Phocion (fōˈshən) [key], c.402–318 B.C., Athenian general. He served successfully against the forces of Philip of Macedon—in Euboea (now Évvoia; 348 B.C.) and at Byzantium (339), when he forced Philip to abandon his siege of that city. In Athens, Phocion was a leader of the party that urged conciliation with the Macedonians; he was opposed by Demosthenes. When the Athenians refused to comply with Alexander's demand for the surrender of Demosthenes, Phocion led a successful embassy of conciliation to Alexander. In the turmoil following the death of Antipater (319), Phocion intrigued with Cassander. Later, when the Athenian democracy, which had been curtailed by Antipater, was restored, the democrats forced Phocion to drink hemlock; shortly after his death, however, they raised a statue in his honor.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.