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Demetrius (337-283 BC) – Licentious City-Sacker

Roman Parallel – Mark Antony (83-30 BC)

Demetrius will conquer and rule in fits and starts and Pyrrhus will win battles but never seem to conquer or rule much at all. In these military conquests, though, we’ll find the political and personal virtues that we can apply in our own lives.

Important People

Successors (Diadochoi)

  • Antigonus I (Monophthalmus “One-Eyed”) – Demetrius’s father and an officer under Philip and Alexander. As one of the Diadochoi, he wins large territories for himself in Asia Minor and modern Iran only to be killed in the Battle of Ipsus (301 BC) at the age of 81. He has a close and trusting relationship with his son, Demetrius
  • Ptolemy I Soter (367-282) – The stable successor to Alexander who carves out Egypt (305 BC) for himself and founds a dynasty that rules Egypt from the prosperous port of Alexandria until Julius Caesar’s arrival. Ptolemy also strategic in his dynastic alliances to stave off further wars.
  • Antigonus II (Gonatas, meaning uncertain) – Demetrius’s son who serves in a number of conquests with him toward the end of his life. He will eventually regain the Macedonian throne for his family’s dynasty which will rule until the Romans conquered Philip V (196 BC).
  • Seleucus – An officer under Alexander and then Ptolemy, he eventually returns to Babylon as satrap and uses it as a base to rebuild Alexander’s Easern Empire, reconquering Iran and parts of Afghanistan while settling with Indian kingdoms on his border. When he returns, he has a great deal of manpower in his army and begins to push east through conquest and marital alliance. Demetrius refers to him a “Master of Elephants” (cf. Section 25).
  • Cassander – The son of Antipater, the Macedonian regent and king, he does not inherit the throne from his father and so attacks a weak Greece to give himself a foothold against his Macedonian rival, Polysperchon. In doing so, he set himself against Antigonus I and Demetrius, who set out to liberate Greece, particularly Athens, from Cassander’s tyranny. Athens over-reacts in gratitude.
  • Lysimachus – Perfidious diadochoi so scheming that none of the other successors trust him.
  • Stratocles – The sycophantic Athenian statesman who concocted all the extravagant titles and praises for Demetrius and Antigonus, basically raising them from kings to gods.
  • Pyrrhus – Brother-in-law to Demetrius (Pyrrhus married Demetrius’s sister, Deidamia)
  • Antiochus – Son of Seleucus who falls in love with one of Demetrius’s daughters, even though she is already married to his father, Seleucus. The physician first discovers this and arranges an artful way of explaining it to Seleucus, who gives Demetrius’s daughter to Antiochus as a wife.


  • Deidamia (second wife) –
  • Phila (wife) –
  • Eurydice?
  • Stratonice (daughter) –
  • Lamia (final “wife”? concubine? controller?) –

Important Places


  • Athens
    • Periaeus
    • Munychia
    • Acropolis (Parthenon)
  • Thebes
  • Megara
  • Delphi
  • Corinth
  • Beroea
  • Cassandreia (Potidaea)
  • Demetreia – You know you’re a successor to Alexander when you name cities after yourself! Cassander did it (see above), and Demetrius would not avoid this privilege.

Regions and Islands

  • Macedonia
  • Salamis
  • Cyprus
  • Syria
  • Cilicia
  • Rhodes

Key Vices and Virtues

  • Luxury or Softness (τρυφή) – At first, Demetrius seems to have control over this vice, but it turns out that it’s a symptom of a larger lack of self-control. Even when he can rein in his appetites for food and sex, he never fully conquers his appetite for conquest. As such, he over-reaches and finds himself captive.
  • Justice – As usual for Plutarch, he wants these men to wield their power justly. In general, the Successors of Alexander are corrupted by their over-riding vice and find themselves unable to rule well, though they still treat their fellow Macedonian generals with respect and concern.

C. 1 – Why Bad Characters? Antony and Demetrius

  1. The arts and the senses can both make distinctions to see opposites.
  2. Our senses perceive whatever hits them and then report to the understanding. The arts, though, because they use reason, select and adopt what is appropriate for their ends. When we contemplate good, it’s to imitate it. When we contemplate evil, it’s to avoid it.
  3. Doctors have to study disease, not because disease is a good thing, but in order to know how to bring the body back to equilibrium. Musicians study discord to bring us back to harmony. The greatest arts of all temperance, justice, and wisdom (why not bravery?) distinguish what is good, just, and helpful as well as what is bad, unjust, and disgraceful.
  4. The Spartans would show their young men the effects of alcohol by forcing a helot (slave) to be drunk. Perverting some to convert others to the right way, though, is inhumane and uncivil.
  5. So, I may introduce men who have led reckless lives into my biographies, but not only to entertain or provide variety.
  6. A Theban flute-teacher used to show his students both good and bad players of the flute to show what TO do and what NOT to do. We will more eagerly imitate the good if we don’t neglect to sometimes look at the blameworthy lives.
  7. And so, we turn now to Demetrius the City-Sacker and Antony the General who proved Plato right: The greatest natures show us not only the greatest virtues, but also the greatest vices. Both men were lustful, alcoholic, belligerent, great gift-givers, wasteful, and prideful and their fortunes turned out similarly (ἐρωτικοί, ποτικοί, στρατιωτικοί, μεγαλόδωροι, πολυτελεῖς, ὑβρισταί, καὶ τὰς κατὰ τύχην ὁμοιότητας ἀκολούθους ἔσχον.)
  8. For all their great successes they also saw many great disasters. Conquered much, and lost much. Unexpectedly falling low and just as unexpectedly raised up again. One ended in captivity to his enemies, the other was nearly captured.

C. 2 – Demetrius: Beautiful and Terrible as Dionysius

  1. Most agree oldest son of Antigonus, though some say adopted nephew.
  2. Demetrius not as tall as his father, but uniquely handsome. No painter or sculptor ever fully captured him in paint or stone. He looked heroic and kingly while still also looking young and eager.
  3. His character inspired fear and favor in men. They wanted to follow him. When not devoted to drinking or other luxuries, he could be most energetic and eager in action. He patterned himself after Dionysius, most terrible in war, but after the war a minister of joy and pleasure.

