Tomb of Archimedes
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Plutarch (AD 45-120), Parallel Lives: Marcellus (Translation by John Dryden (1631-1700))
His discoveries were numerous and admirable; but he is said to have requested his friends and relations that, when he was dead, they would place over his tomb a sphere containing a cylinder, inscribing it with the ratio which the containing solid bears to the contained.
Dryden's translation is incorrect as the Greek text states that it is the cylinder that contains the sphere. In his work On the Sphere and Cylinder Archimedes proved that the ratio of the volume of a sphere to the volume of the cylinder that contains it is 2:3. In that same work he also proved that the ratio of the surface area of a sphere to the surface area of the cylinder that contains it, together with its circular ends, is also 2:3.

Because expressions for the volume and surface area of a cylinder were known before his time, Archimedes' results established the first exact expressions for the volume and surface area of a sphere.


John Tzetzes (circa twelfth century AD), Book of Histories (Chiliades), Book II, Lines 145-147
Marcellus straightway mourned on learning this [Archimedes' death], and buried him with splendour in his ancestral tomb, assisted by the noblest citizens and all the Romans;
(Translation by Earnest Cary in Dio's Roman History, Volume II: Fragments of Books XII-XXXV, Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1914.)
Cicero (106-43 BC), Tusculan Disputations, Book V, Sections 64-66
But from Dionysius's own city of Syracuse I will summon up from the dust—where his measuring rod once traced its lines—an obscure little man who lived many years later, Archimedes. When I was questor in Sicily [in 75 BC, 137 years after the death of Archimedes] I managed to track down his grave. The Syracusians knew nothing about it, and indeed denied that any such thing existed. But there it was, completely surrounded and hidden by bushes of brambles and thorns. I remembered having heard of some simple lines of verse which had been inscribed on his tomb, referring to a sphere and cylinder modelled in stone on top of the grave. And so I took a good look round all the numerous tombs that stand beside the Agrigentine Gate. Finally I noted a little column just visible above the scrub: it was surmounted by a sphere and a cylinder. I immediately said to the Syracusans, some of whose leading citizens were with me at the time, that I believed this was the very object I had been looking for. Men were sent in with sickles to clear the site, and when a path to the monument had been opened we walked right up to it. And the verses were still visible, though approximately the second half of each line had been worn away.

So one of the most famous cities in the Greek world, and in former days a great centre of learning as well, would have remained in total ignorance of the tomb of the most brilliant citizen it had ever produced, had a man from Arpinum not come and pointed it out!

Non ego iam cum huius vita, qua taetrius miserius detestabilius escogitare nihil possum, Platonis aut Archytae vitam comparabo, doctorum hominum et plane sapientium: ex eadem urbe humilem homunculum a pulvere et radio excitabo, qui multis annis post fuit, Archimedem. Cuius ego quaestor ignoratum ab Syracusanis, cum esse omnino negarent, saeptum undique et vestitum vepribus et dumetis indagavi sepulcrum. Tenebam enim quosdam senariolos, quos in eius monumento esse inscriptos acceperam, qui declarabant in summo sepulcro sphaeram esse positam cum cylindro. Ego autem cum omnia conlustrarem oculis—est enim ad portas Agragantinas magna frequentia sepulcrorum -, animum adverti columellam non multum e dumis eminentem, in qua inerat sphaerae figura et cylindri. Atque ego statim Syracusanis—erant autem principes mecum—dixi me illud ipsum arbitrari esse, quod quaererem. lnmissi cum falcibus multi purgarunt et aperuerunt locum. Quo cum patefactus esset aditus, ad adversam basim accessimus. Apparebat epigramma exesis posterioribus partibus versiculorum dimidiatum fere.

Ita nobilissima Graeciae civitas, quondam vero etiam doctissima, sui civis unius acutissimi monumentum ignorasset, nisi ab homine Arpinate didicisset.

(Translation by Michael Grant in Cicero-On the Good Life, Penguin Books, New York, 1971, Pages 86-87.)
Simmons, George F., Calculus Gems, McGraw-Hill, Inc., New York, 1992, page 38
The Romans were so uninterested in mathematics that Cicero's act of respect in cleaning up Archimedes' grave was perhaps the most memorable contribution of any Roman to the history of mathematics.
Cicero himself lends credence to Simmons' assessment when he writes (Tusculan Disputations, Book I, Section II(5)):
Among them [the Greeks] geometry was held in highest honor; nothing was more glorious than mathematics. But we [the Romans] have limited the usefulness of this art to measuring and calculating. In summo apud illos honore geometria fuit, itaque nihil mathematicis inlustrius; at nos metiendi ratiocinandique utilitate huius artis terminavimus modum.

Wordsworth, William (1770-1850), The Excursion (Book Eighth: The Parsonage, lines 220-230)
—Call Archimedes from his buried tomb
Upon the plain of vanished Syracuse,
And feelingly the Sage shall make report
How insecure, how baseless in itself,
Is the Philosophy, whose sway depends
On mere material instruments;—how weak
Those arts, and high inventions, if unpropped
By virtue.—He, sighing with pensive grief,
Amid his calm abstractions, would admit
That not the slender privilege is theirs
To save themselves from blank forgetfulness!