Mago (fleet commander)

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For the Carthaginian general, see Mago (general).

Mago (Greek: Μάγων) was commander of the Carthaginian fleet under Himilco in the war against Dionysius I of Syracuse, 396 BCE.

He is particularly mentioned as holding that post in the great sea-fight off Catania, when he totally defeated the fleet of the Syracusans under Leptines, the brother of Dionysius, sinking or destroying above 100 of their ships, besides capturing many others. (Diod. xiv. 59, 60.) We have no information as to the part he bore in the subsequent operations against Syracuse itself; but after the disastrous termination of the expedition, and the return of Himilco to Africa, Mago appears to have been invested with the chief command in Sicily, where he endeavored by measures of lenity and conciliation towards the Greek cities, and by concluding alliances with the Sicilian tribes, to reestablish the Carthaginian power in the island. In 393 BCE he advanced against Messana (modern Messina), but was attacked and defeated by Dionysius near Abacaenum, which compelled him to remain quiet for a time. The next year, however, having received powerful reinforcements from Sardinia and Africa, he assembled an army of 80,000 men, with which he advanced through the heart of Sicily as far as the river Chrysas, but was there met by Dionysius, who having secured the alliance of Agyris, tyrant of Agyrium, succeeded in cutting off the supplies of the enemy, and by this means reduced them to such distress, that Mago was compelled to conclude a treaty of peace, by which he abandoned his allies, the Sicilians, to the power of Dionysius. (Id. xiv. 90, 95, 96.) After this Mago returned to Carthage, where he was not long after raised to the office of suffete, a dignity which he held in 383 BCE, when the ambition and intrigues of Dionysius led to the renewal of hostilities between Carthage and Syracuse. Mago landed in Sicily with a large army, and after numerous petty combats, a pitched battle at length took place, in which, after a severe contest, the Carthaginians were defeated, and Mago himself slain.[1]

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  1. ^ Diod. xv. 15.