Siege of Trinacie, c.440 BC

The siege of Trinacie (c.440 BC) was one of the final stages in the Greek conquest of the Sicels, the native inhabitants of eastern Sicily.

For part of the previous two decades the Sicels had been led by Ducetius, a successful leader who had inflicted some defeats on the Greeks before being forced into exile. He then returned, probably as an ally of Syracuse, and founded a new city at Cale Acte (the fair shore) on the north coast of Sicily. In 440 BC, while attempting to reclaim leadership of the Sicels, Ducetius had died of an illness.

By this time Syracuse had gained control of all of the Sicel towns apart from one named by Diodorus as Trinacie. This town, described by Diodorus as having 'always occupied the chief position amongst the cities of the Siceli', is otherwise unknown, and may be a reference to Palice, a religious and administrative centre founded by Ducetius. However Diodorus describes Trinacie in a way that suggests it was older than that. The date of this siege is also uncertain, but probably happened soon after the death of Ducetius, as one of the Syracusan motives was a fear that the people of Trinacie would try and claim leadership of the Sicels.

Syracuse decided to send an army to conquer Trinacie. Despite having no allies and thus no hope of relief the defenders of the city fought on until most of the men had been killed. Eventually the city fell. The Syracusans sold the surviving inhabitants into slavery, destroyed the city and sent the best of the loot to the temple at Delphi.

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (28 August 2012), Siege of Trinacie, c.440 BC ,

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