The battle of Motyum in 451 was the most important battlefield victory
won by the Sicel leader Ducetius, but he was defeated at Nomae in the following
year and forced into exile. Ducetius first appeared in 461 BC when he
cooperated with the Syracusans in an attack on Catana. Over the next few years
he appears to have concentrated on consolidating his power over the Sicels and
in 453/2 he established a new administrative and religious capital at Palice.
After creating a powerful Sicel league Ducetius decided to turn on the Greeks.
His first target was the city of Aetna, founded by the defeated colonists of
Catana. In 451 Ducetius captured this city. He then moved south and besieged
Motyum, a city held and garrisoned by the city of Akragas (a major Greek city
on the south coast of Sicily). This was a direct threat to the Greek powers of
Sicily. Akragas and Syracuse both raised armies and late in the autumn advanced
towards Motyum to lift the siege. Ducetius must have raised quite a powerful
army by 451 BC, for when the combined Greek armies approached he was willing to
offer battle. The resulting fight ended as a victory for Ducetius. Both Greek
armies were forced to abandon their camps, and retreated back to their home
cities. In Syracuse a scapegoat was soon found. Bolcon, commander of the
Syracusan army at the battle was accused of having secret dealing with
Ducetius, convicted of treason and executed. Diodorus doesn't tell us what
happened in Akragas. Ducetius's triumph would be short-lived. In 450 BC both
Syracuse and Akragas put fresh armies into the field. This time the Syracusans
defeated Ducetius at the battle of Nomae, while Akragas recaptured Motyum.
Ducetius sought protection in Syracuse, and was briefly exiled from Sicily.