Acts 28:12

Acts 28:12

And landing at Syracuse
A famous city in the isle of Sicily, now called Saragossa: it is placed by Ptolomy F3 on the east side of the island, in the Adriatic sea; it was 180 furlongs, or two and twenty miles and a half in circuit, and formerly had a marble haven and triple wall, and as many towers; the founder of it was Archias, a Corinthian; Pliny says F4, that it is never so cloudy weather, but the sun is seen in it, at one time or another of the day: Cicero F5 calls it the greatest and most beautiful of all the cities of Greece; it is such a city, he says, that it may be said to consist of four large cities; "one" part of it is called "the island", which has two ports to it; "another" was called Acradina, in which were a large market, beautiful porticos the "third", Tiche, in which was the ancient temple of Fortune; and the "fourth", which because it was last built, was called Neapolis: it is a very ancient city, being built more than seven hundred years before the birth of Christ; it was a colony of the Corinthians; here reigned two tyrants, whose names were Dionysius; it was attacked by the Carthaginians, but without success, being delivered from the siege by Pyrrhus king of Epirus F6; it was again assaulted by the Athenians, who were repulsed, and entirely conquered, about the year before Christ 413: after that it was taken by Marcellus, the Roman consul, about the year of the city of Rome 542 F7, after a three years' siege; during which time it was defended, and preserved by the means of the famous mathematician Archimedes; who by his invention of warlike machines, baffled all the attempts of the Romans; but was killed by a soldier, as he was intent upon his studies, not knowing that the city was taken; and it continued in the hands of the Romans, until it was taken and plundered by the Saracens, in the year of Christ 675; and was retaken by Roger king of Apulia, about the year 1090, and is now under the government of Don Carlos, king of the two Sicilies;

we tarried there three days;
on what account it is not said, whether on account of merchandise, or for the sake of the conversation of Christians here: it is certain there were churches in Sicily very early; we read of them in the "second" and "third" centuries; in the time of Constantine, at the beginning of the "fourth" century, there was a church at Syracuse, of which Chrestus was bishop, to whom the emperor wrote a letter himself, which is still extant in Eusebius {h}: in the "fifth" century, Hilarius, a teacher at Syracuse, wrote from thence to Augustine, concerning the Pelagian heresy, to whom he gave an answer: in the "sixth" century, Maximinianus, bishop of this church, had the inspection of all the churches in Sicily committed to him, by Gregory; who was wonderfully preserved in a shipwreck, as he was returning from Rome; in this same age lived John, bishop of Syracuse, and Trajanus a presbyter, and Felix a deacon of the same church: in the seventh century there was one George bishop of this place, to whom Pope Vitalian wrote a letter; and in the same century a bishop of this church was in the sixth council at Constantinople F9.


FOOTNOTES:

F3 Geogr. l. 3. c. 4.
F4 Nat. Hist. l. 2. c. 62.
F5 Orat. 9. in Verrem, l. 4. p. 566.
F6 Pausanius, l. 1. p. 22.
F7 Petav. Rationar. Temp. par. 1. l. 3. c. 9. p. 108. & l. 4. c. 2. p. 137.
F8 Eccl. Hist. l. 10. c. 5.
F9 Magdeburg. Eccl. Hist. cent. 2. c. 2. p. 4. cent. 3. c. 2. p. 3. cent. 4. c. 2. p. 5. cent. 5. c. 2. p. 6. c. 10. p. 664. cent. 6. c. 2. p. 6. c. 10. p. 346. c. 13. p. 436. cent. 7. c. 2. p. 4. c. 10. p. 358.
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