Dionysius the Elder
|Civilization:||Greek — Syracuse|
|statesman — Tyrant|
Dionysius, the tyrant of Syracuse, began life as a clerk in a public office, but by courage and diplomacy succeeded in making himself supreme. He carried on war with Carthage with varying success; his attempts to drive the Carthaginians entirely out of the island failed, and at his death they were masters of at least a third of it. He also carried on an expedition against Rhegium and its allied cities in Magna Graecia.
He also posed as an author and patron of literature; his poems, severely criticized by Philoxenus, were hissed at the Olympic games; but having gained a prize for a tragedy on the Ransom of Hector at the Lenaea at Athens, he was so elated that he engaged in a debauch which proved fatal. According to others, he was poisoned by his physicians at the instigation of his son. His life was written by Philistus, but the work is not extant. Dionysius was regarded by the ancients as a type of the worst kind of despot—cruel, suspicious and vindictive. Like Peisistratus, he was fond of having distinguished literary men about him, such as the historian Philistus, the poet Philoxenus, and the philosopher Plato, but treated them in a most arbitrary manner.
His son Dionysius, known as "the Younger," succeeded in 367 B.C. He was driven from the kingdom by Dion (356 B.C.) and fled to Locri; but during the commotions which followed Dion's assassination, he managed to make himself master of Syracuse. On the arrival of Timoleon he was compelled to surrender and retire to Corinth (343 B.C.), where he spent the rest of his days in poverty.
—Excerpted from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica.
|Sword of Damocles in||Fifty Famous Stories Retold by James Baldwin|
|Damon and Pythias in||Fifty Famous Stories Retold by James Baldwin|
|Dionysius the Tyrant in||Helmet and Spear by Alfred J. Church|
|Dion in||Tales of the Greeks: The Children's Plutarch by F. J. Gould|
|Tyrant of Syracuse in||The Story of the Greeks by H. A. Guerber|
|Story of Damon and Pythias in||The Story of the Greeks by H. A. Guerber|
|Sword of Damocles in||The Story of the Greeks by H. A. Guerber|
|Dion in||Our Young Folks' Plutarch by Rosalie Kaufman|
The Sword of Damocles
in Fifty Famous Stories Retold
|Brother-in-law of the Tyrant Dionysius of Syracuse; helped to overthrow him.|
|Story of Damon and Pythias celebrates trusted friendship and willingness to die for one another.|