Talk:Siege of Syracuse (214–212 BC)

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Mythbusters prove that the mirror weapon was a myth[edit]

(the tale of mirrors to reflect light onto the Roman fleet intended to cause fires was actually a myth introduced several centuries later by various historians.) *This myth was tested on the show MythBusters, and proved that mirrors to light fires were not only impractical but virutally impossible for the following reasons: 1. Worked only at a short distance (less than 50 meters) 2. Worked only on stationary targets (Roman ships, however, moved) 3. Took too long to light an object on fire (more than 15 minutes), and most of the trials failed 4. Could not coordinate all the mirrors to focus on one single ship 5. Huge amount of mirrors required


Thats very intersesting i wish i had caught the show i often wondered about hows the mirrors would work thanks for letting me know. user:king Alaric

It was an interesting show but the mirrors used by Mythbusters were rather primitive.

In 1747 George Louis LeClerc experimented to find if the burning ships myth was possible. He assembled 168 8x10 inch mirrors adjusted for a focal lenth of 150 ft. He then removed mirrors to find the minimum needed to set fire to a target. It took 128 mirrors to ignite instantly a pine plank at 150 feet. 40 mirrors would ignite a plank coated in Creosote at 66 feet.

Then in 1976 Dr Ioannis Sakkis used 60 sailors each holding an oblong mirror to "instantly" ignite a ship at 160 feet. The ship was not moving and the sailors couldn't keep focus on one that was.

In 1992 a physics experiment tried to replicate what was possible in the siege. The scientists found they needed 440 men each with a bronze mirror 3 ft sq to ignite a ship at 150 feet. They concluded it was possible but a waste of manpower.

The most common reason for debunking the myth is that it is so hard to ignite a moving ship but there are records that claim that Archimedes first immobilised the ships with an "iron hand" then set them on fire so it's possible he used relatively few men at a much shorter distance than claimed. Wayne 16:01, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

OK thanks for the advise ive put a small section in about the possibility of mirrors King Alaric 18:46, 26 April 2007 (UTC)


the map in the information box doesn't even show he location of the city (Syracuse)being sieged! SJMNY (talk) 21:32, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Its the standard map for the second punic war used on nearly every artical regardless of the battle change it if you can find a better free map. —Preceding unsigned comment added by King Alaric (talkcontribs) 09:22, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

Events after Cannae[edit]

What events after Cannae showed the Romans the importance of sieges in ancient warefare? I couldn't find anything in the "aftermath" section of the Battle of Cannae article that would suggest the Romans found themselves in siege warefare situations. Perhaps there is a section in the Second Punic war article that could be linked to in order to demonstrate the point. Polloseco (talk) 16:53, 18 October 2008 (UTC)