Rise of Agathocles

Agathocles, tyrant and later king of Syracuse, went from being the son of a potter to one of the most powerful men in the Mediterranean world.  As a youth, he was a prostitute, to men as a boy and to women as a man.  He then joined the army and became a bandit captain.  He attempted twice to seize the tyranny of Syracuse, but failed, only to succeed with Carthaginian help.  He slaughtered the senate at a stroke and held supreme power for the rest of his life, securely enough that he even left a besieged Syracuse for Africa in order to attack Carthage directly, with no attempts made against him at home.  He died surrounded by his weeping family, still secure in his power until the end.

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