Demetrius II Aetolicus

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For the similarly named Seleucid ruler see Demetrius II Nicator. For the Macedonian prince, see Demetrius the Fair.
King of Macedonia
Reign239 to 229 BC
PredecessorAntigonus II Gonatas
SuccessorAntigonus III Doson
Born275 BC
Died229 BC
SpouseStratonice of Macedon
Nicaea of Corinth
Phthia of Macedon
IssueApama III
Philip V of Macedon
DynastyAntigonid dynasty
FatherAntigonus II Gonatas

Demetrius II Aetolicus (Greek: Δημήτριος ὁ Αἰτωλικός) son of Antigonus II Gonatas and Phila, reigned as King of Macedonia from the winter of 239 to 229 BC.[1]:317 He belonged to the Antigonid dynasty and was born in 275 BC.[1]:317

He had already distinguished himself during his father's lifetime by defeating Alexander II of Epirus at Derdia and so saving Macedonia (c. 260 BC).[2] There is a possibility[1]:317that his father had already elevated him to position of power equal to his own before his death. If this had occurred it would be in 256 or 257 BC.

On his accession, Demetrius faced a coalition of enemies which included the two great leagues. Usually rivals, the Aetolian and Achaean Leagues now became allies against the Macedonian power. He succeeded in dealing this coalition severe blows, wresting Boeotia from their alliance. The revolution in Epirus, which substituted a republican league for the monarchy, gravely weakened his position.[2]

During his reign, his kingdom extended[1]:321 into Euboea, Magnesia, Thessaly and its environs, excluding Dolopia and possibly Peparethos and Achaea Phthiotis.

In 236 BC, he invaded Boeotia, making the Boeotians submit[1]:326 immediately.

In 234 BC due to a federal republic[3] replacing the monarchy in Epirus, which led to the events of 231 BC, Demetrius hired[4] Agron for military aid against the advancing Aetolians. His kingdom was not[1]:323 threatened by the Illyrian Ardiaei, ruled by Agron, despite them having gathered the greatest force in their history (c. 231 BC), but Epirus needed some sort of force to deter them.

At the end of his reign, Demetrius defended his domain from the tribal peoples of the north. A battle with the Dardanians[1]:335 turned out disastrously, and he died shortly afterwards, leaving Philip, his son by Chryseis, still a child, on the throne.[2]

Marriage and family[edit]

Demetrius married four times, though the chronology of these marriages is a matter of dispute.[2]

Information[1]:317regarding the life of Demetrius is drawn mainly from inscriptions, as only Plutarch writes of him, in Life of Aratus, and Polybius[7] makes scarce mention of him.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Nicholas Geoffrey Lemprière Hammond, Frank William Walbank (1988). A History of Macedonia: 336-167 B.C. ISBN 0198148151.
  2. ^ a b c d  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Demetrius s.v. Demetrius II". Encyclopædia Britannica. 7 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 982–983.
  3. ^ Wilkes, J. J. (1992). The Illyrians. p. 157. ISBN 0-631-19807-5.
  4. ^ Walbank, Frank William (1984). The Cambridge Ancient History, Tome 7, Part 1. p. 452. ISBN 052123445X.
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b c d Carney, Elizabeth (2000). Women and Monarchy in Macedonia. University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-8061-3212-4.
  7. ^ cf.2.44.1-2
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Antigonus II Gonatas
King of Macedon
239–229 BC
Succeeded by
Antigonus III Doson