Indeed, if there be not an excess of tyranny, it is more expedient to tolerate the milder tyranny for a while than to become involved in many perils more grievous than the tyranny itself by acting against the tyrant. For it may happen that those who act against the tyrant are unable to prevail and the tyrant then will rage the more. Yet if one can prevail against the tyrant, the gravest dissensions frequently ensue among the people from this very fact: the multitude may be broken up into factions either during their revolt against the tyrant, or in process of the organization of the government, after the tyrant has been overthrown. Moreover, it sometimes happens that while the multitude is driving out the tyrant by the help of some man, the latter, having received the power, thereupon seizes the tyranny. Then, fearing to suffer from another what he did to his predecessor, he oppresses his subjects with an even more grievous slavery.
This tends to happen in tyranny: the second becomes more grievous than the one preceding, inasmuch as, without abandoning the previous oppressions, he himself thinks up fresh ones from the malice of his heart. Thus, in Syracuse, when everyone desired the death of Dionysius, a certain old woman kept constantly praying that he might be unharmed and that he might survive her. When the tyrant learned this he asked why she did it. Then she said: “When I was a girl we had a harsh tyrant and I wished for his death; when he was killed, there succeeded him one who was a little harsher. I was very eager to see the end of his dominion also, and we began to have a third ruler still more harsh—that was you. So if you should be taken away, a worse would succeed in your place.“