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date: 08 May 2021


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


Syracuse (ΣυράκουσαιMod. Siracusa), on the east coast of *Sicily, was founded by the Corinthians (see Corinth; colonization, greek), led by Archias, c.734 bce. The original foundation lay on the island of *Ortygia, with an abundant spring and flanked by two fine natural harbours, but almost immediately, as demonstrated by the distribution of 8th-cent. pottery, the settlement spread up to a kilometre inland on the adjacent mainland (Achradina); the two were joined by an artificial causeway. Its early government was aristocratic, the gamoroi forming an élite whose lands were worked by underprivileged natives (killyrioi). Prosperity in the Archaic period is attested by colonies at Helorus, *Acrae, and *Camarina, and at Casmenae (Monte Casale), as well as by architectural remains: temples of *Apollo, Olympian *Zeus, and *Athena, and an Ionic temple (see orders, architectural) of unknown dedication, all belong to the 6th cent. Defeated by *Hippocrates (1), the gamoroi were expelled in a democratic revolution.

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