Medius (in Greek Mηδιoς; lived 4th century BC), son of Oxythemis, was a native of Larissa in Thessaly and a friend of Alexander the Great. He is mentioned as commanding a trireme during the descent of the Indus river 1, but with this exception his name does not occur in the military operations of the king. He appears, however, to have enjoyed a high place in the personal favour of the monarch, and it was at his house that Alexander supped just before his last illness. Hence, according to those writers who represented the king to have been poisoned, it was at this banquet that the fatal draught was administered, and not without the cognizance, as it was said, of Medius himself. Others more plausibly ascribed the illness of Alexander to his intemperance upon the same occasion2 Plutarch speaks in very unfavourable terms of Medius, whom he represents as one of the flatterers to whose evil counsels the most reprehensible of the actions of Alexander were to be ascribed.3 But no trace of this is to be found in the better authorities.

After the death of Alexander, Medius followed the fortunes of Antigonus Monophthalmus, whose fleet we find him commanding in 314 BC, when he defeated and took thirty-six ships of the Pydnaeans, who, had espoused the party of Cassander.4 The following year (313 BC) he took Miletus, and afterwards relieved the city of Oreus in Euboea, which was besieged by Cassander himself.5 Again in 312 BC, he was despatched by Antigonus with a fleet of 150 ships, to make a descent in Greece, and landed a large army in Boeotia under Ptolemy; after which he returned to Asia to co-operate with Antigonus himself, at the Hellespont.6 In 306 BC we find him present in the great sea-fight off Salamis in Cyprus, on which occasion he commanded the left wing of the fleet of Demetrius Poliorcetes.7 It appears also that he accompanied Antigonus on his unsuccessful expedition against Egypt in the same year8, but after this we hear no more of him. His authority is cited by Strabo9 in a manner that would lead us to conclude he had left some historical work, but we find no further mention of him as a writer.


Smith, William (editor); Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, "Medius (2)", Boston, (1867)


1 Arrian, Indica, 18

2 Arrian, Anabasis Alexandri, vii. 24-25; Plutarch, Parallel Lives, "Alexander", 75; Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca, xvii. 117; Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae, x. 44

3 Plutarch, Moralia, "How to tell a flatterer from a friend", 24 (38 MB PDF)

4 Diodorus, xix. 69

5 Ibid., xix. 75

6 Ibid., xix. 77

7 Ibid., xx. 50

8 Plutarch, Parallel Lives, "Demetrius", 19

9 Strabo, Geography, xi. 14


This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology by William Smith (1867).

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