Archimedes was the Genius of antiquity who was best able to combine theoretical work with experimental research, becoming the scientific model of the fifteenth century.
And yet, if Leonardo knew of these, he would of known of just a portion, as the translation of the main context was incomplete. Leonardo’s greatness was having comprehended the scientific methodologies of the genius from Syracuse, with such limited means. In fact, there is little certain knowledge of Archimedes. We know that he was in close contact with personalities in Alexandria and that he exchanged correspondences with Eratosthenes. In the past few decades the history of ancient technology has revaluated Greek scientific thoughts, establishing two fundamental historical and geographic coordinates:
The hellenistic period and the City of Alexandria, where the Tolomei constructed a library and a museum.
It was precisely the circle of people of Alexandria to make the most sensational discoveries of all time and immortalizing them for the entire universe. Euclid, rigorously constitutes his components to follow his mathematical thoughts and Eratosthenes managed to calculate the dimensions of the earth within approximation of a few tenths of kilometers, compared to the modern calculation and Aristarchis of Samos who formulated the first heliocentric theory. Archimedes of Syracuse inspires an unprecedented cultural exitation, and not only, he perfectly incarnates the image of a genius and theorist of that period. Science in fact, was viewed as a union of various disciplines, that today are subdivided and rationalized. Mathematics, for example includes geometry, mechanics, astronomy, optics, among others.
The union of sciences consequently formed the image of a universal scientist, who was a thinker, and also an engineer, an architect, a mechanic, just as Archimedes of Syracuse. Despite his scientific background in an Alexandrian style, Archimede’s name is the pride of the city of Syracuse in which he died in 212 BC. The Genius Archimedes and his scientific methodologies were universally known, and already appreciated by Cicero, his works were even translated into the Arabic language and part of his writings were the scientific basis on which Leonardo da Vinci began to observe the world around him. Idealy creating a conjunction between the two characters, the relationship that is created resembles dualism and a strong scientific interpenetration that passes from the master to student.
Leonardo is inevitably the son of Archimedes, he heightens the attention to the man considered the dominator of the physical world, branching to the scientific cultural hellenistic world. The perfection of Renaissance has always been an attentive study of the classics and as a result of such, finds a scientific parallelism. As classic art is to Donatello o Ghiberti, likewise Leonardo is to Archimedes. The positive evaluation of the Renaissance, as a rebirth from the medieval apathy, has its origins from the hellenistic thought and from the figure of Archimedes, the Universal Genius. The diverseness of the Syracusan, once considered by ancient Greeks to belong to a myth of mankind such as Ulysses, which reflected in the varied formation and aptitude of the Genius from Vinci. If Leonardo da Vinci is the Universal Genius so acclaimed all over the world, he owes his fame to the figure of Archimedes from Syracuse.
It is precisely the city of Syracuse that endorses a cultural promotion aimed at bringing together, under the rampart of science (according to the Hellenistic idea), all the technical disciplines. Syracuse’s charm is lost over the centuries: Plato wanted to form his “Republic of the Philosophers”, Pindar, dedicates verses of poetry, Aeschylus chooses to present his work “The Persians” for the first time. The historical importance of the city must be promoted to influence a cultural mission. Syracuse is a Hellenistic City, where the scientific revolution was addressed by the greatest names from the Alexandrine school.The exact sciences could “return home” by establishing a study center for the history of discipline dedicated to the interaction of young students.
Just as Florence is the ideal destination for anyone who wants to study Italian Art of the Renaissance, so Syracuse has the potential to become an important scientific center, the reasons can be traced to its historical nature, inherent in Syracuse’s DNA. Science as the focus of a cultural project would also bring significant economic benefits to the city and the territory.
The development of a center for math and science studies combined with the historical flair of the city, would appeal to students abroad, as so happened in Florence for those seeking a degree in art history that actively attracts people from all over the world, bringing substantial economic benefits to the sector of tourism. Syracuse can easily become an “open museum” of mathematical studies, and be rightly called the city of science. Joining together culture and science would be an incentive for the city’s training and tourism. This will create and develope new areas for initiatives and events, the parallelism is the great innovative thoughts of Archimedes can be compatible with that of Leonardo or with the accomplishments of young students.
Curator, Maria Gabriella Capizzi’s intuition and effort combined with the historical research by Gabriele Niccolai, enhances the Genius Archimedes worldwide. Starting from the famous models in scale of Leonardo’s machines, some of which are permanently on exhibit at the Galleria Michelangelo of Florence, in fact Gabriele Niccolai embarks on a rearwards path to track technical and cultural personalities studied by Leonardo Da Vinci, highlighting the large debt that Leonardo Da Vinci had towards Archimedes.
The worldwide resonance of models and studies by the Niccolai family, a valuable resource for initiative. The creation of a permanent exhibition of Leonardo’s and Archimedes’ models, with a definite museum itinerary, represents an assurance that the project will rivitalize the whole city. Syracuse can pave the way for a new way of thinking about science,a combined community expression, the product is a fusion of culture and humanistic discipline, such as philosophy and history, as it was intended at the time of Archimedes and begins to be perceived today. An enhancement of a glorious past of a Hellenistic city, center of the scientific revolution of the 3rd century BC, is not a regressive act, but a progression of advantages such as economic, cultural and tourism that represent the life of a city.