But Dion, relying not so much on his own forces than on hatred of the tyrant, with just two ships, set out to attack with the greatest spirit an empire of 50 years’ standing, defended by 500 warships, 10,000 cavalry and 100,000 infantry. In fact, he so easily overcame his adversary – which seemed to all people an amazing exploit – that on the third day aft er he had reached Sicily he entered Syracuse. (Nepos, Dion, 5.3)

Dionysius (the Younger) was not the worst sort of tyrant, but since his father had been afraid that he would obtain wisdom and mix with high-minded men and so conspire against him and take power, he kept him at home, where, because of a lack of contact with others and being ignorant of public aff airs, he made little wagons and lamp stands, wooden chairs and tables. (Plutarch, Dion, 9.2)

Dion saw that the tyrant’s son was dwarfed and deformed in character and encouraged him to study …. (Plutarch, Dion, 10.1)

Dion … was at fi rst honoured because of his sister; later, however, giving proof of his wise thoughts, he was well regarded by the tyrant on his own account … Dion possessed … a noble character and generosity and he rose higher in virtue … when Plato came to Sicily. (Plutarch, Dion, 4.1-3)

As Plato himself says, he came a third time to the Straits of Scylla [quotes Homer, Od. 12.428]. (Plutarch, Dion, 18.9)

It was now midsummer and the etesian winds blew strongly over the sea and there was a full moon. Dion made a sacrifi ce to Apollo … aft er the ceremony he held a banquet in the stadium of Zacynthus …. (Plutarch, Dion, 23.3)

Aft er sailing with a light and gentle breeze for twelve days, they reached Cape Pachynus in Sicily on the thirteenth. Dion was afraid to land near his enemy and wished to go further along the coast. At once, a harsh north wind caused a surging sea and drove the ships from Sicily. Th e sailors were terrifi ed by this storm and to be driven off course, until suddenly they saw that their ships were being forced towards Cercina on the African coast … Now they were despondent by the calm in which they found themselves when a gentle breeze from the south reached them from the land. Gradually the wind freshened so that they made sail and with prayers to the gods made for Sicily from Africa. Th ey made good time and in fi ve days anchored at Minoa …. (Plutarch, Dion, 25.3)

Aristomache led Dion’s son while Arete followed aft er them in tears and at a loss about how to greet and speak to her husband since she had been married to another man. Aft er Dion had greeted his sister and his small son, Aristomache led Arete to him, saying, ‘We were unhappy, Dion, when you were in exile … is it as uncle or husband she should greet you?’ (Plutarch, Dion, 51.1)

… Dion remained at home to avoid the crowd and had gone to lie down in an upper room. From among his followers, he [Callippus] chose some young men from Zacynthus who were all bold and very strong and ordered them to go to Dion unarmed so that it might appear that it was a social call. Th e young men were known and admitted, but when they entered the room they locked the door, fell on Dion and held him down. Th e noise they made could be heard outside. If Dion’s guards were really loyal, they could have broken the lock and saved him since he was still alive and his attackers were calling out for a weapon. When no one came to save him, a Syracusan named Lyco passed a sword through the windows, with which Dion was killed. (Nepos, Dion, 9.1)

… Dion was sitting with his friends in a room that had couches for entertainment when some of the plotters stood outside the house, others in the doorway and at the windows. Th e actual killers were Zacythnians, who entered unarmed without their cloaks. Th ose outside closed the door and stood on guard, while those inside held Dion down and tried to strangle him or beat him to death. When this failed, they called for a sword, but no one would open the door. Aft er some delay, Lycon of Syracuse handed a short sword through the window to one of the men from Zacynthus [cf. Homer, Od. 9.24] and with this they cut Dion’s throat as if he were a sacrifi cial victim. (Plutarch, Dion, 57.1)

Th ose who lived close to where Alcibiades was staying were secretly ordered to kill him. Th ey did not dare to attack openly, but in the night they piled up wood around the house and set it on fi re … When Alcibiades heard the blaze, even though his sword had been stolen, he seized a dagger … and collected clothes that were available and threw them on the fi re and rushed through the fl ames. When the barbarians saw that he had escaped the fi re, they threw missiles at him from a distance, killed him and sent his head to Pharnabazus. (Nepos, Alcibiades, 10.4-6)

Th ose sent to kill him [Alcibiades] did not dare to enter but surrounded the house and set it on fi re. When Alcibiades realised what was happening, he collected most of the clothes and bedding in the house and threw it onto the fi re. Th en he wrapped his cloak around his left arm and drew his sword, rushed out unhurt by the fi re, and threw the attackers into confusion. Not one of them stood up to his assault or came close but from a distance shot arrows or threw javelins. (Plutarch, Alcibiades, 39.2-3)

And the plotters decided to delay no longer and not to test the opinions of the mass, but the most reckless of them shouted that the Volscians must not listen to the traitor nor allow him to retain his command and play the role of tyrant among them, and so they jumped on him and killed him while no one present came forward to defend him. (Plutarch, Coriolanus, 39.4)