[image ALT: Much of my site will be useless to you if you've got the images turned off!]
Bill Thayer

[image ALT: Click here for the text in ancient Greek.]

[image ALT: Cliccare qui per una pagina di aiuto in Italiano.]

[Link to a series of help pages]
[Link to the next level up]
[Link to my homepage]
[image ALT: a blank space]

This webpage reproduces one of
The Parallel Lives


published in Vol. VI
of the Loeb Classical Library edition,

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


[image ALT: link to next section]

(Vol. VI) Plutarch, The Parallel Lives

 p3  The Life of Dion

958 If it be true, then, O Sossius Senecio,​1 as Simonides says,​2 that Ilium "is not wroth with the Corinthians" for coming up against her with the Achaeans, because the Trojans also had Glaucus, who sprang from Corinth, as a zealous ally, so it is likely that neither Romans nor Greeks will quarrel with the Academy, since they fare alike in this treatise containing the lives of Dion and Brutus, 2 for Dion was an immediate disciple of Plato, while Brutus was nourished on the doctrines of Plato. Both therefore set out from one training-school, as it were, to engage in the greatest struggles. 3 And we need not wonder that, in the performance of actions that were often kindred and alike, they bore witness to the doctrine of their teacher in virtue, that wisdom and justice must be united with power and good fortune if public careers are to take on beauty as well as grandeur. 4 For as Hippomachus the trainer used to declareº that he could recognize his pupils from afar even though they were but carrying meat from the market-place, so it is natural that the principles of those who have been trained alike should permeate their actions, inducing in these a similar rhythm and harmony along with their propriety.

 p5  2 1 Moreover, the fortunes of the two men, which were the same in what befell them rather than in what they elected to do, make their lives alike. 2 For both were cut off untimely, without being able to achieve the objects to which they had determined to devote the fruits of their many and great struggles. 3 But the most wonder­ful thing of all was that Heaven gave to both an intimation of their approaching death, by the visible appearance to each alike of an ill-boding spectre. 4 And yet there are those who deny such things and say that no man in his right mind was ever visited by a spectre or an apparition from Heaven, but that little children and foolish women and men deranged by sickness, in some aberration of spirit or distemper of body, have indulged in empty and strange imaginings, because they had the evil genius of superstition in themselves. 5 But if Dion and Brutus, men of solid understanding and philosophic training and not easily cast down are over­powered by anything that happened to them, were so affected by a spectre that they actually told others about it, I do not know but we shall be compelled to accept that most extraordinary doctrine of the oldest times, that mean and malignant spirits, 6 in envy of good men and opposition to their noble deeds, try to confound and terrify them, causing their virtue to rock and totter, in order that they may not continue erect and inviolate in the path of honour and so attain a better portion after death than the spirits themselves. 7 But this subject must be reserved for discussion elsewhere, and in this, the twelfth book3  p7 of my Parallel Lives, I shall begin with that of the elder man.

3 1 Dionysius the Elder, after assuming the reins of government,​4 at once married the daughter of Hermocrates the Syracusan. 9592 But she, since the tyranny was not yet securely established, was terribly and outrageously abused in her person by the seditious Syracusans, and in consequence put an end to her own life. 3 Then Dionysius, after resuming the power and making himself strong again, married two wives at once, one from Locri, whose name was Doris, the other a native of the city, Aristomache, daughter of Hipparinus, who was a leading man in Syracuse, and had been a colleague of Dionysius when he was first chosen general with full powers for the war. 4 It is said that he married both wives on one day, and that no man ever knew with which of the two he first consorted, but that ever after he continued to devote himself alike to each; it was their custom to sup with him together, and they shared his bed at night by turns. 5 And yet the people of Syracuse wished that their countrywoman should be honoured above the stranger; but Doris had the good fortune to become a mother first, and by presenting Dionysius with his eldest son she atoned for her foreign birth. 6 Aristomache, on the contrary, was for a long time a barren wife, although Dionysius was desirous to have children by her; at any rate, he accused the mother of his Locrian wife of giving Aristomache drugs to prevent conception, and put her to death.

4 1 Now, Dion was a brother of Aristomache, and at first was honoured because of his sister; afterwards,  p9 however, he gave proof of his wisdom, and was presently beloved by the tyrant for his own sake. 2 In addition to all his other favours, Dionysius ordered his treasurers to give Dion whatever he asked, although they were to tell Dionysius on the same day what they had given. 3 But though Dion was even before of a lofty character, magnanimous, and manly, he advanced still more in these high qualities when, by some divine good fortune, Plato came to Sicily.​5 4 This was not of man's devising, but some heavenly power, as it would seem, laying far in advance of the time a foundation for the liberty of Syracuse, and devising a subversion of tyranny, brought Plato from Italy to Syracuse and made Dion his disciple. 5 Dion was then quite young, but of all the companions of Plato 6 he was by far the quickest to learn and the readiest to answer the call of virtue, as Plato himself has written,​6 and as events testify. For though he had been reared in habits of submission under a tyrant, and though he was fully accustomed to a life that was subservient and timorous, as well as to ostentatious service at court and vulgar luxury and a regimen that counts pleasures and excesses as the highest good, 7 nevertheless, as soon as he got a taste of a rational philosophy which led the way to virtue, his soul was speedily on fire; from his own ready obedience to the call of higher things, that the same arguments would have a like persuasive force with Dionysius, he earnestly set to work and at last brought it to pass that the tyrant, in a leisure hours, should meet Plato and hear him discourse.

 p11  5 1 At this meeting the general subject was human virtue, and most of the discussion turned upon manliness. And when Plato set forth that tyrants least of all men had this quality, and then, treating of justice, maintained that the life of the just was blessed, while that of the unjust was wretched, 2 the tyrant, as if convicted by his arguments, would not listen to them, and was vexed with the audience because they admired the speaker and were charmed by his utterances. 3 At last he got exceedingly angry and asked the philosopher why he had come to Sicily. 4 And when Plato said that he was come to seek a virtuous man, the tyrant answered and said: "Well, by the gods, it appears that you have not yet found such an one." 5 Dion thought that this was the end of his anger, 960and as Plato was eager for it, sent him away upon a trireme, which was conveying Pollis the Spartan to Greece. 6 But Dionysius privily requested Pollis to kill Plato on the voyage, if it were in any way possible, but if not, at all events to sell him into slavery; for he would take no harm, but would be quite as happy, being a just man, even if he should become a slave. 7 Pollis, therefore, as we are told, carried Plato to Aegina and there sold him; for the Aeginetans were at war with the Athenians and had made a decree that any Athenian taken on the island should be put up for sale.

8 In spite of all this, Dion stood in no less honour and credit with Dionysius than before, but had the management of the most important embassies, as, for instance, when he was sent to Carthage and won  p13 great admiration. The tyrant also bore with his freedom of speech, and Dion was almost the only one who spoke his mind fearlessly, as, for example, when he rebuked Dionysius for what he said about Gelon. 9 The tyrant was ridiculing the government of Gelon,​7 and when he said that Gelon himself, true to his name, became the laughing-stock ("gelos") of Sicily, the rest of his hearers pretended to admire the joke, but Dion was disgusted and said: "Indeed, thou art now tyrant because men trusted thee for Gelon's sake; but no man hereafter will be trusted for thy sake." 10 For, as a matter of fact, Gelon seems to have made a city under absolute rule a very fair thing to look upon, but Dionysius a very shameful thing.

6 1 Dionysius had three children by his Locrian wife, and four by Aristomache, two of whom were daughters, Sophrosyne and Arete. Sophrosyne became the wife of his son Dionysius,​8 and Arete of his brother Thearides, but after the death of Thearides, Arete became the wife of Dion, her uncle. 2 Now, when Dionysius was sick and seemed likely to die, Dion tried to confer with him in the interests of his children by Aristomache, but the physicians, who wished to ingratiate themselves with the heir apparent, would not permit it; 3 moreover, according to Timaeus, when the sick man asked for a sleeping potion, they gave him one that robbed him of his sense and made death follow sleep.9

4 However, in the first conference held between the young Dionysius and his friends, Dion discoursed upon the needs of the situation in such a manner  p15 that his wisdom made all the rest appear children, and his boldness of speech made them seem mere slaves of tyranny, who were wont to give their counsels timorously and ignobly to gratify the young man. 5 But what most amazed them in their fear of the peril that threatened the realm from Carthage, was Dion's promise that, if Dionysius wanted peace, he would sail at once to Africa and put a stop to the war on the best terms possible; but if war was the king's desire, he himself would furnish him with fifty swift triremes for the war, and maintain them at his own costs.

7 1 Dionysius, then, was greatly astonished at his magnanimity and delighted with his ardour; 2 but the other courtiers, thinking themselves put out of countenance by Dion's generosity and humbled by his power, began hostilities forthwith, and said everything they could to embitter the young king against him, accusing him of stealing into the position of tyrant by means of his power on the sea, and of using his ships to divert the power into the hands of the children of Aristomache, who were his nephews and nieces. 3 But the strongest and most apparent grounds for their envy and hatred of him lay in the difference between his way of life and theirs, and in his refusal to mingle with others. 4 For from the very outset they obtained converse and intimacy with a tyrant who was young and had been badly reared by means of pleasures and flatteries, and were ever contriving for him sundry amours, idle amusements with wine and women, and other unseemly pastimes. 9615 In this way the tyranny, being softened, like iron in the fire, appeared to its subjects to be kindly, and gradually remitted its excessive  p17 cruelty, though its edge was blunted not so much by any clemency in the sovereign as by his love of ease. 6 As a consequence, the laxity of the young king gained ground little by little, until at last those "adamantine bonds" with which the elder Dionysius said he had left the monarchy fastened, were melted and destroyed. 7 For it is said that the young king once kept up a drinking bout for ninety consecutive days from its beginning, and that during this time the court gave no access or admission to men or matters of consequence, but drunkenness and raillery and music and dancing and buffoonery held full sway.

8 1 Dion, then, as was natural, was obnoxious to these men, since he indulged in no pleasure or youthful folly, And so they tried to calumniate him by actually giving to his virtues plausible names of vices; for instance, they called his dignity haughtiness, and his boldness of speech self-will. Even when he admonished, he was thought to denounce, and when he would not share men's sins, to despise. 2 And in very truth his character had naturally a certain majesty, together with a harshness that repelled intercourse and was hard to deal with. 3 For not only to a man who was young and whose ears had been corrupted by flattery was he an unpleasant and irksome associate, but many also who were intimate with him and who loved the simplicity and nobility of his disposition, were apt to find fault with the manner of his intercourse with men, on the ground that he dealt with those who sought his aid more rudely and harshly than was needful in public life. 4 On this head Plato also afterwards wrote to him,​10 in a tone almost prophetic, that he should  p19 be on his guard against self-will, which was a "companion of solitude."​11 5 However, at this time, though circumstances led men to think him of more value than any one else, and the only or the chief supporter and guardian of storm-tossed tyranny, he knew that it was not out of goodwill, but against the wishes of the tyrant and owing to his needs, that he was first and greatest.