C. 3 – Father and Son

  1. Devoted to his father naturally, not just kowtowing to power. Anecdote about Demetrius kissing his father upon returning from the hunt.
  2. Antigonus underscored to the ambassadors that the power of the royal estate lie in the trustful and harmonious relationship between father and son. (Contrast with Antipater and Cassander).
  3. Imperial Power normally disintegrates even family bonds, and the recent bouts of the successors of Alexander had only made this more clear, but Demetrius sits next to his father armed with lances and Antigonus is not afraid. Antigonus would set a precedent for Macedonian kings that would not be broken until the very last Macedonian king (Philip V) before the Romans took over.
  4. The other successors of Alexander show a great deal of bloodshed: sons, mothers, wives, brothers, this crime came to be assumed as the basis of saftey in power, like a geometric axiom.

C. 4 – Demetrius’s Natural Kindness

  1. To prove that Demetrius started out with more natural virtue (φιλάνθρωπον φύσει καὶ φιλεταῖρον), he had a friend, Mithridates, about whom Antigonus grew suspicious because of a dream.
  2. Antigonus dreamed that he was sowing gold-dust in a large field. At first, gold sprang up as a crop, but when he returned to the field it was only stubble. Voices in his dream told him that Mithridates had reaped the gold crop and sailed off to the Black Sea.
  3. After swearing his son to secrecy, Antigonus told Demetrius. Without breaking his oath, he found a way to be alone with Mithridates and wrote on the gronud with his spear, “Flee, Mithridates!” He got the message and fled that night to Cappadocia in central Asia Minor (modern Turkey).
  4. This Mithridates then founded a Pontic kingdom that remained strong down to Pompey’s time, who defeated him and annexed his kingdom to the Roman dominion (63 BC, ~200 years later). Nonetheless, this also illustrates Demetrius’s natural bent to decency and justice (πρὸς ἐπιείκειαν καὶ δικαιοσύνην).

C. 5 – Demetrius’s First Big Loss

  1. In the universe, love and strife produce mutual dissension and war, particularly when brought into close contact, so Antigonus and Ptolemy too close together not to have the friction that led to breakout fighting.
  2. Ptolemy moved from Cyprus to Syria and Antigonus sent Demetrius against him. In 312, Demetrius was utterly destroyed outside of Gaza by this general trained in the school of Alexander. He lost 5K men and had 8K taken prisoner.
  3. He even lost his personal tent and the money with it, but Ptolemy sent this back to him, reminding him that they waged war for glory and power (περὶ δόξης δὲ καὶ ἀρχῆς), not to take everything from each other. Demetrius appreciated the favor and wanted to repay it ASAP.
  4. He responded maturely to this setback, and began to raise a new army and continue training.

C. 6 – Reversal of Fortune

  1. Antigonus commented that Ptolemy had only won in the minor leagues (Olympic metaphor translated to a baseball metaphor). But rather than step in and take over, he allowed his son to try again (notice the lack of care for the lives of his soldiers, something we saw as a theme when a general led his fellow citizens to battle (cf. Life of Pericles where he is most famous for cautiously preserving life), but not so much when an imperial power fights with conscripts and mercenaries). So then one of Ptolemy’s generals now approaches to drive Demetrius completely out of Syria.
  2. Demetrius wins, taking 7K prisoners and getting the opportunity to return the favor to Ptolemy.
  3. He wrote to his father first to check with him, and then, with Antigonus’s approval, sent back gifts, the general, and gold to Ptolemy. Antigonus comes down to congratulate him in person (from Celaenae?) and Ptolemy is driven out of Syria. (what battle is this?)

C. 7 – Swiftly In and Out of Babylon

  1. Demetrius next sent to conquer the Nabataeans at the top of the Arabian peninsula. In spite of waterless wastelands, he conqured and returned with 700 camels.
  2. Seleucus, now ruling from Babylon, began to trek East to add some of the Indian tribes back to his empire. Demetrius took advantage of his absence to cross the Euphrates and invade Babylonia, establishing 7000 men in the regino.
  3. But because he sacked it and left, Seleucus had more claim to the area since Demetrius had acted more like a pirate and not a general or leader, admitting that Antigonus no longer ruled there. Demetrius then swiftly moves to help Halicarnnassus (loc:) which Ptolemy is besieging.

C. 8 – Demetrius Frees the Greeks

  1. Cassander and Ptolemy had reconquered the revolting Greeks, and now Antigonus and Demetrius started planning to free the Greeks, which Plutarch calls the noblest and most just war waged by any of the kings (i.e. successors).
  2. When advised to hold Athens as an imperial center, Antigonus said a nobler entryway into Greece would be the goodwill of the people, and a lighthoue to the whole world.
  3. Demetrius the Phalerean at the time in charge of Athens, administering things for Cassander who ruled from a garrison in Munychia (cf. Phocion when the Macedonians began this policy under Antipater).
  4. In spite of approaching with 250 ships, his arrival remains unknown to most on land. When the ships came into view, everyone assumes they’re Ptolemy’s and makes ready as if to greet an ally. The generals discover their mistake rather late and Demetrius manages to enter the port undisturbed.
  5. After calling for quiet, he announecs by means of a herald that he is here to clear out the garrison and set Athens free.

