Demetrius “the Besieger” and Hellenistic Warfare

Thomas R. Martin

in The Oxford Handbook of Warfare in the Classical World

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780195304657
Published online January 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Demetrius “the Besieger” and Hellenistic Warfare

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  • Ancient Greek History



This chapter describes the ideas of Demetrius Poliorcetes on Hellenistic warfare, specifically taking the conventional position that Hellenistic warfare designates warfare as conducted and conceptualized in the aftermath of the lifetime of Alexander the Great. It also presents the salient events in Demetrius's riches-to-rags history as a commander, king, and god. His career contributes several examples of the momentous scale that Hellenistic battles could attain and also provides evidence for the propensity for large-scale battles to occur in Hellenistic warfare. In addition, it offers notable data for changes in the possible political and religious meanings of war. It is shown that over the long term, the divinization of a living human being who promised liberation was the most enduring and most consequential result of the changes in the meanings of war in the Hellenistic period.

Keywords: Demetrius Poliorcetes; Hellenistic warfare; Alexander the Great; Hellenistic battles; divinization; liberation

Article.  8487 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Ancient Greek History

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