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date: 03 December 2020


  • Arthur Geoffrey Woodhead
  •  and R. J. A. Wilson


A Syracusan (see syracuse) colony founded c.599 bce at the mouth of the river Hipparis in southern Sicily, near modern Scoglitti. Its mid-6th cent. fortifications enclose a vast area of 145 ha. (358 acres), far larger than other Syracusan colonies. In constant dispute with the Syracusans, it was destroyed by them in 533 and again c.484 after refoundation by *Hippocrates (1) of Gela. Established once more in 461 by the Geloans, it supported the anti-Syracusan coalition in 427–4, but decided for Syracuse after 415 (cf. Thuc. 6. 75–88). Abandoned by *Dionysius (1) I in 405, but reoccupied from 396, it revived in the period of *Timoleon; several houses of this period have been uncovered. Extensive excavations since 1971 have transformed our knowledge of the topography of the city and its cemeteries. Estimates from the latter suggest that the 6th-cent. population was about 16,000. The agora with two stoas lay at the west end of the city overlooking the sea, and a 5th cent. temple of Athena is known at the summit of the hill near the centre of the city. A cache of over 140 inscribed lead sheets found in this temple in 1987 indicates that after the 461 refoundation the population was divided into three tribes, subdivided into at least fourteen *phratries.

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