The New International Encyclopædia/Gelon

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Edition of 1906.  See also Gelo on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

GE'LON (Lat., from Gk. Γέλον). Tyrant of Gela and Syracuse. He was the son of Dinomenes, and a native of Gela. His family was one of the oldest and most distinguished in the place. Gelon himself first figures in history as general of horse in the army of Hippocrates, Tyrant of Gela. On the death of the latter he contrived to obtain the supreme power, B.C. 491, and about B.C. 485 made himself master of Syracuse also, to which he transferred the seat of his government, and which he rendered the first Greek city in Sicily. All the inhabitants of Camarina, more than half of those of Gela, and many from other neighboring towns, he brought to Syracuse. His influence soon extended itself over a great part of the island. At the time of the invasion of Xerxes, Gelon refused to come to the aid of the Greeks, ostensibly because they would not make him commander-in-chief. He soon after came into collision with the Carthaginians, but defeated them in a decisive battle at Himera, in B.C. 480 — on the same day, it is said, on which the battle of Salamis was fought. He thereafter ruled in peace. He is praised as a merciful and wise ruler, who was beloved by his people and hailed as their deliverer and sovereign. After his death, about B.C. 478, he was honored as a hero. His brother Hiero succeeded him.