People - Ancient Greece: Hiero I of Syracuse
Ancient Greek tyrant of Syracuse in Sicily from 478
to 467 BC.
Hiero I of Syracuse in Wikipedia
Hieron I (Ἱέρων in Greek) was the son of Deinomenes, the brother of Gelon and tyrant of Syracuse in Sicily from 478 to 467 BC. In succeeding Gelon, he conspired against a third brother Polyzelos. During his reign, he greatly increased the power of Syracuse. He removed the inhabitants of Naxos and Catana to Leontini, peopled Catana (which he renamed Aetna) with Dorians, concluded an alliance with Acragas (Agrigentum) and espoused the cause of the Locrians against Anaxilas, tyrant of Rhegium.
His most important military achievement was the defeat of the Etruscans and Carthaginians at the Battle of Cumae (474 BC), by which he saved the Greeks of Campania from Etruscan domination. A bronze helmet (now in the British Museum), with an inscription commemorating the event, was dedicated at Olympia.
Hieron's reign was marked by the creation of the first secret police in Greek history, but he was a liberal patron of literature and culture. The poets Simonides, Pindar, Bacchylides, Aeschylus, and Epicharmus were active at his court, as well the philosopher Xenophanes. He was an active participant in panhellenic athletic contests, winning several victories in the single horse race and also in the chariot race. He won the chariot race at Delphi in 470 (a victory celebrated in Pindar's first Pythian ode) and at Olympia in 468 (this, his greatest victory, was commemorated in Bacchylides' third victory ode). Other odes dedicated to him include Pindar's first Olympian Ode, his second and third Pythian odes, and Bacchylides' fourth and fifth victory odes.
He died at Catana/Aetna in 467 and was buried there, but his grave was later destroyed when the former inhabitants of Catana returned to the city. The tyranny at Syracuse lasted only a year or so after his death.
Hiero II of Syracuse in Wikipedia
Hieron II (c. 308 – 215 BC), king of Syracuse from 270 to 215 BC, was the illegitimate son of a Syracusan noble, Hierocles, who claimed descent from Gelon. He was a former general of Pyrrhus of Epirus and an important figure of the First Punic War.
On the departure of Pyrrhus from Sicily (275 BC) the Syracusan army and citizens appointed him commander of the troops. He strengthened his position by marrying the daughter of Leptines, the leading citizen. In the meantime, the Mamertines, a body of Campanian mercenaries who had been employed by Agathocles, had seized the stronghold of Messana, and proceeded in harassing the Syracusans. They were finally defeated in a pitched battle near Mylae by Hieron, who was only prevented from capturing Messana by Carthaginian interference. His grateful countrymen then made him king (270).
In 264 BC he again returned to the attack, and the Mamertines called in the aid of Rome. Hieron at once joined the Punic leader Hanno, who had recently landed in Sicily; but fighting a battle to an inconclusive outcome with the Romans led by the consul Appius Claudius Caudex, he withdrew to Syracuse. Pressed by the Roman forces, in 263 he concluded a treaty with Rome, by which he was to rule over the south-east of Sicily and the eastern coast as far as Tauromenium.
From this time till his death in 215 BC he remained loyal to the Romans, and frequently assisted them with men and provisions during the Punic war. 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.
According to a story told by Vitruvius, Hiero suspected he was being cheated by the goldsmith to whom he had supplied the gold to make a votive crown for a temple. He asked Archimedes to find out if all the gold had been used, as had been agreed. Archimedes, on discovering the principle of displacement needed to measure the density of the crown is said to have shouted "eureka, eureka!" while running naked through Syracuse. Vitruvius concludes this story by stating that Archimedes' method successfully detected the goldsmith's fraud; he had taken some of the gold and substituted silver instead.
A picture of the prosperity of Syracuse during his rule is given in the sixteenth idyll of Theocritus, his favourite poet.
In The Prince (VI), Machiavelli cites Hiero as an exceptionally virtuous man and a rare example of someone who rose to princehood from private station.
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