Considering, then, that a reason for this lay in the tyrant's want of education, he sought to engage him in liberal studies, and to give him a taste of such literature and science as formed the character, in order that he might cease to be afraid of virtue, and become accustomed to take delight in what was high and noble.
For by nature Dionysius did not belong to the worst class of tyrants, but his father, fearing that if he should get wisdom and associate with men of sense, he would plot against him and rob him of his power, used to keep him closely shut up at home, where, through lack of association with others and in ignorance of affairs, as we are told, he made little waggons and lampstands and wooden chairs and tables.
For the elder Dionysius was so distrustful and suspicious towards every body, and his fear led him to be so much on his guard, that he would not even have his hair cut with barbers' scissors, but a hairdresser would come and singe his locks with a live coal. Neither his brother nor his son could visit him in his apartment wearing any clothes they pleased, but every one had to take off his own apparel before entering and put on another, after the guards had seen him stripped.
And once, when his brother Leptines was describing to him the nature of a place, and drew the plan of it on the ground with a spear which he took from one of his body-guards, he was extremely angry with him, and had the man who gave him the spear put to death. He used to say, too, that he was on his guard against his friends who were men of sense, because he knew that they would rather be tyrants than subjects of a tyrant.
And he slew Marsyas, one of those whom he had advanced to positions of high command, for having dreamed that he killed him, declaring that this vision must have visited his sleep because in his waking hours he had purposed and planned such a deed. Yes, the man who was angry with Plato because he would not pronounce him the most valiant man alive, had a spirit as timorous as this, and so full of all the evils induced by cowardice.