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Dion (Tyrant of Syracuse)

Dion, tyrant of Syracuse (408-353 BC), the son of Hipparinus, and brother-in-law of Dionysius of Syracuse.

In his youth he, was an admirer and pupil of Plato, whom Dionysius had invited to Syracuse; and he used every effort to inculcate the maxims of his master in the mind of the tyrant. The stern morality of Dion was distasteful to the younger Dionysius[?], and the historian Philistus, a faithful supporter of despotic power, succeeded in procuring his banishment on account of alleged intrigues with the Carthaginians.

The exiled philosopher retired to Athens, where he was at first permitted to enjoy his revenues in peace; but the intercession of Plato (who had again visited Syracuse to procure Dion's recall) only served to exasperate the tyrant, and at length. provoked him to confiscate the property of Dion, and give his wife to another. This last outrage roused Dion. Assembling a small force at Zacynthus[?], he sailed to Sicily in 357 BC and was received with demonstrations of joy. Dionysius, who was in Italy, returned to Sicily, but was defeated and obliged to flee. Dion himself was soon after supplanted by the intrigues of Heracleides[?], and again banished. The incompetency of the new leader and the cruelties of Apollocrates[?], the son of Dionysius, soon led to his recall. He had, however, scarcely made himself master of Sicily when the people began to express their discontent with his tyrannical conduct, and he was assassinated by Callippus, an Athenian who had accompanied him in his expedition.

See Lives by Plutarch and Cornelius Nepos[?] (cf. Diod. Sic. xvi. 6-20) and in modern times by T Lau (1860).

This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.

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