From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]

(Συράκουσαι, now Siragosa)

Syracuse was situated on the east coast of Sicily, about midway between the modern Catania and Cape Passaro, and was the wealthiest and most powerful of the Greek cities in the island. ‘So great riches,’ says Strabo (VI. ii. 4), ‘have accrued to the Syracusans that their name is embodied in the proverb applied to those who have too great wealth, viz. that they have not yet attained to a tithe of the wealth of the Syracusans.’ In the 4th cent. b.c. Syracuse defied Athens, when the latter was at the height of her power, and came off victorious. And Syracuse coveted a higher fame than that of warlike prowess. At the Court of her kings were to be found such men of letters as Pindar and aeschylus, while the splendid site which Nature had given her was adorned with some of the finest buildings in the world. There was that in Syracuse which led her admirers to exaggerate. Cicero (in Verr. II. iv. 52) calls her ‘the greatest of Greek cities and the most beautiful of all cities.’ But in the year of Cicero’s death (43 b.c.) Syracuse, and indeed the whole of Sicily, suffered terribly at the hands of Sextus Pompeius; and, though Strabo (loc. cit.) praises Augustus for sending thither a colony and to a great extent restoring the city to its former importance, the geographer’s other words scarcely bear out this flattering statement.

In the Greater or the Lesser Port of this city, under the citadel of Ortygia and close to the fountain of Arethusa, the Alexandrian corn-ship in which St. Paul was sailing from Melita to Puteoli had to tarry three days for a favourable wind. How the Apostle spent those days can only be conjectured. Conybeare and Howson not only suggest that Julius was probably courteous enough to let him go ashore, but have no difficulty in giving credit to the local tradition which makes St. Paul the first founder of the Sicilian Church (The Life and Epistles of St. Paul, 1877, ii. 429 f.). W. M. Ramsay, on the other hand, holds that, as the ship was simply waiting a suitable wind, no prisoner was likely to be allowed leave of absence (Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols)iv. 645b). Between these theories of a fruitful activity and an enforced idleness there may be room for a via media. If St. Paul was permitted to go into the city, with a charge to note the wind and return the moment it veered to the right direction, he would probably find that there were many Jews and proselytes in that great centre of commerce, though no ancient writer seems to allude to a Jewish colony. And that he would redeem the time is certain. But as to the actual introduction of Christianity into Sicily, whether then or at a later date, history is silent, though the extensive catacombs in the Achradina quarter tell their own tale.

Literature.-W. Smith, Dict. of Greek and Roman Geography, 1868, article‘Syracusae’; J. Führer and V. Schultze, Die altchristlichen Grabstätten Siziliens, 1907; C. Baedeker, Southern Italy and Sicily15, 1908, pp. 406-420.

James Strahan.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [2]

SYRACUSE , on the east coast of Sicily, was the principal city in the island. It was originally a Greek colony of ancient date, which was powerful enough to defeat the famous Athenian Sicilian expedition (b.c. 415 412). Its kings were often men of distinction, even in literature, of which they were noted patrons. The city had a varied career, being sometimes a kingdom, sometimes a democracy. In b.c. 241 the Romans took the western half of Sicily from the Carthaginians, but remained in alliance with the kings of Syracuse. The last king of Syracuse coquetted with the Carthaginians; the city was besieged and captured by Marcellus in 212, and the whole island was henceforth under a prætor, who had two quæstors, one situated at Lilybæum in the W., the other at Syracuse. The city continued prosperous down till about the end of the 2nd cent. b.c. After that date it declined in importance, though it remained the capital of the eastern half of the island. In NT times a large number of the inhabitants were Roman citizens.

St. Paul’s ship lay at anchor in the harbour for three days, when he was on his way from Malta to Rome ( Acts 28:12 ). He did not preach there. Christian memorials at Syracuse are not specially early.

A. Souter.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [3]

Now Siracasa, a large and celebrated city on the eastern coast of Sicily, furnished with a capacious and excellent harbor. The city, founded 734 B. C., was opulent and powerful, and was divided into four or five quarters or districts, which were of themselves separate cities. The whole circumference is stated by Strabo to have been one hundred and eighty stadia, or about twenty-two English miles. Syracuse is celebrated as having been the birthplace and residence of Archimedes, whose ingenious mechanical contrivances during its siege by the Romans, 200 B. C., long delayed its capture. Paul passed three days here, on his way from Melita to Rome, in the spring of A. D. 63,  Acts 28:12 . Population anciently 200,000; now 11,000.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [4]

Syr'acuse. The celebrated city, on the eastern coast of Sicily. "The city in its splendor was the largest and richest that the Greeks possessed, in any part of the world, being 22 miles in circumference." St. Paul arrived thither, in an Alexandrian ship from Melita, on his voyage to Rome.  Acts 28:12. The site of Syracuse rendered it a convenient place for the African corn-ships to touch at, for the harbor was an excellent one, and the fountain Arethusa , in the island furnished an unfailing supply of excellent water.

