gelon syracuse sicily
HIERO I., displacing his infant nephew, succeeded his famous brother .Gelon as tyrant of Syracuse in 478 B.C. His rule was more tyrannical than Gelon's had, been, and his jealousy of his more popular brother Polyzelus (who was at the head of the army, and had married Gelon's widow Dernarete, daughter of Theron of Agrigentum) ended in an open quarrel, in which Theron sided with Polyzelus. The brothers, however, were reconciled, and Hiero married Theron's sister. From the slight information extant regarding Hiero, his influence seems to have been very great. He removed the inhabitants of Naxos and Catana to Leontini, and peopled Catana, which he renamed /Etna, with Dorians. He was also an important factor in the history of Agrigentum, of Rhegium, and of Locri ; and he saved the Greeks of Campania from the Etruscans, whose naval power he destroyed by his great victory at Cumm (474 ac.). Though despotic in his rule, he was a hearty patron of literature, and numbered among his friends such names as iEschylus, Bacchylides, Epicharmus, Simonides, and Pindar - the last of whom celebrated his victories in the Grecian games. He died at Catana in 467 B.C.
HIER° II., king of Syracuse, was the illegitimate son of a Syracusan noble, Hierocles, who claimed descent from Gelon (see GELON). His birth must have taken place before the year 306 B. c. On the departure of Pyrrhus from Sicily (in 275 or end of 276 B.c.), the Syracusan army and citizens alike marked their approval of Iliero's military and popular qualities by placing him at the head of the troops, and he materially strengthened his position by marrying the daughter of Leptines, the leading citizen. A body of Campanian mercenaries, who had been employed by King Agathocles of Syracuse, had taken the designation of Mamertines, and occupied Messana. From this stronghold they harassed the Syracusans. Hiero led his army against them, and in the engagement that ensued he abandoned to the enemy his mercenary troops, whose fickle disposition lie distrusted, and retreated with the rest of his soldiers to Syracuse. There he raised a native force, with which he drove the Mamertines into the corner of the island, defeated them in a pitched battle, and was prevented from capturing Messana only by Carthaginian interference. His grateful countrymen then chose him king (270 B.c.). In 264 he again returned to the attack, and the Mamertines called in the aid of Rome. Hiero at once joined the Punic leader Hanno, who had newly landed in Sicily; but being defeated by the consul Appius Claudius, he withdrew to Syracuse. Pressed by the Roman forces, he was in 263 compelled to conclude a treaty with Rome, by which he was to rule over the south-east of Sicily and the eastern coast to Tauromenium. From this time till his death in 216 he remained the fast friend of Rome, rendering frequent and valuable service during the First Punic War by supplying men, material, and provisions. Presents were sent him in acknowledgment of these good offices ; but the strong desire of the Romans to occupy Sicily prevented his receiving any accession of territory at the close of the war. When the Second Punic War broke out, he was faithful as ever, joined his fleet to that of Sempronius, and offered supplies of food and clothing. At home, he was a wise and just ruler. He retained the republican senate, and governed as a constitutional monarch. Munificent in his gifts to foreigners - witness his presents to Olympia, to the Rhodians, to King Ptolemy, and above all to the Romans - and in the erection of public buildings within his own domain,. he was exceedingly simple in his personal tastes ; he wore a citizen's dress, and was not attended by guards. So wise were his financial arrangements that they were re tained by the Romans after the reduction of Sicily. He kept up a powerful fleet for defensive purposes, and employed his famous kinsman Archimedes in the construction of those engines that, at a later date, played so important a part during the siege of Syracuse by the Romans. His only son, Gelon, predeceased him, and he was succeeded by his grandSon Hieronymus.