Syracuse


Syracuse
Syracusan, adj., n.
/sir"euh kyoohs', -kyoohz'/, n.
1. a city in central New York. 170,105.
2. Italian, Siracusa. a seaport in SE Sicily: ancient city founded by the Carthaginians 734 B.C.; battles 413 B.C., 212 B.C. 121,134.

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I
City (pop., 2001: 147,306), central New York, U.S. The site, at the southern end of Lake Oneida, was once the territory of the Onondaga Indians and the headquarters of the Iroquois Confederacy.

The area was visited by the French in the 17th century. Indian hostility and the swampy location precluded settlement until the establishment of a trading post in 1786. Soon a saltworks based on its brine springs began operation; it supplied most of the nation's salt until 1870. An important port on the Erie Canal, Syracuse serves as a distribution centre for the central New York agricultural region. It also manufactures pharmaceuticals and electronics. It is the site of Syracuse University (1870) and the Everson Museum of Art (founded 1896).
II
Italian Siracusa ancient Syracusae

Seaport city (pop., 2001 prelim.: 121,000), eastern coast of Sicily, Italy.

Founded in 734 BC by Greeks from Corinth, it was seized by Hippocrates of Gela in 485 BC and ruled by tyrants until a revolution established a democratic government с 465 BC. In 413 BC, during the Peloponnesian War, Syracuse defeated an Athenian invasion force. Under the rule of Dionysius I the Elder (405–367 BC), it became the most powerful of the Greek cities, fighting three wars against rival Carthage. Syracuse fell to Rome in 211 BC. It was sacked by Frankish invaders in AD 280 and captured by Arabs in 878; its importance waned in medieval times. Now the commercial centre for an agricultural district, it also supports the fishing and tourist industries. It has many examples of medieval and Renaissance architecture as well as Greek and Roman ruins. It is the birthplace of Theocritus and Archimedes.

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Italy
 city, on the east coast of Sicily, 33 miles (53 km) south of Catania. It was the chief Greek city of ancient Sicily.

      Syracuse was settled about 734 BC by Corinthians (Corinth) led by the aristocrat Archias, and the city soon dominated the coastal plain and hill country beyond. The original Greek settlers of the city formed an elite (gamoroi), while the Sicel natives ( Siculi) worked the land as an oppressed class. In the early 5th century BC, the Syracusans were defeated by Hippocrates of Gela, a city lying to the west. The power of the gamoroi in Syracuse was subsequently ended by a democratic revolution, and in exile the gamoroi supported Hippocrates' successor, Gelon, who captured Syracuse and transferred his government there. Gelon ruled Syracuse from 485 to 478. His defeat of a great Carthaginian (Carthage) invasion in 480 at Himera confirmed his supremacy, and, under him and his brother Hieron, Syracuse attained a high point of power and cultural brilliance. A revolution in 466 overthrew Hieron's successor as tyrant, Thrasybulus, and under a democratic constitution the Syracusans survived wars against the neighbouring city of Acragas and the Siculi, although they had to abandon the territorial empire that Gelon had acquired. Most importantly, the Syracusans survived a long siege by the Athenians (Athens) (415–413) that took place during the Peloponnesian War, ultimately destroying the Athenian invasion force in Sicily and weakening Athenian power in Greece itself.

      A few years later Sicily faced a Carthaginian resurgence. But Syracuse was saved from the fate that overtook Acragas and other Sicilian cities by its general, Dionysius (Dionysius I) I, who obtained autocratic power in 405 and ruled Syracuse as its tyrant until 367. Dionysius fought three wars against the Carthaginians, confining their territorial dominions to the western part of Sicily, and he extended Syracusan control to most of the “foot” of Italy. Under Dionysius, Syracuse became the most splendid and the best fortified of all Greek cities. Its naval power was vastly increased, too, until its fleet was the most powerful in the Mediterranean. Dionysius' son Dionysius II saw a decade of peace before his autocracy was challenged by his uncle Dion, who won a brief, bloody civil war but was himself assassinated in 354. The period of civil war that followed was ended by the Corinthian Timoleon (Timoleon of Corinth), who defeated Carthage and reordered Sicilian affairs (344–336), introducing a moderate oligarchy in Syracuse. In 317 this was overthrown by the adventurer Agathocles, who became tyrant and later king. He established a Syracusan empire that broke up at his death in 289.

      In the ensuing chaotic conditions Sicily was rescued by Pyrrhus of Epirus from further Carthaginian encroachments, but his mercenaries later seized Messana (now Messina). Their defeat by Syracuse under a new leader, Hieron II, caused the intervention of Rome (ancient Rome), with whom Hieron came to terms. After Hieron's death in 215, the Syracusans became allies of Carthage and were besieged by the Romans in 213. After its fall to the Romans in 211, Syracuse became a provincial capital.

