214 B.C. - Marcellus led the Roman army in an invasion of Syracuse but they were thwarted by the ingenuity of Archimedes. Among his many inventions were the huge curved mirrors placed on top of the city walls. When the Roman fleet was in sight the mirrors were turned to reflect the Sun's rays onto the ships. The heat was so great that many ships burst into flames. Other ships were destroyed by huge boulders thrown by the catapults designed by Archimedes.
With the help of Archimedes' incredible machines, Syracuse was protected from the Roman army. One of these machines operated with great iron claws that could seize boats by the prow, draw them up into the air, and plunge them into the depths of the sea. Another projected huge wooden beams from the island's ramparts to gouge the hulls of enemy ships.