His most important military achievement was the defeat of the Etruscans and Carthaginians at the Battle of Cumae (474 BC), by which he saved the Greeks of Campania from Etruscan domination. A bronze helmet (now in the British Museum), with an inscription commemorating the event, was dedicated at Olympia.
Hieron's reign was marked by the creation of the first secret police in Greek history, but he was a liberal patron of literature and culture. The poets Simonides, Pindar, Bacchylides, Aeschylus, and Epicharmus were active at his court, as well the philosopher Xenophanes. He was an active participant in panhellenic athletic contests, winning several victories in the single horse race and also in the chariot race. He won the chariot race at Delphi in 470 (a victory celebrated in Pindar's first Pythian ode) and at Olympia in 468 (this, his greatest victory, was commemorated in Bacchylides' third victory ode). Other odes dedicated to him include Pindar's first Olympian Ode, his second and third Pythian odes, and Bacchylides' fourth and fifth victory odes.
He died at Catana/Aetna in 467 and was buried there, but his grave was later destroyed when the former inhabitants of Catana returned to the city. The tyranny at Syracuse lasted only a year or so after his death.
|Tyrant of Gela|
485 BC– 478 BC
|Tyrant of Syracuse|
478 BC– 466 BC