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Agathokles of SyracuseSicilian Tyrant and Hellenistic King$
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Christopher de Lisle

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780198861720

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198861720.001.0001

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Agathokles’ Life and Times

Agathokles’ Life and Times

(p.9) 1 Agathokles’ Life and Times
Agathokles of Syracuse

Christopher de Lisle

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides a narrative overview of Agathokles’ life and career as a foundation for the analytical chapters which follow. The collapse and revival of Syracusan hegemony in Sicily and the rise of Macedon in mainland Greece were the central features of Agathokles’ youth. His rise to dominance in Syracuse in the years preceding 317 BC highlight the difficulties inherent in our source material for his career. This seizure of power resulted in three interlinked wars: against his exiled Syracusan opponents, against the other poleis of eastern Sicily, and eventually against the Carthaginians. Agathokles invaded Africa in 310. Unable to decisively defeat the Carthaginians, he made peace with them in 306, but destroyed his opponents in Sicily. Around 304 BC he assumed the title of king. Subsequently he engaged in campaigns in southern Italy and the Adriatic. An ill-managed succession resulted in the dissolution of his kingdom at his death in 289.

Keywords:   Agathokles, Syracuse, narrative, Carthage, succession

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