Wars of the Diadochi > Battle of Paraitakene

Battle of Paraitakene

Alexander the Great - Dove Decoration


The Battle of Parakitakene, also known as Paraetacene or Παραιτακηνή was one of the major battles in the Wars of the Diadochi fought in 317 BCE between Antigonus I Monophthalmus and Eumenes. This was to be the second major battle that occurred after Eumenes crossed into Anatolia following the Battle of the Hellespont. Eumenes was commanding the Macedonian army and moved towards Mesopotamia to face off against Antigonus himself.

The two armies met at the lands known to the Greeks as Paraitakenoi northwest of the city of Susa and squared off in the desert. Antigonus was a seasoned general, known as Antigonus I Monophthalmus because he had lost an eye in combat many years before. He had been along with Alexander's campaign and his father Philip II of Macedon before him. He aligned his army in the same formation as the aforementioned deceased military commanders and Eumenes placed his phalanx in the center.

Antigonus deployed his light cavalry on the left and his heavy cavalry and light infantry on the right side in the hills near the battlefield. His phalanx was also placed in the center and he had war elephants spread throughout the line to support his troops and act to break the enemy line. Eumenes also made use of war elephants except he placed them in the left flank along with his cavalry and auxiliary troops while his right flank was made up of his heavy cavalry and would be led be Eumenes himself.

Fighting in the battle was the elite force known as the Argyraspides who were old men of 60 to 70 years of age that were incredibly skilled in combat.

The Battle

The fighting started when Antigonus launched his light cavalry straight at the opposing line. Eumenes responded by sending his own light cavalry from the left flank to meet them and the center phalanxes were able to meet. The Argyraspides were able to soundly defeat even the experienced Antigonus and his forces, devastating his light cavalry in the process.

The tide of the battle was in favor of Eumenes at the moment but Antigonus noticed a weakness in the opposing phalanx that he personally chose to exploit. Commanding his heavy cavalry he drove directly at the Argyraspides where it detatched from the left flank. This break in the line let the heavily armed horseman smash into the line and allowed Antigonus to stave off defeat.

Overall the battle would end in a stalemate with both side retreating and neither one really claiming victory. While Antigonus did claim victory in the records, based on casualty reports he lost way more forces than Eumenes and did not claim any territory so it is hard to see how this is a victory for either side. Eumenes lost 540 infantry and 1,000 were injured while Antigonus lost 3,700 infantry and 4,000 were wounded.


The aftermath of the Battle of Paraitakene would lead directly to the Battle of Gabiene in which the two forces under Antigonus I Monophthalmus and Eumenes would face off again.


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