C. 9 – Megara and an Embarassing Distraction

  1. Most men throw down their weapons and applaud, greeting Demetrius as a savior and benefactor.
  2. The Phalerean, who had acted as Cassander’s governor, now more afraid of the Athenian people than Demetrius, so Demetrius gives him an escort to Thebes. Demetrius begins to besiege Munychia (to rid it of Cassander’s garrison) and also sails to take care of another garrison in Megara.
  3. He pauses the whole proceeding to meet up with a famous beauty who is in Patrae, setting his tent up a discreet distance away so the woman can visit him unobserved.
  4. Since his enemies knew this was happening, they attacked him and he had to run away with few clothes on, with his tent and belongings carried off by his enemies.
  5. His men did capture Megara and were about to plunder it before the Athenians asked them not to. Stilpo the philosopher lived in Megara at the time and Demetrius summoned him to be sure no one had robbed him. His response: “No one. I saw no one carrying away knowledge.”
  6. All the slaves in the city were either captured or ran away and Stilpo commented that Demetrius had truly freed the city by leaving them with no slaves.

C. 10 – Athenian Freedom and Overreaction

  1. Returning to Munychia, he drove out the garrison and demolished the fortress. Then he assembled the people in the main city and publicly gave them their city back, with a promise to provide them enough wood to build 100 triremes and 150,000 bushels of grain.
  2. Fourteen years before the Athenians had lost their form of government (322 BC cf. Phocion 23, 26), following their losses in the Lamian war. On paper it was administered as an oligarchy answering to Cassander, in reality it was a monarchy under the rule of Demetrius of Phalerum. The Athenians overdid their thankful honors to Demetrius the City-Sacker.
  3. They offered the title king to Demetrius and Antigonus, up to this time only used by the descendants of Philip and Alexander. They worshipped them as savior-gods and no longer counted years by the election of the archon, electing instead a priest for these two savior-gods, using their names in all public edicts and private contracts.
  4. They wove the images of Demetrius and Antigonus into Athena’s sacred robe. (remember from Life of Pericles where Phidias was imprisoned and killed for the impiety of putting his and Pericles’s likeness onto the shield Athena carried?) They consecrated with an altar the spot where Demetrius first stepped down from his chariot. They created two new tribes names after Demetrius and Antigonus, and added 100 members to the Boule under their tribes.

C. 11 – Stratocles, the Mastermind of Flattery

  1. Anyone going to or from Antigonus or Demetrius would now be called a sacred deputy, just like someone going to Olympia or Delphi to represent Athens.
  2. Stratocles, who thought most of this up, seemed to be a reincarnated Cleon who lived a dissolute life.
  3. Stratocles had earlier pretended that he already knew the Athenians had won the battle of Amorgus against the Macedonians. He began to celebrate with thank-offerings. A couple days later the Athenians discover the truth and Stratocles won’t apologize, reminding them that he gave them two days of happiness.

C. 12 – Topping it Off and Divine Disapproval

  1. Someone else even topped Stratocles when he suggested Demetrius be treated like Demeter or Dionysius when nhe visited the city.
  2. To top it all off, they changed the month Moynichion to Demetrion and renamed the famous dramatic festival to Dionysius the Demetria. The gods showed their disapproval. The robe with Dem and Anti on it was ripped by a storm.
  3. Around the altars to these savior-gods hemlock grew up, a poisonous plant not known to grow in other parts of the city. The Dionysia procession was cancelled due to unseasonably cold weather and a heavy frost affected the grape, fig, and grain harvest that year.
  4. A comic poet mocked Stratocles as the cause of all these things.
  5. This man of the stage contrasted with this man of the bema in that their roles were utterly reversed. Phillipides, this comic poet, wasn’t a busybody or demagogue.

C. 13 – The Coup de Grace – Demetrius the Oracle

  1. The most monstrouse of all was when, instead of Delphi, the Athenians asked for an oracle from Demetrius:
  2. Plutarch quotes the request for an oracle. This perverted the man’s mind as he began to believe this adulation.

C. 14 – Athenian Wife and Ranking the Women

  1. Demetrius marries an Athenian widow, descendant of Miltiades, Eurydice.
  2. Though the Athenians see it as a compliment, Demetrius kept several wives at once and prized the daughter of Antipater (and widow of Craterus) the most.
  3. But he still saw courtesans and dallied with free-women, giving him the reputation as the worst philanderer of all the succesors of Alexander.

C. 15 – Called Away from Greece to Cyprus

  1. Now his father told him to take the island of Cyprus from Ptolemy, though it meant he had to abandon freeing Greece, a nobler war (again Plutarch notes). So he tries to buy the freedom of Corinth and Sicyon.
  2. So, in 306 BC, he sailed against Cyprus, defeating Ptolemy’s brother, Menelaus. When Ptolemy arrives with a larger fleet, they attempt to negotiate.
  3. The other successors watched this contest thinking that not only Cyprus or Syria hung in the balance, but absolute rule of the empire would fall to the victor of this struggle.

C. 16 – Demetrius Wins Cyprus

  1. When negotiations again break down, Ptolemy and Menelaus combine for another attack of over 200 ships against Demetrius’s sixty in the harbor.
  2. Deploying his land forces strategically, he leaves the harbor with 180 ships and routs Ptolemy, leaving him only 8 ships in which to flee.
  3. Demetrius captured 70 ships and all of Ptolemy’s wealth, arms, and war materials. Among the prizes was a woman name Lamia, famous first for her flute playing and later for her lovers.
  4. Though much older than Demetrius, she brings him under her power and Menelaus hands over Salamis (and thus the rest of Cyprus) to Demetrius.

C. 17 – Aristodemus Basks in Bringing the News

  1. His humanity shone through in his victory. He buried the dead, set the captives free, and sent 1200 full suits of armor to Athens.
  2. 2-5 Aristodemus takes his sweet time in approaching the king to deliver the good news of the victory of Cyprus. As such, Antigonus refuses to reward him right away, forcing him to wait in agony as Antigonus himself had done for the news.

C. 18 – Crowning the Kings

  1. Now the multitude greet Antigonus and Demetrius as kings (not just the Athenians) and Ptolemy likewise crowned. The fiction of a united Alexandrian Empire has now completely fallen away and the labels match the deeds: kings fighting other kings.
  2. Lysimachus and Seleucus also wear the diadems. Cassander was the only one who still used his customary addresses.
  3. This wasn’t just a change of nomenclature, it increased the pomposity and ostentation in which these men ruled and addressed others. Plutarch compares them to tragic actors on the stage now.
  4. Harsher in their judgments, and the flatterers were really the ones empowered.

