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Catania, on the east coast of Sicily facing the Ionian Sea, has had a long and eventful history, having been founded in the 8th century B.C. As observed by Strabo, the location of Catania at the foot of Mount Etna has been both a curse and a blessing. On the one hand, violent outbursts of the volcano throughout history have destroyed large parts of the city, on the other hand the volcanic ashes yield fertile soil, especially suited for the growth of vines. Katane was captured by Dionysios of Syracuse in 403 B.C., who sold the population into slavery and resettled the city with Campanian mercenaries. The city submitted to Rome during the First Punic war.