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Consequently the Syracusans elected lawgivers from such of their citizens as excelled in judgement, the most distinguished of them being Diocles. For he so far excelled the rest in understanding and renown that, although the writing of the code was a task of all in common, they were called "The Laws of Diocles." [2] And not only did the Syracusans admire this man during his lifetime, but also, when he died, they rendered him the honours accorded to heroes and built a temple in his honour at public expense—the one which was torn down by Dionysius at a later time when the walls of the city were being constructed.1 And this man was held in high esteem among the other Sicilian Greeks as well; [3] indeed many cities of the island continued to use his laws down to the time when the Sicilian Greeks as a body were granted Roman citizenship.2 Accordingly, when in later times laws were framed for the Syracusans by Cephalus3 in the time of Timoleon and by Polydorus in the time of King Hiero,4 they called neither one of these men a "lawgiver," but rather an "interpreter of the lawgiver," since men found the laws of Diocles, written as they were in an ancient style, difficult to understand. [4] Profound reflection is displayed in his legislation, the lawmaker showing himself to be a hater of evil, since he sets heavier penalties against all wrongdoers than any other legislator, just, in that more precisely than by any predecessor the punishment of each man is fixed according to his deserts, and both practical and widely experienced, in that he judges every complaint and every dispute, whether it concerns the state or the individual, to be deserving of a fixed penalty. He is also concise in his style and leaves much for the readers to reflect upon. [5] And the dramatic manner of his death5 bore witness to the uprightness and austerity of his soul.

Now these qualities of Diocles I have been moved to set forth in considerable detail by reason of the fact that most historians have rather slighted him in their treatises.

1 In 402 B.C.; cp. Book 14.18.

2 Cicero (Cic. ad Att. 14.12), writing in April, 43 B.C., states that this was an act of Antony, based upon a law of Caesar's presumably passed by the Roman people. Nothing can have come of it, since Sextus Pompeius held the island by late 43 B.C. and lost it to Augustus, who showed no interest in extending Roman citizenship to the provinces on such a wholesale scale. Pliny in his sketch of Sicily (3.88-91) lists, shortly before A.D. 79, several different degrees of civic status for the cities of the island.

3 In 339 B.C.; cp. Book 16.82.

4 Hiero was given the title of "King" in 270 B.C. and probably bore it until his death in 216.

5 Cp. chap. 33.

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