A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology

Smith, William

A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology. William Smith, LLD, ed. 1890

(Δημήτριος), literary. The number of ancient authors of this name, as enumerated by Fabricius (Bibl. Gr. xi. p. 413, &c.), amounts to nearly one hundred, twenty of whom are recounted by Diogenes Laertius. We subjoin a list of those who are mentioned by ancient authors, and exclude those who are unknown except from unpublished MSS. scattered about in various libraries of Europe.

1. Of ADRAMYTTIUM, surnamed IXION, which surname is traced to various causes, among which we may mention, that he was said to have committed a robbery in the temple of Hera at Alexandria. (Suidas, s. v. Δημήτριος; D. L. 5.84.) He was a Greek grammarian of the time of Augustus, and lived partly at Pergamus and partly at Alexandria, where he belonged to the critical school of Aristarchus. He is mentioned as the author of the following works: 1. Ἐξήγησις ἐις Ὅμηρον, which is often referred to. (Suid. l.c.; Eudoc., p. 132; Schol. Venet. ad Il. 1.424, 3.18, 6.437 ; Villoison, Proleg. ad Apollon. Lex. p. 27.) 2. Ἐξήγησις ἐς Ἡσίοδον. (Suidas.) 3. Ἐτυμολογούμενα or Ἐτυμολογία. (Athen. 2.50, iii. p. 64.) 4. Περί τῆς Ἀλεξανδρέων διαλέκτου. (Athen. 9.393.) 5. Ἀττικαί γλῶσσαι, of which a few fragments are still extant. (Schol. ad Aristoph. Birds 1568, Ran. 78, 186, 310, 1001, 1021, 1227.) 6. On the Greek verbs terminating in μι. (Suidas.)

2. Of ALEXANDRIA, a Cynic philosopher, and a disciple of Theombrotus. (D. L. 5.95.)

3. Of ALEXANDRIA, a Peripatetic philosopher. (D. L. 5.84.)

4. Of ASPENDUS, a Peripatetic philosopher, and a disciple of Apollonius of Soli. (D. L. 5.83.)

5. Of BITHYNIA. See below.

6. Of BYZANTIUM, a Greek historian, was the author of two works (D. L. 5.83), the one containing an account of the migration of the Gauls from Europe to Asia, in thirteen books, and the other a history of Ptolemy Philadelphus and Antiochus Soter, and of their administration of Libya. From the contents of these works we may infer, with some probability, that Demetrius lived either shortly after or during the reign of those kings, under whom the migration of the Gauls took place, in B. C. 279. (Schmidt, de Fontibus Veterum in enarrand. Exped. Gallorum, p. 14, &c.)

7. Of BYZANTIUM, a Peripatetic philosopher (D. L. 5.83), who is probably the same as the Demetrius (Id. 2.20) beloved and instructed by Crito, and wrote a work which is sometimes called περί ποιητῶν, and sometimes τερί ποιημάτων (unless they were different works), the fourth book of which is quoted by Athenaeus (x. p. 452, comp. xii. p. 548, xiv. p. 633). This is the only work mentioned by ancient writers; but, besides some fragments of this, there have been discovered at Herculaneum fragments of two other works, viz. περί τινῶν συψητηθέντων δίαιταν, And περὶ τᾶς Πολυαίνου ἀπορίας. (Volum. Herculan. i. p. 106, &c., ed. Oxford.) It is further not impossible that this philosopher may be the same as the one who tried to dissuade Cato at Utica from committing suicide. (Plut. Cat. Mi. 65.)




11. Surnamed CHYTRAS, a Cynic philosopher at Alexandria, in the reign of Constantius, who, suspecting him guilty of forbidden practices, ordered

him to be tortured. The Cynic bore the pain inflicted on him as a true philosopher, and was afterwards set free again. (Ammian. Marc. 19.12.) He is probably the same as the person mentioned by the emperor Julian (Orat. vii.) by the name of Chytron. (Vales. ad Ammian. Marc. l.c.)

12. Of CNIDUS, apparently a mythographer, is referred to by the Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius (1.1165).

13. COMIC POET. See below.

14. Surnamed CYDONIUS, which surname was probably derived from his living at Cydone (Κυδώνη)in Crete (Cantacuz. 4.16, 39), for he was a native either of Thessalonica or of Byzantium. (Volaterran. Comment. Urb. xv.; Allatius, de Consensu, p. 856.)