9 1 Considering, then, that a reason for this lay in the tyrant's want of education, he sought to engage him in liberal studies, and to give him a taste of such literature and science as formed the character, in order that he might cease to be afraid of virtue, and become accustomed to take delight in what was high and noble. 2 For by nature Dionysius did not belong to the worst class of tyrants, but his father, fearing that if he should get wisdom and associate with men of sense, he would plot against him and rob him of his power, used to keep him closely shut up at home, where, through lack of association with others and in ignorance of affairs, as we are told, he made little waggons and lampstands and wooden chairs and tables. 3 For the elder Dionysius was so distrustful and suspicious towards every body, and his fear led him to be so much on his guard, that he would not even have his hair cut with barbers' scissors, but a hairdresser would come and singe his locks with a live coal. 4 Neither his brother nor his son could visit him in his apartment wearing any clothes they pleased, but every one had to take off his own apparel before entering and put on another, after the guards had seen him stripped. 5 And once, when his brother Leptines was describing to  p21 him the nature of a place, and drew the plan of it on the ground with a spear which he took from one of his body-guards, he was extremely angry with him, and had the man who gave him the spear put to death. 6 He used to say, too, that he was on his guard against his friends who were men of sense, because he knew that they would rather be tyrants than subjects of a tyrant. 7 And he slew Marsyas, one of those whom he had advanced to positions of high command, for having dreamed that he killed him, 962declaring that this vision must have visited his sleep because in his waking hours he had purposed and planned such a deed. 8 Yes, the man who was angry with Plato because he would not pronounce him the most valiant man alive, had a spirit as timorous as this, and so full of all the evils induced by cowardice.

10 1 This tyrant's son, as I have said, Dion saw to be dwarfed and deformed in character from his lack of education, and therefore exhorted him to apply himself to study, and to use every entreaty with the first of philosophers to come to Sicily, 2 and, when he came, to become his disciple, in order that his character might be regulated by the principles of virtue, and that he might be conformed to that divinest and most beauti­ful model of all being, in obedience to whose direction the universe issues from disorder into order; 3 in this way he would procure great happiness for himself, and great happiness for his people, and that obedience which they now rendered dejectedly and under the compulsion of his authority, this his moderation and justice would base upon goodwill and a filial spirit, and he would become a king instead of a tyrant. 4 For the "adamantine bonds" of sovereignty were not, as his  p23 father used to say, fear and force and a multitude of ships and numberless barbarian body-guards, but goodwill and ardour and favour engendered by virtue and justice; these, though they were more flexible than the bonds of severity and harshness, were stronger to maintain a lasting leader­ship. 5 And besides all this, it was mean and spiritless in a ruler, while his body was magnificently clothed and his habitation resplendent with luxurious furnishings, to be no more majestic in his intercourse and conversation than an ordinary man, and not to insist that the royal palace of his soul should be adorned in meet and royal fashion.

11 1 Since Dion frequently gave him such advice, and artfully mingled with it some of Plato's doctrines, Dionysius was seized with a keen and even frenzied passion for the teachings and companion­ship of Plato. 2 At once, then, many letters began to come to Athens from Dionysius, and many injunctions from Dion, as well as others from the Pythagorean philosophers of Italy, all of whom urged Plato to come and get control of a youthful soul now tossed about on a sea of great authority and power, and steady it by his weighty reasonings. 3 Plato, accordingly, as he tells us himself,​12 out of shame more than any thing else, lest men should think him nothing but theory and unwilling to take any action; and further, because he expected that by the purification of one man, who was, as it were, a controlling factor, he would cure all Sicily of her distempers, yielded to these requests.

4 But the enemies of Dion, afraid of the alteration in Dionysius, persuaded him to recall from exile  p25 Philistus, a man versed in letters and acquainted with the ways of tyrants, that they might have in him a counterpoise to Plato and philosophy. 5 For Philistus at the outset had most zealously assisted in establishing the tyranny, and for a long time was commander of the garrison that guarded the citadel. There was a story, too, that he was very intimate with the mother of the elder Dionysius, and that the tyrant was not wholly ignorant of the fact. 6 But when Leptines, who had two daughters by a woman whom he had corrupted when she was living with another man and then taken to wife, gave one of them to Philistus without so much as telling Dionysius, the tyrant was wroth, put the wife of Leptines into fetters and prison, and banished Philistus from Sicily. Philistus took refuge with some friends in Adria, and there, it would seem, in his leisure, composed the better part of his history. 7 For he did not return to Syracuse while the elder Dionysius was alive, but after his death, 963as I have said, the envy which the other courtiers felt towards Dion brought about his recall; they thought him a more suitable man for their purposes, and a stauncher friend of the tyranny.

12 1 Philistus, then, as soon as he had returned, was in close touch with the tyranny; and there were others also who brought slanders and accusations against Dion to the tyrant, alleging that he had been in conference with Theodotes and Heracleides concerning a subversion of the government. 2 For Dion had hopes, as it seems likely, that by means of the visit of Plato he could mitigate the arrogance and excessive severity of the tyranny, and convert Dionysius into a fit and lawful ruler; 3 but if  p27 Dionysius should oppose his efforts and refuse to be softened, he had determined to depose him and restore the civil power to the Syracusan people; not that he approved of a democracy, but he thought it altogether better than a tyranny in lack of a sound and healthy aristocracy.

13 1 Such was the condition of affairs when Plato came to Sicily,​13 and in the first instances he met with astonishing friendliness and honour. 2 For a royal chariot, magnificently adorned, awaited him as he left his trireme, and the tyrant offered a sacrifice of thanksgiving for the great blessing that had been bestowed upon his government. 3 Moreover, the modesty that characterized his banquets, the decorum of the courtiers, and the mildness of the tyrant himself in all his dealings with the public, inspired the citizens with marvellous hopes of his reformation. 4 There was also something like a general rush for letters and philosophy, and the palace was filled with dust, as they say, owing to the multitude of geometricians there.​14 5 After a few days had passed, there was one of the customary sacrifices of the country in the palace grounds; and when the herald, as was the custom, prayed that the tyranny might abide unshaken for many generations, it is said that Dionysius, who was standing near, cried: 6 "Stop cursing us!" This quite vexed Philistus and his party, who thought that time and familiarity would render Plato's influence almost irresistible, if now, after a brief intimacy, he had so altered and transformed the sentiments of the youthful prince.

 p29  14 1 They therefore no longer abused Dion one by one and secretly, but all together and openly, saying that he was manifestly enchanting and bewitching Dionysius with Plato's doctrines, in order that the tyrant might of his own accord relinquish and give up the power, which Dion would then assume and devolve upon the children of Aristomache, whose uncle he was. 2 And some pretended to be indignant that the Athenians, who in former times had sailed to Sicily with large land and sea forces, but had perished utterly without taking Syracuse, 3 should now, by means of one sophist, overthrow the tyranny of Dionysius, by persuading him to dismiss his ten thousand body-guards, and abandon his four hundred triremes and his ten thousand horsemen and his many times that number of men-at‑arms, in order to seek in Academic philosophy for a mysterious good, and make geometry his guide to happiness, surrendering the happiness that was based on dominion and wealth and luxury to Dion and Dion's nephews and nieces.

4 As a consequence of all this, Dionysius became at first suspicious, and afterwards more openly angry and hostile, and just then a certain letter was secretly brought to him, which Dion had written to the Carthaginian officials, urging them, whenever they should treat with Dionysius for peace, not to hold their interview without including him, since he would help them to arrange everything securely. 5 This letter Dionysius read to Philistus, and after consulting with him, according to Timaeus, he beguiled Dion by a feigned reconciliation. 6 That is, after moderate protestations and a declaration that their quarrel was at an end, 964he led him off alone beneath the  p31 acropolis down to the sea, and then showed him the letter and accused him of conspiring with the Carthaginians against him. 7 And when Dion wished to defend himself, he would not suffer it, but at once placed him, just as he was, on board a small boat, and commanded the sailors in it to set him ashore in Italy.

15 1 At this proceeding, which seemed to men a cruel one, the women in the household of the tyrant put on mourning, but the citizens of Syracuse were cheered by the expectation of a revolution and a speedy change in the government, since Dion's treatment caused such a commotion and the rest of the courtiers distrusted the tyrant. 2 Dionysius saw this and was afraid, and sought to console the friends of Dion and the women by saying that he had not sent Dion into exile, but upon a journey, in order that his wrath at the man's self-will when at home might not drive him to do him some worse wrong. 3 He also handed over two ships to the kinsmen of Dion and bade them to put on board whatever property and servants of Dion's they pleased and convey them to him in Peloponnesus. 4 Now, Dion had great riches and an almost princely splendour of appointment in his way of living, and this his friends got together and conveyed to him. 5 Besides, many other things were sent to him from the women of the court and from his adherents, so that, as far as wealth and riches went, he was a brilliant figure among the Greeks, to whom the affluence of the exile gave some idea of the power of the tyrant.

16 1 As for Plato, Dionysius at once removed him to the acropolis, where he contrived to give  p33 him a guard of honour under pretence of hospitable kindness, in order that he might not accompany Dion and bear witness to his wrongs. 2 But after time and intercourse had accustomed Dionysius to tolerate his society and discourse, just as a wild beast learns to have dealings with men, he conceived a passion for him that was worthy of a tyrant, demanding that he alone should have his love returned by Plato and be admired beyond all others, and he was ready to entrust Plato with the administration of the tyranny if only he would not set his friendship for Dion above that which he had for him. 3 Now, this passion of his was a calamity for Plato, for the tyrant was mad with jealousy, as desperate lovers are, and in a short space of time would often be angry with him and as often beg to be reconciled; for he was extravagantly eager to hear his doctrines and share in his philosophical pursuits, but he dreaded the censure of those who tried to divert him from this course as likely to corrupt him.

4 At this juncture, however, a war broke out, and he sent Plato away, promising him that in the summer he would summon Dion home. 5 This promise, indeed, he immediately broke, but he kept sending to Dion the revenues from his property, and asked Plato to pardon his postponement of the time of Dion's recall, because of the war; 6 as soon as peace was made he would summon Dion home, and he asked him to be quiet, and to attempt no revolution, and to say no evil of him to the Greeks.

