Agathocles of Syracuse


Agathocles of Syracuse (c. 361 - 289 BCE) ruled as tyrant of the Sicilian city for over 25 years. Ambitious, unprincipled, and seeing himself as a new Alexander, he famously attacked Carthage in a three-year campaign and made conquests in southern Italy, but ultimately his quest for a lasting Sicilian-Italian empire failed. On Agathocles' death, his lack of a recognised successor caused chaos at Syracuse and his memory was officially obliterated with a damnatio memoriae. His greatest legacy was perhaps that he had shown Carthage could be defeated in Africa, a lesson the Romans would later use to devastating effect in the Punic Wars.

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