Tragic Tyranny

Philostratus, Lives of the Sophists:

Antiphon was killed in Sicily by Dionysius the tyrant. I am inclined to ascribe the fault for his death more to Antiphon himself than to Dionysius, because Antiphon scoffed at his tragedies, in which Dionysius took more pride than he did even in being the tyrant. When Dionysius became interested in the quality of bronze and asked some people who were present what country or island produced the best bronze, Antiphon spoke up and said, ‘I know that the best bronze is in Athens, where one can find the statues of Harmodius and Aristogeiton.’ He was killed for this because he was treading upon Dionysius’ authority and turning the Sicilians against him.

ἀπέθανε μὲν οὖν περὶ Σικελίαν ὑπὸ Διονυσίου τοῦ τυράννου, τὰς δ᾽ αἰτίας, ἐφ᾽ αἷς ἀπέθανεν, Ἀντιφῶντι μᾶλλον ἢ Διονυσίῳ προσγράφομεν: διεφαύλιζε γὰρ τὰς τοῦ Διονυσίου τραγῳδίας, ἐφ᾽ αἷς ὁ Διονύσιος ἐφρόνει μεῖζον ἢ ἐπὶ τῷ τυραννεύειν, σπουδάζοντος δὲ τοῦ τυράννου περὶ εὐγενείας χαλκοῦ καὶ ἐρομένου τοὺς παρόντας, τίς ἤπειρος ἢ νῆσος, ἣ τὸν ἄριστον χαλκὸν φύει, παρατυχὼν ὁ Ἀντιφῶν τῷ λόγῳ‘ἐγὼ ἄριστον’ ἔφη ‘οἶδα τὸν Ἀθήνησιν, οὗ γεγόνασιν Ἁρμοδίου καὶ Ἀριστογείτονος εἰκόνες.’ ἐπὶ μὲν δὴ τούτοις ἀπέθανεν, ὡς ὑφέρπων τὸν Διονύσιον καὶ τρέπων ἐπ᾽ αὐτὸν τοὺς Σικελιώτας

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