Although Carthage had scored some resounding victories against Syracuse, in the fourth century BC, she came up against a significant challenge in the person of Dionysius, Tyrant of Syracuse. A former mercenary captain, an ambitious ruler but a mediocre poet, Dionysius would rule Syracuse for 38 years. Ambitious, bold, and cunning, Dionysius revitalized Syracuse into a fighting machine, fielding a massive army and navy to challenge Carthage's rule over in Sicily. Through fierce fighting both on sea and land, Dionysius succeeded in placing Carthage on the defensive and humiliating the Magonids, although he never achieved his goal of driving the Carthaginians from Sicily. Nonetheless, his preparations and institutions allowed Syracuse to fight Carthage to a standstill, no mean feat considering the wealth and power Carthage could bring to bear in the conflict.
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