17 1 This Plato tried to effect, and kept Dion with him in the Academy, where he turned his attention to philosophy. 2 Dion dwelt in the upper city of Athens​15 with Callippus, one of his acquaintances,  p35 but for diversion he bought a country-place, and afterwards, when he sailed to Sicily, he gave this to Speusippus, 3 who was his most intimate friend at Athens. For Plato desired that Dion's disposition should be tempered and sweetened by association with men of charming presence who indulged seasonably in graceful pleasantries. 4 And such a man was Speusippus; wherefore Timon, in his "Silli," spoke of him as "good at a jest." 5 And when Plato himself was called upon to furnish a chorus of boys, Dion had the chorus trained and defrayed all the expense of its maintenance, and Plato encouraged in him such an ambition to please the Athenians, 965on the ground that it would procure goodwill for Dion rather than fame for himself.

6 Dion used to visit the other cities also, where he shared the leisure and festal enjoyments of the noblest and most statesmanlike men, manifesting in his conduct with them nothing that was rude or arrogant or effeminate, but rather great moderation, virtue, and manliness, and a becoming devotion to letters and philosophy. 7 This procured him the emulous goodwill of all men, and decrees of public honours from the cities. 8 The Lacedaemonians even made him a citizen of Sparta, without any regard for the anger of Dionysius, although at that time the tyrant was their zealous ally against the Thebans. 9 And it is related that Dion once went to pay a visit to Ptoeodorus the Megarian, upon his invitation. Now Ptoeodorus, it would seem, was one of the wealthy and influential men of the city; 10 and when, therefore, Dion saw a crowd of people at his door, and a press of business, which made him difficult of access and hard to come at, he turned to his friends, who were  p37 vexed and indignant at it, and said: "Why should we blame this man? For we ourselves used to do just so in Syracuse."

18 1 But as time went on, Dionysius became jealous of Dion and afraid of his popularity among the Greeks. He therefore stopped sending him his revenues, and handed his estate over to his own private stewards. 2 However, with a desire to make head against the bad repute which he had also won among the philosophers on Plato's account, he assembled at his court many men with a reputation for learning. 3 But he was ambitious to surpass them all in discussion, and was therefore driven to use inaptly what he had imperfectly learned from Plato. 4 So he yearned once more for that philosopher, and reproached himself for not having utilised his presence to learn all that he should have learned. 5 And since, like a tyrant, he was always extravagant in his desires and headstrong in all that he undertook, he set out at once to secure Plato, and, leaving no stone unturned, persuaded Archytas and his fellow Pythagoreans to become sureties for his agreements, and to summon Plato; for it was through Plato, in the first place, that he had entered into friendly relations with these philosophers. 6 So they sent Archedemus to Plato, and Dionysius also sent a trireme for him, and friends to entreat his return. 7 He also wrote to him himself in clear and express terms, saying that no mercy should be shown to Dion unless Plato were persuaded to come to Sicily; but if he were persuaded, every mercy. 8 Dion also received many injunctions from his wife and sister, that he should beg Plato to listen to Dionysius and not afford him an excuse for further severity. 9 Thus it  p39 was, then, that Plato, as he himself says, "came for the third time to the straits of Scylla,

That he might once more measure back his way to fell Charybdis."​16

19 1 His arrival filled Dionysius with great joy, and the Sicilians again with great hope; they all prayed and laboured zealously that Plato might triumph over Philistus, and philosophy over tyranny. 2 The women also were very earnest in his behalf, 3 and Dionysius gave him a special token of his trust, which no one else had, in the privilege of coming into his presence without being searched. The tyrant offered him, too, presents of money, much money and many times, but Plato would not accept them. Whereupon Aristippus of Cyrene, who was present on one of these occasions, said that Dionysius was safely munificent; for he offered little to men like him, who wanted more, but much to Plato, who would take nothing.

4 After the first acts of kindness, however, Plato introduced the subject of Dion, 5 and then there were postponements at first on the part of Dionysius, and afterwards faultfindings and disagreements. These were unnoticed by outsiders, since Dionysius tried to conceal them, 966and sought by the rest of his kind attentions and honourable treatment to draw Plato away from his goodwill towards Dion. And even Plato himself did not at first reveal the tyrant's perfidy and falsehood, but bore with it and dissembled his resentment. 6 But while matters stood thus between them, and no one knew of it, as they  p41 supposed, Helicon of Cyzicus, one of Plato's intimates, predicted an eclipse of the sun. This took place as he had predicted,​a in consequence of which he was admired by the tyrant and presented with a talent of silver. 7 Thereupon Aristippus, jesting with the rest of the philosophers, said that he himself also could predict something strange. And when they besought him to tell what it was, "Well, then," said he, "I predict that ere long Plato and Dionysius will become enemies." 8 At last Dionysius sold the estate of Dion and appropriated the money, and removing Plato from his lodging in the palace garden, put him in charge of his mercenaries, who had long hated the philosopher and sought to kill him, on the ground that he was trying to persuade Dionysius to renounce the tyranny and live without a body-guard.

20 1 Now when Archytas and his fellow Pythagoreans learned that Plato was in such peril, they quickly sent a galley with an embassy, demanding him from Dionysius and declaring 2 that Plato had taken them for sureties of his safety when he sailed to Syracuse. Dionysius sought to disprove his enmity to Plato by giving banquets in his honour and making kind provisions for his journey, and went so far as to say something like this to him: "I suppose, Plato, thou wilt bring many dire accusations against me to the ears of your fellow philosophers." 3 To this Plato answered with a smile: "Heaven forbid that there should be such a dearth of topics for discussion in the Academy that any one mention thee." 4 Such, they say, was the dismissal of Plato; Plato's own words,​17 however, do not entirely agree with this account.

 p43  21 1 But Dion was vexed by all this, and shortly afterwards became altogether hostile when he learned how his wife had been treated, on which matter Plato also spoke covertly in a letter to Dionysius. 2 The case was as follows. After the expulsion of Dion, and when Dionysius was sending Plato back,​18 he bade him learn from Dion confidentially 3 whether he would oppose his wife's marrying another man; for there was a report, whether true or concocted by Dion's enemies, that his marriage had not proved agreeable to him, and that he did not live harmoniously with his wife. 4 Accordingly, after Plato came to Athens and had conferred with Dion about everything, he wrote a letter to the tyrant which spoke of other matters in a way that was clear to anybody, but of this particular matter in language that could be understood by Dionysius alone, saying that he had talked with Dion about that business, and that Dion would evidently be exceedingly angry if Dionysius should carry it through.​19 5 Now, as long as there were many hopes of a reconciliation, the tyrant took no violent measures with his sister, but suffered her to continue living with Dion's young son; 6 when, however, the estrangement was complete, and Plato, who had come to Sicily a second time, had been sent away in enmity, then he gave Arete in marriage, against her will, to Timocrates, one of his friends. And in this action, at least, he did not imitate the reasonableness of his father.

7 For the elder tyrant also, as it would appear, had a sister, Theste, whose husband, Polyxenus, had become his enemy. When, therefore, Polyxenus was  p45 moved by fear to run away and go into exile from Sicily, the tyrant sent for his sister and upbraided her because she had been privy to her husband's flight and had not told her brother about it. 8 But she, without consternation, and, indeed, without fear, replied: "Dost thou think me, Dionysius, such a mean and cowardly wife that, had I known beforehand of my husband's flight, I would not have sailed off with him and shared his fortunes? Indeed, I did not know about it; 967since it would have been well for me to be called the wife of Polyxenus the exile, rather than the sister of Dionysius the tyrant." 9 The tyrant is said to have admired Theste for this bold speech. And the Syracusans also admired the virtue of the woman, so that even after the dissolution of the tyranny she retained the honours and services paid to royalty, and when she died, the citizens, by public consent, attended her funeral. This is a digression, it is true, but not a useless one.

22 1 From this time on Dion turned his thoughts to war. With this Plato himself would have nothing to do, out of respect for his tie of hospitality with Dionysius, and because of his age. But Speusippus and the rest of his companions co-operated with Dion and besought him to free Sicily, which stretched out her arms to him and eagerly awaited his coming. 2 For when Plato was tarrying in Syracuse, Speusippus, as it would appear, mingled more with its people and learned to know their sentiments; 3 and though at first they were afraid of his boldness of speech, thinking it a trap set for them by the tyrant, yet in time they came to trust him. For all now spoke in the same strain, begging and exhorting Dion to  p47 come without ships, men-at‑arms, or horses; he was simply to come himself in a small boat, and lend the Sicilians his person and his name against Dionysius. 4 Encouraged by this information from Speusippus, Dion collected mercenaries secretly and by the agency of others, concealing his purpose. 5 He was assisted also by many statesmen and philosophers, such as Eudemus the Cyprian, on whose death Aristotle wrote his dialogue "On the Soul," and Timonides the Leucadian. 6 Furthermore, they enlisted on his side Miltas the Thessalian also, who was a seer and had studied in the Academy. But of those who had been banished by the tyrant, and there were not less than a thousand of them, only twenty-five took part in the expedition; the rest played the coward and abandoned it. 7 The rendezvous was the island of Zacynthus, and here the soldiers were assembled. 8 They numbered fewer than eight hundred, but they were all well known in consequence of many great campaigns, their bodies were exceptionally well trained, while in experience and daring they had no equals in the world, and were capable of inciting and inflaming to share their prowess all the host which Dion expected to have in Sicily.

23 1 At first, indeed, when these men heard that their expedition was directed against Dionysius and Sicily, they were full of consternation and denounced the enterprise, declaring that Dion, in a mad frenzy of anger, or in despair, was plunging into desperate undertakings; they were also enraged at their own leaders and recruiting officers for not having told them at the very outset about the war. 2 But when Dion addressed them, setting forth in detail the unsound condition of the tyranny, and  p49 declaring that he was taking them, not as soldiers, but as commanders of the Syracusans and the rest of the Sicilians, who had long been ready for a revolt; and when, after Dion, Alcimenes, who was an Achaean of the highest birth and reputation and a member of the expedition, had argued with them, they were persuaded.

3 It was now midsummer,​20 the Etesian winds​21 prevailed at sea, and the moon was at the full. Dion had prepared a magnificent sacrifice to Apollo, and marched in solemn procession to the temple with his soldiers, who were arrayed in full armour. 4 After the sacrifice, he gave them a banquet in the stadium of the Zacynthians, where, as they reclined on their couches, they wondered at the splendour of the gold and silver beakers, and of the tables, for it passed the limits set by a private man's fortune; they reasoned, too, 968that a man who was already past his prime and was master of such great affluence, would not engage in hazardous enterprises unless he had solid hopes of success, and friends over there who offered him unbounded resources.

