Wars of the Diadochi > Battle of Thermopylae (323 BCE)

Battle of Thermopylae (323 BCE)

Alexander the Great - Dove Decoration


The Battle of Thermopylae in 323 BCE was a significant engagement between the forces of Antipater, regent of Macedon, and the rebel army led by the Athenian statesman Leosthenes. This battle is distinct from the more famous Battle of Thermopylae that occurred in 480 BCE during the Greco-Persian Wars. Here's an overview of the Battle of Thermopylae in 323 BCE:

Following the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BCE, his vast empire fragmented as his generals, known as the Diadochi, vied for power and control over different regions. Antipater, appointed regent of Macedon by Alexander, faced challenges to his authority from various Greek city-states and rebellious factions seeking to assert their independence.

Leosthenes' Rebellion:

Leosthenes, an Athenian general and statesman, emerged as a leader of a coalition of Greek city-states and factions opposed to Macedonian rule. He organized a rebellion against Antipater's regency and sought to unite the Greek states in a campaign to challenge Macedonian hegemony.

Mobilization and Maneuvers:

Leosthenes mobilized an army consisting of Athenian hoplites, allied Greek contingents, and mercenaries to confront the Macedonian forces.Recognizing the strategic importance of Thermopylae, a narrow pass in central Greece, Leosthenes chose to make a stand against the Macedonians there, hoping to delay their advance and rally more Greek allies to his cause.

The Battle:

The Battle of Thermopylae in 323 BCE began with skirmishes between the vanguard units of both armies as they maneuvered for position around the pass. Leosthenes' forces, entrenched in a strong defensive position, sought to block the Macedonian advance and inflict casualties on their opponent's army. The battle was fierce and closely contested, with both sides engaging in close combat and missile exchanges in the narrow confines of the pass.


The Battle of Thermopylae in 323 BCE resulted in a tactical victory for Leosthenes and the Greek rebels, who succeeded in inflicting heavy losses on the Macedonian army and delaying their advance. However, the strategic significance of Thermopylae was limited, and Antipater was ultimately able to bypass the pass and continue his campaign against the rebel forces in central Greece. Despite their initial success at Thermopylae, the Greek rebels were eventually defeated by Antipater's superior military strength and forced to surrender.


The Battle of Thermopylae in 323 BCE highlighted the resilience of Greek resistance to Macedonian rule and demonstrated the effectiveness of defensive tactics in mountainous terrain. While the rebellion ultimately failed to achieve its objectives, it contributed to the broader pattern of political instability and internal conflict that characterized the Hellenistic world in the aftermath of Alexander the Great's death. Overall, the Battle of Thermopylae in 323 BCE was a significant episode in the power struggles of the Hellenistic period, showcasing the military prowess and strategic acumen of both the Greek rebels and their Macedonian adversaries.

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