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Hiero’s intervention placed Carthage’s military forces directly across the Strait of Messina, the narrow channel of water that separated Sicily from Italy. Because of Carthage’s power over the trade routes, Carthage had a rich and strong navy that was able to lead. Carthage was once again drawn into a war in Sicily, this time by Pyrrhus of Epirus, who challenged both Roman and Carthaginian supremacy over the Mediterranean. Rome’s success against Pyrrhus solidified its status as a rising power, which paved the way for conflict with Carthage. The Greek city of Tarentum, in southern Italy, had come into conflict with an expansionist Rome, and sought the aid of Pyrrhus. After securing the Greek mainland, Pyrrhus rejoined his advance guard in Tarentum to conquer southern Italy, winning a decisive but costly victory at Asculum. According to both Plutarch and Appian, while Pyrrhus’ army was being transported by ship to mainland Italy, the Carthaginian navy inflicted a devastating blow in the Battle of the Strait of Messina, sinking or disabling 98 out of 110 ships. After winning a naval battle off the coast of Catania, Himilco laid siege to Syracuse with 50,000 Carthaginians, but yet another epidemic struck down thousands of them.

According to Justin, the Carthaginians worried that Pyrrhus might get involved in Sicily; Polybius confirms that existence of a mutual defense pact between Carthage and Rome, ratified shortly after the battle of Asculum. In 315 BC, Carthage found itself on the defensive in Sicily, as Agathocles of Syracuse broke the terms of the peace treaty and sought to dominate the entire island. In what is likely an apocryphal account, Pyrrhus, upon departing from Sicily, told his companions, “What a wrestling ground we are leaving, my friends, for the Carthaginians and the Romans”. The Spanish Steps are a set of steps that extend from the Piazza di Spagna, a modern-day square in Rome, Italy that was once a bullring. Pyrrhus’ campaigns in Italy ultimately proved inconclusive, and he eventually withdrew to Epirus. A renewed Roman offensive also forced him to focus his attention on southern Italy. As a result, the Roman Assembly, although reluctant to ally with a band of mercenaries, sent an expeditionary force to return control of Messana to the Mamertines.

While the Roman Senate debated the best course of action, the Carthaginians eagerly agreed to send a garrison to Messana. These concerns proved prescient: during the Italian campaign, Pyrrhus received envoys from the Sicilian Greek cities of Agrigentum, Leontini, and Syracuse, which offered to submit to his rule if he aided their efforts to eject the Carthaginians from Sicily. During the siege of Agrigentum, Carthaginian forces were ravaged by plague, which claimed Hannibal Mago himself. The wars included a dramatic Carthaginian invasion led by Hannibal, which nearly brought an end to Rome. Alarmed, the Mamertines sent another embassy to Rome asking them to expel the Carthaginians. The Mamertines became a growing threat to Carthage and Syracuse alike. Notwithstanding consistently poor luck and costly reversals, Sicily remained an obsession for Carthage. The subsequent animosity among the Greeks of Sicily drove some to join forces with the Carthaginians, who “took up the war vigorously” upon noticing Pyrrhus’ dwindling support. In preparation for his invasion, he treated the Sicilian Greeks more ruthlessly, even executing two of their rulers on false charges of treason. Following these losses, Carthage sued for peace, offering large sums of money and even ships, but Pyrrhus refused unless Carthage renounced its claims to Sicily entirely.

In this direction, free camping, even in private properties is prohibited. Himilco and his chief officers abandoned their army and fled Sicily. Meanwhile, he marched the main army across the Greek peninsula and won several victories over the Thessalians and Athenians. His successor, Himilco, managed to extend the campaign, capturing the city of Gela and repeatedly defeating the army of Dionysius of Syracuse. Naming themselves Mamertines (“Sons of Mars”), they seized the city of Messana and became a law unto themselves, terrorizing the surrounding countryside. Below mentioned are some of the best and economical transportation modes and routes that you may consider if planning a visit to this ancient city. Flower tattoos, tribal, sun as well as star tattoos are just a couple of the numerous tattoo designs that’s very in demand among men and women alike. Having lost too many men in his conquest of Asculum, Pyrrhus determined that a war with Rome could not be sustained, making Sicily a more enticing prospect. Faced with a vastly superior force, the Mamertines divided into two factions, one advocating surrender to Carthage, the other preferring to seek aid from Rome. Moreover, the presence of the Carthaginian fleet gave them effective control over this strategically important bottleneck and demonstrated a clear and present danger to nearby Rome and her interests.