1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Hiero

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HIERO (strictly Hieron), the name of two rulers of Syracuse.

Hiero I was the brother of Gelo, and tyrant of Syracuse from 478 to 467/6 b.c. 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 Anaxilaus, tyrant of Rhegium. His most important achievement was the defeat of the Etruscans at Cumae (474), by which he saved the Greeks of Campania. A bronze helmet (now in the British Museum), with an inscription commemorating the event, was dedicated at Olympia. Though despotic in his rule Hiero was a liberal patron of literature. He died at Catana in 467.

See Diod. Sic. xi. 38-67; Xenophon, Hiero, 6.2; E. Lubbert, Syrakus zur Zeit des Gelon and Hieron (1875); for his coins see Numismatics (section Sicily).

Hiero II tyrant of Syracuse from 270 to 216 b.c., was the illegitimate son of a Syracusan noble, Hierocles, who claimed descent from Gelo. On the departure of Pyrrhus from Sicily (275) the Syracusan army and citizens appointed him commander of the troops. He materially 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, whence they harassed the Syracusans. They were finally defeated in a pitched battle near Mylae by Hiero, who was only prevented from capturing Messana by Carthaginian interference. His grateful countrymen then chose him king (270). In 264 he again returned to the attack, and the Mamertines called in the aid of Rome. Hiero at once joined the Punic leader Hanno, who had recently landed in Sicily; but being defeated by the consul Appius Claudius, he withdrew to Syracuse. Pressed by the Roman forces, in 263 he was compelled to conclude a treaty with Rome, by which he was to rule over the south-east of Sicily and the eastern coast as far as Tauromenium (Polybius i. 8-16; Zonaras viii. 9). From this time till his death in 216 he remained loyal to the Romans, and frequently assisted them with men and provisions during the Punic wars (Livy xxi. 49-5 1, xxii. 37, xxiii. 21). 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.

A picture of the prosperity of Syracuse during his rule is given in the sixteenth idyll of Theocritus, his favourite poet. See Diod. Sic. xxii. 24-xxvi. 24; Polybius i. 8 - vii. 7; Justin xxiii. 4.