Wars of the Diadochi > Partition of Persepolis

Partition of Persepolis

Alexander the Great - Dove Decoration

Background

The Partition of Persepolis in 315 BCE was a significant event in the history of the Hellenistic period, marking the division of the former Persian Empire among the Diadochi, the successors of Alexander the Great. This division followed the turmoil and power struggles that ensued after Alexander's death in 323 BCE, as his generals and associates vied for control of his vast empire.

Death of Alexander the Great (323 BCE): Alexander's sudden death left his empire without a clear successor. His only son, Alexander IV, was an infant, and his half-brother, Philip III Arrhidaeus, was mentally disabled. The lack of a strong central authority led to the emergence of Alexander's generals (the Diadochi) as the main power brokers.

Initial Settlements: The Partition of Babylon (323 BCE) and the Partition of Triparadisus (321 BCE) were earlier attempts to distribute power among the Diadochi, but these arrangements failed to create lasting peace.

Continuing Conflicts: By 315 BCE, the Diadochi were engaged in a series of wars known as the Wars of the Diadochi, which saw shifting alliances and continuous battles for supremacy.

The Partition of Persepolis: The Partition of Persepolis was essentially another effort to redistribute territories among the competing successors. While the exact details and agreements of the partition are less documented than earlier partitions, it is clear that this division was part of the ongoing struggle for power among the Diadochi.

Key Figures:

Territorial Adjustments:

Consequences

Continued Conflict: The partition did not lead to a lasting peace. Instead, it set the stage for further conflicts, particularly the Fourth War of the Diadochi (315-301 BCE). Antigonus' ambitions led to the formation of a coalition against him, including Ptolemy, Seleucus, Lysimachus, and Cassander.

Battle of Ipsus (301 BCE): The culmination of these conflicts was the Battle of Ipsus, where the coalition defeated Antigonus. Antigonus was killed, and his territories were divided among the victors. Seleucus I emerged as a major power, establishing the Seleucid Empire, which controlled much of the former Persian territories.

Establishment of Hellenistic Kingdoms: The partition and subsequent conflicts ultimately resulted in the establishment of several Hellenistic kingdoms that would dominate the eastern Mediterranean and Near East for centuries. These included the Ptolemaic Kingdom in Egypt, the Seleucid Empire in the Near East, and the Antigonid Dynasty in Macedon.

Legacy

The Partition of Persepolis was a key moment in the disintegration of Alexander the Great's empire. It highlighted the intense rivalries among his successors and their relentless pursuit of power. The resulting Hellenistic kingdoms would carry forward the cultural and political legacy of Alexander, blending Greek and Eastern traditions and significantly shaping the course of ancient history.

In summary, the Partition of Persepolis in 315 BCE was part of the ongoing struggle among Alexander's successors to control and consolidate the vast territories of his empire. It led to continued warfare and the eventual establishment of stable Hellenistic kingdoms, each ruled by one of the Diadochi, and set the stage for the cultural and political landscape of the Hellenistic period.

Sources

Die Zeit des Quintus Curtius Rufus by Dietmar Korzeniewski Review by: C. A. Robinson, Jr. The American Journal of Philology, Vol. 82, No. 3 (Jul., 1961), pp. 316-319 Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press

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