24 1 But after the libations and the customary prayers, the moon was eclipsed.​b Now, to Dion this was nothing astonishing, for he knew that eclipses recurred at regular intervals, and that the shadow projected on the moon was caused by the interposition of earth between her and the sun. 2 But since the soldiers, who were greatly disturbed, needed some encouragement, Miltas the seer stood up amongst them and bade them be of good cheer,  p51 and expect the best results; for the divine powers indicated an eclipse of something that was now resplendent; 3 but nothing was more resplendent than the tyranny of Dionysius, and it was the radiance of this which they would extinguish as soon as they reached Sicily. 4 This interpretation, then, Miltas made public for all to know; but that of the bees, which were seen settling in swarms upon the swarms of Dion's transports, he told privately to him and his friends, expressing a fear that his undertakings would thrive at the outset, but after a short season of flowering would wither away. 5 It is said that Dionysius also had many portentous signs from Heaven. 6 An eagle snatched a lance from one of his body-guards, carried it aloft, and then let it drop into the sea. 7 Furthermore, the water of the sea which washed the base of the acropolis was sweet and potable for a whole day, as all who tasted it could see. 8 Again, pigs were littered for him which were perfect in their other parts, but had no ears. 9 This the seers declared to be a sign of disobedience and rebellion, since, as they said, the citizens would no longer listen to the commands of the tyrant; the sweetness of the sea-water indicated for the Syracusans a change from grievous and oppressive times to comfortable circumstances; 10 an eagle, moreover, was servant of Zeus, and a spear, an emblem of authority and power, wherefore the prodigy showed that the greatest of the gods desired the dissolution of the tyranny. Such, at all events, is the account which Theopompus has given.

25 1 The soldiers of Dion filled two merchant-ships, and a third transport of small size, together with two thirty-oared galleys, accompanied these.  p53 2 Moreover, besides the arms which his soldiers had, Dion carried two thousand shields, missiles and spears in great numbers, and a boundless store of provisions, that they might suffer no lack as they traversed the high sea. For they put themselves entirely at the mercy of winds and sea during their voyage, because they were afraid of the coast, and learned that Philistus was watching for them with a fleet at Iapygia. 3 After sailing with a light and gentle breeze for twelve days, on the thirteenth they reached Pachynus, a headland of Sicily. 4 Here Protus their pilot urged them to disembark with all speed, since, if they should be forced away from the shore, and should relinquish the headland which they had gained, they would be tossed about on the high sea for many days and nights, awaiting a south wind in the summer season. 5 But Dion, fearing to disembark near the enemy, and wishing to land farther along the coast, sailed past Pachynus. 6 Thereupon a boisterous wind from the north rushed down upon them, raised a great sea, and drove the ships away from Sicily, while flashes of lightning and peals of thunder, now that Arcturus was just rising,​c conspired to pour down from the heavens against storm of furious rain. 7 The sailors were confounded by this and driven from their course, until on a sudden they saw that their ships were driving with the sea upon Cercina, off the coast of Africa, at a point where the island presented the roughest and most precipitous shore for their approach. 8 Accordingly, after a narrow escape from being cast ashore and dashed to pieces on the rocks, they plied their punting-poles and forced their way along with great difficulty, until  p55 the storm abated, when they learned from a vessel withº which they spoke 969that they were at what were called the Heads of the Great Syrtis. 9 And now they were disheartened by the calm in which they found themselves, and were drifting up and down, when a gentle southerly breeze was wafted to them from the land, although they were by no means expecting a south wind and could not believe in the change. 10 Little by little, however, the wind freshened and grew strong, so that they spread all the sail they had, and praying to the gods, fled over the sea from Africa towards Sicily. 11 For five days they ran swiftly on, and came to anchor at Minoa, a little town in that part of Sicily which the Carthaginians controlled. 12 Now, it chanced that Synalus, the Carthaginian commander, was in the place, and he was a guest-friend of Dion's. But not knowing of Dion's presence or of his expedition, he tried to prevent his soldiers from landing. 13 These, however, rushed on shore with their arms, and although they had killed no one, since Dion had forbidden it because of his friendship with the Carthaginian, they put their opponents to flight, dashed into the place with the fugitives, and captured it. 14 But as soon as the two commanders had met and greeted one another, Dion restored the city to Synalus, without doing it any harm, and Synalus entertained the soldiers and supplied Dion with what he wanted.

26 1 But what most of all encouraged them was the accidental absence of Dionysius from Syracuse; for it chanced that he had recently sailed with eighty ships to Italy. 2 Therefore, even though Dion urged his soldiers to recruit themselves here  p57 after their long hardships on the sea, they would not consent to it, so eager were they of themselves to seize their opportunity, but urged him to lead them towards Syracuse. 3 Accordingly, he deposited his superfluous arms and baggage there, asked Synalus to send them to him as opportunity offered, and marched against Syracuse. 4 As he was on his way thither, first he was joined by two hundred horsemen belonging to the Agrigentines who dwell about Ecnomum, and then by men of Gela.

5 But the report of his doings quickly flew to Syracuse, where Timocrates, who had married Dion's wife, the sister of Dionysius, and who stood at the head of the tyrant's friends now left in the city, speedily sent off a messenger to Dionysius with letters announcing the arrival of Dion. 6 He himself, moreover, took steps to prevent any disturbances or tumults in the city, where all were greatly excited, but as yet kept quiet owing to their distrust and fear. 7 But a strange misfortune befell the man who had been sent with the letters. After he had crossed to Italy and passed through the territory of Rhegium, and as he was hastening on the Dionysius at Caulonia, he met one of his acquaintances who was carrying an animal that had been recently sacrificed, and after accepting from him a portion of the flesh, went on his way with all speed. 8 But after travelling part of the night, he was compelled by weariness to take a little sleep, and lay down, just as he was, in a wood by the side of the road. 9 Then a wolf came to the spot, attracted by the scent, and seizing the flesh which had been fastened to the wallet in which the man had his letters, went off with it and the wallet  p59 too. 10 When the man awoke and perceived what had happened, he wandered about a long time in search of what he had lost, but could not find it, and therefore determined not to go to the tyrant without the letters, but to run away and disappear.​d

27 1 Dionysius, therefore, was destined to learn of the war in Sicily late and from other sources; but meanwhile, as Dion proceeded on his march, he was joined by the Camarinaeans, and no small multitude of the rural Syracusans revolted and swelled his ranks. 2 Moreover, the Leontines and Campanians who were guarding Epipolae​22 with Timocrates, 970in consequence of a false report which Dion sent to them that he would attack their cities first, deserted Timocrates and went off to assist their own peoples. 3 When news of this was brought to Dion as he lay encamped near Acrae, he roused up his soldiers while it was still night and came to the river Anapus, which is ten furlongs distant from the city. 4 There he halted and sacrificed by the river, addressing his prayers to the rising sun, and on the instant the soothsayers declared that the gods promised him victory. When, too, the audience beheld Dion with a wreath on his head for the sacrifice, with one impulse they all crowned themselves with wreaths. 5 No fewer than five thousand men had joined him on the march, and though they were wretchedly armed with such weapons as came to hand, their enthusiasm made up for their lack of equipment, so that when Dion gave the word they advanced on the run, exhorting one another with joyful shouts to win their liberty.

 p61  28 1 As for the Syracusans in the city, the men of note and cultivation, in fresh apparel, went to meet them at the gates, while the multitude set upon the tyrant's friends and seized those called tale-bearers, wicked men whom the gods hated, who went up and down in the city busily mingling with the Syracusans and reporting to the tyrant the sentiments and utterances of every one. 2 These, then, were the first to suffer retribution, being beaten to death by those who came upon them; but Timocrates, unable to join the garrison of the acropolis, took horse and dashed out of the city, and as he fled, filled everything with fear and confusion, exaggerating the strength of Dion, that he might not be thought to have abandoned the city through fear of any trivial danger. 3 Meanwhile Dion drew near the city and was presently seen, leading the way himself in brilliant armour, with his brother Megacles on one side of him, and on the other, Callippus the Athenian, both crowned with garlands. 4 A hundred of his mercenaries followed Dion as a body-guard, and his officers led the rest in good order, the Syracusans looking on and welcoming as it were a sacred religious procession for the return of liberty and democracy into the city, after an absence of forty-eight years.

29 1 After Dion had entered the city by the Temenitid gate, he stopped the noise of the people by a blast of the trumpet, and made proclamation that Dion and Megacles, who were come to overthrow the tyranny, declared the Syracusans and the rest of the Sicilians free from the tyrant. 2 Then,  p63 wishing to harangue the people himself, he went up through the Achradina,​23 while on either side of the street the Syracusans set out tables and sacrificial meats and mixing-bowls, and all, as he came to them, pelted him with flowers, and addressed him with vows and prayers as if he were a god. 3 Now, there stood below the acropolis and the Pentapyla a tall and conspicuous sun-dial, which Dionysius had set up. Mounted upon this, Dion harangued the citizens and exhorted them to assert their liberty. 4 And they, in their joy and affection, made Dion and Megacles generals with absolute powers, and besides, at their wish and entreaty, chose twenty colleagues to hold office with them, half of whom were of those who had come back from exile with Dion. 5 To the soothsayers, moreover, it seemed a most happy omen, that Dion, when he harangued the people, had put under his feet the ambitious monument of the tyrant; but because it was a sun-dial upon which he stood when he was elected general, they feared that his enterprise might undergo some speedy change of fortune. 6 After this, Dion captured Epipolae and set free the citizens who were imprisoned there; then he walled off the acropolis. 9717 On the seventh day Dionysius put in with his fleet and entered the acropolis, and waggons brought Dion the armour and weapons which he had left with Synalus. 8 These he distributed among the citizens as far as they would go, and all the rest equipped themselves as best they could and zealously offered their services as men-at‑arms.

30 1 At first, Dionysius sent envoys privately to Dion and tried to make terms with him; then, when Dion bade him confer publicly with the Syracusans,  p65 on the ground that they were a free people, the envoys brought generous propositions from the tyrant, who promised such moderate taxes and easy military service as people themselves should agree to vote. These offers were derided by the Syracusans, 2 and Dion made answer to the envoys that Dionysius was not to confer with them unless he renounced his sovereignty; but on his renouncing this, Dion would himself procure immunity for him, and any other reasonable privilege that was in his power, mindful of the close relation­ship between them. 3 These conditions Dionysius approved, and again sent envoys, bidding some of the Syracusans to come to the acropolis, where, both parties making concessions, he would confer with them concerning the common good. 4 Accordingly, men were sent to him whom Dion approved. And frequent reports came to the Syracusans from the citadel that Dionysius would renounce the tyranny, and would do this to please himself rather than Dion.

