Such was the condition of affairs when Plato came to Sicily,1
and in the first instances he met with astonishing friendliness and honour. For a royal chariot, magnificently adorned, awaited him as he left his trireme, and the tyrant offered a sacrifice of thanksgiving for the great blessing that had been bestowed upon his government.
Moreover, the modesty that characterized his banquets, the decorum of the courtiers, and the mildness of the tyrant himself in all his dealings with the public, inspired the citizens with marvellous hopes of his reformation. There was also something like a general rush for letters and philosophy, and the palace was filled with dust, as they say, owing to the multitude of geometricians there.2
After a few days had passed, there was one of the customary sacrifices of the country in the palace grounds; and when the herald, as was the custom, prayed that the tyranny might abide unshaken for many generations, it is said that Dionysius, who was standing near, cried:
‘Stop cursing us!’ This quite vexed Philistus and his party, who thought that time and familiarity would render Plato's influence almost irresistible, if now, after a brief intimacy, he had so altered and transformed the sentiments of the youthful prince.