Demetrius of Phalerum (c.350-c.283 B.C.) is the name of a Greek philosopher and politician whose career was buffeted by the diadochi (the successors of Alexander the Great) and their struggle for power.
After the death of Alexander the Great, one of the diadochs, Cassander, appointed Demetrius governor of Athens. Demetrius served in this capacity for 10 years (317-307), during which he made legal reforms. Some see him as an oligarchic tool of the Macedonians; others see his term in office as more democratic. Demetrius has been described as a philosopher king (The Regime of Demetrius of Phalerum in Athens, 317-307 BCE A Philosopher in Politics, by Lara O'Sullivan).
Demetrius of Phalerum fell out of power when Macedonian diadoch Antigonus Monophthalmus' son Demetrius Poliorcetes took Athens, in 307. Demetrius went to Alexandria where the one diadoch with real staying power, Ptolemy I Soter, ruled. Demetrius is thought to have advised Ptolemy Soter in the construction of the Museum and Library of Alexandria. When son Ptolemy Philadelphus, succeeded his father, Soter, Demetrius was sent into exile to Upper Egypt, where he soon died.
During his stint in Athens, Demetrius had studied with Theophrastus (who had been a student of both Plato and Aristotle) and was one of the early Peripatetic philosophers.
Only fragments remain of the writing of Demetrius of Phalerum. He is sometimes credited with having written a book on style.
- Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2002.04.11 - William W. Fortenbaugh, Eckart Schütrumpf, Demetrius of Phalerum: Text Translation and Discussion. New Brunswick and London: Transaction Publishers, 1999. Pp. viii + 464. ISBN 0-7658-0017-9.
- "Demetrius." The Concise Oxford Companion to Classical Literature. Ed. M.C. Howatson and Ian Chilvers. Oxford University Press, 1996.
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"Who is the best counsellor? The right moment."See more Demetrius of Phalerum Quotes
(Source: The Stoic's Bible, by Giles Laurén)