Ill-fated king of Macedonia
& Greece, whose unsuccessful attempts to maintain control of the
territory united by his father (Antigonus
Gonatas) weakened the influence of the Antigonid dynasty in
Mediterranean politics. The apex of Demetrius' career was decades before
he became king, when -- as a young teen -- he defeated Pyrrhus' son,
Alexander of Epirus (ca. 262
BCE), allowing his father to claim the whole
southern Balkan peninsula from the Aegean & Black seas to the
Adriatic. Maintaining effective political control of this mountainous
region with historically independent populations, however, proved
impossible for both men. For Macedonian domination united old rivals in
common cause. During the last years of his long reign, Demetrius'
father repeatedly had to resort to brute force to crush revolts by leagues
of Greek city states. The Macedonian strongman's death (239
gave subjects a new opportunity to claim independence.
Thus, from the moment he became
king, Demetrius faced challenges on all flanks but the
Macedonian home front. A formidable coalition of Hellenic leagues from
both sides of the gulf of Corinth forced him to focus on attempting to
regain control of Greece. Though he succeeded in reestablishing Macedonian
dominance over the region around Thebes, he failed to subdue Athens or the
Peloponnese. Then, while Macedonian forces were bogged down trying to secure
their southern territories, a revolt erupted on the eastern flank when
Epirus overthrew its king & formed a Hellenic style league of
independent city states.
A decade of campaigns against
uprisings on its southern & eastern rims left Macedonia vulnerable to the expansionist designs of the Dardani
(predecessors of the Serbs in modern Kosovo) on its northern border. In 229
concentrated all his forces on countering this new threat. But the
battle-weary Macedonian army suffered a disastrous defeat. Demetrius
himself was severely wounded & died shortly thereafter, leaving a crumbling
kingdom to his nine year old son, Philip.
Justin, Epitome 26.2, 28.1-3.
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