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Archimedes, The North Baths At Morgantina, And Early Developments In Vaulted Construction

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Chapter Summary

This chapter is a brief preliminary survey of early forms of vaulted construction, first at the Greek city of Morgantina in the third century B.C., and then at other sites in the western Mediterranean in the second and first centuries B.C. The North Baths complex at Morgantina is presented briefly, before the vaulting from three rooms in these baths is discussed. Sicily in the third century B.C. was no exception, and it is not surprising that the early vaulted construction at Morgantina was ultimately a result of the citys position within the prosperous kingdom of Syracuse under Hieron II. Archimedes is chiefly remembered for his elegant attempt to square the circle that is to ascertain its area by using infinitesimal approximations, sometimes known as the method of exhaustion. The process of constructing domes and vaults is practical, requiring an understanding of the statics of objects rather than theoretical calculations.

Keywords: Archimedes; dome; Morgantina; North Baths; Syracuse; vaulted construction



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