Dionysius to Divina Commedia

Dionysius, tyrant of Syracuse, dethroned Evander, and imprisoned him in a dungeon deep in a huge rock, intending to starve him to death. But Euphrasia, having gained access to him, fed him from her own breast. Timoleon invaded Syracuse, and Dionysius, seeking safety in a tomb, saw there Evander the deposed king, and was about to kill him, when Euphrasia rushed forward, struck the tyrant to the heart, and he fell dead at her feet.—Murphy: The Grecian Daughter (1772).

N.B.—In this tragedy there are several gross historical errors. In act i. the author tells us it was Dionysius the Elder who was dethroned, and went in exile to Corinth; but the elder Dionysius died in Syracuse, at the age of 63, and it was the younger Dionysius who was dethroned by Timoleon, and went to Corinth. In act v. he makes Euphrasia kill the tyrant in Syracuse, whereas he was allowed to leave Sicily, and retired to Corinth, where he spent his time in riotous living, etc.

Dionysius [the Elder] was appointed sole general of the Syracusian army, and th en king by the voice of the senate. Damon “the Pythagorean” opposed the appointment, and even tried to stab “the tyrant,” but was arrested and condemned to death. The incidents whereby he was saved are to be found under the article Damon, p. 258.

(Damon and Pythias, a drama by R. Edwards (1571), and another by John Banim, in 1825.)

Dionysius [the Younger], being banished from Syracuse, went to Corinth and turned schoolmaster.

Corinth’s pedagogue hath now
Transferred his byword [tyrant] to thy brow.
   —Byron: Ode t Napoleon.

Dionysius the Areopagite was one of the judges of the Areopagite when St. Paul appeared before this tribunal. Certain writings, fabricated by the neo-platonicians in the fifth century, were falsely ascribed to him. The Isodorian Decretals is a somewhat similar forgery by Mentz, who lived in the ninth century, or three hundred years after Isidore.

The error of those doctrines so vicious
Of the old Areopagite Dionysius.
   —Longfellow: The Golden Legend.

Dionysius’s Ear, a cave in a rock, 72 feet high, 27 feet broad, and 219 feet deep, the entrance of which “resembled the shape of an ear.” It was used as a guard-room or prison; and the sentinel could hear the slightest whisper of the prisoners within.

Dioscuri [sons of Zeus], Castor and Pollux. Generally, but incorrectly, accented on the second syllable.

Diotima, the priestess of Mantineia in Plato’s Symposium, the teacher of Socratês. Her opinions on life, its nature, origin, end, and aim, form the nucleus of the dialogue. Socratês died of hemlock.

Beneath an emerald plane
Sits Diotima, teaching him that died
Of hemlock.
   —Tennyson: The Princess, iii.

Diplomatists (Prince of), Charles Maurice Talleyrand de Périgord (1754–1838).

Dipsas, a serpent, so called because those bitten by it suffered from intolerable thirst. (Greek, dipsa, “thirst.”) Milton refers to it in Paradise Lost, x. 526 (1665).

Dipsodes , th e people of Dipsody, ruled over by king Anarchus, and subjugated by prince Pantagruel (bk. ii. 28). Pantagruel afterwards colonized their country with nine thousand million men from Utopia (or to speak more exactly, 9,876,543,210 men), besides women, children, workmen, professors, and peasant labourers (bk. iii. 1).—Rabelais: Pantagruel (1545).

Dipsody, the country of the Dipsodes , q.v.

Dircæan Swan, Pindar; so called from Dircê, a fountain in the neighbourhood of Thebes, the poet’s birthplace (B.C. 518–442).

  By PanEris using Melati.

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