C. 19 – Old Age and Licentiousness

  1. Antigonus, on the heels of success in Cyprus, marches on Ptolemy with Demetrius bringing his fleet to bear. A friend of Antigonus receives a dream-prophecy.
  2. Antigonus was competing in a race, but with each lap his breathing grew more labored and he finished only with difficulty. They both had to return without accomplishing much.
  3. Antigonus, by 306 BC, was almost 80, but also corpulent, making expeditions difficult. But now he could fully employ his son. Antigonus didn’t worry about his sons luxury and extravagance. In times of war, Demetrius always managed to live again as sober and abstemiously as if it came naturally to him.
  4. Anecdotes of Antigonus making fun of Demetrius’s excesses.
  5. Another anecdote where Antigonus compares a fever to a woman.
  6. Demetrius managed to keep himself warlike in spite of all this laxity… even the Scythians couldn’t manage this.

C. 20 – Pastimes Fit for a King

  1. Demetrius (like McClellan) was a better general in preparation and strategy than execution. He loved to build huge ships or machines of war.
  2. Other kings had stupid pasttimes like crafting little tables or growing poisonous plants or sharpening all the arrows themselves.
  3. Even his handiwork was fitting for a king, combining loftiness of purpose and spirit combined with elegance and ingenuity (μέγεθος ἡ μέθοδος εἶχεν, ἅμα τῷ περιττῷ καὶ φιλοτέχνῳ τῶν ἔργων ὕψος τι διανοίας καὶ φρονήματος συνεκφερόντων, ὥστε μὴ μόνον γνώμης καὶ περιουσίας, ἀλλὰ καὶ χειρὸς ἄξια φαίνεσθαι βασιλικῆς). Plutarch self-consciously eloquent here and then draws attention to it so as not to detract from the truth of his claims. (τοῦτο δὲ ἔτι μᾶλλον ἀληθῶς ἢ κομψῶς εἴρηται.) [cf. the tyrant Dionysius II—Life of Dion—who was excellent at building model chariots and model soldiers).
  4. Even his enemies admired his handiwork from the shore (16 banks of oars!). Even his worst enemy, Lysimachus, asked to see Demetrius’s ships and war-machines, expressing admiration as he gazed on them.
  5. The Rhodians, after being besieged by him, asked to keep some of his war machines as a memento.

C. 21 – Rhodes Best Siege Weapon and Armor

  1. The year after taking Cyprus, in 304 BC, Demetrius attacks Rhodes, an island which had allied itself with Ptolemy. For this, he made one of his greatest war machines, the CITY TAKER (ἑλέπολιν). Built like an obelisk tapering from a square base where each side measured 48 cubits (60 feet wide) and rising to a height of 66 cubits (~100 feet tall).
  2. Windows opened on every story from the side and it was filled with men ready for every kind of fighting. Even as it advanced it didn’t totter or sway.
  3. Testing two iron suits of armor they launched catapult projectiles at it which only scratched the light-weight armor.
  4. Demetrius wore one of these two coats himself and gave the other to his sturdiest and most reliable soldier. He fell in battle against Rhodes near their theater.

C. 22 – Rhodian Resistance and Art

  1. Rhodians strongly resist, even intercepting messages and supplies from Demetrius’s wife, Phila, and sending them all straight to Ptolemy, Demetrius’s enemy. The Athenians once captured letters meant for Philip and read all of them but the one from his wife. Athenians more polite than Rhodians.
  2. When Demetrius captures an important work of art for the Rhodians, he does not return the insult.
  3. It had taken the artist (Protogenes) seven years to complete the painting, even the painter Apelles was left speechless at the work.
  4. Though admired at Rhodes by Cicero, by the time of Pliny the Elder, this painting had ended up in the Temple of Peace in Rome which was destroyed in a fire (fire of Titus?). Demetrius makes terms with the Rhodians and ends the siege.

C. 23 – Cassander Besieges Athens

  1. Cassander had now started a siege in Athens, and the Athenians call on Demetrius for help. He sails with 330 ships and many men, driving Cassander as far as Thermopylae, taking on deserting Macedonians as he conquered.
  2. Demetrius declares all the Greeks south of Thermopylae free. They then have to think of new honors for this hero.
  3. The Athenians gave him the back of the Parthenon as a personal apartment.
  4. Anecdote about the other brother being in “narrow quarters” when occupying a house with three young women.

C. 24 – Demetrius in the Parthenon

  1. Demetrius, calling Athena his older sister, shamed this goddess by making his home in the back of the Parthenon witness to his dissolute life.
  2. So as not to disgrace Athens, Plutarch won’t mention details, though he chooses to highlight the modesty and virtue of one boy: Democles. Demetrius approaches the boy in private…
  3. Not being stronger than Demetrius, but still wanting to resist his advances, jumped into a pot of boiling water, destroying his beauty and himself at the same time, but showing a spirit worthy of his country and his beauty. Another young man disgraced himself and his city to remit a fine.
  4. The backstory: The Athenians pass a law against reading anything from Demetrius before the assembly. When hearing of Demetrius’s anger, they repeal the law and kill and exile some of its writers. They then declare that whatever King Demetrius says, will be held as holy towards the gods and just before men.
  5. When someone points out the madness of this law, some of these men are exiled. The Athenians under the illusion that to be without a garrison was the same as being free.

