Siege of Syracuse (214–212 BC)

Siege Of Syracuse (214–212 BC)

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Siege of Syracuse (214–212 BC)

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The Siege of Syracuse by the Roman Republic took place in 214-212 BC, at the end of which the Magna Graecia Hellenistic city of Syracuse, located on the east coast of Sicily, fell. The Romans stormed the city after a protracted siege giving them control of the entire island of Sicily. During the siege, the city was protected by weapons developed by Archimedes. Archimedes, the great inventor and polymath, was slain at the conclusion of the siege by a Roman soldier, in contravention of the Roman general Marcellus' instructions to spare his life.Plutarch, "Life of Marcellus", Lives


Sicily, which was wrested from Carthaginian control during the First Punic War, was the first province of the Roman Republic. The Kingdom of Syracuse was an allied independent region in the south east of the island and a close ally of Rome during the long reign of King Hiero II. In 215 BC, Hiero's grandson, Hieronymus, came to the throne on his grandfather's death and Syracuse fell under the influence of an anti-Roman faction, including two of his uncles, amongst the Syracusan elite. Despite the assassination of Hieronymus and the removal of the pro-Carthaginian leaders, Rome's threatening reaction to the danger that a Syracusian alliance with Carthage would bring forced the new republican leaders of Syracuse to prepare for war.

Despite diplomatic attempts, war broke out between the Roman Republic and...
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