Agathocles is one of my favorite figures from history, but he’s not really well known.  Even Wikipedia doesn’t have much about him, but to me, he’s an incredible figure.  He went from being the son of a potter, to a soldier, to a bandit leader, to a tyrant and king.  He wiped out the senatorial ruling class, cancelled debts, redistributed land, and was so popular that, while previous tyrants of Syracuse did things like sleep surrounded by a moat and refuse to be shaved for fear of assassination, he didn’t even bother with a bodyguard.  He even was the first one to use the strategy of attacking Carthage directly in order to stop its attack elsewhere, later used to great success by Scipio.  Perhaps most surprisingly, he didn’t want to institute a dynasty, and restored Syracusan democracy on his death bed.  It would be amazing to see what he would have done with a greater power.  Unfortunately, the senatorial class tends to write histories, and they dislike aristocide, so he gets a bad rap in the history books.

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5 Responses to Agathocles

  1. charles says:

    Sounds like a fascinating personality. Are you saying you’d take what Plutarch wrote and use creative license to write a story around it, or would you just stick to what Plutarch reported?


    • johnkutensky says:

      Plutarch never wrote a life on Agathocles, so I’d be using the work of other Classical authors to write my own. So it’d be a strictly historical biography, rather than historical fiction. I wrote a lot about him back in college, so I might have all my notes still, for reference. I definitely have my old paper and bibliography, so I have a lot of sources already.


  2. bulkington27 says:

    Excellent post! Plutarch is my favorite source of ancient biographies. You might enjoy this video about the Spartan King Lycurgus’ life as told by Plutarch.


  3. Pingback: Majora’s Mask Asks | John Kutensky

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