He flourished during the latter half of the fourteenth century. The emperor Joannes Cantacuzenus was much attached to him, and raised him to high offices at his court. When the emperor began to meditate upon embracing the monastic life, Demetrius joined him in his design, and in A. D. 1355 both entered the same monastery. Afterwards Demetrius for a time left his country, and went to Milan, where he devoted himself to the study of Latin and theology. He died in a monastery of Crete, but was still alive in A. D. 1384, when Manuel Palaeologus succeeded to the throne, for we still possess a letter addressed by Demetrius to the emperor on his accession.

15. Of CYRENE, surnamed Stamnus (Στάμνος), whom Diogenes Laertius (5.84) calls a remarkable man, but of whom nothing further is known.

16. Of CARTHAGE, a rhetorician, who lived previous to the time of Thrasymachus. (D. L. 5.83.)

17. Metropolitan of CYZICUS, and surnamed SYNCELLUS. He is mentioned by Joannes Scylitza and Georgius Cedrenus in the introductions to their works, from which we may infer, that he lived about the middle of the eleventh century after Christ.

18. An EPIC poet, of whom, in the time of Diogenes Laertius (5.85), nothing was extant except three verses on envious persons, which are still preserved. They are quoted by Suidas also (s. v. φθονῶ) without the author's name.

19. An EPICUREAN philosopher, and a disciple of Protarchus, was a native of Laconia. (D. L. 10.26; Strab. xiv. p.658; Sext. Empir. Pyrrhon. Hypoth. § 137, with the note of Fabric.)

20. Of ERYTHRAE, a Greek poet, whom Diogenes Laertius (5.85) calls a ποικιλογράφος ἄνθρωπος, and who also wrote historical and rhetorical works. He seems to have been a contemporary of the grammarian Tyrannion, whom he opposed. (Suid. s. v. Τυραννίων)

21. Of ERYTHRAE, a Greek grammarian, who obtained the civic franchise in Temnus. (D. L. 5.84.)

22. Surnamed Γονύπεσος, is mentioned among the grammarians who wrote on the Homeric poems. (Schol. Venet. ad Hom. Il. 8.233, 13.137.)

23. Of ILIUM, wrote a history of Troy, which is referred to by Eustathius (ad Hom. Od. xi. p. 452) and Eudocia (p. 128).

24. The author of a work on the kings of the JEWS, from which a statement respecting the captivity of the Jews is quoted. (Hieronym. Catal. Ill. Script. 38; Clem. Al. Strom. i. p. 146.)

25. Of MAGNESIA, a Greek grammarian, a contemporary of Cicero and Atticus. (Cic. Att. 8.11, 4.11.)

26. Surnamed MOSCHUS, a Greek grammarian, who is the author of the argumentum to the Λιθικά, which bear the name of Orpheus. It is said, that there are also glosses by him upon the same poem in MS. at Paris. He lived in the 15th century of our aera. (Fabric. Bibl. Gr. xi. p. 418.)

27. Of ODESSA, is mentioned as the author of a work on his native city. (Steph. Byz. s. v. Ὀδησσός.)

28. PHALEREUS, the most distinguished among all the literary persons of this name. He was at once an orator, a statesman, a philosopher, and a poet. His surname Phalereus is given him from his birthplace, the Attic demos of Phalerus, where he was born about Ol. 108 or 109, B. C. 345. He was the son of Phanostratus, a

