Professor Sanders’ full-length study of Dionysius I, one of the most powerful figures of fourth-century BC Greece, is the first to appear in English, and marks an important reassessment of the ‘tyrant’ of Syracuse.
Dionysius I regularly appears in the surviving historical accounts as a tyrant in the worst – modern – sense of the word: cruelty, intransigence, arrogance are all part of this stereotype. Yet here is a ruler who, according to the ancient testimony, was deeply concerned with the establishment of a just regime and to whom Plato turned to found the ideal Republic. The hostile picture of Dionysius that has come down to us is basically Athenian, Sanders argues, deriving from political circles engaged in propaganda aimed at tarnishing the tyrant’s reputation.
Dionysius I of Syracuse and Greek Tyranny will be of interest to those engaged with the history, historiography and political practice of the ancient world.