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [5]

A great city in the E. of Sicily. Paul arrived there from Melita ("Malta") on his way to Rome ( Acts 28:12). A convenient place for the Alexandrian grain ships to touch at, for the haven was good and the water from the fountain Arethusa excellent. The prevalent wind in this part of the Mediterranean, the W.N.W., would carry the vessel from Malta round the S. of Sicily to the eastern shore on which lay Syracuse. They waited three days there for the wind, then by a circuitous course, necessitated by the direction of the wind, reached Rhegium.

People's Dictionary of the Bible [6]

Syracuse ( Sȳr'A-Kûse ). The celebrated city on the eastern coast of Sicily. Paul arrived there in an Alexandrian ship from Melita, on his voyage to Rome.  Acts 28:12. The site of Syracuse rendered it a convenient place for the African corn-ships to touch at, for the harbor was an excellent one, and the fountain Arethusa in the island furnished an unfailing supply of excellent water.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [7]

City on the eastern coast of Sicily, at which port the ship touched that conveyed Paul to Rome.  Acts 28:12 .

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [8]

a famous city of Sicily, seated on the east side of the island,  Acts 28:12 .

Holman Bible Dictionary [9]

 Acts 28:12

Easton's Bible Dictionary [10]

 Acts 28:12

Webster's Dictionary [11]

(n.) A red wine of Italy.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [12]

sir´a - kūs , sir - a - kūs ´ ( Συράκουσαι , Surákousai  ; Latin Syracusae , Ital. Siracusa ): Situated on the east coast of Sicily, about midway between Catania and the southeastern extremity of the island.

The design of the present work scarcely permits more than a passing allusion to Syracuse, the most brilliant Greek colony on the shores of the Western Mediterranean, where Paul halted three days, on his way from Melita to Rome ( Acts 28:12 ). The original Corinthian colony rounded in 734 Bc (Thucydides vi. 3) was confined to the islet Ortygia, which separates the Great Harbor from the sea. Later the city spread over the promontory lying northward of Ortygia and the harbor.

Syracuse assumed a pre-eminent position in the affairs of Sicily under the rule of the tyrants Gelon (485-478 BC; compare Herodotus vii. 154-55) and Hieron (478-467 BC). It nourisher greatly after the establishment of popular government in 466 Bc (Diodorus xi. 68-72). The Syracusans successfully withstood the famous siege by the Athenians in 414 BC, the narrative of which is the most thrilling part of the work of Thucydides (vi, vii).

Dionysius took advantage of the fear inspired by the Carthaginians to elevate himself to despotic power in 405 BC, and he was followed, after a reign of 38 years, by his son of the same name. Although democratic government was restored by Timoleon after a period of civil dissensions in 344 Bc (Plutarch, Timoleon ), popular rule was not of long duration.

The most famous of the later rulers was the wise Hieron (275-216 BC), who was the steady ally of the Romans. His grandson and successor Hieronymus deserted the alliance of Rome for that of Carthage, which led to the celebrated siege of the city by the Romans under Marcellus and its fall in 212 (Livy xxiv. 21-33). Henceforth Syracuse was the capital of the Roman province of Sicily. Cicero calls it "the greatest of Greek cities and the most beautiful of all cities" (Cicero Verr. iv. 52).

The Nuttall Encyclopedia [13]

1, one of the great cities of antiquity, occupied a wide triangular tableland on the SE. coast of Sicily, 80 m. SW. of Messina, and also the small island Ortygia, lying close to the shore; founded by Corinthian settlers about 733 B.C.; amongst its rulers were the tyrants Dionysius The Elder and Dionysius The Younger ( q. v .) and Hiero, the patron of Æschylus, Pindar, &c.; successfully resisted the long siege of the Athenians in 414 B.C., and rose to a great pitch of renown after its struggle with the Carthaginians in 397 B.C., but siding with Hannibal in the Punic Wars, was taken after a two years' siege by the Romans (212 B.C.), in whose hands it slowly declined, and finally was sacked and destroyed by the Saracens in 878 A.D. Only the portion on Ortygia was rebuilt, and this constitutes the modern city, which has interesting relics of its former greatness, but is otherwise a crowded and dirty place, surrounded by walls, and fortified; exports fruit, olive-oil, and wine. 2, A city of New York State, United States, 148 m. W. of Albany, in the beautiful valley of Onondaga; is a spacious and handsomely laid-out city, with university, &c.; has flourishing steel-works, foundries, rolling-mills, &c., and enormous salt manufactures.

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [14]

Syr´acuse, a celebrated city on the southeast coast of the island of Sicily. It was a strong, wealthy, and populous place. The great wealth and power of Syracuse arose from its trade, which was carried on extensively while it remained an independent state under its own kings; but about 200 B.C. it was taken by the Romans, after a siege rendered famous by the mechanical contrivances whereby Archimedes protracted the defense. Syracuse still exists as a considerable town under its original name, and some ruins of the ancient city yet remain. St. Paul spent three days at Syracuse, after leaving Melita, when being conveyed as a prisoner to Rome .

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [15]

Bibliography Information McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Syracuse'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.