C. 25 – Demetrius in the Peloponneses and The Importance of Titles

  1. Demetrius then frees the Peloponnesus in 303 BC, mostly by paying off their garrisons or scaring them away.
  2. He enters his third marriage, in spite of both his other wives being alive, and presides over a festival to Hera at Argos. He refounded Sicyon in a different place and renamed it Demetrias.
  3. At the isthmus of Corinth he was declared commander-in-chief of the Greeks, as Philip and Alexander had been before him. Alexander had never balked to give anyone he thought worthy the title of king, and never called himself King of Kings as the Persians did, though many kings had received their crowns from him.
  4. Demetrius mocked any who took the title king except his father and himself. His sycophants would call him king, Seleucus Master of Elephants, Ptolemy the Admiral, Lysimachus the Treasurer and Agathocles as “Lord of the Isles”
  5. The other kings laughed on hearing of this, except Lysimachus, since it was the general practice for treasurers to be eunuchs.
  6. Retorts about one another’s bedfellows exchanged between Lysimachus and Demetrius, who had bad blood.

C. 26 – Fast-Track on the Mysteries

  1. Demetrius wanted to be fully initiated in the Eleusinian Mysteries without waiting for the appropriate times and seasons, in spite of this cult revolving around the worship of the goddess of times and seasons. Three levels at three different times. He wanted to receive them all at once.
  2. Only one man opposed this motion. Stratocles, the ultimate sycophant, changes the names of the months to pretend that Demetrius is receiving the rites at the proper times.
  3. Poets mock Stratocles for this and for putting up Demetrius in the Parthenon.

C. 27 – Lamia

  1. Demetrius asks the Athenians to scrape together 250 talents. When the Athenians do so, he gives it to his concubine Lamia for soap. The Athenians want to melt with shame.
  2. Maybe this was the Thessalians? Either way, Lamia herself extracted vast amounts of money from the citizenry too. She is compared to MYTHON, the flesh-eating monster.
  3. Both Demetrius’s friends and wives tire of Lamia. When a messenger came to Lysimachus he showed the scars he had from a lion fight, sayign they should ask Demetrius to show them the scars from his fight with the wild beast Lamia.
  4. It is weird that Lamia controlled him as she did, since she was past her prime. Some insults befitting her age.
  5. An Egyptian once wanted favors from a courtesan named Thonis. After having a dream about receiving the favors, his desires for them ceased.
  6. Thonis brought him to court claiming the amount owed her even though she had performed in a dream. The judge offers her the shadow of the gold, since she must think its the same thing. Lamia thought this unjust because the dream had freed the man from his desire but the shadow did not free Thonis from hers.

C. 28 – Succession

  1. We must move, now, from the comic to the tragic… and joins with his father for war outside of Greece.
  2. If Antigonus were not still hungry for dominion, and had merely ruled what he already had, he may have retained his power until death and left it to his son.
  3. He took to the field with a numerical advantage, though his expectations began to change.
  4. But Antigonus was pompous and boastful before, but now was silent and thoughtful, presenting his son to the army as his successor.
  5. He had also made up his own mind before, but now took his son into all counsels. Anecdote from earlier in Demetrius’s life proving that Demetrius did not have intimate or earlier knowledge of Antigonus’s orders than everyone else.

C. 29 – Ipsus and Antigonus’s Death

  1. Bad omens: Demetrius dreams that Alexander hears from Demetrius a password putting more faith in Zeus than in Alexander and leaves his army to join the other one. Alexander is no longer on their side.
  2. Antigonus fell while leaving his tent, injuring himself, but praying to the gods for victory of painless death before defeat.
  3. BATTLE OF IPSUS (301 BC) – Demetrius leads the cavalry against Antiochus, son of Seleucus, routing Antiochus but pursuing too fiercely and not returning to help the rest of the army. Seleucus took advantage of the infantry being unprotected by cavalry and harrassed them with his own cavalry to create a gap.
  4. Some of the phalanx broke off and joined Seleucus’s army, while the rest were defeated. Antigonus confident that Demetrius would come to his aid as the enemy bore down on him.
  5. A cloud of javelins fell upon him and he died where he fell. Abandoned by his friends and attendants, Antigonus met his fate with just one friend still beside him, Thorax of Larissa.

C. 30 – Demetrius Flees to Athens

  1. Now the domain of Antigonus and Demetrius was carved up among the victors, like the carcass of a hunted animal. Demetrius arrived with a large chunk of the army in Ephesus and everyone feared he would sack the temple to feed his men.
  2. He had the same fear and departed as quickly as he could for Greece, hoping that the Athenians would take him in and allow him to rebuild and regroup.
  3. As he approached the Cyclades, an embassy from Athens approached him to say that the Athenians had passed a law that none of the kings would be welcome in Athens. His (3rd) wife, Deidameia, who had been staying there they had sent to Megara with due honors. This reversal incensed him to greater wrath than any of his previous ones. ANGER – ὀργὴν
  4. Painful to be let down by the Athenians. Thus, the least proof of a people’s real goodwill to a king is the bestowal of honors, since fear of losing the honors robs them of all their worth (cf. Aristotle on whether HONOR is the source of happiness).
  5. Men of sense look to their own acts and achievements first to gauge the appropriateness of the statues, honors, or paintings given to them. Also, people can give to immoderate and ostentatious men and then the people learn to hate the ungrateful recipient.

C. 31 – Proposals?

  1. Demetrius felt wronged, but asked mildly for his ships back, which he received. His garrisons had been expelled wherever he had put them.
  2. Then he left Pyrrhus in charge of Greece (that Pyrrhus, King of Epirus?) and left for the Hellespont. Now he attacked Lysimachus and no other kings joined to help Lysimachus, considering both men equally odious.
  3. Seleucus, though he already has Antiochus as an heir, seeks more heirs by asking to marry the daughter of Demetrius and Phila. This was also in response to Lysimachus marrying one of Ptolemy’s daughters. The alliances become more interwoven.
  4. This was a good stroke of fortune, though in sailing to Syria to accept his new bride he had to stop in the territory of Pleistarchus, Cassander’s brother.
  5. Pleistarchus annoyed by these incursions and goes to see Seleucus about it.

