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DEMETRIUS I. SOTER:

King of Syria 162-150 B.C.; son of Seleucus IV. Philopator. He was sent by his father as a hostage to Rome in place of Antiochus Epiphanes, after whose death he demanded in vain of the Senate that he be acknowledged as his father's successor. Later he again demanded the throne; and, being met with a refusal, he fled with the aid of Polybius to Tripoli, where he was given a cordial reception. He soon obtained possession of Antioch, but could not win the sympathies of the Romans. On the contrary, the Roman Senate permitted the satrap Timarchus to assume the kingly title. Timarchus succeeded, with the aid of Artaxias of Armenia, in conquering the whole of Babylonia, ruling it in a cruel manner. At length he was defeated by Demetrius, whom the Babylonians on that account called "Soter" (Redeemer).

In 162 Demetrius appointed Alcimus high priest of the Jews, and, after the expulsion of the latter, endeavored to have him reinstated; but Nicanor, the general sent for this purpose, was killed in battle (161). Another of Demetrius' generals, Bacchides, succeeded in vanquishing Judas Maccabeus in 160; Jonathan, however, was able to stand his ground, and in 157 he made peace with Bacchides, although he was compelled to tolerate Syrian garrisons in Jerusalem and other places.

Owing to his pride and severity, Demetrius was much hated by the Syrians. He was greatly addicted to drink, and Josephus reproaches him with frivolity and laziness. In 153 Alexander Balas, recognized and supported by the Senate, and aided by Attalus II. and Ptolemy Philometor, appeared with an army in Syria, and captured Ptolemais through treason. Demetrius' own men deserted him; and the Jews, too, whom Alexander Balas had won over with large presents, withdrew their allegiance. Demetrius was compelled to withdraw the troops from the Jewish localities, with the exception of Jerusalem and Beth-Zur, and to concentrate his forces against Balas. In the decisive battle Demetrius fell.

Bibliography:
  • Polybius, iii. 5, xxxi. et seq.;
  • Appian, Syriaca, xiv. et seq.;
  • Diodorus Siculus, xxxi.;
  • Justin, xxxiv. et seq.;
  • Josephus, Ant. xii. 10, §§ 4 et seq.;
  • xiii. 2, §§ 1-4:
  • I Macc. vii. et seq.;
  • II Macc., xiv. 1;
  • Schürer, Gesch. 3d ed., i. 170 et seq.;
  • Wellhausen, I. J. G. 3d ed., pp. 260 et seq.;
  • Pauly-Wissowa, Real-Encyc. s.v.
G. H. Bl.
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