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Main article: A group of his Campanian mercenaries, called the Mamertines , were offered compensation in exchange for leaving the city. They took control of Messina , killing and exiling the citizens, and taking their wives for themselves. The Carthaginians, always eager to prevent the excessive empowerment of a single force and to keep Sicily divided, offered aid to the Mamertines.

Hiero had to return to Syracuse, where he assumed the title of king. Previously, Rome had intervened against Campanian mercenaries who had followed the Mamertines' example and taken control of Rhegium modern Reggio Calabria.

Moreover, it seemed clear that intervention in Sicily would lead to conflict with Carthage. According to the lost historian Philinus of Agrigentum , who was favourable to the Carthaginians, there was a treaty between Rome and Carthage which defined their respective spheres of influence and assigned Sicily to the Carthaginians.

This "Philinus Treaty" is known to us from Polybius , who mentions it in order to deny its existence. Polybius also claims that the Romans were encouraged to intervene by economic motivations, on account of the wealth of Sicily in this period. The Senate gave the decision on whether or not to help the Mamertines to the popular assembly, which decided to send help. This was not a formal declaration of war against Carthage, but the intervention in Sicily sufficed as a casus belli and thus marked the beginning of the First Punic War — BC.

Hiero, allied with Carthage against the Mamertines, had to face the legions of Valerius Messalla. The Romans quickly expelled the Syracusans and Carthaginains from Messina. In BC, Hiero changed sides, making a peace treaty with the Romans in exchange for an indemnity of talents , thus ensuring the maintenance of his power. He proved a loyal ally of the Romans until his death in BC, providing aid, specially grain and siege weapons, to the Romans. This assistance was essential for the conquest of the Carthaginian base at Agrigentum in BC.

It seems, however, that pro-Roman sentiment was not universal at Syracuse and that there was a group opposed to Hiero which favoured the Carthaginians. In addition to Syracuse, the kingdom of Hiero was granted a number of centres in the eastern part of the island, such as Akrai , Leontini , Megara , Eloro , Netum and Tauromenium , [11] and probably also Morgantina and Camarina.

In addition to the aforementioned Philinus, there were other accounts of the First Punic War written by authors opposed to Rome, such as Sosilus of Sparta. The work of Philinus was analysed and criticised by Polybius, while that of Sosilus was entirely rejected by him as the "vulgar gossip of a barber's shop. The resulting representation of the war in the ancient source material is very partial: The ancient accounts' impression that a war between Carthage and Rome was inevitable also seems questionable.

Even the traditional explanation that Carthage was threatening Rome at the Straits of Messina seems anachronistic according to Moses Finley , since Carthage had never shown any inclination to expand into Italy. Probably no one at Rome foresaw that intervention at Messina would lead to a conflict on such a scale. According to the account of Polybius, this changed only after the conquest of Agrigentum.

Sicily had always been fundamental for Carthaginian control of the seas. In any case, the fact that the Romans ultimately conquered the island makes it difficult to produce a balance reconstruction of conditions on Sicily in this period. Both Rome and Carthage carried out atrocities: In BC, the Roman conquest of Camarina saw the majority of the inhabitants sold into slavery and 27, inhabitant of Panormus suffered the same fate although 14, were redeemed.

Lilybaeum resisted a Roman siege for ten years, until the conclusion of the war after the Battle of the Aegates. Previous Roman conquests in Italy had resulted in direct annexation or asymmetric treaties with Rome as hegemonic power. These treaties guaranteed substantial internal autonomy to the socii: But it is not clear how this system took form.

It has been suggested that from BC the government of western Sicily was entrusted to a quaestor sent annually to Lilybaeum. Extraordinary governors of this kind were seen already during the First Punic War and occur again during the Second Punic War.

According to Antonino Pinzone this difference is explained by the fact that Sicily "came under the control of Rome in two stages," so that "the position of the quaestor of Lilybaeum is to be considered a kind of fossil and his influence is to be imputed to the financial and military arrangements inherited from the quaestor classicus? Originally, the term provincia indicated the jurisdiction of a magistrate especially the possession of imperium ; eventually it came to indicate the territory under their control.

