The second half of Jeff Champion’s history of Syracuse picks up right where the the first left off: The death of Dionysius the Elder and the ascension of his son, Dionysius the Younger as Tyrant of Syracuse. He uses this split as a convenient excuse to avoid using ‘the Elder’ and ‘the Younger’ while each is actually in office, since the change in ‘default’ occurs across the books. And it actually works.

From there, the book details the next two decades in Syracuse dealing trying to get rid of Dionysius the Younger. The careers of Timoleon and Agathocles are also well covered, as well as Pyrrhus’ campaigns in Sicily, Hiero II, and the fighting in Sicily during the first two Punic Wars. Champion points out the shift in Syracuse’s fortunes when the expansion of Rome into southern Italy and Sicily puts the city between two much larger powers. Until that point, Syracuse consistently held sway over most of Sicily, and could successfully fight off Carthage, even though neither side could ever truly conquer the other. Once Rome was on the scene, Syracuse became distant third to the two major powers in Sicily. The book’s epilogue wraps up with a quick overview of Syracuse’s history since being conquered by Rome, including the shift of power in Sicily from Syracuse to Palermo.

For some reason, the editing in this volume broke up for a few chapters in the final third of the book, with some missing words, and sentences that had been incompletely rewritten. But then the problems went away again at the end, and I didn’t see any problems for the bulk of the book. Other than those hiccups, it’s a good book on an interesting subject that doesn’t get a lot of attention, just like the first volume of the series.