Mamertini

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Mamertini

 

mercenary troops of the tyrant of Syracuse Agathocles (317-289 B.C.), recruited in Campania (in Italy). They called themselves the children of Mars. After Agathocles’ death in 289, they conquered Messana (in Sicily). In 265 B.C. the tyrant of Syracuse Hiero II defeated the Mamertini and besieged Messana. Some of the Mamertini turned to Carthage for aid, and some turned to Rome. The clash between these two states in Sicily was the immediate cause of the outbreak of the Punic Wars.

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We stood reverently in that place; so did we also in the Mamertine Prison, where he was confined, where he converted the soldiers, and where tradition says he caused a spring of water to flow in order that he might baptize them.
The Mamertines frequently plundered surrounding territories, as bandits are wont to do, until Syracuse grew weary of their depredations.