C. 32 – Bride Price…

  1. After “finding” twelve hundred talents at Quinda, he arrived at Rhosus with his first wife, Phila, and met Seleucus.
  2. Neither man acted in deceit or suspicion and the two entertained each other magnificently as kings. After several days of this, Seleucus takes Stratonice up to Antioch, but Demetrius conquers Cilicia, which borders Syria.
  3. He then sent Phila to Cassander, since she was his sister, to help negotiate the complaints that Pleistarchus would have. Deidameia meets up with Demetrius but dies shortly thereafter, and Seleucus arranges for Demetrius and Ptolemy to be friends once again. Demetrius now agrees to marry a daughter of Ptolemy (5th wife!?).
  4. Seleucus then casually asks Demetrius to sell him the territory of Cilicia, but Demetrius refuses. Seleucus increases his demand and asks for Tyre and Sidon. Plutarch judges this as small-minded of Seleucus, but Seleucus overreacts to this slight.
  5. Plutarch quotes Plato that the man who would be truly rich should not make his possessions greater, but his desires fewer. With no end to greed, poverty and want are always nearby.

C. 33 – Famine in Athens

  1. Demetrius declared that even if he lost 10,000 Battles of Ipsus he would not pay to marry Seleucus’s daughter. Then, fortifying his positions in Cilicia, he heard of dissent in Athens and went to capture it easily. In 297, he arrives near Attica with a great fleet, only to be destroyed by a storm.
  2. He escapes the storm and pursues a war against Athens that Plutarch calls petty (τινος used in a pejorative sense (some sort of war)). Accomplishing nothing there, he nearly died in assaulting Messene on the Peloponnese when a projectile hit him in the jaw and entered his mouth.
  3. Then, invading Attica again, he ravaged the countryside, siezed a grainship (killing its captain and crew), and thus incited a famine in the city (no other ships would land for fear of being killed). Prices sky-rocketed for necessities like salt and wheat.
  4. Ptolemy sent 150 ships to aid them, but Demetrius brought together 300 and scared off Ptolemy’s navy. Lachares, who had been acting as tyrant of the city, ran away.

C. 34 – Reconciliation

  1. Once the tyrant was out of the way, the Athenians open their gates to Demetrius, hoping but not expecting for kind treatment.
  2. A father and son fight over eating a dead mouse that fell from the ceiling. Epicurus counted out beans to keep himself and his followers alive.
  3. Demetrius enters and calls everyone to the theater. He entered the main stage from the same place the tragic actors do.
  4. Without harshness or bitterness he corrected them and declared them reconciled. He immediately gave them 100,000 bushels of grain. One orator passes a motion to give Demetrius the Peiraeus and the Munychia.
  5. Demetrius garrisons the Periaeus and the city itself to prevent them from changing their minds again.

C. 35 – Conquering Sparta… Almost

  1. From Athens, he wisehd to conquer Sparta. Defeating Archidamus near Mantineia, he invaded Laconia. Then fighting a pithced battle near Sparta, he seemed to have taken it.
  2. Here, Fortune played her craziest cards.
  3. Demetrius hears rumors that pull him away from Sparta: A. Lysimachus had taken his domains in Asia (Cilicia, mostly) B. Ptolemy took Cyprus from him, and was besieging its main city Salamis where Demetrius’s children and mother were.
  4. Drawing him away from Sparta, he saw opportunity for greater conquests.

C. 36 – Macedonian Machinations

  1. Cassander dies, Philip reigns briefly, and then his sons contest the throne. Antipater murders his mother and Alexander calls on Pyrrhus and Demetrius for help.
  2. Pyrrhus alarms Alexander by responding quickly and taking a chunk of Macedonia from him in the process. Then, Demetrius is on his way and Alexander is in greater fear, trying to meet him at a distance to explain his help is no longer needed.
  3. Demetrius learns that Alexander may poison him at dinner, and shows up late with a display of force that likely scares Alexander into not doing anything.
  4. Demetrius takes his leave quickly under the pretense of being concerned about other parts of his kingdom.
  5. Marching down to Larissa in Thessaly, they once again offer to host one another for dinner. Now they’re playing chicken with food and each man must pretend that he will eat while not eating or drinking much.
  6. Alexander follows Demetrius out of the room in one of these early dismissals but Demetrius had given the orders to cut down anyone who follows him and his guards killed Alexander and his friends. One friend, while dying, says that the same thing would’ve happened to Demetrius the next day.

C. 37 – King of Macedon!

  1. Macedonians thrown into an uproar, but since no one else was dead by the morning, they agreed to meet with Demetrius.
  2. Since they didn’t have many other options (Antipater had killed his own mother), they declare Demetrius King of Macedon (294 BC).
  3. Demetrius also married to the elder Antipater’s daughter, by whom he’d had a son who would be the heir to the Macedonian throne and was already serving in the army under his father.

C. 38 – One Consequence of Many Marriages

  1. Ptolemy set free Demetrius’s mother and children whom he had been besieging in Salamis. Demetrius also discovers that one of his daughters who had been married to Seleucus was now marrried to Antiochus, carrying the title Queen of Asia.
  2. 2-9 – Antiochus falls in love with his step-mother-in-law but in keeping it a secret falls mortally ill. Seleucus worries and wants to save his son and a perceptive doctor notices not only that Antiochus is love-sick, but whom (Stratonice – daughter of Demetrius) he is lovesick for. He comes up with an ingenious way of making this information obvious to the king without endangering his life or reputation as a doctor.

CF https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Illness_of_Antiochus

C. 39 – Siege of Thebes – Twice

  1. Demetrius also conquers Thessaly, and thus surrounds Boeotia, his next logical conquest. When the Spartans come to the aid of the Boeotians, though, they drop friendly pretense towards Demetrius and revolt.
  2. Demetrius besieges Thebes in 293 BC and the Boeotians surrender. He leaves a historian in charge and treated the leader of the resistance with respect, making him a general in Thespiae.
  3. When Demetrius goes to Thrace to conquer it, the Boeotians revolt, and finding that his son Antigonus had defeated the Thebans in battle he AGAIN besieges Thebes.