The two islands under the control of Rome were made provinces in the same moment when in that year [ BC] M. Valerius was assigned as praetor of Sardinia by lot and C.

Flaminius of the other island. It developed in the context of Gaius Flaminius' focus on the development of small proprietors and of their class. The burning glass allegedly used by Archimedes in the defense of Syracuse in BC, depicted in the frontespiece of Opticae Thesaurus The Second Punic War, which ran from to BC, was initiated by Hannibal , who was aware of the importance of the Italian socii to Rome and accordingly decided to attack the Romans on their own turf, passing through Gaul, over the Alps and into Italy.

His successor was his fifteen-year-old grandson Hieronymus , who decided to switch to the Carthaginian side. Hannibal himself had sent two brothers of Syracusan descent, Hippocrates and Epicydes, in order to rouse the people against the Romans.

The Carthaginians also sent troops to the island and contended with the Romans for control of the island. The conquest of Syracuse in BC by the forces of Marcellus was a decisive moment for the war, which resulted either from the betrayal of the city by members of the Syracusan aristocracy, [27] or by a Spanish mercenary in the Carthaginian camp. The task of organising the elections was expected to fall to Marcellus as senior consul, but he sent a letter to the Senate when it recalled him, declaring that it would be harmful to the Republic to leave Hannibal to his own devices.

When the Senate received this, there was debate as to whether it was better to recall the consul from campaign even though he was unwilling or to cancel the elections of consuls for BC.

The senate ordered the Urban praetor , Lucius Manlius Acidinus to take a letter to Valerius, along with that sent to the Senate by Marcellus, and to explain to him why they had decided to recall him. Not only was all independence of Sicily brought to an end, but the majority of the islands commercial activities were redirected toward Italy. The first of these is known as the First Servile War c.

Eunus defeated the Roman army several times, but in he was vanquished by Consul Publius Rupilius near Messina; the war ended with the capture of Tauromenium and Enna in BC, and about 20, of the unfortunate slaves were crucified. This war was terminated by Manius Aquillius. At the end of Sulla's second civil war , in 82 BC, Pompey , a very rich and talented young general, was sent to Sicily by the dictator, Sulla , to recover the island from the supporters of Marius and thereby secure the grain supply to Rome.

Pompey crushed the opposition and, when the cities complained he responded with one of his most famous statements, reported by Plutarch as "why do you keep praising the laws before me when I am wearing a sword? Some communities continued to possess a popular assembly, but there was an increasing concentration of power in the hands of local elites. Praetorship of Gaius Verres[ edit ] From 73—71 BC, the praetor of the province was Gaius Verres who was denounced by the Sicilians for extortion, theft, and robbery and was prosecuted in Rome by Cicero whose speeches against him, known as the Verrines , still survive.

Since these speeches are the main evidence for Verres' actions, it is hard to get an objective idea of the impact of his activities on Sicily. Cicero emphasised Verres' very harsh implementation of the grain tax for his personal profit rather than that of the Republic and the theft of artworks, including sacred votive offerings.

Verres had expected the power of his friends and the deft manipulation of legal procedure to ensure his acquittal, but after Cicero's blisteringly effective first speech, he fled into exile. War on Pirates[ edit ] In 70 BC, the praetor Caecilius Metellus fought successfully against the pirates which infested the seas around Sicily [40] [41] and Campania , [42] who went on to plunder Gaeta and Ostia 69—68 BC [43] and captured the daughter of Marcus Antonius Orator at Misenum.

In the course of the subsequent war against the pirates in 67 BC, the sea around Sicily was assigned to Plotius Varus. All the Sicilian cities enjoyed a certain autonomy and issued small coins, but were divided into four legal and administrative classes: They enjoyed a much greater freedom than non-federated cities.

Rome had conceded to them, as a reward for their demonstrated friendship, a bilateral treaty that recognised the precise duties and rights of citizens and very rarely were they liable to pay the decumena or tenth , or the tax on their harvest. They could also retain ownership of their lands, could govern themselves and therefore they were very similar to the allied cities of the Italian peninsula, except that the right of Roman citizenship was not granted to the islanders.

