Contra Archimedes

Archimedes, who is supposedly the greatest mathematician since Pythagoras, recently “discovered” that humans displace water. Archimedes was so excited by his “discovery” that he went running naked through the streets shouting Eureka, as though he were a boy of fifteen who had just received his first lesson in dialectics, bent over Socrates dining table after having consumed an entire amphora of wine.

We are to believe that it has never occurred to anyone else in the history of humanity that people displace water. The time Perseus, Hyrrus, Aristobulous and I dumped our aunt Penelope in the cistern on the western edge of the agora and water went everywhere, we clearly thought it was just the force of her hitting the water. Otherwise we would have written a two hundred page treatise on the subject as Archimedes has done.

Never mind. Now that Archimedes has “discovered” displacement, we can find out who the largest person in Syracuse is by volume, instead of by such crude measurements as height and weight and breadth.

Just yesterday I saw my cousin Aristobulous in the street pulling an ox-drawn cart with thirteen buckets and a goblet, all filled to the brim with water. I asked him what the hell, and Aristobulous told me that the water in the buckets and the goblet represented his volume as measured by displacement.

Maybe this can become a trend. Aristobulous always was the trendsetter of the family. Maybe when the Romans and the Carthaginians reach the walls of Syracuse we can ring the city round with bathtubs and tell them that there’s limited space and the only way to figure out how many of them will fit is by measuring their volume, and by this ruse drown them all.

I can’t imagine either the Romans or the Carthaginians being that dumb, though. Personally, I can’t wait for Archimedes to fall out of favour with Heiro. Hopefully it happens before he finishes that goddamned treaty on levers, as if nobody knows that you can do shit with a long flexible stick. One thing that you can do with a long, flexible stick is shove it up Archimedes ass. Then by applying force to the opposite end, you can flip him into a bathtub and measure his displacement. If you then weigh him, you’ll find out just how dense Archimedes really is.

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