- Klaus Meister
ExtractAgathocles (1) tyrant, later king of *Syracuse, born 361/0 bce in Thermae, Sicily. His father Carcinus, an exile from *Rhegium, received Syracusan citizenship under *Timoleon343/2 and owned a large pottery manufactory. The young Agathocles took part in various military enterprises and early on nurtured political ambitions. The oligarchy of six hundred that ruled Syracuse after Timoleon's death distrusted the active young man with popular tendencies and he was banished c.330. During his exile he attempted to obtain a power base in southern Italy, operating as a condottiere in *Croton or *Tarentum. He successfully relieved Rhegium when it was besieged by the six hundred, thereby toppling the oligarchy. Recalled by the people in Syracuse he was exiled again after the oligarchs had been reinstated. Subsequently he threatened the oligarchs and their Carthaginian allies (see carthage) with a private army of mercenaries from the Sicilian inland. Hamilcar changed sides and through his mediation Agathocles was able to return to Syracuse and in 319/8 was made ‘stratēgos with absolute power in the cities of Sicily’ (FGrH239 B 12).
- Greek History and Historiography