But Dion was vexed by all this, and shortly afterwards became altogether hostile when he learned how his wife had been treated, on which matter Plato also spoke covertly in a letter to Dionysius. The case was as follows. After the expulsion of Dion and when Dionysius was sending Plato back,1
he bade him learn from Dion confidentially whether he would oppose his wife's marrying another man;
for there was a report, whether true or concocted by Dion's enemies, that his marriage had not proved agreeable to him, and that he did not live harmoniously with his wife. Accordingly, after Plato came to Athens and had conferred with Dion about everything, he wrote a letter to the tyrant which spoke of other matters in a way that was clear to anybody, but of this particular matter in language that could be understood by Dionysius alone, saying that he had talked with Dion about that business, and that Dion would evidently be exceedingly angry if Dionysius should carry it through.2
Now, as long as there were many hopes of a reconciliation, the tyrant took no violent measures with his sister, but suffered her to continue living with Dion's young son; when, however, the estrangement was complete, and Plato, who had come to Sicily a second time, had been sent away in enmity, then he gave Arete in marriage, against her will, to Timocrates, one of his friends. And in this action, at least, he did not imitate the reasonableness of his father.
For the elder tyrant also, as it would appear, had a sister, Theste, whose husband, Polyxenus, had become his enemy. When, therefore, Polyxenus was moved by fear to run away and go into exile from Sicily, the tyrant sent for his sister and upbraided her because she had been privy to her husband's flight and had not told her brother about it.
But she, without consternation, and, indeed, without fear, replied:
‘Dost thou think me, Dionysius, such a mean and cowardly wife that, had I known beforehand of my husband's flight, I would not have sailed off with him and shared his fortunes? Indeed, I did not know about it; since it would have been well for me to be called the wife of Polyxenus the exile, rather than the sister of Dionysius the tyrant.’ The tyrant is said to have admired Theste for this bold speech.
And the Syracusans also admired the virtue of the woman, so that even after the dissolution of the tyranny she retained the honours and services paid to royalty, and when she died, the citizens, by public consent, attended her funeral. This is a digression, it is true, but not a useless one.