Antigonus I Monophthalmus -(Antigonus the
One-eyed, 382 301), son of Philip from Elimeia, was a Macedonian
nobleman, general, satrap, and king. During the first half of his life he
served under Philip II; after Philip's death in 336, he served Philip's son
Alexander. He was a major figure in the Wars of the Diadochi after Alexander's
death, declaring himself king in 306 and establishing the Antigonid dynasty.
Not much is known about Antigonus' early career. He must have been an important
figure in the Macedonian Army because when he emerges in historical sources he
is in command of a large part of Alexander's army (Antigonus commanded
Alexander's 7,000 allied Greek infantry). There is a story in Plutarch about an
Antigonus who lost an eye at the Siege of Perinthos (340) when he was struck by
a catapult bolt. Since Antigonus was of the same age as Philip, and a nobleman,
he almost certainly must have served during Philips campaigns. He might
even have served under Philips brothers (Alexander II and Perdiccas III).
In 334, Antigonus must have participated in the battle of the
Granicus since he commanded a division of the
army, and Alexander's entire army was at the Granicus. When Alexander marched
east he appointed Antigonus as satrap (governor) of Phrygia. After the Battle
of Issus, he succeeded the Achaemenid satrap of
Greater Phrygia Atizyes, who died in the battle. Antigonus successfully
performed his primary responsibility: to defend Alexander's lines of supply and
communication during the latter's extended campaign against the Achaemenid
Persian Empire. Following Alexander's victory at Issus, part of the Persian
army regrouped in Cappadocia and attempted to sever Alexander's lines of supply
and communication running through the centre of Asia Minor; however, Antigonus
defeated the Persian forces in three separate battles. After defeating the
Persian counter-attack, Antigonus focused on conquering the rest of Phrygia and
maintaining Alexander's lines of communication and supply.
At the division of the provinces (the so-called Partition of Babylon) after
Alexander's death in 323, Antigonus had his authority over Phrygia, Lycaonia,
Pamphylia, Lycia and western Pisidia confirmed by Perdiccas, the regent of the
empire. However, he incurred the enmity of Perdiccas by refusing to assist
Eumenes to obtain possession of the provinces allotted to him; Paphlagonia and
Leonnatus had left with his army for Greece, leaving Antigonus alone to deal
with Cappadocia, a task he apparently could not or would not complete without
additional aid. Perdiccas seems to have viewed this as a direct affront to his
authority and led the royal army to conquer the area. From there Perdiccas
turned west towards Phrygia in order to humble Antigonus, who escaped with his
son Demetrius to Greece, where he obtained the favour of Antipater, the viceroy
of Macedonia (321), and Craterus, one of Alexanders top generals.
During the First War of the Diadochi, he formed a coalition with Antipater,
Craterus and Ptolemy. In 320, Antigonus sailed to and secured Cyprus. The war
ended in 320 when Perdiccas was murdered by discontented officers (Seleucus and
Antigenes) while unsuccessfully trying to invade Ptolemy's satrapy of Egypt.
With the death of Perdiccas in 321, a new attempt at dividing the empire took
place at Triparadisus. Antipater was made the new Regent of the Empire and
Antigonus became Strategos of Asia. Antigonus was entrusted with the command of
the war against the former members of the Perdiccan faction who had been
condemned at Triparadisus. Antigonus took charge of a part of the Royal Army,
and after being reinforced with more reliable troops from Antipaters
European Army, he marched against the ex-Perdiccans
Eumenes, Alketas, Domikos,
Attalos and Polemon in Asia Minor. Antigonus decided to deal with Eumenes, who
was in Cappadocia, first. Despite being outnumbered Antigonus adopted a bold
attacking strategy. He eventually outgeneraled and defeated Eumenes at the
Battle of Orkynia and forced him to retire to
the fortress of Nora. Leaving Eumenes under siege, Antigonus now marched on the
combined forces of Alketas, Domikos, Attalos and Polemon near Cretopolis in
Pisidia. Antigonus surprised and defeated his opponents at the Battle of
Cretopolis. So Antigonus, in two brilliant campaigns, in the course of one
campaigning season had annihilated the remnants of the Perdiccan faction with
the exception of Eumenes who was bottled up in Nora.
Antipater's death and the Second Diadochi War:
When Antipater died in 319, he left the regentship to
Cassander, his son.
Antigonus and the other dynasts refused to recognize Polyperchon, since it
would have undermined their own ambitions. Antigonus entered into negotiations
with Eumenes, but Eumenes had already been swayed by Polyperchon, who gave him
authority over all other generals within the empire. Affecting his escape from
Nora through trickery, Eumenes raised a small army and fled south into Cilicia.
Antigonus did not move against Eumenes directly because he was tied up in
northwestern Asia Minor campaigning against Cleitus the White who had a large
fleet at the Hellespont.
Cleitus was able to defeat Antigonus's admiral Nicanor in a sea battle but he
was caught off guard the next morning when Antigonus and Nicanor launched a
double assault by land and sea on his camp, Cleitus was taken completely by
surprise and his entire force was captured or killed.
