When these parts also were in his possession, at break of day Marcellus went down into the city through the Hexapyla, congratulated by the officers under him. He himself, however, as he looked down from the heights and surveyed the great and beautiful city, is said to have wept much in commiseration of its impending fate, bearing in mind how greatly its form and appearance would change in a little while, after his army had sacked it.
For among his officers there was not a man who had the courage to oppose the soldiers' demand for a harvest of plunder, nay, many of them actually urged that the city should be burned and razed to the ground. This proposal, however, Marcellus would not tolerate at all, but much against his will, and under compulsion, he permitted booty to be made of property and slaves, although he forbade his men to lay hands on the free citizens, and strictly ordered them neither to kill nor outrage nor enslave any Syracusan.
However, although he seems to have acted with such moderation, he thought that the city suffered a lamentable fate, and amidst the great rejoicing of his followers his spirit nevertheless evinced its sympathy and commiseration when he saw a great and glorious prosperity vanishing in a brief time.
For it is said that no less wealth was carried away from Syracuse now than at a later time from Carthage; for not long afterwards1
the rest of the city was betrayed and taken and subjected to pillage, excepting the royal treasure; this was converted into the public treasury.
But what most of all afflicted Marcellus was the death of Archimedes. For it chanced that he was by himself, working out some problem with the aid of a diagram, and having fixed his thoughts and his eyes as well upon the matter of his study, he was not aware of the incursion of the Romans or of the capture of the city. Suddenly a soldier came upon him and ordered him to go with him to Marcellus. This Archimedes refused to do until he had worked out his problem and established his demonstration, whereupon the soldier flew into a passion, drew his sword, and dispatched him.
Others, however, say that the Roman came upon him with drawn sword threatening to kill him at once, and that Archimedes, when he saw him, earnestly besought him to wait a little while, that he might not leave the result that he was seeking incomplete and without demonstration; but the soldier paid no heed to him and made an end of him.
There is also a third story, that as Archimedes was carrying to Marcellus some of his mathematical instruments, such as sun-dials and spheres and quadrants, by means of which he made the magnitude of the sun appreciable to the eye, some soldiers fell in with him, and thinking that he was carrying gold in the box, slew him. However, it is generally agreed that Marcellus was afflicted at his death, and turned away from his slayer as from a polluted person, and sought out the kindred of Archimedes and paid them honour.