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Demetrius

Δημήτριος).


1.

A son of Antigonus and Stratonicé, surnamed Poliorcetes (Πολιορκητής), “besieger of cities,” from his talents as an engineer and his peculiar skill in conducting sieges, especially by the aid of machines and engines either invented or improved by himself. At the age of twenty-two he was sent by his father against Ptolemy (B.C. 312), who had invaded Syria. He was defeated near Gaza, but soon repaired his loss by a victory over one of the generals of the enemy. He afterwards sailed with a fleet of 250 ships to Athens, and restored the Athenians to liberty, by freeing them from the power of Cassander and Ptolemy and expelling the garrison which was stationed there under Demetrius Phalereus. The gratitude of the Athenians to their deliverer passed all bounds, but Demetrius was soon summoned by his father to leave the flattery of their orators in order to resume the combined duties of an admiral and an engineer in the reduction of Cyprus. After a slight engagement with Menelaüs, the brother of Ptolemy, he laid siege to Salamis, the ancient capital of that island. The occurrences of this siege occupy a prominent place in history, not so much on account of the determined resistance opposed to the assailants and the great importance attached to its issue by the heads of the belligerent parties, as for a new species of warlike engine invented by Demetrius, and first employed by him against the city of Salamis. The instrument in question was called an ἑλέπολις, or “town-taker,” and was an immense tower, consisting of nine stories, gradually diminishing as they rose in altitude, and affording accommodation for a large number of armed men, who thence discharged all sorts of missiles against the ramparts of the enemy. Ptolemy, dreading the fall of Salamis, which would pave the way, as he easily foresaw, for the entire conquest of Cyprus, had already made formidable preparations for compelling Demetrius to raise the siege. A memorable sea-fight ensued, in which the ruler of Egypt was completely defeated, with the loss of nearly all his fleet and 30,000 prisoners. An invasion of Egypt by Antigonus then took place, but ended disgracefully; and Demetrius was sent to reduce the Rhodians, who persisted in remaining allies of Ptolemy. The operations of Demetrius before Rhodes, and the resolute defence of the place by the inhabitants, present perhaps the most remarkable example of skill and heroism that is to be found in the annals of ancient warfare. The ἑλέπολις employed on this occasion greatly exceeded the one that was used in the siege of Salamis. Its towers were 150 feet high; it was supported on eight enormous wheels, and propelled by the labour of 3400 men. After a siege of a whole year, however, the enterprise was abandoned, a treaty was concluded with the Rhodians, and Demetrius, at the request of the Athenians, who were now again subjected to the Macedonians, proceeded to rescue Greece from the power of Cassander. In this he was so successful that he ultimately spread the terror of his arms over the whole of that country. The object of Antigonus and his son was now to effect the final subjugation of Macedonia, Egypt, and the East. The confederacy of Seleucus, Ptolemy, Lysimachus, and Cassander was therefore renewed, with the view of crushing these ambitious schemes, and in the battle of Ipsus they succeeded in effecting their object. Antigonus fell in the conflict, and Demetrius, after a precipitate flight of 200 miles, regained his fleet with only a small remnant of his once powerful host. Sailing soon after to Athens, he received information from the fickle inhabitants that they had resolved to admit no king within their city; upon which, finding that all Greece had now submitted to the influence of Cassander, he made a descent on the coast at Corinth for the mere purpose of plunder and revenge, and afterwards committed similar ravages along the whole coast of Thrace. Fortune, however, soon smiled again. Seleucus, jealous of the power of Lysimachus, whose territories now extended to the Syrian borders, resolved to strengthen his own dominions by forming an alliance with the family of Demetrius, which was still possessed of considerable claims and interests. He therefore made proposals for, and obtained in marriage, Stratonicé, the daughter of his former rival. The power of Demetrius again became formidable, an alliance with Ptolemy, who gave him his daughter Ptolemaïs in marriage, having also added to its increase. He compelled the Athenians to open their gates and receive a garrison; and having generously forgiven their previous fickleness, he turned his attention to Macedonia, and embracing an opportunity of interfering in the affairs of that country, which was afforded by dissensions between the two sons of Cassander, he cut off Alexander, one of the two princes, and made himself master of the throne. His restless ambition now projected new conquests in Europe and Asia. Turning his arms against Pyrrhus, he drove him from Thessaly, and then marched to Thebes, which he took by assault. About the same time also he built the city of Demetrias on the Pagasaean Gulf; and, in order to increase his naval power, formed a matrimonial union with the daughter of Agathocles, tyrant of Sicily. His fleet at length amounted to 500 galleys; while his land forces exceeded considerably 100,000 men, of which more than 12,000 were cavalry. This formidable power

Coin of Demetrius Poliorcetes.

