Dionysius, the tyrant of the Syracusans,
after he had made peace with the Carthaginians and had got free of the uprisings in the city,
was eager to attach to himself the neighbouring cities of the Chalcidians,1
namely, Naxos, Catane, and Leontini. He was eager to be lord
of them because they lay on the borders of Syracuse and possessed many advantages for further
increase of his tyrannical power. First of all, then, he encamped near Aetne and won the
fortress, the exiles there being no match for an army of such size;
and after this he advanced to Leontini and pitched his camp near the city along the
river Teria. Then he at first led out his army in battle-order and dispatched a herald to the
Leontines, commanding them to surrender the city and believing that he had struck terror into
But when the Leontines paid no attention to
him and had made every preparation to withstand a siege, Dionysius, having no engines of war,
gave up the siege for the time being, but plundered their entire territory.
From there he set out against the Siceli, pretending that he was
engaging in war against them in order that the Catanians and the Naxians might become slacker
in the defence of their cities.
And while he was tarrying in
the neighbourhood of Enna, he persuaded Aeimnestus, a native of the city, to make a bid for
tyranny, promising to aid him in the undertaking.
Aeimnestus had succeeded in his design and then did not admit Dionysius into the city,
Dionysius in anger changed sides and urged the Ennaeans to overthrow the tyrant. These streamed
into the market-place with their arms, contending for their freedom, and the city was filled
Dionysius, on learning of the strife, took his
light-armed troops, speedily broke through an unoccupied place into the city, seized
Aeimnestus, and handed him over to the Ennaeans to be punished. He himself, refraining from all
injustice, departed from the city. This he did, not so much because he had regard for right as
because he wanted to encourage the other cities to put faith in him.