How Archimedes Set The Enemy On Fire

Archimedes, the mathematician and inventor who lived more than 2,000 years ago, may have used solar energy as a weapon. According to several ancient writers—including Plutarch and Anthemius of Tralles—he reflected sun rays onto the Roman fleet when it sailed against his hometown of Syracuse in the Seige of Syracuse between 215 and 212 B.C. and set the ships on fire.

But their descriptions were discounted by later historians. In 1973, however, Dr. Ionnis Sakkas, a Green engineer, carried out a series of experiments that proved that the idea was workable.

He focused 50 bronze-painted mirrors on a small rowing boat and reflected the sun’s rays onto it. Within seconds the craft began to smolder, and after two minutes it burst into flames.

Professor Evenghelos Stamatis, A Greek authority on Archimedes who saw the experiment, said later he had no doubts that the inventor used solar energy


3 thoughts on “How Archimedes Set The Enemy On Fire

  1. It’s interesting that you wrote about this. Reminded me of an episode of mythbusters I watched in 2006 (“really memory? that’s awesome…”). The hosts actually ‘busted’ this myth with their experiment, which you can read about below.

    A better read though is the number of comments that point out how bad their experiment was, with mentions of many other people (besides your Professor) that attempted the experiment and were successful.

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