C. 40 – Pride Creeps In

  1. Pyrrhus now takes over Thessaly as far south as Thermopylae. Demetrius leaves his son in charge of the siege and runs after Pyrrhus who promptly runs away. Demetrius tries to bring his city-sacker against Thebes, but it moves 2 furlongs in 2 months.
  2. Demetrius now acting with pride, risking his soldiers’ lives unnecessarily. Antigonus asks his father why and Demetrius responds haughtily.
  3. Demetrius goes into battle himself and is pierced through the neck by a catapult bolt, taking Thebes again by 290 BC. After putting to death 13 of the leaders, he banished a few and pardoned the rest.
  4. Thebes, which had been restored in 315 by Cassander after its total destruction in 335 by Alexander had been captured twice in its short re-establishment. Then Demetrius leads the Pythian games in Athens since the passage to Delphi is blocked.

C. 41 – Pyrrhus vs. Demetrius

  1. Demetrius returns to Macedon but chooses to campaign both because of his temperament and how it makes ruling his troops easier. He fights the Aetolians and then bears down on Pyrrhus, but the two pass each other like ships in the night.
  2. While Demetrius plundered Epirus, Pyrrhus took Aetolia back from Demetrius’s second-in-command (Pantauchus).
  3. The Macedonians respected the risks Pyrrhus had taken personally, while Demetrius acted like Alexander on the stage, but did not live like him in real life.
  4. Demetrius dressed extravagantly, even having gold and purple shoes. He had a cloak made for him with the world and heavenly bodies on it (e.g. Achilles’s Shield)
  5. This cloak, left behind after Macedonia was reconquered, remained unfinished and no later Macedonian king finished it or wore it (bad luck).

C. 42 – What’s a King Good For?

  1. His luxury offended his subjects, but moreso his inaccesibility and haughtiness, giving no audience or being harsh. i.e. he kept the Athenians waiting 2 years; he was offended when only one Spartan envoy was sent to him.
  2. Their response, “One man for one king.” Once accepting the petitions of all those who came to him, he shook them out into the river when he crossed a bridge.
  3. This seemed like insult, not rule, to the Macedonians. One old woman tried to get his attention and he told her he had no time, she told him he shouldn’t be king.
  4. This rebuke worked at least temporarily and he returned to the lady and then dedicated several days to listening to people’s pleas.
  5. Nothing fits a king so well as JUSTICE cf. Agesilaus 14.2. As Pindar reminds us Law is King of Everything (quoted by Plato in the Gorgias, 484b) and Homer speaks of kings receiving justice from Zeus. (Iliad 1.238) Homer also calls the most just king the confidant and disciple of Zeus, not the most warlike, murderous, or unjust (Odyssey 19.179).
  6. Demetrius was delighted in having the opposite title of Zeus, City-Protector or City-Guardian (Πολιεὺς καὶ Πολιοῦχος) while Demetrius was the City-Sacker (Πολιορκητὴς). “Thus a power devoid of wisdom advances evil to the place of good, and makes injustice co-dweller with fame.” (οὕτως ἐπὶ τὴν τοῦ καλοῦ χώραν τὸ αἰσχρὸν ὑπὸ δυνάμεως ἀμαθοῦς ἐπελθὸν συνῳκείωσε τῇ δόξῃ τὴν ἀδικίαν.)

C. 43 – Goals: Regaining Antiochus’s Former Kingdom

  1. Demetrius falls sick at Pella, almost losing Macedonia to Pyrrhus. When he recovers, he drive Pyrrhus out and seeks a more permanent settlement.
  2. He wanted to have the same realm his father had ruled over. So, he prepared accordingly.
  3. He also had started to build a navy of 500 ships in four different locations near the Aegean. All men wondered at the size and scope of the project.
  4. Demetrius made 14-banks of oars boats. Yes, Ptolemy had made a for-show boat with forty banks of oars, but it was useless in war.
  5. Their speed and effectiveness matched their size.

C. 44 – The Diadochoi Unite Against Demetrius

  1. Now Seleucus, Ptolemy, and Lysimachus unite against Demetrius and they ask Pyrrhus to attack Macedonia again.
  2. Pyrrhus takes the suggestion and attacks Demetrius before his preparations are complete. In 294 BC, Demetrius is attacked from three sides: Pyrrhus in the West, Lysimachus from the East, and Ptolemy sails up from the south. He sets out first against Lysimachus, but discovers an important city (Beroea) taken by Pyrrhus.
  3. His soldiers lost heart at this [why?] and made as if to go home, but were really switching sides to Lysimachus.
  4. Demetrius thus wants to attack Pyrrhus and not Lysimachus, thinking Pyrrhus as a foreigner would be harder to defect to.
  5. But, he was wrong for his men had long admired Pyrrhus and, when they discovered that Pyrrhus treated prisoners mildly, they began to make plans to desert… at first secretly and later openly.
  6. Demetrius’s soldiers had grown tired of supporting the luxurious ways of their commander, (Μακεδόνας ὑπὲρ τῆς ἐκείνου τρυφῆς πολεμοῦντας) as some of his soldiers had the guts to tell him. Upon hearing this, he changed his clothes into simpler, darker attire (like a tragic actor: ὑποκριτής – hypocrite! etymology), and left camp under cover of darkness.
  7. Most of the soldiers fought over the spoils of his tent, but Pyrrhus entered and brought order and discipline back immediately. Thus Demetrius ruled Macedonia for seven years and then let it be divided between Lysimachus and Pyrrhus.

C. 45 – Fickle Fate and Fortune

  1. Demetrius flees to Cassandreia (Potideia) where his wife, Phila, kills herself in despair. From Cassandreia he goes to Greece to rebuild his fortunes.
  2. His fate changed like Menelaus’s, as he described it in the Sophocles play (not extant).
  3. His fate changed like the moon, from private citizen to king to private citizen and back again (Bacchae quotation).

