Cornelius Nepos

artes optimas, magnam corporis dignitatem, quae non minimum commendat,1 magnas praeterea divitias a patre relictas, quas ipse tyranni muneribus auxerat. 3Erat intimus Dionysio priori, neque minus propter mores quam adfinitatem. Namque etsi Dionysii crudelitas ei displicebat, tamen salvum propter necessitudinem, magis etiam suorum causa studebat. Aderat in magnis rebus, eiusque consilio multum movebatur tyrannus, nisi qua in re maior ipsius cupiditas 4intercesserat. Legationes vero omnes quae essent illustriores per Dionem administrabantur; quas quidem ille diligenter obeundo, fideliter administrando crudelissimum nomen tyranni sua 5humanitate leniebat.2 Hunc a Dionysio missum Karthaginienses suspexerunt,3 ut neminem umquam Graeca lingua loquentem magis sint admirati.

2. Neque vero haec Dionysium fugiebant; nam quanto esset sibi ornamento, sentiebat. Quo fiebat ut uni huic maxime indulgeret neque eum secus 2diligeret ac filium; qui quidem, cum Platonem Tarentum venisse fama in Siciliam esset perlata, adulescenti negare non potuerit quin eum accerseret, cum Dion eius audiendi cupiditate flagraret. Dedit ergo huic veniam magnaque eum ambitione Syracusas 3perduxit. Quem Dion adeo admiratus est atque adamavit, ut se ei totum traderet. Neque vero minus ipse Plato delectatus est Dione. Itaque cum a Dionysio4 crudeliter violatus esset, quippe qui eum5


X. Dion

highest accomplishments; great personal dignity, which is not the least of recommendations; large means too, left him by his father, which he had himself increased through the gifts of the tyrant. He was intimate with the elder Dionysius as much because of his character as their relationship; for although he disapproved of the tyrant’s cruelty, yet his safety was dear to him on account of their kinship, and still more so for the sake of his own family. He assisted Dionysius in important matters of business, and the tyrant was strongly influenced by his advice, except when some especially ardent desire of his own had turned the scale. In fact, all embassies of special distinction were conducted through Dion, and since he entered upon them with care and managed them scrupulously, he lessened the tyrant’s reputation for cruelty by his own kindliness. When he was sent by Dionysius to Carthage, he was so honoured that no native of Greece ever excited greater admiration.

2. Now all this did not escape the notice of Dionysius, for he was aware of the honour conferred upon him by his relative. In consequence, he favoured Dion beyond all others and loved him like a son.; So when the report made its way to Sicily that Plato had come to Tarentum, he could not refuse the young man’s request to invite the philosopher to his court, since Dion had an ardent longing to hear him. Therefore he gratified the youth’s desire and brought Plato to Syracuse in great state. Him Dion so admired and loved that he devoted himself to him heart and soul. And, indeed, Plato for his part was no less delighted with Dion; so much so that, although he had been cruelly wronged by Dionysius, who had ordered him to be sold as a

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.cornelius_nepos-book_great_generals_foreign_nations_dion.1929