Wars of the Diadochi > Lamian War

Lamian War

Alexander the Great - Dove Decoration


The Lamian War also known as the Hellenic War was fought between 323 BC and 322 BC by some of the Greek city-states such as Athens and their allies against Macedon and Boeotia. The war was fought in the direct aftermath of the death of the Alexander the Great in 323 BC at the city of Babylon and precceded the Wars of the Diadochi. Following his death, the Greek city-states such as Athens attempted to break away from Macedonian rule and were commanded by Leosthenes.

They won some initial successes at the city of Plataea and later at the corridor at Thermopylae. Here they defeated the Macedonian army that was commanded by Antipater who were forced to flee to the city of Lamia where the Greeks continued to assault them while they waited for their allies. However, soon the tide of the war would turn and the Athenian navy suffered a loss at the Hellespont and later Amorgos by the more powerful Macedonian navy. Being in control of the Aegean Sea was vital in transporting troops from the Greek mainland and without their reinforcements the Greek troops were defeated at Lamia.

Also by controlling the sea the Macedonians were able to land troops on the Greek shores where they fought the Greeks at Rhamnus. They would be defeated by soon the Macedonian army from Lamia with reinforcements from Asia would cross into the mainland and defeat the Greek military at Crannon. This effectively ended the Lamian War but directly set in motion the events for the following Wars of the Diadochi which saw the breakup of Alexander's empire by his generals and officers into various kingdoms.

Lamian War Battles

The Lamian War, fought from 323 to 322 BCE, was a significant conflict between a coalition of Greek city-states led by Athens and the Macedonian Empire. The war was primarily a struggle for Greek independence following the death of Alexander the Great. Here are the key battles of the Lamian War:

Battle of Plataea

See Battle of Plataea

Battle of Thermopylae

See Battle of Thermopylae

The war began with the Greeks attempting to prevent the Macedonian forces from advancing south into central Greece. Antipater, the Macedonian regent, led his army through the pass of Thermopylae, a strategically critical location. The Greeks, under the command of Leosthenes, managed to block the pass, leveraging the narrow terrain to their advantage. Despite Antipater's attempts, the Greeks held their ground, forcing him to retreat to the fortified city of Lamia.

Siege of Lamia

See Siege of Lamia

Following their victory at Thermopylae, the Greek forces, under Leosthenes, pursued Antipater to Lamia and laid siege to the city. The siege lasted for several months. During this time, the Greeks tried to starve the Macedonians into submission. However, the siege was not successful due to the death of Leosthenes, which led to a leadership crisis among the Greeks, weakening their position.

Battle of Amorgos

See Battle of Amorgos

As the siege dragged on, Macedonian reinforcements arrived from Asia, led by Leonnatus and Craterus. The naval Battle of Amorgos was fought around this time between the Athenian fleet, commanded by Euetion, and the Macedonian fleet. The Athenians were defeated, which significantly weakened their naval power and morale.

Battle of the Enchinades

See Battle of the Enchinades

Battle of Rhamnus

See Battle of Rhamnus

Battle of Crannon

See Battle of Crannon

The decisive land battle of the war occurred at Crannon in Thessaly. The Macedonian forces, now commanded by Antipater and Craterus, faced the Greek forces, which were led by Antiphilus and Menon of Pharsalus. The Macedonians achieved a decisive victory, employing superior tactics and exploiting the disunity among the Greek states. The defeat at Crannon marked the effective end of the Greek resistance.


The aftermath of the Lamian War would lay the foundations for the First War of the Diadochi and all of the subsequent Wars of the Diadochi after that. The defeat at Crannon and the subsequent collapse of the Greek coalition led to the submission of the Greek city-states.

Athens was forced to surrender unconditionally, and the Macedonians imposed harsh terms, including the dismantling of the Athenian democracy and the establishment of an oligarchy friendly to Macedonian interests. Other Greek cities faced similar fates, and the autonomy of the Greek city-states was severely curtailed, marking the end of their bid for independence from Macedonian hegemony. The Lamian War underscored the power vacuum and instability following Alexander the Great's death and highlighted the inability of the Greek city-states to unite effectively against the Macedonian military machine.

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