From this time on Dion turned his thoughts to war. With this Plato himself would have nothing to do, out of respect for his tie of hospitality with Dionysius, and because of his age. But Speusippus and the rest of his companions co-operated with Dion and besought him to free Sicily, which stretched out her arms to him and eagerly awaited his coming.
For when Plato was tarrying in Syracuse, Speusippus, as it would appear, mingled more with its people and learned to know their sentiments; and though at first they were afraid of his boldness of speech, thinking it a trap set for them by the tyrant, yet in time they came to trust him. For all now spoke in the same strain, begging and exhorting Dion to come without ships men-at-arms, or horses; he was simply to come himself in a small boat, and lend the Sicilians his person and his name against Dionysius.
Encouraged by this information from Speusippus, Dion collected mercenaries secretly and by the agency of others, concealing his purpose. He was assisted also by many statesmen and philosophers, such as Eudemus the Cyprian, on whose death Aristotle wrote his dialogue
‘On the Soul,’ and Timonides the Leucadian.
Furthermore, they enlisted on his side Miltas the Thessalian also, who was a seer and had studied in the Academy. But of those who had been banished by the tyrant, and there were not less than a thousand of them, only twenty-five took part in the expedition; the rest played the coward and abandoned it.
The rendezvous was the island of Zacynthus, and here the soldiers were assembled. They numbered fewer than eight hundred, but they were all well known in consequence of many great campaigns, their bodies were exceptionally well trained, while in experience and daring they had no equals in the world, and were capable of inciting and inflaming to share their prowess all the host which Dion expected to have in Sicily.