archimedes manuscript at Walters Art Museum. (Photo: msn / ap)

Also during the Middle Ages, the goat leather book was brought to the Greek Orthodox monastery. Savvas near Jerusalem. In the middle of the nineteenth century, after passing through two more places, it was moved to Constantinople (which was once the center of the Byzantine empire before the city fell to the Ottomans in 1453; as well as the cradle of the Church. Official religion).
Then, almost no one knows where the Archimedes manuscript remains, until 1923, when it was in the suitcase of businessman Marie Louis Sirieix, who said he bought the manuscript from a monk. This is still a mystery because Sirieix cannot prove it with a sales receipt or similar). When Sirieix died in 1956, the Archimedes manuscript was still hidden in his basement in Paris. Affected by humid climates and time, the Archimedes manuscripts were badly damaged, looking even worse than paper piles!

In the 1970s, with the intention of turning the Archimedes manuscript into a gold store, Sirieix's daughter printed 200 books on ancient documents and silently visited museums in Europe and the United States to introduce and advertise sell.

Finally, on October 29, 1998, at Christie's auction house, the Archimedes manuscript - named "Eureka 9058" - was put up for auction. A few days earlier, a missionary in Jerusalem tried to stop the auction but failed.

At the auction, the Greek Consul General in New York also tried to buy the Archimedes manuscript, because he considered it a part of his national cultural heritage but gave in at 1.9 million USD. .

In the end, the Archimedes manuscript sold for $ 2.2 million to an anonymous "billionaire in the computer industry" (so far this secret buyer has not been revealed but some of the characters in the series I understand that it is Jeffrey Bezos, the founder of online shopping website

The buyer then lent it to the Walters Art Museum (Baltimore, Maryland). Here, the manuscript is studied by modern techniques to reveal the ink erased from the Middle Ages. Many geometric figures and mathematical methods have appeared under the light of ultraviolet light and it is now possible to confirm that it is an ancient document about the great works of great scientist. fortune Archimedes. In September 2007, a modern version of the Archimedes manuscript will be published ...

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