1. A Macedonian general in the service of Seleucuis I., king of Syria, by whom he was appointed to command at Babylon, soon after he had recovered possession of that city, B. C. 312.
On the advance of Demetrius, Patrocles being unable to face that monarch in the field, withdrew beyond the Tigris, whither Demetrius did not think fit to follow him. (Diod. 19.100
.) Of his subsequent operations in that quarter we know nothing. His name next appears as one of the friends and counsellors of Seleucus in the war against Demetrius, B. C. 286 (Plut. Demetr.
47): and again in 280, after the death of Seleucus, we find him entrusted by Antiochus I. with the chief command of his army, and the conduct of the war in Asia. (Memnon. 100.15, ed. Orell.) We are also told that Patrocles held, both under Seleucus and Antiochus, an important government over some of the eastern provinces of the Syrian empire, including apparently those bordering on the Caspian Sea, and extending from thence towards the frontiers 3f India. (Strab. ii. pp. 69, 74.)
During the period of his holding this position, he seems to have been at much pains to collect accurate geographical information, which he afterwards published to the world; but though his authority is frequently cited by Strabo, who as well as Eratosthenes placed the utmost reliance on his accuracy, neither the title nor exact subject of his work is ever mentioned.
It seems clear, however, that it included a general account of India, as well as of the countries on the banks of the Oxuts and the Caspian Sea. Strabo expressly calls him the most veracious (ἥκιστα ψευδόλογος
) of all writers concerning India (ii. p. 70); and it appears that in addition to the advantages of his official situation, he had made use of a regular description of the eastern provinces of the empire, drawn up by command of Alexander
In this work Patrocles regarded the Caspian Sea as a gulf or inlet of the ocean, and maintained the possibility of sailing thither by sea from the Indian Ocean; a statement strangely misinterpreted by Pliny, who asserts (H. N.
6.17 (21)), that Patrocles had himself performed the circumnavigation.
Concerning the authority of Patrocles as a geographical writer, see Strabo ii. pp. 68, 69, 70, 74, xi. pp. 508, 509, 518, xv. p. 689; Voss. de Histor. Graecis,
p.] 13; Ukert, Geogr.
vol. i. p. 122.