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Even a good and sensible prince would have found it difficult to win popularity with the Syracusans as successor to their beloved Hiero.  But Hieronymus, as though he were anxious by his own vices to make the loss of his grandfather more keenly felt, showed on his very first appearance in public how everything was changed.  Those who had for so many years seen Hiero and his son, Gelo, going about with nothing in their dress or other marks of royalty to distinguish them from the rest of their countrymen, now saw Hieronymus clad in purple, wearing a diadem, surrounded by an armed escort, and sometimes even proceeding from his palace in a [4??] chariot drawn by four white horses, after the style of Dionysius the tyrant.  Quite in harmony with this extravagant assumption of state and pomp was the contempt he showed for everybody; the insolent tone in which he addressed those who sought audiences of him; the way he made himself difficult of access not only to strangers but even to his guardians; his monstrous lusts; his inhuman cruelty.  Such terror seized everybody that some of his guardians anticipated a death of torture by suicide or flight.  Three of them, the only ones who had familiar access to the palace, Andranodorus and Zoippus, Hiero's sons-in-law, and a certain Thraso, did not rouse much interest in him when talking of other matters, but as two of them took the side of the Carthaginians and Thraso that of the Romans, their heated arguments and quarrels attracted the young king's attention.  A conspiracy formed against the despot's life was disclosed by a certain Callo, a lad of about the same age as Hieronymus and accustomed from his boyhood to associate with him on terms of perfect familiarity.  The informer was able to give the name of one of the conspirators, Theodotus, by whom he had himself been invited to join in the plot.  This man was at once arrested and handed over to Andranodorus for torture. He confessed his own complicity without any hesitation, but was silent about the others. At last, when he was racked with tortures too terrible for human endurance, he pretended to be overcome by his sufferings, and instead of disclosing the [11??] names of the guilty informed against an innocent man, and falsely accused Thraso of being the ringleader of the plot. Unless, he said, they had had such an influential man to lead them they would never have ventured upon so serious an undertaking.  He went on inventing his story amidst groans of anguish and mentioning names just as they occurred to him, taking care to select the most worthless amongst the king's courtiers.  It was the mention of Thraso that weighed most in persuading the king of the truth of the story; he accordingly was at once given up for punishment, and the others, as innocent as he was, shared his fate.  Though their accomplice was under torture for a long time, not one of the actual conspirators either concealed himself or sought safety in flight, so great was their confidence in the courage and honour of Theodotus, and so great the firmness with which he kept their secret.
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