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) II., king of MACEDONIA, was the son of Antigonus Gonatas, and succeeded his father in B. C. 239. According to Justin (26.2), he had distinguished himself as early as B. C. 266 or 265, by the defeat of Alexander of Epeirus, who had invaded the territories of his father: but this statement is justly rejected by Droysen (Hellenismus, ii. p. 214) and Niebuhr (Kleine Schrift. p. 228) on account of his extreme youth, as he could not at this time have been above twelve years old. (See, however, Euseb. Arm. i. p. 160; Thirlwall's Greece, vol. viii. p. 90.) Of the events of his reign, which lasted ten years, B. C. 239-229 (Plb. 2.44; Droysen, ii. p. 400, not.), our knowledge is so imperfect, that very opposite opinions have been formed concerning his character and abilities. He followed up the policy of his father Antigonus, by cultivating friendly relations with the tyrants of the different cities in the Peloponnese, in opposition to the Achaean league (Plb. 2.44), at the same time that he engaged in war with the Aetolians, which had the effect of throwing them into alliance with the Achaeans. We know nothing of the details of this war, which seems to have arisen for the possession of Acarnania; but though Demetrius appears to have obtained some successes, the Aetolians on the whole gained ground during his reign. He was assisted in it by the Boeotians, and at one time also by Agron, king of Illyria. (Plb. 2.2. 46, 20.5; Schorn, Gesch. Griechenlands, p. 88; Droysen, ii. p. 440; Thirlwall's Greece, viii. pp. 118-125.) We learn also that he suffered a great defeat from the Dardanians, a barbarian tribe on the north-western frontier of Macedonia, but it is quite uncertain to what period of his reign we are to refer this event. (Prol. Trogi Pompeii, lib. xxviii.; Liv. 31.28.) It was probably towards the commencement of it that Olympias, the widow of Alexander of Epeirus, in order to secure his support, gave him in marriage her daughter Phthia (Just. 28.1), notwithstanding which he appears to have taken no steps either to prevent or avenge the death of Olympias and her two sons. Demetrius had previously been married to Stratonice, daughter of Antiochus Soter, who quitted him in disgust on his second marriage with Phthia, and retired to Syria. (Justin, l.c.; Euseb. Arm. i. p. 164; Joseph. c. Apion. 1.22; Niebuhr's Kleine Schriften, p. 255.)