1. A Syracusan, who shared with Heracleides in the chief direction of the affairs of his native country, a few years previous to the elevation of Agathocles.
The account given by Diodorus of the steps by which they had raised themselves to power is lost, but that author tells us in general terms that they were men accustomed to treachery, bloodshed, and every species of crime. (Diod. 19.3
, and Wesseling, ad loc.
) We find them both holding the joint command of an expedition sent by the Syracusans to assist the Crotoniats against the Bruttians. as well as of a subsequent armament which laid siege to Rhegium; but Sosistratus appears to have held the first place, and we soon after find him spoken of as having raised himself to the rank of tyrant or absolute ruler of Syracuse.
The revolution, by which he effected this, appears to have been connected with a victory of the oligarchical party in the city, but their triumph was of short duration, and Sosistratus himself was soon after expelled from Syracuse together with 600 of the leading men of the aristocratical party. War now arose between the democratic party, who remained in possession of Syracuse, and the exiles, in which the latter, supported by assistance from the Carthaginians, were not only able to maintain their ground, but, after many vicissitudes of fortune, procured their recal to their native city.
It is doubtful whether Sosistratus himself was included in the accommodation which appears to have reinstated the oligarchy in the chief power, as his name does not occur in the revolutions which followed, and which ended in the elevation of Agathocles. B. C. 317. (Diod. 19.3
At a subsequent period however (B. C. 314) we find him mentioned as one of the most active and able of the Syracusan exiles assembled at Agrigentum, who from thence carried on war against Agathocles; and the prominent place which he occupied at this time directed against him the especial enmity of the Spartan Acrotatus, who in consequence contrived to remove him by assassination. (Diod. 19.71
It is singular that Polyaenus (5.37
) seems to represent Sosistratus as acquiring the sovereign power after
Agathocles, instead of before him : but the circumstances related by him are wholly irreconcilable with the narrative of Diodorus. (Compare also Trog. Pomp. Prol. xxi.)