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Area: Sicily, Messana: The Mamertini
Period: 220 - 200 BC
Denomination: AE Pentonkion
Obverse: Laureate head of Zeus right.
Reverse: Naked warrior advancing right, holding spear and shield on arm, in attacking pose right. "ΜΑΜΕΡΤΩΝ" To right: "Π"
Reference: BMC 26; Hoover HGC 853; Calciati 40; SNG ANS 441.
Weight: 10.7 gms
Diameter: 25.3 mm


"Mamertini" comes from "Mamers", the Oscan name for Mars. They were a band of Campanian (Oscan) mercenary soldiers, hired by the Tyrant of Syracuse, Agathocles to prosecute his war with the Carthaginians. On the death of Agathocles, the Mamertines seized Messina. They were beseiged by Hiero II of Syracuse and so sought the aid of both the Romans and the Carthaginians. This lead to the First Punic War (264-241 BC) between the two super-powers.

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