The Da Vinci Notebooks at sacred-texts.com
I have found in a history of the Spaniards that in their wars with the English Archimedes of Syracuse who at that time was living at the court of Ecliderides, King of the Cirodastri. And in maritime warfare he ordered that the ships should have tall masts, and that on their tops there should be a spar fixed 832 of 40 feet long and one third of a foot thick. At one end of this was a small grappling iron and at the other a counterpoise; and there was also attached 12 feet of chain; and, at the end of this chain, as much rope as would reach from the chain to the base of the top, where it was fixed with a small rope; from this base it ran down to the bottom of the mast where a very strong spar was attached and to this was fastened the end of the rope. But to go on to the use of his machine; I say that below this grappling iron was a fire 833 which, with tremendous noise, threw down its rays and a shower of burning pitch; which, pouring down on the [enemy's] top, compelled the men who were in it to abandon the top to which the grappling-iron had clung. This was hooked on to the edges of the top and then suddenly the cord attached at the base of the top to support the cord which went from the grappling iron, was cut, giving way and drawing in the enemy's ship; and if the anchor--was cast ... 834
451:832 6: Compare No. 1115.
451:833 14: Compare No. 1128.
451:834 : Archimedes never visited Spain, and the names here mentioned cannot be explained. Leonardo seems to quote here from a book, perhaps by some questionable mediaeval writer. Prof. C. Justi writes to me from Madrid, that Spanish savants have no knowledge of the sources from which this story may have been derived.