Demetrius the Besieger

Demetrius the Besieger offers the first historical and historiographical biography of Demetrius Poliorcetes (336-282 BC) to be published in English. Also known as ‘The Besieger of Cities’, Demetrius is an outstanding, yet enigmatic figure who presided over the disintegration of Alexander the Great’s Empire after 323 BC, and the most fascinating and high profile of the Diadochoi, or Successors to Alexander the Great. His campaigns, initiatives, and personal life bestride the opening forty years of the so-called ‘Hellenistic’ age and are pivotal in its formation as he became the first of the Hellenistic Kings. 

As his name suggests, Demetrius was prodigious in his military adventures, and profligate in his private life, rendering him an icon for artists, writers, politicians, and soldiers for many centuries. He was especially famous for his spectacular siege operations against enemy cities, and gained his unique nickname from his innovation in building gigantic siege engines, which became legendary in the ancient world. However, much of Demetrius’ life was enigmatic, oscillating wildly between successful and catastrophic ventures, and his intrinsic qualities remain debatable to this day. What is indisputable is that he presided over a formative period in history marked by great flux and enormous change. His endeavours resulted in the fusion of Asiatic and Greek cultures, producing the hybrid Hellenistic kingdoms which dominated the ancient world for some 200 years until the rise of the Roman Empire. The period is of crucial importance in ancient Greek history, and marks the point from which Hellenistic influence became fundamental in the development of modern Western culture.


Content :

List of Maps and Figures
List of Abbreviations
1: The Young Demetrius Poliorcetes
2: Demetrius and Phila
3: A Diadoch’s Apprenticeship
4: Demetrius in Syria, 315-312 BC
5: The Battle of Gaza
6: The Aftermath of Gaza
7: Demetrius in Babylonia
8: The Silent Years: 310-308 BC
9: The Antigonid ‘Liberation’ of Athens in 307 BC
10: Demetrius in Athens
11: The Antigonid Campaign in Cyprus, 306 BC
12: The Fruits of Victory: Kingship, Lamia, Africa
13: The Great Siege of Rhodes
14: Demetrius’ Return to Greece, 304-303 BC
15: The Mysteries and the League
16: The Campaign of Ipsus
17: Demetrius’ Flight
18: The Besieger Alone
19: Demetrius and Athens. Again
20: The Acquisition of Macedonia
21: King of the Macedonians
22: Demetrius the Living God
23: A New Anabasis?
24: Wolves at the Door: 288-285 BC
25: Demetrius’ Fortunes Unravel
26: The Final Campaign
27: The End of the Reign of Demetrius Poliorcetes
28: Conclusion
Appendix 1: The Colossus of Rhodes
Appendix 2: Chronology of the Life of Demetrius Poliorcetes (336-282 BC)

Auteur/autrice : Christophe Cusset

Ancien élève de l'ENS Fontenay/ Saint-Cloud. Agrégé de Lettres classiques. Docteur ès Lettres (Université Lyon II). Professeur de littérature grecque à l'ENS de Lyon.

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