C. 46 – Northern Greece → Athens → Asia Minor

  1. Hopeful in his restoration of Theban government to its ancient form (which was?). The Athenians revolt and revert to a pre-Demetrius system, electing archons and returned to the old calendar (rather than dating by the “priest of Demetrius”). Then the Athenians ask Pyrrhus for help, but Demetrius besieges them first.
  2. By sending a philosopher to Demetrius, they convinced him to lift the siege and sail away to take Caria and Lydia from Lysimachus.
  3. Eurydice met him at Miletus, bringing one of his betrothed: the daughter of Ptolemy. Demetrius now marries her and attacks the cities, many of which come over to his side of their own accord.
  4. Taking Sardis, Demetrius withdraws from directly engaging with one of Lysimachus’s sons, heading for Armenia and a larger piece of the pie than anyone originally suspected.
  5. Pursued by Agathocles (son of Lysimachus), Demetrius finds himself without provisions and losing men in a botched river crossing.

C. 47 – Forced Back to the Coast

  1. When disease sets in as well as famine, he loses 8K men Demetrius is forced to return to the coast at Tarsus, which he would rather have spared since it was owned by Seleucus,
  2. but the state of his soldiers made this impossible. He writes a letter to Seleucus begging him for the mercy due to a relative by marriage. Seleucus asked his generals to furnish Demetrius with the supplies he needed.
  3. Patrocles, a wise advisor of Selecuus, balked not at the expense but at leaving such a dangerous and belligerent king in his kingdom, in such a state that he had little to lose and normally tried bold deeds.
  4. Seleucus marched against him with a strong force, surprising Demetrius who hid up in the mountains. Demetrius asks for permission to carve a kingdom out of some barbarian lands, but Seleucus is suspicious.

C. 48 – Tables Turning

  1. Backed into a corner, Demetrius fights his way out despearately and turns the tables on Seleucus.
  2. In a particular engagement, Demetrius side-stepped a chariot charge and routed the army blocking him from Syria, taking control of it and setting himself up for an ultimate battle for all of Seleucus’s lands.
  3. Seleucus had refused to allow Lysimachus to come help, as he didn’t trust him, but was shocked to see how quickly the situation had reversed. At this point, Demetrius falls terribly ill and his men start to desert him.
  4. After 40 days, he pretended to march back toward Cilicia, but under cover of darkness arrived deeper into Seleucus’s territory and plundered it.

C. 49 – Demetrius in Dire Straits

  1. Demetrius surprises Seleucus’s camp by night, but Seleucus was a bit forewarned and so Demetrius pulled back.
  2. Seleucus fights hard the next day and convinces Demetrius’s mercenaries to switch sides.
  3. They hail Seleucus as their king. Demetrius flees the battle and runs into a dense forest to hide for the night. His short-term plan was to make his way back to his fleet.
  4. But his party didn’t even have enough provisions to last a day. They couldn’t use the roads since watch-fires had been set.
  5. One in his party suggests to him surrender to Seleucus, but Demetrius almost kills himself, but his friends surround him and convince him to listen to the man.

C. 50 – Surrender to Captivity

  1. Seleucus sees this as a double-boon, he has an enemy in his hands and the ability to show him generosity. He sets up a royal tent to receive Demetrius.
  2. Many messengers and old friends now flock to Demetrius, who, it seems, will be important in Seleucus’s court now.
  3. Everyone flocking to Demetrius changed Seleucus’s pity into jealousy, and he now feared that with Demetrius in camp his soldiers would change allegiance again.
  4. As Demetrius receives the good news, Pausanias also arrives with a force of 1000 soldiers to surround Demetrius.
  5. Under armed escort, he brings him not to Seleucus but to a guarded location where he was essentially put in a comfortable prison.
  6. People continued to visit him in this captivity and some thought he would be set free when Antiochus arrived with Stratonice, Demetrius’s daughter and Antiochus’s wife.

C. 51 – Word Spreads of Demetrius’s Capitivity

  1. He sends letters to Antigonus in Greece to treat him as if he were already dead.
  2. Antigonus mourned as if his father really were dead, and offered whatever Seleucus wanted, including exchanging himself as a hostage, for Demetrius’s freedom. Other cities made similar offers.
  3. Lysimachus tried to pay Seleucus to kill Demetrius, but this just made Seleucus hate Lysimachus more.

C. 52 – Death in Captivity

  1. At first Demetrius did well in using hunting and riding to stay fit in his diminished circumstances. After a time, though, he grew indifferent to these and spent his time at drinking and dice.
  2. He either sought escape when sober (dice) or smothering his thoughts (drinking). What he had sought in arms, fleets, and armies he discovered and enjoyed in idleness, leisure, and repose. (ἐν ἀπραγμοσύνῃ καὶ σχολῇ καὶ ἀναπαύσει).
  3. To seek luxury and pleasure instead of virtue and honor is wicked and foolish because without virtue one cannot even enjoy luxury and pleasure rightly. After three years, he fell sick and died at 55 years old.
  4. Seleucus thought he had treated Demetrius worse than Lysimachus had been treated when captured by barbarians (cf. 39)

C. 53 – Funeral Flair

  1. Even Demetrius’s funeral had a dramatic flair and theatrical feel. His son, Antigonus, sailed out with a whole flotilla to meet his father’s remains, transferred in a golden urn.
  2. Some brought garlands to adorn the urn, others sent men to mourn the dead king, the vase was sometimes deocrated with a crown and purple robe, as when it entered the harbors at Corinth. It was surrounded by its own bodyguard, and a flute-player played dirges.
  3. The flute-player also helped the oarsmen keep time. Antigonus was the most pitiable, bowed down in grief. From Corinth he was brought to Demetrias (Thessaly on the Pagasaean Gulf), the city bearing his name, and buried there.
  4. The children of Demetrius. Now that the Macedonian play is complete, let’s look at the Roman one (Mark Antony).

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