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But concerning the ship built by Hiero, the tyrant of Syracuse, which also Archimedes the geometrician superintended, I do not think it right to be silent, since a certain man named Moschion has given a description of it, which I read over with great care very lately. Moschion, then, writes as follows:—"Diocles, a citizen of Abdera, speaks with great admiration of the engine called Helepolis, which was brought by Demetrius against the city of the Rhodians, and applied to their walls. And Timæus extols highly the funeral pile made for Dionysius the tyrant of Sicily. And Hieronymus lavishes his admiration on the building and adorning of the chariot in which the body of Alexander was borne to the tomb. And Polycletus speaks in high terms of the candlestick which was made for the king of [p. 329] Persia. But Hiero, the king of the Syracusans, who was in every respect a friend to the Romans, was very attentive to the furnishing of temples and gymnasia; and was also very earnest in ship-building, having built a great number of vessels to carry corn; the construction of one of which I will describe. For the wood, he caused such a number of trees to be cut down on Mount Aetna as would have been sufficient for sixty triremes, and when this was done he prepared nails, and planks for the sides and for the inside, and wood for every other purpose that could be required, some from Italy and some from Sicily. And for ropes he provided cordage from Spain, and hemp, and pitch from the river Rhone; and he collected great quantities of useful things from all quarters. And he collected also shipwrights and other artisans. And having appointed Archias the Corinthian the superintendent of them all, and the principal architect, he bade them labour at the construction with zeal and earnestness, he himself also devoting his days to watching its progress. And in this way he finished half the ship in six months; and every part of the vessel as soon as it was finished was immediately covered over with plates of lead. And there were three hundred workmen employed in working up the timber, besides the subord nate journeymen whom they had to assist them. And it was arranged to draw this portion that was done so far down to the sea, that it might receive the last finishing strokes there. And when there was a great inquiry as to the best method of launching it into the sea, Archimedes the mechanician launched it by himself with the aid of a few persons. Eor having prepared a helix he drew this vessel, enormous as it was, down into the sea. And Archimedes was the first person who ever invented this helix. But after the remainder of the ship had also been completed in six months more, and it had been surrounded all round with brazen nails, the greater part of which weighed ten minæ, and the rest were half as big again—(and they were driven in through holes made beforehand by gimlets, so as to hold the planks firm; and they were fastened to the wood with leaden plugs; pieces of cloth being put under, impregnated with pitch)—after, I say, Hiero had completed the external figure of the vessel, he laboured at the interior.
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