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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. [2] 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. [3] 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 [4] 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 in Italy. [5] 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. [6] 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. [7]

The Romans fought a battle at Gurasium with the Volscians and slew great numbers of the enemy.

1 Of Athens.

2 Enough of the oration is preserved (Lys. 33) to show that Lysias urged the Greeks to unite against their two great enemies, the Persian King and Dionysius. Plutarch (Plut. Them. 25), on the authority of Theophrastus, tells a similar story of c. 470 B.C. when Hiero of Syracuse is represented as sending chariot horses and a costly pavilion to Olympia and Themistocles as urging that the pavilion be torn down and the horses prevented from competing. The story is clearly a pure fabrication based on this account of Diodorus (see Walker in Camb. Anc. Hist. 5, p. 36).

3 Tarentum.

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