Dion of Syracuse cover

photo credits: Wikimedia Commons

Dion of Syracuse

Sicilian Tyrant

408   -   353

occupation: politician

Dion (; Greek: Δίων ὁ Συρακόσιος; 408–354 BC), tyrant of Syracuse in Sicily, was the son of Hipparinus, and brother-in-law of Dionysius I of Syracuse. A disciple of Plato, he became Dionysius I's most trusted minister and adviser. However, his great wealth, his belief in Platonism and his ambition aroused the suspicions of Dionysius I's son and successor, Dionysius II. An indiscreet letter from Dion to the Carthaginians led to his banishment. Settling in Athens, he lived a prosperous life until Dionysius II dispossessed him of his estates and income. Landing in Sicily in 357 BC, he was successful in conquering Syracuse (other than the citadel). However, Dion soon quarrelled with the radical leader Heraclides and was forced into exile. Recalled in 355 BC, he became master of the whole city but his imperious behaviour and financial demands on the people of Syracuse soon alienated the population. His supporters abandoned him and he was assassinated. His attempts to liberate Sicily only brought political and social chaos to the island which would last for nearly 20 years.
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