Overview

Demetrius

(c. 350—285 bc)


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Of Phaleron (b. c.350 bc),

Athenian Peripatetic philosopher (pupil of Theophrastus) and statesman, began his political life in 325/4 and was probably elected strategos for many of the next few years. As a pro‐Macedonian he escaped death in 318, and Cassander made him absolute governor at Athens, where he held power for ten years. He passed comprehensive legislation: military and other service was limited, various forms of extravagance were curbed, measures were taken to regularize contracts and titles to property, and ‘guardians of the laws’ were set up. When Demetrius Poliorcētēs took Athens (307), Demetrius fled to Boeotia, and was later librarian at Alexandria (297).

Works

Moral treatises, popular tales, declamations, histories, literary criticism, rhetoric, and collections of letters, fables, and proverbs. Though an outstanding orator, Demetrius produced a superficial amalgam of philosophy and rhetoric. He assisted his fellow Peripatetics, and under him Athens enjoyed relative peace.

Subjects: Classical Studies.


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