), an Athenian, was one of the most influential demagogues in his native city, after the democracy had been re-established by Demetrius Poliorcetes.
He was afterwards secretly gained over by Cassander, who incited him to aim at the acquisition of the tyranny, hoping to be able through his means to rule Athens. (Paus. 1.25.7
He does not seem, however, to have been able to effect this purpose until Athens was besieged by Demetrius (B. C. 296), when he took advantage of the excitement of the popular mind to expel Demochares, the leader of the opposite party, and establish himself as undisputed master of the city. We know but little either of the intrigues by which he raised himself to power or of his proceedings afterwards; but he is described in general terms by Pausanias, as "of all tyrants the most inhuman towards men, and the most sacrilegious towards the gods."
He plundered the temples, and especially the Parthenon, of all their most valuable treasures, stripping even the statue of Athena of her sacred ornaments.
At the beginning of his rule he had procured a decree to be passed, forbidding, under pain of death, even the mention of treating with Demetrius; and he succeeded in inducing, or compelling, the Athenians to hold out until they were reduced to the last extremities of famine.
At length, however, he despaired of doing so any longer, and, stealing out of the city in disguise, made his escape to Thebes. (Paus. 1.25.7
; Plut. Demetr. 33
, De Is. et Osir.
71, p. 379, Adv. Epicur.
p. 1090e.; Polyaen. 4.7.5
; Athen. 9.405
A story is told of him by Polyaenus (3.7.1
), that being pursued by some horsemen of Demetrius, he escaped from them by dropping gold pieces along the road as he fled.
According to the same author, he remained at Thebes until it was taken by Demetrius, when he fled from thence to Delphi, and afterwards to Thrace. Here he was again in danger of falling into the hands of his enemy, Demetrius having invaded Thrace during the captivity of Lysimachus, and besieged the town of Sestos, in which Lachares then happened to be; but he once more succeeded in making his escape to Lysimachia. (Polyaen. 3.7
. §§ 2, 3.) We again hear of him at Cassandrea as late as B. C. 279, when he was expelled from that city by Apollodorus, on a charge of having conspired to betray it into the hands of Antiochus. (Id.
6.7.2.) Hence it appears clear that Pausanias is mistaken when he states that Lachares was murdered soon after his escape from Athens, for the sake of the wealth he was supposed to have accumulated. (Paus. 1.25.7