Idea #752 – Visiting the Syracuse antiqua of Archimedes, in Sicily
In 734 BC, the Greeks of Corinth founded the colony of Syracoussai in Sicily. The development of the city is important and rapid, quickly marking its independence from other powers, such as Carthage. In 485 BC, Gelon, tyrant of Gela, seized Syracuse and transferred a large Greek population there, which led to it becoming the most important city in Sicily. The expansionist aims of Gélon cause the hostility of Carthage, which precipitate them mutually in the war. Allied with the tyrant Teron of Agrigento, Syracuse defeats Carthage at the battle of Himeria in 480 BC.
In 405 BC, Dionysius the Elder took power. Under his domination, the city reached the peak of its splendor and its domination over Sicily, with around 300,000 inhabitants. The city is growing, with the construction of new districts of Neapolis.
Archimedes was born in Syracuse in 287 BC, under the reign of Hieron II, the last of the tyrants of Sicily. The latter, to counter the Roman advance in Italy and the threat it posed, led several alliances including one with Carthage. During the First Punic War, in 212 BC, Rome landed in Sicily and conquered the city. The city remained the capital of the Roman province of Sicily, but it never regained its past splendour.
Witness to this history, the archaeological park of Neapolis in Syracuse, brings together, in the northern part of the ancient city, the Greek theater, the sanctuary of Apollo Temenite, the altar of Hieron II, the Roman amphitheater, the different Latomies (ancient quarries) and necropolises. To the east of the park is the Tomb of Archimedes, so called because of the monumental perspective of the burial chamber. The site is part of the UNESCO classification, concerning the city of Syracuse and the site of Pantalica.
Latomies and the Ear of Dionysius. The latomies are grandiose stone quarries, mostly closed and quite deep. The best known is that known as the ear of Dionysius at the end of the latomie del Paradiso, 23 meters high. The acoustics are exceptional. According to legend, the tyrant locked prisoners there and listened to their conversations, thanks to the acoustics of the place, to learn about their plans and stratagems.
Where is it ?
Neapolis, Syracuse, Sicilia, Italia