      In AD 280 Syracuse was ravaged by Frankish (Frank) invaders but soon recovered a prosperity that lasted until its capture by the Arabs in 878. During the late Roman and Byzantine periods and under Norman, Swabian, and Spanish rule, Syracuse shared the vicissitudes of the rest of the island. It was shattered by an earthquake in 1693 and owes some of its finest architecture to the ensuing reconstruction efforts. The Allied invasion of Sicily in 1943 during World War II caused Syracuse some damage that was swiftly repaired in a new and greater postwar prosperity. The city is now a centre for processing local agricultural produce and has several other light industries. The harbour, with its commerce and fishery, and tourism are further sources of income.

      Syracuse's nucleus is formed by the southward-projecting island of Ortygia, which half-encloses the bay known as the Great Harbour. The remains of antiquity on the continuously inhabited Ortygia are less striking than those in Neapolis, which was long a country district. Archaeological remains in Neapolis include the Greek theatre of Hieron II (3rd century BC), a Roman amphitheatre (2nd century AD), and an altar of Hieron II, pillaged in 1526 to provide building materials for defensive walls. The nymphaeum (fountain) above the theatre was one of the ancient city's sources of water. Among the most imposing remains of ancient Syracuse are the fortifications of the Epipolae Plateau, which culminate in the Euryalus fort at their western end.

      The cathedral on Ortygia, with a fine Baroque facade, incorporates the Doric columns of the temple of Athena that was built as a thanks offering by the Syracusans for their victory at Himera. Architectural reliefs in painted terra-cotta from earlier buildings in this area are preserved in the archaeological museum. The remains of the Temple of Apollo (c. 565 BC) stand near the bridge from Ortygia to the mainland; another temple of the same period, that of Olympian Zeus, lies on the west side of the Great Harbour. The streets of Ortygia bear witness to the medieval and Renaissance contributions to the charm of Syracuse. The finest 14th-century facade is that of the Montalto Palace. The Bellomo and Parisio palaces incorporate elements of the 13th- to 15th-century Gothic styles. Giovanni Vermexio's Municipal Palace (1628) and Luciano Alì's Beneventano del Bosco Palace (1775) represent the best among many notable survivals of the 17th- and 18th-century city. Pop. (2006 est.) mun., 122,972.

 city, seat (1827) of Onondaga county, central New York, U.S. It lies at the south end of Lake Onondaga, midway between Albany and Buffalo (147 miles [237 km] west).

      The site, once the territory of the Onondaga Indians and headquarters of the Iroquois Confederacy, was visited by explorers Samuel de Champlain (Champlain, Samuel de) in 1615 and Pierre Esprit, sieur de Radisson (Radisson, Pierre-Esprit) (while a captive of the Mohawks (Mohawk)), in 1651. The Jesuit missionary Father Simon Le Moyne in 1654 was the first European to note the site's brine springs (later the basis of a salt industry). A mission and Fort Sainte Marie de Gannentaha were established nearby in 1655–56, but Indian hostility and the swampy location (notorious for summer fevers) precluded early settlement. Ephraim Webster established a trading post in 1786 at the mouth of Onondaga Creek where it enters Lake Onondaga, and in 1788 sawmills and gristmills were built at the site by Asa Danforth, “the father of Onondaga county.” A treaty with the Indians gave the state of New York control over the brine springs, and after 1797 the saltlands were leased for salt extraction. Three villages sprang up: Webster's Landing, Salina, and Geddes. A post office, established at Webster's Landing in 1820, was named Syracuse for the ancient Greek city in Sicily.

      The town's growth was stimulated by construction of the Erie Canal (completed 1825) and the coming of the railroads in the 1830s. Syracuse later absorbed Salina (1848) and Geddes (1886). The saltworks supplied most of the United States' needs until 1870, when the salt industry declined; the city then began to develop a diversified economy. Manufactures now include chinaware, pharmaceuticals, automotive components, electrical machinery, air conditioners, electronic equipment, funeral caskets, speciality metals, and furniture. Syracuse also serves as a wholesale distribution point for the central New York agricultural region.

      Syracuse is the home of Syracuse University (1870), Le Moyne College (1946), Onondaga Community College (1962) of the State University of New York (New York, State University of (SUNY)) system, the State University of New York Health Science Center (1834) and College of Environmental Science and Forestry (1911), and the Everson Museum of Art (1968). The New York State Fair has been held in Syracuse since 1841.

      The Onondaga Indian Reservation is 6 miles (10 km) south, and Onondaga Lake Park includes the Salt Museum and a replica of the Jesuit mission called Sainte Marie among the Iroquois. There is also an Erie Canal museum in the city. Inc. village, 1825; city, 1847. Pop. (1990) city, 163,860; Syracuse MSA, 742,177; (2000) city, 147,306; Syracuse MSA, 732,117.

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Universalium. 2010.

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