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The Background To The Regime: Demetrius Of Phalerum's Early Years

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Chapter Summary

Of Demetrius of Phalerum himself, his family background and date of birth, frustratingly few details are known, despite the fact that Diogenes Laertius devotes a Life to him. The decades of Demetrius' youth were both, as we have seen, a time of foreign subjugation and a time of marked renaissance in Athenian affairs. Demetrius enters the historical picture at one of the great flashpoints of Athenian history, when relations between Athens and Alexander were strained and some elements in Athens were ready to contemplate confrontation, yet no source gives us a hint of the nature of Demetrius' first political engagement. A chronologically-structured narrative of 'Demetrius' decade' is possible only for the interaction of Athens with the outside world; little can be charted of specific events within the city itself, beyond the barest framework of archon-lists in which Demetrius himself makes a notable appearance, as eponymus archon of 309/8.

Keywords: Alexander; Athens; Demetrius of Phalerum



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