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Antigonus I

Alexander the Great - Dove Decoration


Antigonus I Monophthalmus (382–301 BC), known in Greek as Ἀντίγονος ὁ Μονόφθαλμος was an experienced Macedonian general and soldier that fought and served under both Philip II of Macedon and Alexander III the Great. Following the death of Alexander the Great he was a major figure in the Wars of the Diadochi and declared his own kingdom in 306 BC.

Antigonus originally served in the army of Philip II of Macedon and therefore had a longstanding loyalty to the Macedonian dynasty.

Alexander the Great's Campaign

See Alexander the Great's Campaign

Under Alexander the Great the territory of Phyrgia was given to Antigonus I in 333 BC and he was given the command to defend the supply lines for Alexander's conquest, an extremely important task. He was responsible for providing reinforcements, food, weapons and other equipment from Macedon, Thrace, and Greece while the military was on a conquest of the Achaemenid Empire.

Following Alexanders victory at the Battle of Issus the Persian general named Memnon who was in control of Rhodes attempted to assault Antigonus and destroy these supply lines so Alexander would be forced to cease his campaign. Over the course of three major battles though Antigonus soundly defeated the Persian forces and Alexander was free to begin the Siege of Tyre and later the liberation of Egypt and Babylonia.

He would continue to serve as a satrap all throughout Alexander's conquest of the rest of the Achaemenid Empire.

Wars of the Diadochi

See Wars of the Diadochi

Following the Partition of Babylon the officers and successors of Alexander divided his empire up in 323 BC. In addition to continuing his rule over Phrygia he also gained Lycia and Pamphylia from Perdiccas who was the regent of the empire. The first conflicts would arise as a result of this agreement as Antigonus refused to help Eumenes take hold of the territories of Paphlagonia and Cappadocia.

