Date of Award

Fall 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Spencer Pope


Sean Corner



Committee Member

Kathryn Mattison


The aim of this thesis has been to investigate and analyze the tyranny of the Deinomenids (491 – 466 BC), a family who controlled several Greek colonies located on the island of Sicily. Modern classical scholarship has often ignored the history and contributions this family has made to the Greek world or has taken a limited view of the family.

I intend to present a comprehensive account of the Deinomenids and to demonstrate how this family, which has received little attention, played a major role in the Greek world. I will look into several aspects regarding their tyranny that have often been overlooked, including the ways in which they invented claims about themselves and manipulated their identities in order to elevate their status as rulers in Sicily. In addition to this, I will use the Deinomenids as a case study to illustrate the tension felt between the mainland and the Greek colonies in Sicily, as well as demonstrating how the West influenced and informed many of the advancements seen on the mainland in later generations.

The first section of this thesis will investigate Greek tyranny and Greek colonization in the West. This will provide the backdrop of my study of the Deinomenids. The next section will present a catalogue of the historical, literary, and archaeological evidence that survives regarding the family. The third section will focus on the various methods that the family used to secure their powerbase in Sicily. This included using poetry, coinage, buildings, and religious cults. The last section will look at the aftermath of the Deinomenid tyranny and the long-lasting impact their rule had on Sicily and the mainland of Greece.

McMaster University Library