The nature of the source material means that our understanding of Agathokles’ activities in Italy will always be patchy. This chapter reconstructs the course of events in the region during his reign as far as is possible. Agathokles’ activities in this region are best understood in the context of earlier Syracusan interventions in Italy. Like them, he entered the region as a result of the ideology of Sicilian tyranny, the absence of a clear border at the Straits of Messana, the pull of internal Italian conflicts, and the desire to have a forward defence against invasion from mainland Greece. The goal was not control of territory per se but the control of movement through that territory.
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