The city of Syracuse, where Archimedes lived from 287 to 212 BC, was still described by Cicero 200 years later as "the most beautiful of all." In the 3rd century BC, it was the capital of a kingdom that was small but strategic for its central position, network of international relations, economy based on agriculture and trade, and its vivid cultural production. Hiero II (strategòs autocràtor since 275 and basileus since 269 BC) gave his kingdom a solid government and pursued a shrewd foreign policy centred on well-balanced diplomatic relations with the states of Greece and Asia Minor, with Egypt and mainly with Rome, by then a major investor in Sicily. The city enjoyed a long period of peace and international prestige until his death in 215 BC.