2. Son of Hieron II., king of Syracuse, who died before his father, at the age of more than 50 years. Very little is known concerning him, but he appears to have inherited the quiet and prudent character of Hieron himself; and it is justly recorded to his praise, by Polybius, that he sacrificed all objects of personal ambition to the duty of obedience and reverence to his parents. (Plb. 7.8
It seems clear, however, that he was associated by Hieron with himself in the govern ment, and that he even received the title of king. (Schweighiiuser, ad Polyb.
5.88; Diod. Eac. Vales.
xxvi. p. 568.) Livy asserts that after the battle of Cannae, Gelon was preparing to abandon the alliance of Rome for that of Carthage. and that he was only prevented from doing so by his sudden death; but this seems quite at variance with the statement of Polybius of his uniform submission to his father's views, and may very likely deserve as little credit as the insinuation with which Livy immediately follows it--that his death occurred so opportunely, as to cast suspicion upon Hieron himself. (Liv. 23.30
.) Gelon was married to Nereis, daughter of Pyrrhus, by whom he left a son, Hieronymus, and a daughter, marmonia, married to a Syracusan named Themistus. (Plb. 7.4
; Just. 28.3
; Paus. 6.12.3
.) Archimedes dedicated to him his treatise called Arenarius, in which it may be observed that he addresses him by the title of king. (Arenar.
p. 319. ed Torell.)
The coins referred by earlier writers to the elder Gelon are generally admitted by modern numismatists to belong to this prince; the head on the obverse is probably that of Gelon himself; though Eckhel (vol. i. p. 255) considers it as that of the elder Gelon, and that the coins were struck in his honour, under the reign of Hieron II.