Syracuse was at the heart of a complex trade, political, cultural and religious network involving all the Hellenistic States that overlooked the Mediterranean Sea: Ptolemaic Egypt, Cyrenaica, Rhodes, Delos, Kos and Magnesia on the Maeander in Asia Minor. These major economic interests were flanked by intense political and diplomatic relations, designed to support a central and balanced position and often founded on cooperation. Hiero II helped Ptolemy of Egypt during a famine sending an exceptional cargo of foodstuffs on the Syracusia, as too Rhodes after a disastrous earthquake and even Rome. He also made generous donations of wheat to Athens and other Greek cities and came to the aid of a Carthage in difficulty after a mercenary revolt. Relations were also cemented by a shrewd policy of matrimonial alliances such as the union between the designated heir Gelo and Nereides, Princess of Epirus.