This Plato tried to effect, and kept Dion with him in the Academy, where he turned his attention to philosophy. Dion dwelt in the upper city of Athens1
with Callippus, one of his acquaintances, but for diversion he bought a country-place, and afterwards, when he sailed to Sicily, he gave this to Speusippus, who was his most intimate friend at Athens. For Plato desired that Dion's disposition should be tempered and sweetened by association with men of charming presence who indulged seasonably in graceful pleasantries.
And such a man was Speusippus; wherefore Timon, in his
‘Silli,’ spoke of him as
‘good at a jest.’ And when Plato himself was called upon to furnish a chorus of boys, Dion had the chorus trained and defrayed all the expense of its maintenance, and Plato encouraged in him such an ambition to please the Athenians, on the ground that it would procure goodwill for Dion rather than fame for himself.
Dion used to visit the other cities also, where he shared the leisure and festal enjoyments of the noblest and most statesmanlike men, manifesting in his conduct with them nothing that was rude or arrogant or effeminate, but rather great moderation, virtue, and manliness, and a becoming devotion to letters and philosophy. This procured him the emulous goodwill of all men, and decrees of public honours from the cities.
The Lacedaemonians even made him a citizen of Sparta, without any regard for the anger of Dionysius, although at that time the tyrant was their zealous ally against the Thebans. And it is related that Dion once went to pay a visit to Ptoeodorus the Megarian, upon his invitation. Now Ptoeodorus, it would seem, was one of the wealthy and influential men of the city;
and when, therefore, Dion saw a crowd of people at his door, and a press of business, which made him difficult of access and hard to come at, he turned to his friends, who were vexed and indignant at it, and said:
‘Why should we blame this man? For we ourselves used to do just so in Syracuse.’