5 But this was a treacherous pretence on the part of the tyrant, and a piece of knavery directed against the Syracusans. For he kept in close custody the deputation that came to him from the city, and towards morning plied his mercenaries with strong wine and sent them on a dash against the siege-wall about the acropolis. 6 The attack was unexpected, and the Barbarians, with great boldness and loud tumult, began to tear down the cross-wall and attack the Syracusans, so that no one dared to stand on the defensive, except the mercenaries of Dion, who first noticed the disturbance and came to the rescue. 7 And even these  p67 knew not how to render aid, nor could they hear what was said to them, owing to the shouts and wild movements of the fugitive Syracusans, who mingled confusedly with them and broke through their ranks. But at last Dion, since no one could hear his orders, wishing to show by his example what should be done, charged foremost into the Barbarians. 8 Then there arose about him a fierce and dreadful battle, since he was recognized by the enemy as well as by his friends, and all rushed towards him at the same time with loud shouts. 9 He was now, by reason of his age, too unwieldy for such struggles, but he withstood and cut down his assailants with vigour and courage until he was wounded in the hand with a lance; besides, his breastplate hardly sufficed to resist the other missiles and hand-to‑hand thrusts, and he was smitten through his shield by many spears and lances, and when these were broken off he fell to the ground. 10 Then, after he had been snatched away by his soldiers, he put Timonides in command of these, while he himself, mounting a horse, rode about the city rallying the flying Syracusans, and bringing up a detachment of his mercenaries who were guarding Achradina, led them against the Barbarians, — fresh and eager reserves against a worn-out foe, and one that had already despaired of his cause. 11 For they had expected at their first onset to overrun and occupy the whole city, and now that they had unexpectedly encountered men who could smite and fight, they retired towards the acropolis. 12 But as they gave ground, the Greeks pressed all the harder upon them, so that they turned their backs and were driven into the shelter of the citadel; they had slain seventy-four of Dion's men, and had lost many of their own number.

 p69  31 1 The victory was a brilliant one, and the Syracusans rewarded Dion's mercenaries with a hundred minas, while the mercenaries honoured Dion with a wreath of gold. 9722 And now heralds came down from Dionysius bringing letters to Dion from the women of his family. There was also one addressed outside, 3 "To his father, from Hipparinus"; for this was the name of Dion's son. Timaeus, it is true, says he was called Aretaeus, from his mother Arete; but on this point at least, in my opinion, Timonides is rather to be trusted, who was a friend and fellow-soldier of Dion's. 4 Well, then, the rest of the letters were read aloud to the Syracusans, and contained many supplications and entreaties from the women; but that which purported to be from Dion's son, the people would not allow to be opened in public. Dion, however, insisted upon it, and opened the letter. 5 It was from Dionysius, who nominally addressed himself to Dion, but really to the Syracusans; and it had the form of entreaty and justification, but was calculated to bring odium on Dion. 6 For there were reminders of his zealous services in behalf of the tyranny, and threats against the persons of his dearest ones, his sister, children, and wife; there were also dire injunctions coupled with lamentations, and, what affected him most of all, a demand that he should not abolish, but assume, the tyranny; that he should not give liberty to men who hated him and would never forget their wrongs, but take the power himself, and thereby assure his friends and kindred of their safety.

32 1 When all this had been read aloud, it did not occur to the Syracusans, as it should have done, to be astonished at the firmness and magnanimity of  p71 Dion, who was resisting in behalf of honour and justice such strong claims of relation­ship, 2 but they found occasion for suspecting and fearing him, on the ground that he was under a strong necessity of sparing Dionysius, and at once turned their eyes towards other leaders. And particularly, when they learned that Heracleides was putting in to the harbour, they were all excitement. 3 Now, Heracleides was one of the exiles, a man of military capacity and well known for the commands which he had held under the tyrants, but irresolute, fickle, and least to be relied upon as partner in an enterprise involving power and glory. 4 He had quarrelled with Dion in Peloponnesus, and had resolved to sail on his own account and with his own fleet against the tyrant; but when he reached Syracuse, with seven triremes and three transports, he found Dionysius once more beleaguered, and the Syracusans elated with victory. 5 At once, then, he sought to win the favour of the multitude, having a certain natural gift of persuading and moving a populace that seeks to be courted, and winning them over to his following all the more easily because they were repelled by the gravity of Dion. This they resented as severe and out of place in a public man, because their power had given them license and boldness, and they wished to be flattered by popular leaders before they were really a people.

33 1 So, to begin with, they held an assembly of their own calling, and chose Heracleides admiral. 2 But Dion came forward down protested that in giving this office to Heracleides, they had done away with that which they had before given to him, for he would no longer be general with absolute powers  p73 if another should have command of the navy. Then the Syracusans reluctantly revoked the appointment of Heracleides. 3 When this had been done, Dion summoned Heracleides to his house and gently reproached him, on the ground that he was not acting well or wisely in quarrelling with him for honours at a crisis where a slight impulse might ruin their cause. Then he himself called a fresh assembly and appointed Heracleides admiral, and persuaded the citizens to give him a body-guard, like his own. 4 In word and mien, now, Heracleides paid court to Dion, acknowledged his thanks to him, 973and attended submissively upon him, performing his commands; but in secret he perverted and stirred up the multitude and the revolutionaries, and encompassed Dion with disturbances which reduced him to utter perplexity. 5 For if he advised to let Dionysius leave the citadel under a truce, he would be charged with sparing and preserving him; and if, wishing to give no offence, he simply continued the siege, it would be said that he was protracting the war, in order that he might the longer be in command and overawe the citizens.

34 1 Now, there was a certain Sosis, a man whose baseness and impudence gave him renown in Syracuse, where it was thought that abundance of liberty could only be shown by such license of speech as his. 2 This man, with hostile designs upon Dion, first rose in an assembly and roundly abused the Syracusans for not comprehending that they had merely exchanged a stupid and drunken tyrant for a watchful and sober master; 3 and having thus declared himself an open enemy of Dion, he left the assembly. Next, on the following day he was seen running  p75 through the city naked, his head and face covered with blood, as though he were trying to escape pursuit. 4 In this condition he dashed into the assembly and told the people there that he had been set upon by Dion's mercenaries, and showed them his head and its wounds. He found many to share his resentment and take sides with him against Dion, who, they said, was committing dire acts of tyranny, if by murder and peril of life he sought to rob the citizens of their free speech. 5 However, although the assembly had become confused and tumultuous, Dion came forward and showed in his own defence that Sosis was a brother of one of the body-guards of Dionysius, and had been induced by him to raise confusion and faction among the citizens, since there was no safety for Dionysus except in their mutual distrust and dissension. 6 At the same time, too, the physicians examined the wound of Sosis and discovered that it had been made by razure rather than by a downright blow. 7 For the blows of a sword, by reason of its weight, make wounds that are deepest in the middle, but that of Sosis was shallow all along, and intermittent, as would be natural if he stopped his work on account of pain, and then began it again. 8 Besides, certain well known persons brought a razor to the assembly, and stated that as they were walking along the street, Sosis met them, all bloody, and declaring that he was running away from Dion's mercenaries, by whom he had just been wounded; 9 at once, then, they ran after them, and found no one, but saw a razor lying under a hollow rock in the quarter from which Sosis had been seen to come.

35 1 Well, then, the case of Sosis was already  p77 desperate; but when, in addition to these proofs, his servants testified that while it was still night he had left the house alone and carrying the razor, Dion's accusers withdrew, and the people, after condemning Sosis to death, were reconciled with Dion.

2 However, they were none the less suspicious of his mercenaries, and especially so, now that most of the struggles against the tyrant were carried on at sea, since Philistus had come from Iapygia with a large number of triremes to help Dionysius; and since the mercenaries were men-at‑arms, they thought them of no further use for the war, nay, they felt that even these troops were dependent for protection upon the citizens themselves, who were seamen, and derived their power from their fleet. 3 And they were still more elated by a success­ful engagement at sea, in which they defeated Philistus, and then treated him in a barbarous and savage fashion. 4 Ephorus, it is true, says that when his ship was captured, Philistus slew himself; but Timonides, 974who was engaged with Dion in all the events of this war from the very first, in writing to Speusippus the philosopher, relates that Philistus was taken alive after his trireme had run aground, 5 and that the Syracusans, to begin with, stripped off his breast-plate and exposed his body, naked, to insult and abuse, although he was now an old man; then, that they cut off his head, and gave his body to the boys of the city, with orders to drag it through Achradina and throw it into the stone quarries. 6 And Timaeus, enlarging upon these indignities, says that the boys tied a rope to the lame leg of the dead Philistus and dragged his body through the city, while all the Syracusans mocked and jeered as they saw drawn about by the  p79 leg the man who had said to Dionysius that he must not run away from his tyranny on a swift horse, but wait until he was dragged from it by the leg. 7 And yet Philistus has stated explicitly that this was said to Dionysius, and not by himself.

36 1 But Timaeus, finding a fair excuse for his animosity in the zeal and fidelity which Philistus showed in behalf of the tyranny, gluts himself with the slanders against him. Now, those who were wronged by Philistus while he lived may perhaps be pardoned for carrying their resentment to the length of maltreating his unconscious body; 2 but those who in later times write histories of that period, and who were not harmed by his life, but avail themselves of his writings, owe it to his reputation not to reproach him, in insolent and scurrilous language, for calamities in which fortune may involve even the best of men. 3 However, Ephorus also is unsound in heaping praises upon Philistus; for, although he is most skilful in furnishing unjust deeds and base natures with specious motives, and in discovering decorous names for them, still, even he, with all his artifice, cannot extricate himself from the charge of having been the greatest lover of tyrants alive, and more than any one else always an emulous admirer of luxury, power, wealth, and marriage alliances of tyrants. 4 Verily, he who neither praises the conduct of Philistus, nor gloats insultingly over his misfortunes, takes the fittest course.

37 1 After the death of Philistus, Dionysius sent to Dion offering to surrender to him the acropolis, his munitions of war, and his mercenaries, with five months' full pay for these, 2 and demanding for himself the privilege of retiring unmolested into  p81 Italy, and of enjoying during his residence there the revenues of Gyarta, a large and rich tract in the territory of Syracuse, extending from the sea to the interior of the island. 3 Dion, however, would not accept these terms, but bade him apply to the Syracusans, and these, hoping to take Dionysius alive, drove away his ambassadors. 4 Upon this, the tyrant handed over the citadel to Apollocrates, his eldest son, while he himself, after watching for a favourable wind and putting on board his ships the persons and property that he held most dear, eluded the vigilance of Heracleides the admiral, and sailed off.

