Fift y-two young men were chosen, and when they had been ordered they went down to the shore of the empty ocean, and when they reached the ship on the beach they carried it down into deep water, stowed away the mast and sails in the dark ship, made the oars secure in leather straps and … anchored the ship well out from the shore. (Homer, Odyssey, 8.50)

I divided my crew into two companies, each one with its own leader. I led the fi rst, Eurylochus the second. He went off leading twenty-two of the crew … they left the rest of us. (Homer, Odyssey, 10.204 – Odysseus on the island of Circe)

Th ere was also an old Sicilian woman who tended her old master [Laertes] faithfully on this farm out of the town. (Homer, Odyssey, 24.260)

As they were starting to eat, old Dolius and his sons appeared tired with working on their farm, which they had left , when the old Sicilian went out and called them. She was the mother of the young men and she looked aft er them and lovingly tended their father Dolius now that he was old.1 (Homer, Odyssey, 24.430)

The Foundation of the City

Th e fi rst Greeks to come (to Sicily) were Chalcidians from Euboea led by Th ucles, who founded Naxos and erected a shrine to Apollo Archegetes, which is situated outside the city and where those making the journey to the games sacrifi ce before leaving the Island. In the next year Syracuse was established by Archias of the Corinthian Heraclidae. He fi rst expelled the Sicels from the Island, which is now the acropolis, and a peninsula. Later on, the outer suburbs were also walled and the whole city became densely populated. (Th ucydides, 6.3.1-2)

Five years aft er Syracuse was founded, Th ucles and the Chalcidians went out from Naxos and settled Leontini and aft er it Catane when in a war they had driven away the Sicels. About the same time, Lamis came to Sicily intent on setting up a settlement from Megara. He fi rst halted at a place called Trotilus … and then Th apsus, where he died. His followers were driven out of Th apsus and then made their home at a spot called Megara Hyblaea … Aft er they had lived there for 245 years, they were expelled by Gelon, tyrant of Syracuse (485-478 BC). (Th ucydides, 6.3.3-4.2)

Gela was founded 45 years aft er the settlement of Syracuse. And 108 years later, the Geloans founded Acragas. (Th ucydides, 6.4.3-4)

Acrae and Casmenae were founded by the Syracusans: Acrae 70 years aft er Syracuse, Casmenae nearly 20 years aft er Acrae. Camarina was fi rst settled by Syracusans about 135 years aft er the foundation of Syracuse. (Th ucydides, 6.5.1)

When the Heraclidae divided up the land, they made an exception of the territory of Corinth … and gave it to Aletes. Aft er his death, the kingship was handed down by the eldest son of his descendants until the rule of Cypselus, which began 447 years aft er the return of the Heraclidae (657 BC). And the Bacchidae were the descendants of Heracles … this form of government continued for 90 years until it was destroyed by the tyranny that Cypselus founded. (Diodorus, 7.9.3-6)

Archias the Corinthian (founder of Syracuse) desired Actaeon, and fi rst of all sent a messenger to him promising him all manner of gift s; and when he was unable to win in this, the young man … collected a number of followers who were ready to use force … When Archias was drunk he summoned this crowd … broke into the house of Actaeon’s father [Melissus] … in a violent struggle … the object of Archias’ lust was found dead. (Diodorus, 8.10)

Myscellus the Achaean went from Rhype to Delphi … although the oracle commanded Myscellus to settle at Croton, admiring the land of Sybaris he wanted to settle in that place …. (Diodorus, 8.17)

According to Antiochus, when the god told the Achaeans to settle at Croton, Myscellus went to inspect the site, but when he found that Sybaris had already been founded … he considered it a better location. He therefore returned to question the god whether it would be better to take this place instead of Croton. Th e god [Apollo] said … ‘It is right what one gives to you and which you approve’, and Myscellus returned and settled at Croton, and had as one of his followers Archias the founder of Syracuse, who by chance was sailing by while on the way to found his own city. (Strabo, 6.1.12)

Archias founded the city of the Syracusans having sailed from Corinth about the same time as Naxos and Megara were established. Th ey say that Archias and Myscellus went to Delphi at the same time in order to ask the god for an oracle, and while they were there they were fi rst asked whether they preferred wealth or health. And Archias chose wealth and Myscellus health, and it was given to the one to found the city of the Syracusans and to the other to found the city of Croton. (Strabo, 6.2.4)

When Archias was on his voyage to Sicily, he left behind Chersicrates of the Heraclidae with other followers to settle what is now called Corcyra but was then known as Scheria. (Strabo, 6.2.4)

In the old days, it was a city with fi ve districts and had a wall 180 stadia (36 kilometres or 22 miles) in length. Th e Island, being nearby, is joined by a bridge to the mainland. On each side of the Island there is a large harbour and the greater of the two is 80 stadia (16 kilometres or 10 miles) in circumference. (Strabo, 6.2.4)