Dionysius, then, was greatly astonished at his magnanimity and delighted with his ardour; but the other courtiers, thinking themselves put out of countenance by Dion's generosity and humbled by his power, began hostilities forthwith, and said everything they could to embitter the young king against him, accusing him of stealing into the position of tyrant by means of his power on the sea, and of using his ships to divert the power into the hands of the children of Aristomache, who were his nephews and nieces.
But the strongest and most apparent grounds for their envy and hatred of him lay in the difference between his way of life and theirs, and in his refusal to mingle with others. For from the very outset they obtained converse and intimacy with a tyrant who was young and had been badly reared by means of pleasures and flatteries, and were ever contriving for him sundry amours, idle amusements with wine and women, and other unseemly pastimes.
In this way the tyranny, being softened, like iron in the fire, appeared to its subjects to be kindly, and gradually remitted its excessive cruelty, though its edge was blunted not so much by any clemency in the sovereign as by his love of ease. As a consequence, the laxity of the young king gained ground little by little, until at last those
‘adamantine bonds’ with which the elder Dionysius said he had left the monarchy fastened, were melted and destroyed.
For it is said that the young king once kept up a drinking bout for ninety consecutive days from its beginning, and that during this time his court gave no access or admission to men or matters of consequence, but drunkenness and raillery and music and dancing and buffoonery held full sway.