The History of Sicily

The Third Sicilian War (315-307 B. C.)

In 311, Agothocles of Siracusa seized the city of Messina. Then, breaking his treaty with the Carthaginians, he attacked Akragas. The Carthaginian general Hamilcar defeated the Siracusans at the Himera River in 31, forcing them back to their homeland, to which the Carthaginians laid siege. In a desperate move, Agothocles attacked Carthage itself, which resulted in a negotiated peace whereby Siracusa retained its influence in other parts of Sicily but Carthage remained the dominant power.

In 280 B.C., Pyrrhus of Epirus (a city in Greece) invaded Sicily and took major sections of the island including Palermo and Erice from Carthaginian control. This was the same Pyrrhus who had defeated the Romans a year earlier in a battle that deprived him of some of the best of his troops (the term “Pyrrhic victory” derives from this battle). However, the struggle over control of Sicily between Carthage and the Greeks ended only when Rome intervened and defeated Carthage in the three Punic Wars, making Sicily a Roman province.


Temple of Hera, Selinunte