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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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Tyrannosiculus Rex

Tyrannosiculus Rex

(p.139) 5 Tyrannosiculus Rex
Agathokles of Syracuse

Christopher de Lisle

Oxford University Press

This chapter deals with Agathokles’ rulership and self-representation, arguing that the adoption of the title of king or basileus did not mark a fundamental rupture in Agathokles’ reign and rulership style—a transition from Sicilian tyranny to Hellenistic monarchy. Rather it was simply an attempt to re-establish his legitimacy after the conclusion of the war with Carthage. A number of features that have been identified as characteristic of a new Hellenistic model of rule are already apparent in the evidence for Agathokles’ conduct before his assumption of the royal title and in the regimes of his predecessors in Syracuse. A number of significant divergences from Hellenistic kingship are also divergences from the practice of Agathokles’ predecessors. Most can be explained by Agathokles’ financial situation, the biases of our evidence, or are also absent from the practice of some of the Diadochoi.

Keywords:   Hellenistic kingship, tyranny, autocracy, absolutism, royal court, philoi, city foundations, ruler cult

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