There were three foederatae civitates: Messina , Tauromenium and Notum 2. However these rights were very favourable compared to the subsequent classes. Although they were not allied, they were exempt from the payment of the decuma and could freely administer their internal affairs, without having to follow Roman law ius romanus. They could elect their own magistrates, senate and, more significantly, they were free from the jurisdiction of provincial magistrates and their territory could not be legally administered by the praetor.

These cities were: This was regulated by the lex Hieronica, named for King Hiero II, which established the amount to be taxed on each crop of the territory. These cities did not enjoy the rights of the two previous classes as they had been conquered after offering resistance. Most of the Sicilian population centres were civitates decumanae 4. Cicero reports that there were very few cities that fell into this category. Their land was given to the Romans as an ager publicus, that is it no longer belonged to the citizens but to the Roman conquerors of the city.

The names of all the civitates censoriae are not known; some say they were only six and some say they were many. Syracuse and Drepanum were civitates censoriae. Sicilian revolt After Verres, Sicily recovered rapidly, although not reimbursed for the robberies of the former praetor. Caesar's opponents had grasped the strategic importance of the island of Sicily as a base for attacking North Africa or for defending against an attack from Africa.

However, after Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon and began the civil war he took control of the island; Asinius Pollio was sent as Caesar's emissary, to remove the governor of the island at the time, Cato the Younger. The Caesarians were therefore able to embark from Lilybaeum to attack the supporters of Pompey in North Africa. He came into conflict with the Second Triumvirate , consisting of Octavian , Mark Antony , and Lepidus and was proscribed under the lex Pedia for collecting other proscribed individuals and slaves from Epirus and carrying out various acts of piracy.

He therefore took control Mylae , Tyndaris and then Messana. After this, all of Sicily had to submit to him. Initially, Octavian could do little about this, but then the people at Rome forced a compromise. In exchange, Sextus Pompey promised to end the blockade of Rome, resume the Sicilian grain supply to Rome and not to gather any more slaves. The conflict involved perhaps , men and 1, warships and wrecked great devastation on Sicily. The territory of Tyndaris and Messina was the most damaged.

Thirty thousand slaves in Sextus Pompey's service were captured; the majority were returned to their masters, but about 6,, who had no masters, were impaled. In 27 BC, the Senate formalised this situation and he assumed the title of Augustus. A portion of Sicily remained imperial property, while large areas, probably in the Plain of Catania , were given to Agrippa.

When he died, the majority of his property passed to Augustus and it is possible that other Sicilian land came into Augustus' possession in a similar way. Other farmland, especially on the eastern and northern coasts, was given to Italian veterans who had served in Augustus' legions.

A number of coloniae — cities composed of veterans — were established by Augustus on Sicily, but the exact chronology is unclear. We know for certain that the first measures were taken in 36 BC, when Tauromenium was made into a colonia. At the end of the process, six Sicilian cities had become coloniae:

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Hannibal himself had sent two brothers of Syracusan descent, Hippocrates and Epicydes, in order to rouse the people against the Romans. The Carthaginians also sent troops to the island and contended with the Romans for control of the island. The conquest of Syracuse in BC by the forces of Marcellus was a decisive moment for the war, which resulted either from the betrayal of the city by members of the Syracusan aristocracy, [27] or by a Spanish mercenary in the Carthaginian camp.

The task of organising the elections was expected to fall to Marcellus as senior consul, but he sent a letter to the Senate when it recalled him, declaring that it would be harmful to the Republic to leave Hannibal to his own devices. When the Senate received this, there was debate as to whether it was better to recall the consul from campaign even though he was unwilling or to cancel the elections of consuls for BC.

The senate ordered the Urban praetor , Lucius Manlius Acidinus to take a letter to Valerius, along with that sent to the Senate by Marcellus, and to explain to him why they had decided to recall him. Not only was all independence of Sicily brought to an end, but the majority of the islands commercial activities were redirected toward Italy. The first of these is known as the First Servile War c. Eunus defeated the Roman army several times, but in he was vanquished by Consul Publius Rupilius near Messina; the war ended with the capture of Tauromenium and Enna in BC, and about 20, of the unfortunate slaves were crucified.

