Alexander the Great > HellenisticStructures

Wars of the Diadochi

The Wars of the Diadochi, also known as the Wars of Alexander's Successors, were a series of conflicts fought between the generals (Diadochi) and successors of Alexander the Great following his death in 323 BCE. These wars determined the fate of Alexander's empire and led to the establishment of several Hellenistic kingdoms. Here's an overview of the key phases, major battles, and significant outcomes of the Wars of the Diadochi:


  1. Death of Alexander the Great (323 BCE):
    • Empire Without an Heir: Alexander died in Babylon in 323 BCE without a clear successor. His only potential heirs were his half-brother, Philip III Arrhidaeus, who was mentally disabled, and his unborn son, Alexander IV, by his wife Roxana.
    • Regency Established: Perdiccas, one of Alexander's generals, was appointed regent for the two kings, but the lack of a strong central authority led to disputes and power struggles among the other generals.

First War of the Diadochi (322-320 BCE)

  1. Key Figures:

    • Perdiccas: Regent and commander-in-chief.
    • Ptolemy: Satrap of Egypt.
    • Antipater: Regent of Macedonia.
    • Craterus: General and ally of Antipater.
    • Eumenes: Loyal to Perdiccas, stationed in Asia Minor.
  2. Major Events:

    • Perdiccas’ Campaigns: Perdiccas attempted to solidify control, but faced opposition from other Diadochi. His invasion of Egypt in 321 BCE ended in failure and his assassination by his own officers.
    • Partition of Triparadisus (320 BCE): Following Perdiccas’ death, the Diadochi met and redistributed the satrapies among themselves, leading to a temporary peace.

Second War of the Diadochi (319-315 BCE)

  1. Key Figures:

    • Antipater: Regent of Macedonia, died in 319 BCE.
    • Cassander: Son of Antipater, contested for control of Macedonia.
    • Polyperchon: Appointed by Antipater as regent.
    • Eumenes: Continued to fight for Alexander’s family.
  2. Major Events:

    • Civil War in Macedonia: Cassander and Polyperchon fought for control, with Cassander eventually gaining the upper hand.
    • Campaigns of Eumenes: Eumenes fought against Antigonus Monophthalmus in Asia Minor but was ultimately betrayed and executed in 316 BCE.

Third War of the Diadochi (314-311 BCE)

  1. Key Figures:

    • Antigonus Monophthalmus: Sought to reunite Alexander's empire under his rule.
    • Cassander, Ptolemy, Lysimachus: Formed a coalition against Antigonus.
  2. Major Events:

    • Siege of Tyre and Gaza: Antigonus captured key cities in the Levant.
    • Battle of Gaza (312 BCE): Ptolemy defeated Demetrius, son of Antigonus.
    • Peace of 311 BCE: Temporary peace was established, recognizing the power of the major Diadochi but leaving underlying tensions unresolved.

Fourth War of the Diadochi (310-301 BCE)

  1. Key Figures:

    • Antigonus and Demetrius: Continued to fight for dominance.
    • Coalition of Cassander, Lysimachus, Seleucus, and Ptolemy.
  2. Major Events:

    • Assassination of Alexander IV (310 BCE): Cassander had the young king and his mother Roxana murdered, ending the Argead dynasty.
    • Battle of Ipsus (301 BCE): The decisive battle in which the coalition defeated and killed Antigonus. His territories were divided among the victors.

Outcomes of the Wars of the Diadochi

  1. Division of the Empire:

    • Ptolemaic Egypt: Ptolemy established control over Egypt and parts of the Levant.
    • Seleucid Empire: Seleucus gained control over the eastern provinces, including Mesopotamia and Persia.
    • Antigonid Macedonia: Cassander and later the Antigonid dynasty controlled Macedonia and Greece.
    • Kingdom of Lysimachus: Lysimachus controlled Thrace and parts of Asia Minor.
  2. Establishment of Hellenistic Kingdoms:

    • Hellenistic Period: The wars resulted in the establishment of Hellenistic kingdoms that lasted for several centuries, blending Greek and local cultures across the former territories of Alexander’s empire.
  3. Continued Conflict:

    • Ongoing Rivalries: The Diadochi and their successors continued to engage in conflicts and alliances, shaping the political landscape of the Hellenistic world.


The Wars of the Diadochi were a series of complex and brutal conflicts that followed the death of Alexander the Great. They resulted in the fragmentation of his vast empire into several Hellenistic kingdoms, each ruled by one of his former generals or their descendants. These wars not only determined the political boundaries of the Hellenistic world but also facilitated the spread of Greek culture and influence throughout the eastern Mediterranean and Near East, leaving a lasting legacy on the history of the ancient world.

Who won the wars of the Diadochi?

The Wars of the Diadochi were a series of conflicts fought between the successors (Diadochi) of Alexander the Great over control of his empire after his death in 323 BC. These wars spanned several decades and resulted in the division of Alexander's empire into several Hellenistic kingdoms. Here is a summary of the key outcomes and the main "winners" of the Wars of the Diadochi:

Key Outcomes and Winners

  1. Antigonid Kingdom:

    • Antigonus I Monophthalmus and his descendants established control over Macedonia and parts of Greece. Despite early setbacks, his grandson, Antigonus II Gonatas, solidified the Antigonid dynasty's control over Macedonia after the Battle of Ipsus (301 BC).
  2. Ptolemaic Kingdom:

    • Ptolemy I Soter, one of Alexander's generals, secured Egypt and established the Ptolemaic dynasty. The Ptolemies ruled Egypt for nearly 300 years, with Alexandria becoming a major center of Hellenistic culture and learning.
  3. Seleucid Empire:

    • Seleucus I Nicator emerged as a dominant figure, gaining control over the largest portion of Alexander's empire, including Syria, Mesopotamia, Persia, and parts of India. The Seleucid Empire became one of the major Hellenistic states, although it eventually faced internal strife and external pressures.
  4. Kingdom of Pergamon:

    • Lysimachus, another of Alexander's generals, initially controlled Thrace and parts of Asia Minor but was eventually defeated. The Attalid dynasty later established the Kingdom of Pergamon in western Asia Minor, which became a significant cultural and political center.
  5. Kingdom of Epirus:

    • Pyrrhus of Epirus attempted to create a significant power base in the western Greek world but ultimately failed. His efforts did not result in long-term dominance.

Division and Fragmentation

Final Resolution

In summary, the Wars of the Diadochi did not produce a single winner who controlled the entirety of Alexander's empire. Instead, they resulted in the establishment of several powerful Hellenistic kingdoms, each ruled by a different successor or their descendants, and these kingdoms became the dominant powers in the region until the rise of Rome.

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