This upset PerdiccasAs part of the division of the provinces after Alexander's death in 323 BC, Antigonus also received Pamphylia and Lycia from Perdiccas, regent of the empire, at the Partition of Babylon. He incurred the enmity of Perdiccas, the regent, by refusing to assist Eumenes to obtain possession of the provinces allotted to him, Paphlagonia and Cappadocia. Leonnatus had left with his army for Greece, leaving Antigonus alone to deal with Cappadocia, a task he apparently couldn't complete without additional aid.Perdiccas seems to have viewed this as a direct affront to his authority and went up with the royal army himself to conquer the area. From there Perdiccas turned west towards Phrygia in order to humble Antigonus, who escaped with his son Demetrius to Greece, where he obtained the favour of Antipater, regent of Macedonia (321 BC), and Craterus.With the death of Perdiccas in 321 BC, a new attempt at division of the empire took place at Triparadisus and Antigonus found himself entrusted with the command of the war against Eumenes, who had joined Perdiccas against the coalition of Antipater, Antigonus, Ptolemy, Craterus, and the other generals. Eumenes was defeated and forced to retire to the fortress of Nora (Greek: Νῶρα) in Cappadocia, and a new army that was marching to his relief was routed by Antigonus.When Antipater died in 319 BC, he gave the regentship to Polyperchon, excluding Cassander, his son. Antigonus and the other dynasts refused to recognize Polyperchon, since it would undermine their own ambitions. He entered into negotiations with Eumenes, but Eumenes had already been swayed by Polyperchon, who also gave him authority over anyone within the empire. Effecting his escape from Nora, he raised an army and built a fleet in Cilicia and Phoenicia, and soon after formed a coalition with the satraps of the eastern provinces. Antigonus fought against Eumenes in two great battles at Paraitacene in 317 BC and Gabiene in 316 BC. Both were inconclusive, however. Yet in the aftermath of the second battle, Antigonus managed to capture the family and riches of the Silvershields, an elite regiment within Eumenes' army, who in turn handed over Eumenes to Antigonus in return for their release. After some deliberation, Antigonus had Eumenes executed.As a result, Antigonus now was in possession of the empire's Asian territories, his authority stretching from the eastern satrapies to Syria and Asia Minor in the west. He seized the treasures at Susa and entered Babylon. The governor of the city, Seleucus fled to Ptolemy and entered into a league with him, Lysimachus and Cassander (315 BC) against Antigonus. In 314 BC Antigonus invaded Phoenicia, under Ptolemy's control, and besieged Tyre for more than a year. His son Demetrius was defeated at the Battle of Gaza by Ptolemy in 312 BC, and after the battle, Seleucus made his way back to Babylonia. Seleucus return to Babylon let him build up a base of his own, and he soon established control of the eastern satrapies. The Babylonian War began between Antigonus and Seleucus, where Seleucus defeated both Demetrius and Antigonus, and secured Babylonia.After the war had been carried on with varying success from 315 to 311, peace was concluded, by which the government of Asia Minor and Syria was provisionally secured to Antigonus. This agreement was soon violated on the pretext that garrisons had been placed in some of the free Greek cities by Antigonus, and Ptolemy and Cassander renewed hostilities against him. Demetrius Poliorcetes, the son of Antigonus, wrested part of Greece from Cassander. At first Ptolemy made a successful descent upon Asia Minor and on several of the islands of the Archipelago, but he was at length totally defeated by Demetrius at the naval Battle of Salamis.Demetrius conquered Cyprus in 306 BC. Following the victory Antigonus assumed the title king and bestowed the same upon his son, a declaration that he now was independent from the empire. The other dynasts, Cassander, Ptolemy, Lysimachus and Seleucus, soon followed. He now prepared a large army and a formidable fleet, the command of which he gave to Demetrius, and hastened to attack Ptolemy in his own dominions. His invasion of Egypt, however, proved a failure; he was unable to penetrate Ptolemy's defences and was obliged to retire, yet inflicting high losses on Ptolemy. Demetrius in 305 BC attempted the reduction of Rhodes, which had refused to assist Antigonus against Egypt. The siege of Rhodes lasted a year and ended in 304 BC when Demetrius, meeting with obstinate resistance, was obliged to make a peace treaty upon the terms that the Rhodians would build ships for Antigonus and aid him against any enemy except for Ptolemy, on whom they bestowed the title Soter (savior) for his aid during the lengthy siege.The dynasts unite against AntigonusThe Kingdoms of Antigonos and his rivals circa 303 BC.The most powerful dynasts of the empire, now kings in their own right, Cassander, Seleucus, Ptolemy and Lysimachus, responded to Antigonus's successes by allying with each other, often through marriage. Antigonus soon found himself at war with all four, largely because his territory shared borders with each of them. Once he had Cassander in a bad position, having gained the support of the Greeks and defeating him repeatedly, he demanded from Cassander the unconditional submission of Macedonia. Seleucus, Lysimachus and Ptolemy responded by joining forces and attacking him. Lysimachus invaded Asia Minor from Thrace, crossing the Hellespont. He had soon secured most of the Ionian cities, and Seleucus was on his way marching through Mesopotamia and Cappadocia. Antigonus was obliged to recall Demetrius from Greece, where his son had recently had a sterile encounter with Cassander in Thessaly; the two men, and their army, then moved against Lysimachus.

Battle of Paraitakene

See Battle of Paraitakene

Battle of Gabiene

See Battle of Gabiene

Battle of Gaza

See Battle of Gaza

Babylonian War

See Babylonian War

Battle of Salamis (306 BC)

See Battle of Salamis (306 BC)

Siege of Rhodes

See Siege of Rhodes

Battle of Gaza

See Battle of Gaza

Battle of Ipsus

See Battle of Ipsus

Death & Legacy

Antigonus I would later be defeated once and for all at the Battle of Ipsus in 310 BC when he faced off against the combined forces of Seleucus and Lysimachus. He would also die at the age of eighty-one during this engagement after by being hit with a javelin. With his death all the ideas of reuniting the empire also died with him.

Following the final partition the victors established the final remaining kingdoms and agreed to respect each others sovereignty. While the independent kingdoms that inhabited the shell of Alexander's former republic would persist for a period of time they would eventually be conquered by external invasions from both the Roman Empire and the Parthian Empire.

Antigonus I was survived by his son Demetrius who took control of Macedon in 294 BC and managed to hold it off and on until 168 BC when the Roman Republic annexed the territory following the Battle of Pydna.


Primary Sources

Secondary Sources

1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 2

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