This war was terminated by Manius Aquillius. At the end of Sulla's second civil war , in 82 BC, Pompey , a very rich and talented young general, was sent to Sicily by the dictator, Sulla , to recover the island from the supporters of Marius and thereby secure the grain supply to Rome. Pompey crushed the opposition and, when the cities complained he responded with one of his most famous statements, reported by Plutarch as "why do you keep praising the laws before me when I am wearing a sword?

Some communities continued to possess a popular assembly, but there was an increasing concentration of power in the hands of local elites.

Praetorship of Gaius Verres[ edit ] From 73—71 BC, the praetor of the province was Gaius Verres who was denounced by the Sicilians for extortion, theft, and robbery and was prosecuted in Rome by Cicero whose speeches against him, known as the Verrines , still survive.

Since these speeches are the main evidence for Verres' actions, it is hard to get an objective idea of the impact of his activities on Sicily. Cicero emphasised Verres' very harsh implementation of the grain tax for his personal profit rather than that of the Republic and the theft of artworks, including sacred votive offerings.

Verres had expected the power of his friends and the deft manipulation of legal procedure to ensure his acquittal, but after Cicero's blisteringly effective first speech, he fled into exile. War on Pirates[ edit ] In 70 BC, the praetor Caecilius Metellus fought successfully against the pirates which infested the seas around Sicily [40] [41] and Campania , [42] who went on to plunder Gaeta and Ostia 69—68 BC [43] and captured the daughter of Marcus Antonius Orator at Misenum.

In the course of the subsequent war against the pirates in 67 BC, the sea around Sicily was assigned to Plotius Varus. All the Sicilian cities enjoyed a certain autonomy and issued small coins, but were divided into four legal and administrative classes: They enjoyed a much greater freedom than non-federated cities.

Rome had conceded to them, as a reward for their demonstrated friendship, a bilateral treaty that recognised the precise duties and rights of citizens and very rarely were they liable to pay the decumena or tenth , or the tax on their harvest. They could also retain ownership of their lands, could govern themselves and therefore they were very similar to the allied cities of the Italian peninsula, except that the right of Roman citizenship was not granted to the islanders.

There were three foederatae civitates: Messina , Tauromenium and Notum 2. However these rights were very favourable compared to the subsequent classes.

Although they were not allied, they were exempt from the payment of the decuma and could freely administer their internal affairs, without having to follow Roman law ius romanus.

They could elect their own magistrates, senate and, more significantly, they were free from the jurisdiction of provincial magistrates and their territory could not be legally administered by the praetor. These cities were: This was regulated by the lex Hieronica, named for King Hiero II, which established the amount to be taxed on each crop of the territory. These cities did not enjoy the rights of the two previous classes as they had been conquered after offering resistance. Most of the Sicilian population centres were civitates decumanae 4.

Cicero reports that there were very few cities that fell into this category. Their land was given to the Romans as an ager publicus, that is it no longer belonged to the citizens but to the Roman conquerors of the city.

The names of all the civitates censoriae are not known; some say they were only six and some say they were many. Syracuse and Drepanum were civitates censoriae. Sicilian revolt After Verres, Sicily recovered rapidly, although not reimbursed for the robberies of the former praetor. Caesar's opponents had grasped the strategic importance of the island of Sicily as a base for attacking North Africa or for defending against an attack from Africa.

However, after Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon and began the civil war he took control of the island; Asinius Pollio was sent as Caesar's emissary, to remove the governor of the island at the time, Cato the Younger. The Caesarians were therefore able to embark from Lilybaeum to attack the supporters of Pompey in North Africa. He came into conflict with the Second Triumvirate , consisting of Octavian , Mark Antony , and Lepidus and was proscribed under the lex Pedia for collecting other proscribed individuals and slaves from Epirus and carrying out various acts of piracy.

