Dion was born around 410 BC and became tyrant of Syracuse. He inherited his wealth and high position from his father Hipparinus, advisor to Dionysius I.
Dion is always portrayed as far from the corrupt life of the court, endowed with a philosophical intellect that grew thanks to lessons with Plato.
On the death of Dionysius I, his son Dionysius II succeeded him, and Dion was elected advisor to the new ruler because of his intellectual gift.
Over time, the two grew closer and Dionysius decided to send Dion away, first to the Peloponnese then to Italy.