Demetrius II Nicator (Person, Concept)

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Preferred Label
Demetrius II Nicator (en), Démétrios II Nicator (fr), Demetrio II Nicátor (es), Demetrio II (it), Demetrios II. (de), Δημήτριος Β' Νικάτωρ (el)Additional labels
Alternate Label
Demetrius II (en)


Demetrius II Theos Nicator ("the God [and] Victor") was the twelfth king of the Seleucid Empire who experienced two distinct periods of rule. His first reign took place between 146 and 138 BC. In 146 BC, at the age of thirteen, Demetrius II arrived in Syria with a mercenary army intent on overthrowing his father's killer, Alexander I. Demetrius II was successful in this endeavor but alienated much of Syria by quelling riots in Antioch through massacre and by preferring foreign mercenaries to the established Seleucid army. A Seleucid commander named Diodotus proclaimed Antiochus VI, the young son of Alexander I, as rival king and forced Demetrius II out of Antioch. Unable to crush his enemies in Syria and faced with the advance of the Arsacid Parthians into Babylonia, Demetrius II marched to war against the Parthian king Mithradates I. Despite early successes, Demetrius II was defeated and captured in 139 BC. He subsequently lived in honorable captivity at the Parthian court until 129 BC, when he was released. The freed king returned to Antioch and resumed the great unpopularity that had plagued his first reign. His involvement in the conflict between Cleopatra II and Ptolemy VII of Egypt caused the latter to raise a pretender, Alexander II, against him. Demetrius II was defeated near Damascus in 125 BC. He fled to his wife, Cleopatra Thea, at Ptolemais (Ake), but she barred the doors against him. Demetrius II then attempted to find safety at Tyre, but he was killed by the city guards, perhaps on Cleopatra's orders.

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