He therefore took control Mylae , Tyndaris and then Messana. After this, all of Sicily had to submit to him. Initially, Octavian could do little about this, but then the people at Rome forced a compromise. In exchange, Sextus Pompey promised to end the blockade of Rome, resume the Sicilian grain supply to Rome and not to gather any more slaves.

The conflict involved perhaps , men and 1, warships and wrecked great devastation on Sicily. The territory of Tyndaris and Messina was the most damaged. Thirty thousand slaves in Sextus Pompey's service were captured; the majority were returned to their masters, but about 6,, who had no masters, were impaled. In 27 BC, the Senate formalised this situation and he assumed the title of Augustus. A portion of Sicily remained imperial property, while large areas, probably in the Plain of Catania , were given to Agrippa.

When he died, the majority of his property passed to Augustus and it is possible that other Sicilian land came into Augustus' possession in a similar way.

Other farmland, especially on the eastern and northern coasts, was given to Italian veterans who had served in Augustus' legions. A number of coloniae — cities composed of veterans — were established by Augustus on Sicily, but the exact chronology is unclear. We know for certain that the first measures were taken in 36 BC, when Tauromenium was made into a colonia.

At the end of the process, six Sicilian cities had become coloniae: The influx of population represented by these foundations may have been intended to compensate for a demographic slump resulting from the war with Sextus Pompey, or from Augustus' excorciation of the island after his victory.

It may be that these privileges were restricted to the aristocracy. No veterans were settled in these settlements; they were simply compensated for their loyalty by Augustus. It is reasonable to presume that, like other coloniae outside Italy, the Sicilian coloniae paid tribute. The grain tithe was replaced by the stipendium, a property tax, and there may also have been a poll tax.

It is possible that Augustus made this reform as a result of the new role played by Egypt as the source of the grain supply, although the produce of the Emperor's Sicilian farms continued to be sent to Rome. Emperor Vespasian 69—79 settled veterans and freedmen at Panormos and Segesta. The latifundia , or great private estates, specialising in agriculture destined for export grain, olive oil, wine played a large role in society and in the economy in this period.

During the first two centuries AD Sicily underwent economic depression and urban life declined, the countryside was deserted and the wealthy owners were not resident, as indicated by the lack of dwellings at various levels. In addition, the Roman government neglected the territory and it became a place of exile and refuge for slaves and brigands.

According to the Historia Augusta a notoriously unreliable fourth century text , there was a slave revolt in Sicily under the Emperor Gallienus — Rural Sicily entered a new period of prosperity at the beginning of the 4th century, with commercial settlements and farm villages that seem to reach the pinnacle of their expansion and activity. The reasons seem to be twofold: Secondly, the most prosperous equestrian and senatorial ranks began to abandon urban life by retreating to their country estates, due to the growing tax burden and the expenses they were obliged to sustain the poor masses.

Their lands were cultivated no longer by slaves, but by colonists. Considerable sums of money were spent to enlarge, embellish, and make their villas more comfortable. An obvious sign of transformation is the new title assigned to the governor of the island, from a corrector to consularis.

Latifundia[ edit ] The origin of the latifundia in Sicily, as elsewhere, was the ager publicus from the spoils of war, confiscated from conquered peoples from the early 2nd century BC. Latifundia could be used for livestock sheep and cattle or cultivation of olive oil, grain, and wine. They distressed Pliny the Elder died AD 79 as he travelled, seeing only slaves working the land, not the sturdy Roman farmers who had been the backbone of the Republic's army.

The latifundia quickly started economic consolidation as larger estates achieved greater economies of scale and senators did not pay land taxes. Owners re-invested their profits by purchasing smaller neighbouring farms, since smaller farms had a lower productivity and could not compete, in an ancient precursor of agribusiness. By the 2nd century AD, latifundia had displaced small farms as the agricultural foundation of the Roman Empire. This effect contributed to the destabilising of Roman society; as the small farms of the Roman peasantry were bought up by the wealthy and with their vast supply of slaves, the landless peasantry were forced into idleness, relying greatly on handouts.

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