1887

n Acta Classica : Proceedings of the Classical Association of South Africa - Demetrius the Besieger on the Nile

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Abstract

The year 306 BC was perhaps one of the most momentous in the history of Alexander's Successors. It was the year in which the deadlock that had existed between the dynasts since the famous Peace of 311 was broken in stunning fashion, and the reverberations were profound. The year began with a monumental clash between Demetrius the Besieger, the young and brilliant son of Antigonus the One-Eyed, and Ptolemy Soter, for control of the island of Cyprus. This campaign culminated in a great sea battle at Cyprian Salamis in June, in which Demetrius smashed Ptolemy's fleet and crippled Egypt's naval power through clever tactics, and energetic leadership and fighting. For the Antigonids the victory was total. Ptolemy did not linger in Cyprus long enough even to rescue his entourage, but fled without delay to Egypt. Our sources, Plutarch's and Diodorus Siculus' Book 20, disagree on the number of Ptolemaic ships destroyed. Plutarch asserts that Ptolemy escaped with only eight ships, losing the rest of his fleet, both transport ships and warships, in its entirety, but Diodorus' figures seem more realistic, and one might estimate that Ptolemy escaped with perhaps one fifth of his warships, and at least a proportion of the supply ships.

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2014-01-01
2016-12-07
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