Meanwhile, Eumenes had taken control of Cilicia, Syria and Phoenicia, he had
formed an alliance with Antigenes and Teutamos, the
commanders of the Silver Shields and the Hypaspists, and began to raise a naval
force on behalf of Polyperchon. When it was ready he sent the fleet west to
reinforce Polyperchon, but off the coast of Cilicia it was met by
Antigonuss fleet and changed sides.] Antigonus had settled his affairs in
Asia Minor and marched east into Cilicia intent on doing battle with Eumenes in
Syria. Eumenes somehow had advance knowledge of this and marched out of
Phoenica, through Syria into Mesopotamia, with the idea of gathering support in
the upper satrapies. Eumenes gained the support of Amphimachos, the satrap of
Mesopotamia, then marched his army into Northern Babylonia, where he put them
into winter quarters. During the winter he negotiated with Seleucus, the satrap
of Babylonia, and Pheiton Karteau, the satrap of Media, seeking their help
Antigonus, finding out Eumenes had left his provinces, took some time securing
Cilicia and northern Syria before he marched into Mesopotamia. Unable to sway
Seleucus and Pheiton, Eumenes had left his winter quarters early and marched on
Susa, a major royal treasury, in Susiana. In Susa, Eumenes sent letters to all
the satraps to the north and east of Susiana, ordering them in the kings' names
to join him with all their forces. When the satraps joined Eumenes he had a
considerable force, with which he could look forward with some confidence to
doing battle against Antigonus. Eumenes then marched southeastwards into
Persia, where he picked up additional reinforcements. Antigonus, meanwhile, had
reached Susa and left Seleucus there to besiege the place, while he himself
marched after Eumenes. At the river Kopratas, Eumenes surprised Antigonus
during the crossing of the river and killed of captured 4,000 of his men.
Antigonus, faced with disaster, decided to abandon the crossing and turned back
northward, marching up into Media, threatening the upper satrapies. Eumenes
wanted to march westward, and cut Antigonus's lines of supply, but the satraps
refused to abandon their satrapies and forced Eumenes to stay in the east. In
the late summer of 316, Antigonus moved southward again in the hope of bringing
Eumenes to battle and ending the war quickly. Eventually the two armies in
southern Media and fought in the indecisive battle of
Paraitakene. Antigonus, whose casualties
were more numerous, force marched his army to safety the next night.
During the winter of 316315, Antigonus tried to surprise Eumenes in
Persia by marching his army across a desert and catching his enemy off guard,
unfortunately, he was observed by some locals who reported it to his opponents.
A few days later both armies drew up for battle. The battle of
Gabiene was as indecisive as previous the
previous battle at Parataikene.
According to Plutarch and Diodorus, Eumenes had won the battle but lost control
of his army's baggage camp thanks to his ally Peucestas' duplicity or
incompetence. This baggage also included all the loot of the Silver Shields
(treasure accumulated over 30 years of successful warfare; it contained not
only gold, silver, gems and other booty but also the soldiers' women and
children) and they wanted it back. Antigonus responded to a request for the
return of the baggage train sent by Teutamus, one of their commanders, by
demanding they give him Eumenes. The Silver Shields complied, arrested Eumenes
and his officers and handed them over. The war was thus at an end. Eumenes was
placed under guard while Antigonus held a council to pondered his fate.
Antigonus was disinclined to kill Eumenes, in this he was backed up by his son
Demetrius, but most of the council insisted he execute Eumenes and so it was
decided. As a result, Antigonus now was in possession of the empire's Asian
territories, his authority stretching from the eastern satrapies to Syria and
Asia Minor in the west. He seized the treasuries at Susa and entered Babylon.
The governor of Babylon, Seleucus, fled to Ptolemy and entered into a league
with him, Lysimachus and Cassander.
The Third Diadochi War:
In 314 Antigonus received envoys from the allied dynasts Ptolemy, Cassander and
Lysimachus who demanded he cede Cappadocia and Lycia to Cassander,
Hellespontine Phrygia to Lysimachus, Phoenicia and Syria to Ptolemy, and
Babylonia to Seleucus, and that he should share the treasure he had
accumulated. His only answer was to advise the dynasts to be ready for war.
Antigonus sent Aristodemus with a 1,000 talents to the Peloponnesus to raise an
army there and also to make an alliance with his old enemy Polyperchon, he and
Polyperhon were then to make war on Cassander, he sent an army under his nephew
Polemaios through Cappadocia to the Hellespont to keep Cassander and Lysimachus
from invading Asia Minor He himself invaded Phoenicia which was under Ptolemy's
control, and besieged Tyre. The siege of Tyre took a year, and after securing
Phoenicia he marched his main army into Asia Minor intent on taking out Asander
(satrap of Lydia and Caria, and ally to Ptolemy and Cassander), leaving the
defence of Syria and Phoenicia to his oldest son Demetrius.
In 312, Antigonus captured Lydia and all of Caria, and drove off Asander, he
then sent his nephews Telesphorus and Polemaios against Cassander in Greece.
