DEMETRIUS

Faliron, 350 -  283 B.C.
IT'S NOT ONLY THE WEALTH THAT IS BLIND BUT ALSO THE LUCK THAT DRIVES HIM

Athenian politician who distinguished himself as an orator, writer and philosopher. Diogenes, Laertius and the Souda dictionary provide news about his life and activities . His father's name is Fanostratos. Diogenes Laertius delivers some news according to which Demetrius "is of the house of Conon". Aelianos reports that Dimitrios was a slave in the house of Timotheus, son of Kononos. Scholars consider unreliable the information about his slave origin and accept that his family had close relations with the family of Kononos. When he was young his beauty was renowned, for which he was called Haritoblepharos. Diogenes Laertius testifies that Demetrius cohabited with the courtesan Lamia of aristocratic origin. His education was meticulous and he was a student of Theophrastus. That is why he is called a peripatic philosopher. As a politician, he was a follower of the anti-Macedonian faction which had opposed Antipater. He gained political influence from the time when Athens came under the jurisdiction of Cassander.

Then Demetrius was elected curator of the city and ruled Athens for ten years as responsible to Cassander (317-308). He showed great activity in the financial and legislative fields. He raised the annual annuities of the city to 1,200 talents and enacted laws to curtail lavish and extravagant living. But he himself, according to the information, led a prodigal and promiscuous life. In 309 he took a census of the inhabitants of Attica, which showed that 21,000 citizens, 10,000 foreigners and 400,000 slaves lived in Attica. The effect of his rule on the morals of the citizens was pernicious. To flatter him, the citizens sent over a period of three hundred days three hundred and sixty statues of him, most of them depicting him on horseback or in a chariot.

Demetrius' political career ended in 307 BC, when Demetrius Poliorketis landed in Piraeus. Although he held Munich and had a significant military force, Demetrius Falireus fled to Thebes and from there he fled to Egypt. The Athenians, after his fall, hastened to destroy his statues, some of which they threw into the sea, others they sold and others they cut down to make vessels, the so-called amides. King Ptolemy Sotir hosted Demetrius in Egypt. When Ptolemy Philadelphus ascended the throne, Demetrius lost royal favor because he had advised Sotira to prefer Ptolemy the Lightning as his successor. There are two versions of the death of Falireus: either he died in prison or exiled to Upper Egypt from the bite of a poisonous snake (280 BC). Diogenes Laertius provides a list of his writings, which contains 45 titles. The catalog includes rhetorical, political, philosophical, grammatical and philological works.

His work entitled About the Decade provided an account of his actions when he was curator of the city of Athens. Another of his books was entitled Socrates . His works On Athenian Legislation and On Athenian States belong to political legislation. His works On Rhetoric, On The Iliad, On The Odyssey had a technocratic-philological content. His writings also include the work of Aesop . He even composed paeans to the god Sarapi because he regained his lost sight after praying to that god.

While living in Alexandria, he persuaded Ptolemy to found the famous Library. His style was philosophical, mixed with "rhetorical eutonia" and unusually sweet among the ten Attic Rhetors. With his death comes the end of natural oratory and opens the age of artificial ostentatious oratory.