Death of Archimedes in the sack of Syracuse. The Ancient Greek mathematician, physicst and engineer Archimedes (c.287-c.212 BC) was one of the leading scientists in antiquity. He invented machines such as a screw pump and siege engines, and stated the principles of the lever and buoyancy. Legend tells that he was killed in the sack of Syracuse by a Roman soldier while studying a mathematical diagram. Artwork from Les Martyrs de la Science (G. Tissandier, 1882).