5 Heracleides was now stormily denounced by the citizens, whereupon he induced Hippo, one of their leaders, to make proposals to the people for a distribution of land, urging that liberty was based on equality, and slavery on the poverty of those who had naught. 6 Supporting Hippo, and heading a faction which overwhelmed the opposition of Dion, Heracleides persuaded the Syracusans to vote this measure, to deprive the mercenaries of their pay, and to elect other generals, thus ridding themselves of the severities of Dion. 7 So the people, attempting, as it were, to stand at once upon their feet after their long sickness of tyranny, 975and to act the part of independence out of season, stumbled in their undertakings, and yet hated Dion, who, like a physician, wished to subject the city to a strict and temperate regimen.

38 1 As they met in assembly to assign new commands, the time being midsummer, extraordinary peals of thunder and evil portents from the heavens occurred for fifteen days together, and dispersed the  p83 people, whose superstitious fears prevented them from appointing other generals. 2 And when, after waiting for settled fair weather, the popular leaders were proceeding to hold the elections, a draught-ox, who was quite accustomed to crowds, but now for some reason or other got angry at his driver and broke away from his yoke, 3 made a dash for the theatre, and at once dispersed and scattered the people in disorderly flight; then he ran, plunging and throwing everything into confusion, over as much of the rest of the city as the enemy afterwards occupied. 4 However, the Syracusans paid no heed to all this, but elected twenty-five generals, one of whom was Heracleides; they also sent secretly and without his knowledge to Dion's mercenaries, and tried to get them to leave his service and come over to their side, promising them even an equality of civic rights. 5 They, however, would not listen to these proposals, but showing fidelity and zeal, took their weapons in their hands, put Dion in their midst, encompassed him round about, and tried to conduct him out of the city, doing violence to no one, but roundly reviling those whom they encountered for their base ingratitude. 6 Then the citizens, seeing that the mercenaries were few in number and did not offer to attack, despised them, and having become far more numerous than they, set upon them, thinking to overpower them easily before they got out of the city, and slay them all.

39 1 And now Dion, seeing that fortune compelled him either to fight against his fellow citizens or perish with his mercenaries, fervently besought the Syracusans, stretching out his hands to them,  p85 and pointing out to them the acropolis, which was full of enemies peering over the walls and watching what was going on below; 2 but since no entreaties could stay the onset of the multitudes, and the city, like a ship at sea, was at the mercy of the blasts of its demagogues, he ordered his mercenaries not to make a charge, but simply to run towards their assailants with loud cries and brandishing of weapons; which being done, not a Syracusan stood his ground, but all promptly took to flight along the streets, where none pursued them. For Dion immediately ordered his men to wheel about, and led them forth to Leontini.

3 But the leaders of the Syracusans, now that they were become a laughing-stock for the women, sought to redeem their disgrace, armed the citizens again, and pursued after Dion. 4 They came upon him as he was crossing a river, and their horsemen rode up for a skirmish; but when they saw that he no longer bore with their faults in a mild and paternal spirit, but was angrily wheeling his mercenaries about and putting them in battle array, they broke into a more disgraceful flight than before, and retired into the city, with the loss of a few men.

40 1 The Leontines received Dion with splendid honours, took his mercenaries into their service, and gave them civic rights; they also sent an embassy to the Syracusans with a demand that they should do the mercenaries justice. 2 The Syracusans, however, sent envoys to denounce Dion. But when all the confederates had assembled at Leontini and discussed the matter, it was decided that the Syracusans were in the wrong. 3 By this decision of their confederates, however, the Syracusans would not abide,  p87 being now insolent and full of pride because they were subject to no one, but had generals who were in slavish fear of the people.

41 1 After this, there put in at the city triremes from Dionysius, under the command of Nypsius the Neapolitan, 976who brought food and money for the beleaguered garrison of the acropolis. 2 In a naval battle that ensued the Syracusans were indeed victorious, and captured four of the tyrant's ships, but they were made wanton by their victory, and in their utter lack of discipline turned their rejoicing into drinking-bouts and mad carousals, and were so neglect­ful of their real interests that, when they thought themselves already in possession of the acropolis, they actually lost both it and their city besides. 3 For Nypsius, seeing no saving remnant in the city, but the multitude given over to music and revelry from dawn till midnight, and their generals delighted with this festivity and reluctant to use compulsion with men in their cups, 4 made the best use of his opportunity and attacked their siege-works, and having mastered these and broken them down, he let his Barbarians loose upon the city, bidding them treat those whom they encountered as they could and would. 5 Quickly, then, were the Syracusans aware of the mischief, but slowly and with difficulty did they rally to oppose it, so utterly distracted were they. 6 For it was a sack of the city that was now going on, its men being slain, its walls torn down, and its women and children dragged shrieking to the acropolis, while its generals gave up all for lost and were unable to employ the citizens against the enemy, who were everywhere inextricably mingled with them.

 p89  42 1 While the city was in this plight and the Achradina in imminent peril, all knew who was the only man left upon whom they could fasten their hopes, but no one spoke his name, because they were ashamed of their ingratitude and folly towards Dion. 2 However, now that necessity constrained them, some of the allies and horsemen cried out that Dion and his Peloponnesians should be summoned from Leontini. 3 As soon as this venture was made and the name heard, the Syracusans fell to shouting and weeping for joy; they prayed that Dion might appear upon the scene, and yearned for the sight of him, and called to mind his ardour and vigour in the presence of danger, remembering that he was not only undaunted himself, but made them also bold and fearless in engaging their enemies. 4 Immediately, therefore, they sent a delegation to him, Archonides and Telesides from the allies, and Hellanicus with four others from the horsemen. 5 These, sending their horses over the road at full gallop, came to Leontini just as the sun was setting. 6 Then, leaping from their horses and throwing themselves at the feet of Dion first of all, with streaming eyes they told him the calamities of the Syracusans. 7 Presently, too, some of the Leontines came up and many of the Peloponnesians gathered about Dion, conjecturing from the haste and suppliant address of the men that something quite extraordinary was the matter. 8 At once, then, Dion led his visitors to the place of assembly, the people eagerly gathered there, Archonides and Hellanicus with their companions came before them, reported to them briefly the great disaster, and called upon the mercenaries to put away their feelings of resentment and come to the  p91 aid of the Syracusans, since those who had wronged them had suffered a heavier punishment than those who had been wronged would have thought it right to exact.

43 1 When the messengers had made an end of speaking, there was a profound silence in the theatre; then Dion rose and began to speak, but copious tears checked his utterance; his mercenaries, however, sympathized with him and bade him take heart. 2 Accordingly, after he had recovered a little from his grief, he said: "Men of Peloponnesus and allies, I have brought you together here to deliberate upon your own course of action. 3 As for me, it is not meet that 977I should consult my own interests now that Syracuse is perishing, but if I cannot save her, I shall return to seek a grave amid the blazing ruins of my native city. 4 But you, if you are willing even now, after all that has passed, to come to our help, who are the most foolish and the most unfortunate of men, pray restore the city of Syracuse and the work of your own hands.​24 5 If, however, in your displeasure at the Syracusans, you shall leave them to their fate, at least for your former bravery and zeal in my behalf may you obtain a worthy reward from the gods, and may you think of Dion as one who abandoned neither you when you were wronged, nor, afterwards, his fellow citizens when they were in distress."

6 While he was still speaking, the mercenaries sprang to their feet with shouts and bade him lead them speedily to the city's relief, while the Syracusan envoys embraced them passionately, invoking many blessings from the gods upon Dion, and many upon  p93 his mercenaries. 7 And when the tumult was allayed, Dion ordered his men to go to their quarters and make themselves ready, and, after taking supper, to come with their arms to that very place, for he was determined to go to the rescue by night.

44 1 But the soldiers of Dionysius at Syracuse, as long as it was day, did much mischief to the city; when night came, however, they retired to the acropolis, having lost some few of their number. 2 Upon this, the popular leaders of the Syracusans plucked up courage, and in the hope that the enemy would rest content with what they had done, exhorted the citizens once more to ignore Dion, and if he should come up with his mercenaries, not to admit them, nor yield precedence to them as superior in point of bravery, but to save their city and their liberty by their own efforts. 3 Accordingly, fresh messengers were sent to Dion, some from the generals forbidding his advance, but others from the horsemen and more reputable citizens urging him to hasten it. 4 For this reason he came marching on now slowly, and now at top speed. 5 As the night advanced the enemies of Dion took possession of the gates in order to shut him out, but Nypsius, 978sending his mercenaries once more from the citadel in greater numbers and with more impetuosity than before, tore down at once the entire siege-wall, and overran and sacked the city. 6 And now there was a slaughter not only of men, but also of women and children; there was little haling away of prisoners, but a great destruction of all alike. 7 For since Dionysius now despaired of his cause and fiercely hated the Syracusans, he wished to make their city as it were a tomb for his falling tyranny. 8 So his soldiers, forestalling  p95 the succour which Dion was bringing, resorted to the speediest destruction and annihilation of everything by burning, setting fire to what was near them with the brands and torches in their hands, and scattering fiery arrows from their bows among the remoter parts. 9 As the Syracusans fled, some were overtaken and slain in the streets, and those who sought cover in their houses were driven out again by the fire, many buildings being now ablaze and falling upon those who were running about.

45 1 Owing to this disaster more than to any thing else, the city was thrown open to Dion by unanimous consent. For he was no longer marching in haste, since he had heard that the enemy had shut themselves up in the acropolis. 2 But as the day advanced, first, horsemen met him with tidings of the second capture of the city; next, even some of his opponents came with entreaties that he would hasten his march. 3 Moreover, as the mischief grew worse, Heracleides sent out his brother, and then Theodotes his uncle, begging Dion to help them, since no one now resisted the enemy, he himself was wounded, and the city was almost demolished and consumed by fire. 4 When these amazing messages reached Dion, he was still sixty furlongs distant from the city gates; but after telling his mercenaries of the city's peril and exhorting them, he led his army towards the city, no longer in marching step, but on the run, while one messenger after another met him and begged him to hasten. 5 His mercenaries advancing with astonishing speed and ardour, he burst through the gates into what was called the Hecatompedon, 6 and at once sent his light-armed troops to charge upon the enemy, in order  p97 that the Syracusans might take courage at the sight; he also marshalled his men-at‑arms in person, together with those of the citizens who kept running up and forming with them, dividing his commands and forming companies in column, that he might make a more formidable attack from many points at once.

