Media hype
Many statements on the web on the topic of the Archimedes Palimpsest are full of hyperbole. They can leave the impression that none Archimedes' works are known except this one, or that only since the late 1990s, when modern techniques began to be used to fill in some lacunae, did anyone know the content of this palimpsest.
What Archimedes did
Although the only mathematical tools at its author's disposal were what we might now consider secondaryschool geometry, he used those methods with rare brilliance, explicitly using infinitesimals to solve problems that would now be treated by integral calculus. Among those problems were that of the center of gravity of a solid hemisphere, that of the center of gravity of a frustum of a circular paraboloid, and that of the area of a region bounded by a parabola and one of its secant lines. Contrary to historically ignorant statements found in some 20thcentury calculus textbooks, he did not use anything like Riemann sums, either in the work embodied in this palimpsest or in any of his other works. For explicit details of the method used, see How Archimedes used infinitesimals.
The lawsuit
In 1998 the ownership of the palimpsest was disputed in federal court in New York in the case of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem versus Christie's, Inc. The plaintiff contended that the palimpsest had been stolen from one of its monasteries in the 1920s. Judge Kimba Wood[?] decided in favor of Christie's Auction House on laches grounds, and the palimpsest was sold for $2 million.
Now in a museum
The palimpsest is now on display at The Walters Art Museum[?] in Baltimore.
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