Syracuse, Sicily

Aurora surveyed the ports for evidence of the Greek and Syracuse's battle of 412 BC

The city of Syracuse is located on the south-eastern coast of the island of Sicily, next to the Ionian Sea. It overlooks two harbors: Porto Piccolo (small port) to the north and Porto Grande (large port) to the south. The city is mainly renowned for its Greek past, with its material culture and monumental structures such as the amphitheater, fortress and temple.

The Greek city was founded as a colony by the Corinthians, which made it a natural ally of its mother city Corinth and the latter’s mainland ally Sparta. Due to its favored position on the coast and the use of two harbors, Syracuse developed into a powerful city which exerted influence over other cities and areas in Magna Grecian. In the early 4th century BC Syracuse, led by the tyrant Dionysius the Elder, was at war with Carthage and stopped the spread of Carthaginian power throughout Sicily. Following this war, Dionysius implemented various projects aimed at the fortification of Syracuse so as to protect the city from both land and sea attacks.

In the late 5th century BC, Syracuse found itself drawn into the conflict known as the Peloponnesian Wars. Athens sent its forces to bring Sicily under its control so it could control its natural resources and agricultural produce. However, in a series of battles the Syracusans and their Spartan allies ensured defeat for the Athenians and culminated with the destruction of the Athenian fleet inside the Porto Grande where more than a hundred ships were damaged or destroyed and thousands of soldiers died.

Today, the city is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.