The Olympic Games were at hand and
Dionysius dispatched to the contest several four-horse teams, which far surpassed all others in
swiftness, and also pavilions for the festive occasion, which were interwoven with gold and
embellished with expensive cloth of gay and varied colours. He also sent the best professional
reciters that they might present his poems in the gathering and thus win glory for the name of
Dionysius, for he was madly addicted to poetry.
In charge of
all this he sent along his brother Thearides. When Thearides arrived at the gathering, he was a
centre of attraction for the beauty of the pavilions and the large number of four-horse teams;
and when the reciters began to present the poems of Dionysius, at first the multitude thronged
together because of the pleasing voices of the actors and all were filled with wonder. But on
second consideration, when they observed how poor his verses were, they laughed Dionysius to
scorn and went so far in their rejection that some of them even ventured to rifle the tents.
Indeed the orator Lysias,1
who was at that time in Olympia, urged the multitude not to
admit to the sacred festival the representatives from a most impious tyranny; and at this time
he delivered his Olympiacus.2
In the course of the contest chance brought it about that some
of Dionysius' chariots left the course and others collided among themselves and were wrecked.
Likewise the ship which was on its way to Sicily carrying the representatives from the games
was wrecked by strong winds near Taras3
Consequently the sailors who got safe to Syracuse
spread the story throughout the city, we are told, that the badness of the verses caused the
ill-success, not only of the reciters, but of the teams and of the ship with them.
When Dionysius learned of the ridicule that had been heaped upon his
verses, his flatterers told him that every fair accomplishment is first an object of envy and
then of admiration. He therefore did not give up his devotion to writing.
The Romans fought a battle at Gurasium
with the Volscians and slew great numbers of the enemy.