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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.


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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