Greater Ancestors

World Museum

Archimedes Iron Hand

A depiction that takes the nomenclature “iron hand”. It is a detail of a wall painting in the Stanzino delle Matematiche in the Galleria degli Uffizi (Florence, Italy). Painted by Giulio Parigi (1571-1635) in the years 1599-1600.(with embellishments).


Twenty-three centuries ago in the Sicilian city of Syracuse, the Greek mathematician Archimedes was called upon by his king to design war machines that could fend off enemies set to invade this Greek city-state. Among the numerous war machines designed by Archimedes was the fearsome Iron Hand, a device so terrifying that it became the primary defense for Syracuse against an invading Roman fleet in 213 BC.

The Iron Hand (or Claw, as it was also termed) was so effective was the Iron Hand that the Romans were forced to abandon their sea invasion plan and to pursue a longterm blockade.

History of the Ancient World.