409–354 BC

Dion, tyrant of Syracuse (408-353 B.C.), the son of Hipparinus, and brother-in-law of Dionysius the Elder. 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 (357 B.C.) 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.

—Excerpted from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Key events during the life of Dion:

385 BC
Plato's first visit to Sicily. Befriends and teaches Dion.
367 BC
Dionysius I dies. Dion becomes regent for his son.
  Plato's second visit to Sicily as a tutor for Dionysius II.
  Dion is exiled to Athens.
361 BC
Plato's third visit to Sicily to plead for his friend Dion.
357 BC
Returned to Sicily with a fleet, and overthrew Dionysius II.
353 BC
Murdered by Callippus, one of his generals.

Other Resources

Story Links
Book Links
Dion  in  Tales of the Greeks: The Children's Plutarch  by  F. J. Gould
Dion and Dionysius  in  The Story of the Greeks  by  H. A. Guerber
Death of Dion  in  The Story of the Greeks  by  H. A. Guerber
Dion  in  Our Young Folks' Plutarch  by  Rosalie Kaufman

Image Links

The people all hooted
 in The Story of the Greeks

Short Biography
Dionysius the Elder From humble origins, arose to become Tyrant of the city of Syracuse.
Dionysius the Younger Continued tyrannical reign in Syracuse after the death of his father; student of Plato, overthrown by Dion.
Plato Writer of moral philosophy. Well known for 'Dialogues'. Student of Socrates.
Heraclides General of Syracuse who plotted to take control of the city.