Four Years of Presidential Memory: Re-use Suggestions for Toppled Statues

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of the Eminent Philosophers 5.5: Life of Demetrius (c. 350-280 BCE) 75 and 77

“Demetrios, the son of Phanostratos, from Phalerum. This guy was a student of Theophrastus. He was the lead of the city of Athens for ten years through his public speeches and was publicly awarded three hundred bronze statues for this, the vast majority of them had him on horse or chariot or with a pair of horse. He was supported so much that these statues were finished in not even 30 days.


Δημήτριος Φανοστράτου Φαληρεύς. οὗτος ἤκουσε μὲν Θεοφράστου· δημηγορῶν δὲ παρ᾿ Ἀθηναίοις τῆς πόλεως ἐξηγήσατο ἔτη δέκα, καὶ εἰκόνων ἠξιώθη χαλκῶν ἑξήκοντα πρὸς ταῖς τριακοσίαις, ὧν αἱ πλείους ἐφ᾿ ἵππων ἦσαν καὶ ἁρμάτων καὶ συνωρίδων, συντελεσθεῖσαι ἐν οὐδὲ τριακοσίαις ἡμέραις· τοσοῦτον ἐσπουδάσθη.

“Although he was super famous among the Athenians,  his light dimmed later on under the shadow of envy, which consumes everything. After he was indicted by some people on a charge carrying a penalty of death, he did not appear in court. When his opponents could not catch him in person, they took it out on his statues. Once they tore the statues down, they sold some, sank some in the sea, and broke others up for chamber pots. A single one is left on the Akropolis.”

Σφόδρα δὲ λαμπρὸς ὢν παρὰ τοῖς Ἀθηναίοις, ὅμως ἐπεσκοτήθη καὶ αὐτὸς ὑπὸ τοῦ τὰ πάντα 77διεσθίοντος φθόνου. ἐπιβουλευθεὶς γὰρ ὑπό τινων δίκην θανάτου οὐ παρὼν ὦφλεν. οὐ μὴν ἐκυρίευσαν τοῦ σώματος αὐτοῦ, ἀλλὰ τὸν ἰὸν ἀπήρυγον εἰς τὸν χαλκόν, κατασπάσαντες αὐτοῦ τὰς εἰκόνας καὶ τὰς μὲν ἀποδόμενοι, τὰς δὲ βυθίσαντες, τὰς δὲ κατακόψαντες εἰς ἀμίδας· λέγεται γὰρ καὶ τοῦτο. μία δὲ μόνη σώζεται ἐν ἀκροπόλει.

File:Bronze youth BM Br828 n3.jpg
A bronze statue of a young man. Roman Copy. Not Demetrius.

Demetrius may have been a pro-Macedonian puppet. Thanks to @skaios_ from twitter for suggesting this passage.

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