Archimedes was born c. 287 BC in the seaport city of Syracuse, Sicily, at that time a self-governing colony in Magna Graecia.
Archimedes is generally considered to be the greatest mathematician of antiquity and one of the greatest of all time.
Unlike his inventions, the mathematical writings of Archimedes were little known in antiquity.
The relatively few copies of Archimedes’ written work that survived through the Middle Ages were an influential source of ideas for scientists during the Renaissance, while the discovery in 1906 of previously unknown works by Archimedes in the Archimedes Palimpsest has provided new insights into how he obtained mathematical results.
Archimedes died c. 212 BC during the Second Punic War, when Roman forces under General Marcus Claudius Marcellus captured the city of Syracuse after a two-year-long siege. According to the popular account given by Plutarch, Archimedes was contemplating a mathematical diagram when the city was captured. A Roman soldier commanded him to come and meet General Marcellus but he declined.
The last words attributed to Archimedes are “Do not disturb my circles” (Greek: μή μου τοὺς κύκλους τάραττε), a reference to the circles in the mathematical drawing that he was supposedly studying when disturbed by the Roman soldier. The soldier was enraged by this, and killed Archimedes with his sword.
This quote is often given in Latin as “Noli turbare circulos meos,” but there is no reliable evidence that Archimedes uttered these words and they do not appear in the account given by Plutarch.