Hiero II

Hiero II, d. c.215 B.C., Greek Sicilian ruler, tyrant of Syracuse (c.270–c.215 B.C.). He showed such ability and distinction after Pyrrhus left Sicily (275 B.C.) that he was made commander in chief of the Syracusans and was later chosen (c.265 B.C.) tyrant or king. Against the Mamertines, who had taken possession of Messana, Hiero's forces and those of the Carthaginians laid siege (265 B.C.), but when the Romans under Appius Claudius intervened successfully, the Syracusans withdrew, defeated. Hiero then entered into a treaty with the Romans, which recognized his dominion over SE Sicily and the east coast to Tauromenium (Taormina). As an ally of Rome, Syracuse furnished money and fighting forces against Carthage in the Punic Wars. Hiero faithfully abided by the terms of the peace. As a ruler he was just, prudent, and generous, and he was a patron of the arts. Archimedes, his relative, had his encouragement in the construction of great engines of warfare. The name also appears as Hieron II.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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