1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Demetrius (Syrian kings)

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18614101911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 7 — Demetrius (Syrian kings)

DEMETRIUS, the name of three kings of Syria.

Demetrius I. (d. 150 B.C.), surnamed Soter, was sent to Rome as a hostage during the reign of his father, Seleucus IV. Philopator, but after his father’s death in 175 B.C. he escaped from confinement, and established himself on the Syrian throne (162 B.C.) after overthrowing and murdering King Antiochus V. Eupator. He acquired his surname of Soter, or Saviour, from the Babylonians, whom he delivered from the tyranny of the Median satrap, Timarchus, and is famous in Jewish history for his contests with the Maccabees. Hated for his vices, Demetrius fell in battle against the usurper, Alexander Balas, in 150 B.C.

Demetrius II. (d. 125 B.C.), surnamed Nicator, son of Demetrius I., fled to Crete after the death of his father, but about 147 B.C. he returned to Syria, and with the help of Ptolemy VII. Philometor, king of Egypt, regained his father’s throne. In 140 B.C. he marched against Mithradates, king of Parthia, but was taken prisoner by treachery, and remained in captivity for ten years, regaining his throne about 129 B.C. on the death of his brother, Antiochus VII., who had usurped it. His cruelties and vices, however, caused him to be greatly detested, and during another civil war he was defeated in a battle at Damascus, and killed near Tyre, possibly at the instigation of his wife, a daughter of Ptolemy VII., who was indignant at his subsequent marriage with a daughter of the Parthian king, Mithradates. His successor was his son, Antiochus VIII. Grypus.

Demetrius III. (d. 88 B.C.), called Euergetes and Philometor, was the son of Antiochus VIII. Grypus. By the assistance of Ptolemy X. Lathyrus, king of Egypt, he recovered part of his Syrian dominions from Antiochus X. Eusebes, and held his court at Damascus. In attempting to dethrone his brother, Philip Epiphanes, he was defeated by the Arabs and Parthians, was taken prisoner, and kept in confinement in Parthia by King Mithradates until his death in 88 B.C.