Dan tells the story of Archimedes, the ancient Greek inventor whose weapons of war protected the town of Syracuse from a Roman army. The Romans laid siege to Syracuse between 213 and 212 BC, attacking by sea and land, but were repelled by the city's defences. The story goes that these included fantastical devices like the Claw of Archimedes, and a 'Death Ray' that would set ships ablaze. Eventually the stalemate broke and the Romans captured the city, but Archimedes' name would survive through the centuries.
So who exactly was Archimedes? Can we believe these tall tales of ancient invention? And why did this siege happen anyway? Dan traces the course of Archimedes' life against the backdrop of the Punic Wars to answer these questions, and more.
Produced by Dan Snow and edited by Dougal Patmore