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Table of Contents > 2.20 Plutarch, Demetrius

2.20: Plutarch, Demetrius 24.1-3

Plutarch here describes the Macedonian general Demetrius Poliorcetes, who took up residence in the Parthenon after liberating Athens from his rival Cassander in 304 BCE.

[1] Although it was fitting that he feel shame before Athena, if for no other reason than her being his elder sister (so he liked to hear her called),55 Demetrius stained the Acropolis with so much rape of free-born boys and citizen women that the place seemed pure in comparison when he mingled in wild abandon with whores like Chrysis, Lamia, Demo, and Anticyra.

[2] For the city's sake it is better not to report the other affairs clearly, but it is worthwhile not to pass over the courage and temperance of Democles. For he was still an adolescent boy, and it did not escape Demetrius' notice that his nickname, "Democles the fair," revealed his beauty. He was caught by none of the many men who tried, whether offering gifts or threats, and finally he avoided the gymnasium and wrestling schools altogether. Instead, he made a practice of going into an establishment where he could bathe privately. Demetrius waited for the right moment and entered when he was alone there. [3] When the boy recognized that he was quite alone and under the threat of force, he took the lid off the cauldron of boiling water for the bath and leaped into it, thereby killing himself and suffering an unworthy death, but one that he thought worthy of his fatherland and beauty.
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