man without rank or property (D. L. 5.75; Aelian, Ael. VH 12.43); but notwithstanding this, he rose to the highest honours at Athens through his great natural powers and his perseverance. He was educated, together with the poet Menander, in the school of Theophrastus. He began his public career about B. C. 325, at the time of the disputes respecting Harpalus, and soon acquired a great reputation by the talent he displayed in public speaking. He belonged to the party of Phocion; and as he acted completely in the spirit of that statesman, Cassander, after the death of Phocion in B. C. 317, placed Demetrius at the head of the administration of Athens. He filled this office for ten years in such a manner, that the Athenians in their gratitude conferred upon him the most extraordinary distinctions, and no less than 360 statues were erected to him. (Diog. Laert. l.c.; Diod. 19.78; Corn. Nep. Miltiad. 6.) Cicero says of his administration, "Atheniensium rem publicam exsanguem jam et jacentem sustentavit." (De Re Publ. 2.1.) But during the latter period of his administration he seems to have become intoxicated with his extraordinary good fortune, and he abandoned himself to every kind of dissipation. (Athen. 6.272, xii. p. 542; Aelian, Ael. VH 9.9, where the name of Demetrius Poliorcetes is a mistake for Demetrius Phalereus; Plb. 12.13.) This conduct called forth a party of malcontents, whose exertions and intrigues were crowned in B. C. 307, on the approach of Demetrius Poliorcetes to Athens, when Demetrius Phalereus was obliged to take to flight. (Plut. Demetr. 8; Dionys. Deinarch. 3.) His enemies even contrived to induce the people of Athens to pass sentence of death upon him, in consequence of which his friend Menander nearly fell a victim. All his statues, with the exception of one, were demolished. Demetrius Phalereus first went to Thebes (Plut. Demnetr. 9; Diod. 20.45), and thence to the court of Ptolemy Lagi at Alexandria, with whom he lived for many years on the best terms, and who is even said to have entrusted to him the revision of the laws of his kingdom. (Aelian, Ael. VH 3.17.) During his stay at Alexandria, he devoted himself mainly to literary pursuits, ever cherishing the recollection of his own country. (Plut. de Exil. p. 602f.) The successor of Ptolemy Lagi, however, was hostile towards Demetrius, probably for having advised his father to appoint another of his sons as his successor, and Demetrius was sent into exile to Upper Egypt, where he is said to have died of the bite of a snake. (D. L. 5.78; Cic. pro Rabir. Post. 9.) His death appears to have taken place soon after the year B. C. 283.

Demetrius Phalereus was the last among the Attic orators worthy of the name (Cic. Brut. 8; Quint. Inst. 10.1.80), and his orations bore evident marks of the decline of oratory, for they did not possess the sublimity which characterizes those of Demosthenes: those of Demetrius were soft, insinuating, and rather effeminate, and his style was graceful, elegant, and blooming (Cic. Brut. 9, 82, de Orat. 2.23, Orat. 27; Quint. Inst. 10.1.33); but he maintained withal a happy medium between the sublime grandeur of Demosthenes, and the flourishing declamations of his successors.

29. A PLATONIC philosopher who lived in the reign of Ptolemy Dionysus, about B. C. 85. (Lucian, de Calumn. 16.) He was opposed to the extravagant luxuries of the court of Ptolemy, and was charged with drinking water and not appearing in woman's dress at the Dionysia. He was punished by being compelled publicly to drink a quantity of wine and to appear in woman's clothes. He is probably the same as the Demetrius mentioned by M. Aurelius Antoninus (8.25), whom Gataker confounds with Demetrius Phalereus.

30. Surnamed PUGIL, a Greek grammarian, is mentioned as the author of a work περί διαλέκτου (Etymol. Magn. s. v. μώλωψ), and seems also to have written on Homer. (Apollon. Soph. s. v. ὀπαξόμενος.)

31. Of SAGALASSUS, the author of a work entitled Παρθονικικά. (Lucian, de Hist. Conscrib. 32.)

32. Of SALAMIS, wrote a work on the island of Cyprus. (Steph. Byz. s. v. Καρπασία.)

33. Of SCEPSIS, was a Greek grammarian of the time of Aristarchus and Crates. (Strab. xiii. p.609.) He was a man of good family and an acute philologer. (D. L. 5.84.)

34. Of SMYRNA, a Greek rhetorician of uncertain date. (D. L. 5.84.)

35. Of SUNIUM, a Cynic philosopher, was educated in the school of the sophist Rhodius, and was an intimate friend of the physician Antiphilus. He is said to have travelled up the Nile for the purpose of seeing the pyramids and the statue of Memnon. (Lucian, Toxar. 27, ad v. Indoct. 19.) He appears, however, to have spent some part of his life at Corinth, where he acquired great celebrity as a teacher of the Cynic philosophy, and was a strong opponent of Apollonius of Tyana. (Philostr. Vit. Apoll. 4.25.) His life falls in the reigns of Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Vespasian, and Domitian. He was a frank and open-hearted man, who did not scruple to censure even the most powerful when he thought that they deserved it. In consequence of this, he was sent into exile, but he preserved the same noble freedom and independence, notwithstanding his poverty and sufferings; and on one occasion, when the emperor Vespasian during a journey met him, Demetrius did not shew the slightest symptom of respect. Vespasian was indulgent enough to take no other vengeance except by calling him a dog. (Senec. de Benef. 7.1, 8; Suet. Vespas. 13; D. C. 66.13; Tac. Ann. 16.34, Hist. 4.40; Lucian, de Saltat. 63.)