46 1 When he had made these preparations and had prayed to the gods, and was seen leading his forces through the city against the enemy, shouts of joy and loud battle-cries mingled with prayers and supplications were raised by the Syracusans, who called Dion their saviour and god, and his mercenaries their brethren and fellow citizens. 2 And no one was so fond of self or fond of life in that emergency as not to show himself more anxious about Dion alone than about all the rest, as he marched at their head to meet the danger, through blood and fire and the mass of dead bodies lying in the streets.

3 It was true, indeed, that the enemy presented a formidable appearance, for they had become altogether savage, and had drawn themselves up along the demolished siege-wall, which made the approach to them difficult and hard to force; but the peril from the fire disturbed the mercenaries of Dion more, and made their progress arduous. 4 For they were surrounded on all sides by glowing flames which were spreading among the houses; they trod upon blazing ruins and ran at the risk of their lives under falling fragments of great size; they made their way through clouds of dust and smoke; and yet they tried to keep together and not break their ranks. 5 Moreover, when they joined battle with the  p99 enemy, only a few on each side could fight at close quarters, so narrow and uneven was the place; but the Syracusans encouraged them with eager shouts, and Nypsius and his men were over­powered. 6 Most of them fled back into the acropolis, which was near, and so saved themselves; but those who were left outside and scattered hither and thither, were pursued and slain by the mercenaries. 7 No immediate enjoyment of their victory, however, and none of the glad congratulations befitting so great an achievement were possible for the Syracusans in that emergency; they turned their attention to their burning houses, and only by toiling all night did they succeed in putting out the fire.

47 1 When it was day, not one of the other popular leaders would remain in the city, but passed judgement on themselves by taking to flight; Heracleides and Theodotes, however, came of their own accord and surrendered themselves to Dion, acknowledging that they had done him wrong, and begging him to treat them better than they had treated him; 2 it was meet, they said, that Dion, who was their superior in every other virtue, should also show himself a better master of his anger than his ungrateful foes, who were now come confessing that in the very quality to which they had formerly disputed his claim, namely, virtue, they were his inferiors. 3 Though Heracleides and Theodotes thus besought Dion, his friends exhorted him not to spare such base and envious men, but to give Heracleides over to the mercy of his soldiers, and to rid the commonwealth of the hunt for mob-favour, which, no less than tyranny, was a raging distemper. 4 But Dion tried to soften their resentment, saying that while other  p101 generals trained themselves mostly for arms and war, he himself had studied for a long time in the Academy how to conquer anger, envy, and all contentiousness; 5 and it was no manifestation of such self-mastery, he said, when one was kind to friends and benefactors, but when one who had been wronged was merci­ful and mild towards the erring; 6 besides, he wished men to see 979that he was superior to Heracleides, not so much in power and wisdom, as in goodness and justice; for therein lay real superiority; 7 whereas successes in war, even though they had to be shared with no man, must at least be shared with fortune. 8 Moreover, if envy led Heracleides to be faithless and base, surely anger must not drive Dion to sully his virtue; for although taking vengeance for a wrong was in the eyes of the law more just than the doing of the wrong unprovoked, by nature it sprang from one and the same weakness. 9 Furthermore, baseness in a man, even though it be a grievous thing, was not so altogether savage and obstinate that it could not be conquered by frequent benefactions and altered by a sense of gratitude.

48 1 After using such arguments as these, Dion set Heracleides and Theodotes free. 2 Then turning his attention to the siege-wall, he bade each one of the Syracusans to cut a stake and lay it down near the works, and setting his mercenaries to the task all night, while the Syracusans were resting, he succeeded in fencing off the acropolis, so that when day came the citizens and the enemy alike were amazed to see with what speed the work had been accomplished. 3 He also buried the dead Syracusans, ransomed those who had been taken prisoners, although they were fully two thousand in number,  p103 and then held an assembly. 4 Here Heracleides came forward with a motion that Dion should be chosen general with absolute powers by land and sea. 5 The aristocracy approved of this motion and urged the appointment; but the mob of sailors and day-labourers tumultuously opposed it, being vexed that Heracleides should lose his office of admiral, and considering him, even though good for nothing in other ways, at least altogether more of a man of the people than Dion and more under the control of the multitude. 6 This point Dion yielded to them, and restored the command by sea to Heracleides; but when they insisted upon the redistribution of land and houses, he opposed them and repealed their former decrees on this head, thereby winning their displeasure. 7 Wherefore Heracleides at once renewed his machinations, and, when he was stationed at Messana, artfully tried to exasperate against Dion the soldiers and sailors who had sailed thither with him, declaring that Dion intended to make himself tyrant; but he himself was all the while making secret compacts with Dionysius through the agency of Pharax the Spartan. 8 When this was suspected by the better class of Syracusans, there was dissension in the army, and therefore perplexity and want of provisions in Syracuse, 9 so that Dion was altogether at a loss what to do, and was blamed by his friends for having strengthened against himself a man so perverse and so corrupted by envy and baseness as Heracleides was.

49 1 Now, Pharax was encamped at Neapolis, in the territory of Agrigentum, and thither Dion led forth the Syracusans. Dion wished to settle the issue between them at a later opportunity, but  p105 Heracleides and his sailors kept crying out against him, saying that his wish was not to decide the war by a battle, but to have it last forever, that he might remain in power. 2 He was therefore forced into an engagement, and was worsted. Since, however, the defeat of his men was not severe, but due more to their own seditious disorders than to the enemy, Dion again prepared for battle and drew up his forces, persuading and encouraging them. 3 But in the evening word was brought to him that Heracleides with his fleet was sailing for Syracuse, determined to occupy the city and shut Dion and his army out of it. 4 Immediately, therefore, he took with him his most influential and zealous supporters and rode all night, and about nine o'clock next day was at the gates of the city, having covered seven hundred furlongs. 9805 But Heracleides, who, in spite of all his efforts, arrived too late with his ships, put out to sea again, and being without definite plans, fell in with Gaesylus the Spartan, who insisted that he was sailing from Sparta to take command of the Sicilians, as Gylippus had formerly done.​25 6 Heracleides, accordingly, gladly took up this man, attached him to himself like an amulet, as it were, against the influence of Dion, and showed him to his confederates; then, secretly sending a herald to Syracuse, he ordered the citizens to receive their Spartan commander. 7 Dion, however, made answer that the Syracusans had commanders enough, and that if their situation absolutely required a Spartan also, he himself was the man, since he had been made a citizen of Sparta. Thereupon Gaesylus gave up his pretensions to the command, and sailing to  p107 Dion, effected a reconciliation between him and Heracleides, who took oaths and made the most solemn pledges, in support of which Gaesylus himself swore that he would avenge Dion and punish Heracleides if he worked any more mischief.

50 1 After this the Syracusans discharged their fleet, since it was of no use, while it involved great outlays for the crews, and caused dissension among their commanders; they also laid siege to the citadel after they had finished building the wall that enclosed it. 2 No one came to the help of the besieged, provisions failed them, and the mercenaries became mutinous, so that the son of Dionysius gave up his cause for lost and made terms with Dion. The citadel he handed over to him together with the arms and other equipment there, while he himself, taking his mother and sisters and manning five triremes, sailed away to his father. 3 Dion allowed him to depart in safety, and no one who was then in Syracuse missed that sight, nay, they called upon the absent ones also, pitying them because they could not behold this day and the rising of the sun upon a free Syracuse. 4 For since, among the illustrations men give of the mutations of fortune, the expulsion of Dionysius is still to this day the strongest and plainest, what joy must we suppose those men themselves then felt, and how great a pride, who, with the fewest resources, overthrew the greatest tyranny that ever was!

51 1 After Apollocrates had sailed away, and when Dion was on his way to the acropolis, the women could not restrain themselves nor await his entrance,  p109 but ran out to the gates, Aristomache leading Dion's son, while Arete followed after them with tears, and at a loss how to greet and address her husband now that she had lived with another man. 2 After Dion had greeted his sister first, and then his little son, Aristomache led Arete to him, and said: "We were unhappy, Dion, while thou wast in exile; 3 but now that thou art come and art victorious, thou hast taken away our sorrow from all of us, except from this woman alone, whom I was so unfortunate as to see forced to wed another while thou wast still alive. 4 Since, then, fortune has made thee our lord and master, how wilt thou judge of the compulsion laid upon her? Is it as her uncle or as her husband that she is to greet thee?" 5 So spake Aristomache, and Dion, bursting into tears, embraced his wife fondly, gave her his son, and bade her go to his own house; and there he himself also dwelt, after he had put the citadel in charge of the Syracusans.

52 1 And now that his enterprise had been so success­ful, he thought it not right to enjoy his present good fortune before distributing thanks to his friends, rewards to his allies, and particularly to his Athenian associates and to his mercenaries some mark of kindness and honour, his generosity leading him beyond his resources. 2 But as for himself, he lived with simplicity and moderation on what he had, and men wondered at him because, while his successes drew upon him the eyes not only of Sicily and Carthage, 981but also of all Hellas, and while he was regarded by the people of that time as the  p111 greatest of living men, and was thought to be blessed with courage and good fortune beyond any other commander, 3 he was nevertheless so modest in his dress, his attendance, and his table, just as though he were messing with Plato in the Academy, and not living among captains of mercenaries and paid soldiers, who find in their daily feastings, and other enjoyments, a solace for their toils and perils. 4 Plato, indeed, wrote to him​26 that the eyes of all the world were now fixed upon him alone, but Dion himself, as it would seem, kept his eyes fixed upon one spot in one city, namely, the Academy, and considered that his spectators and judges there admired neither great exploits nor boldness nor victories, but watched to see only whether he made a discreet and decorous use of his good fortune, and showed himself modest in his high estate. 5 Nevertheless, he made it a point not to remit or relax at all the gravity of his manners or his haughtiness in dealing with the people, although his situation called for a gracious demeanour, and although Plato, as I have said,​27 wrote and warned him that self-will was "a companion of solitude." 6 But he seems to have been of a temper naturally averse to graciousness, and, besides, he was ambitious to curb the Syracusans, who were given to excessive license and luxury.

53 1 For Heracleides once more set himself in opposition to him. To begin with, when he was invited by Dion to attend the council, he refused to come, saying that as a man in private station he would meet in assembly with the other citizens.  p113 2 Next, he publicly denounced Dion for not demolishing the citadel, and for checking the people when they set out to open the tomb of Dionysius and cast out his dead body, and for sending to Corinth for counsellors and colleagues in the government, thereby showing contempt for his fellow citizens. 3 And in fact Dion did send for assistance to the Corinthians, hoping the more easily to establish the civil polity which he had in mind if they were at his side. 4 And he had it mind to put a curb upon unmixed democracy in Syracuse, regarding it as not a civil polity, but rather, in the words of Plato,​28 a "bazaar of polities"; also to establish and set in order a mixture of democracy and royalty, somewhat after the Spartan and Cretan fashion, wherein an aristocracy should preside, and administer the most important affairs; for he saw that the Corinthians had a polity which leaned towards oligarchy, and that they transacted little public business in their assembly of the people.

