Mamertini(redirected from Mamertines)
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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.