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Dionysius

Dionysius personal name.
Dionysius was the name of two rulers of Syracuse. Dionysius I (c.430–367 bc, ruled 405–367) was known as Dionysius the Elder. A tyrannical ruler, he waged three wars against the Carthaginians for control of Sicily, later becoming the principal power in Greek Italy after the capture of Rhegium (386) and other Greek cities in southern Italy. His son, Dionysus II (c.397–c.344 bc, ruled 367–357 and 346–344) was known as Dionysius the Younger. He lacked his father's military ambitions and signed a peace treaty with Carthage in 367. Despite his patronage of philosophers, he resisted the attempt by Plato to turn him into a philosopher king.
Dionysius the Areopagite (1st century ad), Greek churchman. His conversion by St Paul is recorded in Acts 17:34 and according to tradition he went on to become the first bishop of Athens. He was later confused with St Denis and with a mystical theologian, Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, who exercised a profound influence on medieval theology.

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Dionysius the Younger

Dionysius the Younger, fl. 368–344 BC, tyrant of Syracuse, son of Dionysius the Elder. He ended the war with Carthage and enlisted the support of the professional army. Neither gifted nor trained for administration or warfare, his banishment of Dion of Syracuse destroyed his only valid chance of maintaining his influence. In 357 BC the Syracusans welcomed Dion, who came to avenge his family for the ill-treatment they had received, and Dionysius fled. The murder of Dion gave Dionysius the opportunity to reestablish himself in his native city, whence he was finally expelled by Timoleon in 344 BC The remainder of his life was spent chiefly in Corinth, where he is said to have been a teacher of rhetoric. He wrote poetry and philosophy and was a patron of the arts. Dion, with Plato's backing, had attempted to fashion him into the model philosopher king, but failed. Subsequently Dionysius expelled Plato from his court.

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