Dionysius had three children by his Locrian wife, and four by Aristomache, two of whom were daughters, Sophrosyne and Arete. Sophrosyne became the wife of his son Dionysius,1
and Arete of his brother Thearides, but after the death of Thearides, Arete became the wife of Dion, her uncle.
Now, when Dionysius was sick and seemed likely to die, Dion tried to confer with him in the interests of his children by Aristomache, but the physicians, who wished to ingratiate themselves with the heir apparent, would not permit it; moreover, according to Timaeus, when the sick man asked for a sleeping potion, they gave him one that robbed him of his senses and made death follow sleep.2
However, in the first conference held between the young Dionysius and his friends, Dion discoursed upon the needs of the situation in such a manner that his wisdom made all the rest appear children, and his boldness of speech made them seem mere slaves of tyranny, who were wont to give their counsels timorously and ignobly to gratify the young man.
But what most amazed them in their fear of the peril that threatened the realm from Carthage, was Dion's promise that, if Dionysius wanted peace, he would sail at once to Africa and put a stop to the war on the best terms possible; but if war was the king's desire, he himself would furnish him with fifty swift triremes for the war, and maintain them at his own costs.