excited the alarm of Lysimachus and Ptolemy; the latter advanced against Greece with his fleet, while the former, with Pyrrhus his ally, made a land attack on Macedon in two different points at once. Demetrius took the field with his usual alacrity, but when he approached the position of Pyrrhus the greater part of his troops deserted him and he was compelled to flee. Leaving Macedon a prey to Lysimachus and Pyrrhus, Demetrius passed over into Asia Minor with a body of his best troops, resolved to assail his adversary in the most vulnerable quarter. The enterprise was at first attended with the most brilliant success. In a short time, however, a check was imposed on his career by Agathocles, the son of Lysimachus, and Demetrius was compelled to apply for protection to his aged son-in-law Seleucus. The latter yielded to his solicitations only so far as to grant him permission to spend two months within his territory; and was subsequently induced by his courtiers to rid himself of so dangerous a guest, by sending him a prisoner to a strong fortress on the Syrian coast, about sixty miles south of A sufficient revenue was allowed him for his support, and he was permitted to indulge in the chase and other exercises, always, however, under the eye of his keepers. At last, giving up all active pursuits, he died (B.C. 283) at the end of three years. The age of Demetrius at the time of his death was fifty-four. His posterity enjoyed the throne of Macedon in continued succession down to Perses, when the Roman conquest took place. See the life of Demetrius by Plutarch.


2.

Son of Antigonus Gonatas, and grandson of Demetrius Poliorcetes, succeeded his father, B.C. 239. He made war on the Aetolians and the Achaeans, and was successful against both, especially the latter, whom he defeated, although under the command of Aratus. He had distinguished himself, before coming to the throne, by driving Alexander of Epirus out of Macedonia, and by stripping him of his own dominions. He reigned ten years, and was succeeded by Antigonus Doson.


3.

Son of Philip III., of Macedonia, an excellent prince, greatly beloved by his countrymen, and sent by his father as a hostage to Rome, where he also made many friends. He was subsequently liberated, and not long after paid a second visit to the capital of Italy as an ambassador from Philip, on which occasion he obtained favourable terms for his father, when the latter was complained of to the Roman Senate by the cities of Greece. Returning home loaded with marks of distinction from the Romans, and honoured by the Macedonians themselves, who regarded him as the liberator of their country, he excited the jealousy of his own father and the envy and hatred of his brother Perses. The latter eventually accused him of aspiring to the crown, and of carrying on, for this purpose, a secret correspondence with the Romans. Philip, lending too credulous an ear to the charge, put his son Demetrius to death, and only discovered when too late the utter falsity of the accusation (Liv.xxxiii. 30; xxxix. 35 foll.; xl. 5, 24Liv., 54 foll.).


4.

A Syrian, called Soter (Σωτήρ), or “the Preserver,” the son of Seleucus Philopator, and sent by his father, at the age of twenty-three, as a hostage to Rome. He was living there in this condition when his father died of poison, B.C. 176. His uncle Antiochus Epiphanes thereupon usurped the throne, and was succeeded by Antiochus Eupator. Demetrius, meanwhile, having in vain endeavoured to interest the Senate in his behalf, secretly escaped from Rome, through the advice of Polybius the historian, and, finding a party in Syria ready to support his claims, defeated and put to death Eupator, and ascended the throne. He was subsequently acknowledged as king by the Romans. After this, he freed the Babylonians from the tyranny of Timarchus and Heraclides, and was honoured for this service with the title of Soter. At a subsequent period he sent his generals Nicanor and Bacchides into Iudaea, at the solicitation of Alcimus, the high-priest, who had usurped that office with the aid of Eupator. These two commanders ravaged the country, and Bacchides defeated and slew the celebrated Judas Maccabaeus. Demetrius at last became so hated by his own subjects, and an object of so much dislike, if not of fear, to the neighbouring princes, that they advocated the claims of Alexander Balas, and he fell in battle against this competitor for the crown after having reigned twelve years (from B.C. 162 to B.C. 150). His death was avenged, however, by his son and successor Demetrius Nicator (Just.xxxiv. 3Just., xxxv. 1).


5.

Son of the preceding, and surnamed Nicator (Νικάτωρ), or “the Conqueror.” He drove out Alexander Balas, with the aid of Ptolemy Philometor, who had given him his daughter Cleopatra in marriage, though she was already the wife of Balas. He ascended the throne B.C. 146, but soon abandoned himself to a life of indolence and debauchery, leaving the reins of government in the hands of Lasthenes, his favourite, an unprincipled and violent man. The disgust to which his conduct gave rise induced Tryphon, who had been governor of Antioch under Balas, to revolt, and place upon the throne Antiochus Dionysius, son of Balas and Cleopatra , a child only four years of age. A battle ensued, in which Demetrius was defeated, and Antiochus, now receiving the surname of Theos, was conducted by the victors to Antioch and proclaimed king of Syria. He reigned, however, only in name. The actual monarch was Tryphon, who put him to death at the end of about two years and caused himself to be proclaimed in his stead. Demetrius, meanwhile, held his court at Seleucia. Thinking that the crimes of Tryphon would soon make him universally detested, he turned his arms in a different direction and marched against the Parthians, in the hope that, if he returned victorious, he would be enabled the more easily to rid himself of his Syrian antagonist. After some successes, however, he was entrapped and made prisoner by the Parthian monarch Mithridates, and his army was attacked and cut to pieces. His captivity among the Parthians was an honourable one, and Mithridates made him espouse his daughter Rhodoguna. The intelligence of this marriage so exasperated Cleopatra that she gave her hand to Antiochus Sidetes, her brotherin-law, who thereupon ascended the throne. Sidetes having been slain in a battle with the Parthians after a reign of several years, Demetrius escaped from the hands of Mithridates and resumed the throne. His subjects, however, unable any longer to endure his pride and cruelty, requested from Ptolemy Physcon a king of the race of the Seleucidae to govern them. Ptolemy sent Alexander Zubinas. Demetrius, driven out by the Syrians, came to Ptolemaïs, where Cleopatra , his first wife, then held sway, but the gates were shut against him. He then took refuge in Tyre, but was put to death by the governor (B.C. 125). Zubinas recompensed the Tyrians for this act by permitting them to live according to their own laws, and from this period commences what is called by chronologists the era of the independence of Tyre, which was still subsisting at the time of the Council of Chalcedon, 574 years after this event (Joseph. Ant. Iud. xiii. 9, 12, 17; Just. xxxvi. 1, Just. xxxix. 1).