36. SYNCELLUS. See No. 17.

37. A SYRIAN, a Greek rhetorician, who lectured on rhetoric at Athens. Cicero, during his stay there in B. C. 79, was a very diligent pupil of his. (Cic. Brut. 91.)

38. Of TARSUS, a poet who wrote Satyric dramas. (D. L. 5.85.) The name Ταρσικός, which Diogenes applies to him, is believed by Casaubon (de Satyr. Poes. p. 153, &c. ed. Ramshorn) to refer to a peculiar kind of poetry rather than to the native place of Demetrius. Another Demetrius of Tarsus is introduced as a speaker in Plutarch's work " de Oraculorum Defectu," where he is described as returning home from Britain, but nothing further is known about him.

39. A TRAGIC actor, mentioned by Hesychius (s. v. Δημήτριος): he may be the same as the M. Demetrius whom Acron (ad Horat. Sat. 1.10. 18, 79) describes as a " δραματοποιός, i. e. modulator, histrio, actor fabularum." Horace himself treats him with contempt, and calls him an ape. Weichert (de Horat. Obtrect. p. 283, &c.) supposes that he was only a person who lived at Rome in the time of Horace and taught the art of scenic declamation; while others consider him to be the Sicilian, Demetrius Megas, who obtained the Roman franchise from J. Caesar through the influence of Dolabella, and who is often mentioned under the name of P. Cornelius.

40. Of TROEZENE, a Greek grammarian, who is referred to by Athenaeus. (i. p. 29, iv. p. 139.) He is probably the same as the one who, according to Diogenes Laertius (8.74), wrote against the sophists.

Besides these, there are some writers of the name of Demetrius who cannot be identified with any of those here mentioned, as neither their native places nor any surnames are mentioned by which they might be recognized. For example, Demetrius the author of "Pamphyliaca." (Tzetz. ad Lycoph. 440), Demetrius, the author of "Argolica" (Clem. Alex. Protrept. p. 14), and Demetrius the author of a work entitled περί τῶν κατʼ Ἄιγυπτον. (Athen. 15.680.) In Suidas (s. v. Ἰούδας), where we read of an historian Democritus, we have probably to read Demetrius.


(Δημήτριος), of BITHYNIA, an epigrammatic poet, the author of two distiches on the cow of Myron, in the Greek Anthology. (Brunck, Anal. 2.65; Jacobs, 2.64.) It is not known whether he was the same person as the philosopher Demetrius of Bithynia, son of Diphilus, whom Diogenes Laertius mentions (5.84). Diogenes (5.85) also mentions an epic poet named Demetrius, three of whose verses he preserves; and also a Demetrius of Tarsus, a satyric poet [see above, No. 38], and another Demetrius, an iambic poet, whom he calls πικρός ἀνήρ. The epigrams of Demetrius are very indifferent.


(Δημήτριος), an Athenian COMIC POET of the old comedy. (D. L. 5.85.) The fragments which are ascribed to him contain allusions to events which took place about the 92nd and 94th Olympiads (B. C. 412, 404); but there is another in which mention is made of Seleucus and Agathocles. This would bring the life of the author below the 118th Olympiad, that is, upwards of 100 years later than the periods suggested by the other fragments. The only explanation is that of Clinton and Meineke, who suppose two Demetrii, the one a poet of the old comedy, the other of the new. That the later fragment belongs to the new comedy is evident from its subject as well as from its date. To the elder Demetrius must be assigned the Σικελία or Σικελοί, which is quoted by Athenaeus (iii. p. 108f.), Aelian (Ael. NA 12.10), Hesychius (s. v. Ἐμπήρονς), and the Etymologicon Magnum (s. v. Ἔμμηροι). Other quotations, without the mention of the play from which they are taken, are made by Athenaeus (ii. p. 56a.) and Stobaeus (Florileg. 2.1). The only fragment of the younger Demetrius is that mentioned above, from the Ἀρεοπαγίτης) (Ath. ix. p. 405e.), which fixes his date, in Clinton's opinion, after 299 B. C. (Clinton, F. H. sub ann.; Meineke, Frag. Com. Graec. i. pp. 264-266, ii. pp. 876-878, iv. pp. 539, 540.)