Strong and combative from the beginning According to tradition the name of Syracuse stems from the Syraka swamp; the first settlements date back to the period of Greek colonization in the 8th century BC. It’s amazing to watch the wide-ranging expansive project carried out by the new city already in the first few years of its existence; at the end of the 8th century the first sub-colony, Eloro, was founded. Syracuse was governed by an oligarchic regime: the descendants of the first settlers, called Geomori, ruled; subject to them were the Killirioi; the city had, from the very start, a regular urban plan, divided “per strigas”, i.e. with regular orthogonals mesh. The first infightings The economic wealth reached in a short time by the city gave rise to infightings between the two factions, ended with the expulsion of the Geomori and the seizure of power by the Killirioi. Meanwhile, during the 6th century, two other neighborhoods were born: Tyche and Neapoli. The Geomori gave an opportunity to Gelone, Commander of the Cavalry of Hippocrates, to enter the city in 484 BC and to restore the oligarchy. Syracuse with Gelone began a phase of great artistic splendour; after his death, his brother Hiero came to power and, after him, Transibulo. Attempts at conquest by foreigners, the end of civilization Athens started worrying about the rapid expansion of Syracuse and it went against it in 415 BC. The clash resulted in 413 BC with the defeat of the besiegers. In 278 BC the Carthaginians took the city that was liberated by Pyrrhus; after leaving the city and moving to Rome, the power was assumed by Hiero, whose wise policy of equidistance from Rome left the city in a long period of peace and prosperity. But his successor, Hieronymus, broke the pacts and Syracuse was taken by Rome in 212 BC. Thus a long and continuous period of decline began. In the 5th century Sicily was land of conquest by the Vandals and Ostrogoths and in 827 the Arabs landed at Mazara and immediately began marching towards Siracusa, which capitulated in 878. Maniace, the man coming from afar The infighting among the caliphates induced to ask the intervention of the Byzantine General Giorgio Maniace, who is known to history both for the probable fortress building on the tip of Ortygia and for having stolen the mortal remains of St. Lucia and having taken them to Byzantium. Syracuse was again in the grip of the Arabs, who held it until 1093, when the Altavillas restored the Christian faith in the Kingdom. The Kings of Sicily On the Christmas eve of 1139 Ruggero II was crowned King of Sicily in Palermo Cathedral; when Henry VI died, husband of Constance of Altavilla, a period of anarchy followed that caught first the Pisans and then the Genoese. With the rise of Frederick II of Swabia Syracuse was re-annexed to the Imperial state property, on his death the Pope opposed to Manfredi Charles of Anjou, crowned in 1266. The Vesper war drove the French away and the Sicilians turned to Pietro of Aragon, proclaiming him King of Sicily in 1295. A dark age Without major events or joys, Syracuse gets to 1837, when the city was shocked by a severe plague, which was followed by the rebellions against the Bourbon government. Ferdinand then moved his seat to Noto, but with the unification of Italy Syracuse regained its title in 1865. With the unification of Italy and the advent of liberal-bourgeois politicians a wide program of public works began, favoured by the suppression of the monastic orders and the acquisition of their property by the State.