6.

Surnamed Eukaerus (Εὔκαιρος), “the Seasonable” or “Fortunate,” was the fourth son of Antiochus Grypus. He was proclaimed king at Damascus, and, in conjunction with his brother Philip, to whom a part of Syria remained faithful, drove out Antiochus Eusebes from that country, compelling him to take refuge among the Parthians. The two brothers then divided Syria between them, Antioch being the capital of Philip and Damascus that of Demetrius. The latter afterwards marched to the aid of the Jews, who had revolted from their king, Alexander Ianneus. He was recalled, however, to his own dominions by the news of an invasion on the part of his own brother Philip. He took Antioch, and besieged Philip in Beroea; but the latter being assisted by the Parthians and the Arabians, Demetrius was besieged in his own camp and at length taken prisoner. He was brought to the king of Parthia, who treated him with great distinction and sent him into Upper Asia. He reigned a little over six years.


7.

Pepagomĕnus, a medical writer, who flourished during the reign of Michael VIII. (Palaeologus). By the order of this monarch, he wrote a work on the gout (Περὶ Ποδάγρας). We have two treatises under his name, but it is extremely doubtful whether he was indeed their author. The first is on the art of training falcons; the second, on the mode of breaking and training dogs.


8.

Phalēreus (Φαληρεύς), a native of Phalerum in Attica, and the last of the more distinguished orators of Greece. He was the son of a person who had been slave to Timotheus and Conon. But, though born in this low condition, he soon made himself distinguished by his talents, and was already a conspicuous individual in the public assemblies when Antipater became master of Athens, for he was obliged to save himself by flight from the vengeance of the Macedonian party. He was compelled to quit the city a second time when Polysperchon took possession of it through his son. Subsequently named by Cassander as governor of Athens (B.C. 317), he so gained the affections of his countrymen that, during the six years in which he filled this office, they are said to have raised to him three hundred and sixty statues. Athenaeus, however, on the authority of Duris , a Samian writer, reproaches him with luxurious and expensive habits, while he prescribed, at the same time, frugality to his fellowcitizens and fixed limits for their expenditures. After the death of his protector, Demetrius was driven from Athens by Antigonus and Demetrius Poliorcetes (B.C. 306). The people of that city, always fickle, overthrew the numerous statues they had erected to him, although he had been their benefactor and idol, and even condemned him to death. Demetrius, upon this, retired to the court of Alexandria, where he lived upwards of twenty years. It is generally supposed that he was the individual who gave Ptolemy the advice to found the Museum and the famous Library. This prince consulted him also as to the choice of a successor. Demetrius was in favour of the monarch's eldest son, but the king eventually decided for the son whom he had by his second wife Berenicé. When Ptolemy II., therefore, came to the throne, he revenged himself on the unlucky counsellor by exiling him to a distant province in Upper Egypt, where Demetrius put an end to his own life by the bite of an asp (B.C. 282). Cicero describes Demetrius as a polished, sweet, and graceful speaker, but deficient in energy and power. Plutarch cites his treatise “On Socrates,” which appears to have contained also a life of Aristides. The works of Demetrius are lost. There exists, it is true, under his name a treatise on elocution (Περὶ Ἑρμηνείας), a work full of ingenious observations; but critics agree in making it of later origin. Besides the treatise on elocution, there exists a small work on the apophthegms of the Seven Sages, which Stobaeus has inserted in his third discourse, as being the production of Demetrius Phalereus.


9.

Of Sunium; a Cynic philosopher, who flourished at Corinth in the first century. During the reign of Caligula he taught philosophy at Rome, where he obtained the highest reputation for wisdom and virtue. He was banished from Rome in the time of Nero for his free censure of public manners. After the death of this emperor he returned to Rome, but the boldness of his language soon offended Vespasian and again subjected him to the punishment of exile. Apollonius, with whom he had formed a friendship, prevailed on Titus to recall him; but under Domitian he withdrew to Puteoli. Seneca, who was acquainted with him, speaks in the highest terms of his masculine eloquence, sound judgment, intrepid fortitude, and inflexible integrity (De Vit. Beat. 25).

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