In ancient Greece, Pythias from Athens is on a trip to Syracuse. The tyrant Dionysius of Syracuse sees him as a dangerous follower of the philosopher Pythagoras and condemns him to death. Pythias begs Dionysus to allow him to visit his wife in Athens promising to return to Syracuse to be executed. Pythias’ friend Damon volunteers to be held hostage until Pythias returns. Dionysius sees this as the opportunity to demonstrate the falsity of Pythagoras’ philosophy. Dionysius allows Pythias to leave but doesn’t expect him to return. Dionysius prepares to execute Damon, but at the last minute, Pythias returns to take Damon’s place before the executioner. The tyrant’s son intervenes and Damon and Pythias are both spared.
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