5 Accordingly, since he expected that these measures would find their chief opponent in Heracleides, and since the man was in every way turbulent, fickle, and seditious, he now yielded to those who had long wished to kill him, but whom he had hitherto restrained; so they made their way into the house of Heracleides and slew him. 6 His death was keenly resented by the Syracusans; but nevertheless, when Dion gave him a splendid funeral, followed the body to its grave with his army, and then discoursed to them upon the matter, they came to see that it was impossible for the city to be free from tumults while Heracleides and Dion together concluded its affairs.

 p115  54 1 Now, there was a certain comrade of Dion's named Callippus, an Athenian, who, as Plato says,​29 had become intimately acquainted with him, not as a fellow pupil in philosophy, but in consequence of initiation into the mysteries and the recurrent comrade­ship which this brought. He took part in Dion's expedition and was held in honour by him, so that he even entered Syracuse with him at the head of all his comrades, with a garland on his head, after winning glorious distinction in battle. 2 But now that the chief and noblest friends of Dion had been consumed away by the war, 982and Heracleides was dead, he saw that the people of Syracuse were without a leader, and that he himself was very much in favour with Dion's soldiers. 3 Therefore, showing himself the vilest of men, and altogether expecting that he would have Sicily as a reward for murdering his friend, and, as some say, having received twenty talents from the enemy to pay him for doing the murder, he bribed some of Dion's mercenaries into a conspiracy against him, beginning his work in a most malicious and rascally manner. 4 For he was always reporting to Dion various speeches of his soldiers against him, either actually uttered or fabricated by himself, and in this way won his confidence, and was authorized to meet secretly with whom he would and talk with them against Dion, in order that no lurking malcontents might remain undiscovered. 5 By this means Callippus succeeded in quickly discovering and banding together the evil-minded and discontented citizens, and, whenever any one who had repulsed his overtures told Dion about them, Dion  p117 was not disturbed nor vexed, but assumed that Callippus was merely carrying out his injunctions.

55 1 As the plot was ripening, Dion saw an apparition of great size and portentous aspect. He was sitting later in the day in the vestibule of his house, alone and lost in thought, 2 when suddenly a noise was heard at the other end of the colonnade, and turning his gaze in that direction he saw (for it was not yet dark) a woman of lofty stature, in garb and countenance exactly like a tragic Fury, sweeping the house with a sort of broom. 3 He was terribly shocked, and, becoming apprehensive, summoned his friends, told them what he had seen, and begged them to remain and spend the night with him, being altogether beside himself, and fearing that if he were left alone the portent would appear to him again. This, indeed, did not occur a second time. 4 But a few days afterwards his son, who was hardly a boy any more, in a fit of angry displeasure caused by some trivial and childish grievance, threw himself headlong from the roof and was killed.

56 1 While Dion was thus heavily afflicted, Callippus was all the more intent upon his plot, and spread a report that Dion, being now childless, had made up his mind to send for Apollocrates, the son of Dionysius, and make him his successor, since he was his wife's nephew and his sister's grandson. 2 And presently both Dion and his wife and sister began to suspect what was going on, and information of the plot came to them from every quarter. 3 But Dion, as it would seem, being in distress at the fate of Heracleides, and suffering continual vexation and depression at theº thought of the man's  p119 murder, which he regarded as a stain upon his life and actions, declared that he was ready now to die many deaths and to suffer any one who wished to slay him, if it was going to be necessary for him to live on his guard, not only against his enemies, but also against his friends.

4 But Callippus, seeing that the women were investigating the matter carefully, and taking alarm, came to them with denials and in tears and offering to give them whatever pledge of fidelity they desired. 5 So they required him to swear the great oath. This was done in the following manner. The one who gives this pledge goes down into the sanctuary of Demeter and Persephone, where, after certain sacred rites have been performed, he puts on the purple vestment of the goddess, takes a blazing torch in his hand, and recites the oath. 6 All this Callippus did, and recited the oath; but he made such a mockery of the gods as to wait for the festival of the goddess by whom he had sworn, the Coreia, and then to do the murder.​30 And yet it is possible that he took no account of the day, since he knew that the goddess would have been utterly outraged even if at another time her mystic were slain by his mystagogue.31

57 1 Many had conspired to do the deed, and as Dion was sitting with his friends in an apartment containing couches for entertainment, 983some of the conspirators invested the house outside, while others stood at the doors and windows of the apartment. 2 The actual assassins, who were Zacynthians, came in  p121 unarmed and without their cloaks. Then at the same time those outside closed the doors and held them fast, while those inside fell upon Dion and tried to strangle and crush him. 3 They made no headway, however, and called for a sword; but no one ventured to open the door. For Dion's companions inside were many in number; but each of them thought that by abandoning Dion to his fate he would save his own life, and so no one ventured to help him. 4 After some delay, Lycon the Syracusan handed through the window to one of the Zacynthians a shortsword, and with this they cut Dion's throat as if he had been a victim at the altar; he had long since been over­powered and was quivering before the stroke. 5 At once, too, they cast his sister into prison, together with his wife, who was big with child. His wife had a most wretched confinement, and gave birth in the prison to a male child, which the women ventured to rear, with the consent of their guards, and all the more because Callippus was already involved in great trouble.

58 1 At the outset, indeed, after he had killed Dion, Callippus was a glorious personage, and had Syracuse in his power. He actually wrote a letter to the city of Athens, which, next to the gods, he ought to have held in awe and fear after setting his hands to so great a pollution. 2 But it appears to be truly said of that city that the good men whom she breeds are of the highest excellence, and the bad men of the most despicable baseness, just as her soil produces sweetest honey and deadliest hemlock. 3 However, Callippus did not long remain a scandal to fortune and the gods, as though they had no eyes for a man who won leader­ship and power by so great an impiety, but speedily paid a fitting penalty. 4 For on setting out to take  p123 Catana, he at once lost Syracuse; at which time, as they say, he remarked that he had lost a city and got a cheese-grater.​32 5 Then he attacked Messana and lost most of his soldiers, among whom were the murderers of Dion; and since no city in Sicily would receive him, but all hated and spurned him, he took possession of Rhegium. 6 But there, being in straitened circumstances and unable to support his mercenaries properly, he was put to death by Leptines and Polyperchon, who, as fortune would have it, used the shortsword with which Dion also was said to have been smitten. 7 And it was known by its size, which was short, after the Spartan fashion, and by the style of its workman­ship, being delicately and cunningly wrought. Such, then, was the penalty which Callippus paid.

8 As for Aristomacheº and Arete, when they were released from prison, they were taken up by Hicetas the Syracusan, who had been one of Dion's friends, and who was thought to be faithfully and honourably disposed towards them. 9 Afterwards, having been persuaded by the enemies of Dion, he got a ship ready for them, pretending that they were to be sent into Peloponnesus, and ordered the sailors, during the voyage, to cut their throats and cast them into the sea. Others, however, say that they were thrown overboard alive, and the little boy with them. 10 But Hicetas also met with a punishment worthy of his crimes. For he himself was captured by Timoleon and put to death, and the Syracusans, to avenge Dion, slew his two daughters also; of which things I have written at length in my Life of Timoleon.33

The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 One of the many friends whom Plutarch made during his residence at Rome. See note on Theseus, i.1.

2 Fragment 50; Bergk, Poet. Lyr. Graeci, III4 p412.

3 The Pericles was part of the tenth "book" (chapter ii.3), the Demosthenes part of the fifth (chapter iii.1). The ordinary arrangement of the Lives is purely arbitrary.

4 In 405 B.C.

5 About 388 B.C., if this first visit be not a myth.

6 Epist. VII p327.

7 Gelon had been tyrant of Syracuse circa 485‑478 B.C.

8 Cf. chapter iii.3.

9 In 367 B.C.

10 Epist. iv. ad fin.

11 Cf. the Coriolanus, xv.4.

12 Epist. vii. p328.

13 Soon after 368 B.C.

14 Geometrical figures were traced in loose sand strewn upon the floor.

15 The "upper city," as distinguished from the Piraeus.

16 Odyssey, XII.428, with slight adaptation from the first person.

17 Epist. vii. p349 f.

18 For the first time; cf. chapter xvi.3.

19 Cf. Epist. vii. p362 ad fin.

20 357 B.C.

21 Winds blowing steadily from the North during the summer.

22 The plateau west of the city of Syracuse. See the note on Nicias, xvii.1.

23 An extension of the city, covering the eastern part of the plateau of Epipolae.

24 Syracuse was colonized from Corinth, in Peloponnesus.

25 See the Nicias, chapters xix. ff.

26 Epist. iv. p320: ὤστε τοὺς ἐξ ἁπάσης τῆς οἰκουμένης εἰς ἕνα τόπον ἀποβλέπειν, καὶ ἐν τούτῳ μάλιστα πρὸς σέ.

27 In chapter viii.3.

28 Republic, VIII p557D.

29 Epist. vi. p333.

30 353 B.C.

31 Implying that Callippus had himself initiated Dion into the mysteries of Demeter.

32 Apparently the meaning, in Sicilian Greek, of the word Catana. Callippus maintained himself in Syracuse only thirteen months.

33 Chapters xxxii and xxxiii.

Thayer's Notes:

a Helicon's eclipse dates the event; the only eclipse visible in Sicily during the adult life of Dion was that of May 12, 361 B.C.

b This too establishes a date: August 9, 357 B.C. [And thanks to Prof. John D. Morgan who corrected a fortnight's mistake of mine here.]

c To the ancient reader, this is a very specific and meaning­ful piece of information. The "rising" meant is the heliacal rising, that is, the first day of a season on which a star rises just before the Sun, only to blink out very quickly in the latter's rays. The date varies for each star with the observer's latitude, and, much slower — at the rate at which the sun precesses thru the zodiac — over the centuries; in 357 B.C., the heliacal rising of Arcturus in Sicily was (give or take a day for my own lack of absolutely tip-top information) September 20th. Thruout classical Antiquity, therefore, it marked the approximate beginning of fall and the stormy season, which is why Arcturus suddenly blinks into our text at this point.

d And if we believe this, dear readers, we've been snookered too. At least I, for one, won't believe this wild tale for a minute: it's the original of "The dog ate my homework." Gullible Plutarch.

[image ALT: Valid HTML 4.01.]

Page updated: 28 Oct 17