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Headword: Ἱέρων
Adler number: iota,199
Translated headword: Hieron, Hiero
Vetting Status: high
This man was a tyrant, who "initially acquired by his own merit the kingship of the Syracusans and command of the[ir] allies, without inheriting either riches or fame or anything else ready-made from fortune, and furthermore without killing or exiling or harassing any citizen. And he maintained [his power] in the same fashion: for in ruling as king for fifty-four years he kept his country at peace, preserved his own power free from plots, and escaped the envy that follows high positions; at any rate [it was he] who often sought to leave the kingship but was prohibited by common consent of the citizens. Very charitable and very fond of fame, leading his life among affluence and luxury and great plenty, he lived for more than 90 years and kept all of his mental and physical faculties unimpaired. And that, it seems to me, is no small sign but very large one of a prudent life."
Greek Original:
Ἱέρων: οὗτος τύραννος ἦν, ὃς πρῶτον μὲν δι' ἑαυτοῦ κατεκτήσατο τὴν τῶν Συρακουσίων βασιλείαν καὶ τῶν συμμάχων ἀρχήν, οὐ πλοῦτον οὐ δόξαν οὐχ ἕτερον οὐδὲν ἐκ τῆς τύχης ἕτοιμον παραλαβών, καὶ μὴν οὐκ ἀποκτείνας οὐ φυγαδεύσας οὐ λυπήσας οὐδένα τῶν πολιτῶν. καὶ διεφύλαξε τὸν αὑτοῦ τρόπον: ἔτη γὰρ πεντήκοντα καὶ τέτταρα βασιλεύσας διετήρησε μὲν τῇ πατρίδι τὴν εἰρήνην, διεφύλαξε δ' αὑτῷ τὴν ἀρχὴν ἀνεπιβούλευτον, διέφυγε δὲ τὸν ταῖς ὑπεροχαῖς παρεπόμενον φθόνον: ὅς γε πολλάκις ἐπιβαλλόμενος ἀποθέσθαι τὴν δυναστείαν ἐκωλύθη κατὰ κοινὸν ὑπὸ τῶν πολιτῶν. εὐεργετικώτατος δὲ καὶ φιλοδοξότατος, ἐν περιουσίᾳ δὲ καὶ τρυφῇ καὶ δαψιλείᾳ πολλῇ διαγενόμενος ἐβίωσε πλείω τῶν #4# ἐτῶν, διεφύλαξε δὲ τὰς αἰσθήσεις πάσας καὶ τὰ μέρη τοῦ σώματος ἀβλαβῆ. τοῦτο δέ μοι δοκεῖ σημεῖον οὐ μικρόν, ἀλλὰ παμμέγεθες εἶναι βίου σώφρονος.
After the short opening clause the entry follows (with only minor variations) Polybius 7.8.
See also Polybius 1.8-9; Livy 24.34; Pausanias 6.12.2-4.
For Hieron II of Syracuse cf. already under epsilon 2426, and see generally OCD(4) s.v. Hieron(2). Born c.306 BCE, of unknown lineage, he served as an officer under Pyrrhos, a Greek adventurer who briefly controlled Syracuse c.278-276. Hieron's ascent to power began when he was elected co-commander of Syracusan armed forces driven from Syracuse by the civil authorities. He executed a military coup at Syracuse c.275 after "he used some of his family connections to gain entry to the city", as Polybius writes. He consolidated his power by marrying Philistis, the daughter of a popular and influential Syracusan named Leptines. When veteran mercenaries who helped him seize power became unruly and disruptive, he led them into a battle in which they were cut to pieces by the enemy after he held back his reserves of Syracusan citizens. In 265 Hieron won a decisive victory over the Mamertines, a gang of Italic mercenaries who ran a pirate empire from the Sicilian city of Messana which they had captured. As a result, Hieron was proclaimed King of Syracuse by his grateful subjects. Hieron's defeat of the Mamertines upset the delicate balance of power among the Greeks, Romans and Carthaginians, all of whom sought the control of Sicily. Rome's support of the defeated Mamertines precipitated the First Punic War in 264, in which Carthage and Syracuse were initially allied against Rome. The Romans gained early victories over the Greco-Punic forces and prepared to lay siege to Syracuse. Hieron reconsidered his position and decided that it would be wiser to be an ally of Rome than of Carthage. He negotiated a treaty with Rome in 263 under whose terms he agreed to pay tribute and provide supplies and grain to the Romans. Hieron honored this treaty the rest of his life and became a loyal ally of Rome. The treaty guaranteed him a peaceful and prosperous reign as long as the Romans and Carthaginians were occupied in fighting each other. Hieron and Philistis had one son, Gelon, and two daughters, Damarata and Herakleia. Gelon co-ruled with Hieron for many years and married Nereis, a daughter of Hieron's old mentor Pyrrhos. Gelon died about a year before Hiero while in his fifties. Hieron died in 215 at about the age of ninety and was succeeded by Gelon's fifteen-year-old son Hieronymos (iota 200).
Berve H., König Hieron II, Munich, 1959
Carcopino J., "La loi de Hiéron et les romains", L'Erma di Bretschneider, 1965
Hans L.M., "Theokrits XVI. Idylle und die Politik Hierons II von Syrakus", Historia 34 (1985) 117-25
Keywords: biography; chronology; economics; ethics; historiography; history; military affairs
Translated by: Andrea Consogno on 23 June 2005@04:54:35.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (modified headword and translation; augmented and rearranged notes) on 23 June 2005@08:17:21.
Catharine Roth (typo in cross-reference) on 23 June 2005@17:04:33.
David Whitehead (more keywords) on 5 December 2005@08:44:08.
David Whitehead (another x-ref; cosmetics) on 9 January 2013@09:31:06.
David Whitehead on 4 August 2014@03:37:58.
David Whitehead (tweaks and cosmetics) on 26 April 2016@05:07:44.


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