Euryalus Fortress

Syracuse, Italy

The Euryalus Fortress was the key point in the fortifications of the ancient Greek city of Syracuse. It is located on the highest point of the hill of Epipolae.

During the Athenian invasion of Sicily (415-413 BC), the fortress did not yet exist, but the strategic importance of the area was clear; the Athenians initially captured the hill, but their failure to retain it prevented them from effectively besieging the city. The name Euryalus is mentioned by Thucydides in the course of the first Athenian attack on the city.

The fortress was first established by Dionysius I, tyrant of Syracuse. Construction took place between 402 and 397 BC, with the intention that the fortress would protect the city from siege and attack by the Carthaginians. Various renovations were subsequently undertaken in response to developments in siege weaponry, under Agathocles and Hiero II.

After the Roman conquest of the city in 212 BC by Marcus Claudius Marcellus, the fortress continued to be modified until the Byzantine period when parts of it were torn apart in order to repair the rest in light of Muslim invasion.

On 30 September 2016, an antiquarium was opened on the site, after a long closure resulting from the Santa Lucia earthquake of 1990. This building contains some of the discoveries from the site, including a sword, a helmet, and the missiles from a stone-throwing catapult.

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Founded: 402-397 BCE
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Italy

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