A city on the island of Sicily, in Italy.
In the ancient world, Syracuse was the most powerful of the Greek city-states of Sicily, at various times dominating the island. The city was a monarchy throughout most of pre-Roman times, ruled by tyrants in the traditional fashion] of Greek city-states.
As a major power in the Western Mediterranean, Syracuse was a ripe plum for any would-be conqueror, and was repeatedly besieged by both Roman and Carthaginian forces.
Syracuse ceased to be an independent city-state as a direct result of the Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage. Since then, its political history has been subsumed into the political histories of the larger entities of which it has been part.
Condensed overview of Syracusan political history:
793 BCE-491 BCE : Oligarchy
491 BCE-478 BCE : Gelon I
478 BCE-466 BCE : Hieron I
466 BCE-465 BCE : Thrasybulos
465 BCE-405 BCE : Democracy
405 BCE-367 BCE : Dionysios I the Elder (see also: Himilco)
367 BCE-356 BCE : Dionysios II the Younger
356 BCE-347 BCE : Dion (several rivals)
354 BCE-352 BCE : Kalippos
352 BCE-350 BCE : Hipparinos
352 BCE-350 BCE : Aretaeos
350 BCE-346 BCE : Nysaeos
347 BCE-344 BCE : Dionysios II the Younger (again)
345 BCE-337 BCE : Timoleon
347 BCE-317 BCE : Oligarchic republic
317 BCE-289 BCE : Agathokles
289 BCE-270 BCE : Civil war between several contenders, including a brief period when Syracuse was subject to Epirus.
275 BCE-215 BCE : Hieron II
240 BCE-216 BCE : Hieron II (co-tyrant)
215 BCE-214 BCE : Hieronymos
214 BCE-212 BCE : Adranodoros
213 BCE-212 BCE : Hippokrates (co-tyrant)
213 BCE-212 BCE : Epikydes (co-tyrant)
211 BCE-27 BCE : Subject to the Roman Republic
27 BCE-396 : Subject to the Roman Empire
396-476 : Subject to the Western Roman Empire
476-493 : Subject to the confederation of the Heruli
493-535 : Subject to the Kingdom of the Ostrogoths
535-878 : Subject to the Byzantine Empire
878-910 : Subject to the Tunisian Aghlabids
910-968 : Subject to the Fatimids
968-1062 : Subject to the Kalbis
1062-1130 : Part of the County of Sicily
1130-1816 : Part of the Kingdom of Sicily
1816-1860 : Part of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
1860 - today : Part of modern Italy