While Antigonus was engaged in the west, Ptolemy took advantage of the
situation and invaded from the south. He met Demetrius's forces at the battle
of Gaza where Ptolemy won a stunning victory. After the battle, Seleucus, who
was fighting for Ptolemy, made his way back to Babylonia, and soon established
control over his old satrapy and went on to secure the eastern provinces
against Antigonus. Seleucus's conquest led to the Babylonian War (and
this), during which Seleucus defeated both Demetrius and Antigonus, and
secured control over the eastern provinces. After the Babylonian War, which
lasted from 315 to 311, a peace was concluded between Antigonus and Seleucus
leaving them both to consolidate their power in their respective realms
(Antigonus in the West and Seleucus in the East). In the West, Antigonus had
worn down his enemies and forced a peace upon them. By this peace he had
attained the zenith of his power. Antigonus' empire and alliance system now
comprised: Greece, Asia Minor, Syria, Phoenicia and northern Mesopotamia.
The Fourth Diadochi War:
The peace agreement was soon violated by Ptolemy and Cassander based on the
pretext that garrisons had been placed in some of the free Greek cities by
Antigonus. Ptolemy and Cassander renewed hostilities against Antigonus.
Demetrius Poliorcetes, the son of Antigonus, wrested part of Greece from
Cassander. In 306, Philip, Antigonuss youngest son, died a premature
death, aged about 2628. This was a severe blow to Antigonus, who not only
lost a son, but also a general who might have been of the greatest value to him
in the campaigns to come. After defeating Ptolemy at the naval Battle of
Salamis in 306, Demetrius conquered Cyprus. Following that victory Antigonus
assumed the title of king and bestowed the same upon his son. This was
effectively a declaration by Antigonus that he now was independent from the
empire. The other dynasts, Cassander, Ptolemy, Lysimachus and Seleucus, soon
followed Antigonus' lead and declared themselves to be kings.
Antigonus now prepared a large army and a formidable fleet, the command of
which he gave to Demetrius, and hastened to attack Ptolemy in his own
dominions. His invasion of Egypt, however, proved a failure as he was unable to
penetrate Ptolemy's defences and was obliged to retire, although he inflicted
heavy losses on Ptolemy. In 305, Demetrius attempted the reduction of Rhodes,
which had refused to assist Antigonus against Egypt. The siege of Rhodes lasted
a year and ended in 304 when Demetrius, meeting with obstinate resistance, was
obliged to make a peace treaty upon the terms that the Rhodians would build
ships for Antigonus and aid him against any enemy except for Ptolemy, on whom
they bestowed the title Soter (savior) for his aid during the lengthy siege.
The Kingdoms of Antigonus and his rivals circa 303:
The most powerful dynasts of the empire, now kings in their own right,
Cassander, Seleucus, Ptolemy and Lysimachus, responded to Antigonus' successes
by allying with each other, often through marriage. Antigonus soon found
himself at war with all four, largely because his territory shared borders with
each of them. At one point, Antigonus had Cassander in a difficult position,
having gained the support of the Greeks and defeating Cassander repeatedly,
Antigonus demanded from Cassander the unconditional submission of Macedonia.
Seleucus, Lysimachus and Ptolemy responded by joining forces and attacking him.
Lysimachus and Cassander's general Prepelaos invaded Asia Minor from Thrace,
crossing the Hellespont. Lysimachus had soon secured most of the Ionian cities.
Meanwhile, Seleucus was marching through Mesopotamia and Cappadocia. Antigonus
was obliged to recall Demetrius from Greece, where his son had recently had an
indecisive encounter with Cassander in Thessaly. Now Antigonus and Demetrius
moved against Lysimachus and Prepelaos. However, the army of Antigonus and
Demetrius was defeated by the united forces of Seleucus, Lysimachus and
Prepelaos at the decisive Battle of Ipsus in
301. Antigonus died in the battle after being struck by a javelin, in the
eighty-first year of his life. Prior to Ipsus,
he had never lost a battle.
With his death, any plans for reuniting Alexander's empire came to an end.
Antigonus' kingdom was divided up, with most of his territories ending up in
the hands of the new kingdoms ruled by Lysimachus and Seleucus. The victors
largely followed Antigonus' precedent and had themselves named as kings, but
they did not claim power over the erstwhile empire of Alexander nor each other.
Instead, these kings established a troubled (and in the end failed) modus
vivendi with each other, and accepted their kingdoms as separate realms.
Meanwhile, Antigonus' surviving son Demetrius took control of Macedonia in 294.
Antigonus' descendants held this possession, off and on, until it was conquered
by the Roman Republic after the Battle of Pydna in 168.
Antigonus's father was a nobleman named Philip (Philippos)
His mother's name is unknown (after his father's death she married Periandros
He had an older brother named Demetrius (Demetrios)
He also had a younger brother named Ptolemy (Polemaios)
There might have been another younger brother (the father of his nephew
From his mother's second marriage he had a half-brother named Marsyas
Antigonus was married to Stratonike (his older brother's widow)
He had an older son named Demetrius (the famous Demetrios I Poliorketes) And a
younger son named Philip (Philippos)