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Gelon (jēˈlŏn) [key], d. 478 B.C., Greek Sicilian ruler. As tyrant of Gela, his native city, he interfered in the struggle for power in Syracuse (485 B.C.) and made himself the leader of the popular party there. From that time he ruled Syracuse and dominated Greek Sicily. In 480 B.C., Hamilcar and his Carthaginians attacked Sicily in great force, landing at Panormus and advancing to besiege Gelon's father-in-law, Theron of Acragas, in Himera. Gelon came to his aid and crushed the Carthaginian army, which was the first great blow to Punic prestige. It is celebrated by Pindar in his great First Pythian. Gelon was succeeded by his brother Hiero I.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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See more Encyclopedia articles on: Ancient History, Greece: Biographies

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