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Polyperchon

Polyperchon (Greek: Πολυπέρχων); b. unknown[1][2] – d. after 304,[3] possibly into 3rd century BC[4]), son of Simmias from Tymphaia in Epirus, was a Macedonian general who served under Philip II and Alexander the Great, accompanying Alexander throughout his long journeys. After the return to Babylon, Polyperchon was sent back to Macedon with Craterus, but had only reached Cilicia by the time of Alexander's death in 323 BC. Polyperchon and Craterus continued on to Greece, helping Antipater to defeat the Greek rebellion in the Lamian War. Polyperchon defeated the Thessalian cavalry of Menon, which was hitherto considered practically invincible.

Following the First War of the Diadochi, Polyperchon remained in Macedon as regent of Macedon while Antipater travelled to Asia Minor to assert his regency over the whole empire.

Upon Antipater's death in 319, Polyperchon was appointed regent and supreme commander of the entire empire but soon fell into conflict with Antipater's son Cassander, who was to have been his chief lieutenant. The two fell into civil war, which quickly spread among all the successors of Alexander, with Polyperchon allying with Eumenes against Cassander, Antigonus and Ptolemy.

Although Polyperchon was initially successful in securing control of the Greek cities, whose freedom he proclaimed, his fleet was destroyed by Antigonus in 318 BC, and Cassander secured control of Athens the next year. Shortly thereafter, Polyperchon was driven from Macedon by Cassander, who took control of the disabled king Philip Arrhidaeus and his wife Eurydice. Polyperchon fled to Epirus, where he joined Alexander's mother Olympias, widow Roxana, and infant son Alexander IV. He formed an alliance with Olympias and King Aeacides of Epirus, and Olympias led an army into Macedon. She was initially successful, defeating and capturing the army of King Philip, whom she had murdered, but soon Cassander returned from the Peloponnesus and captured and murdered her in 316, taking Roxana and the boy king into his custody.

Polyperchon now fled to the Peloponnesus, where he still controlled a few strongpoints, and allied himself with Antigonus, who had by now fallen out with his former allies. Polyperchon soon controlled much of the Peloponnesus, including Corinth and Sicyon. Following the peace treaty of 311 between Antigonus and his enemies, and the murder of the boy-king Alexander and his mother, Polyperchon retained these areas, and when war again broke out between Antigonus and the others, he sent Alexander's reputed natural son Heracles to Polyperchon as a bargaining chip to use against Cassander. Polyperchon, however, decided to break with Antigonus and murdered the boy in 309. There is no secure date for Polyperchon's death. He is last mentioned as being alive in 304,[5] but the lack of further reference is only because Diodorus' subsequent narrative is lost and no others cover this period in sufficient detail. A mention in Plutarch's Life of Pyrrhus 8.3 suggests that he might have lived into the early 3rd century BC.[6]

He had a son named Alexander who was a noted general in the Wars of the Diadochi.

Notes

  1. ^ 390–380 according to Heckel, W., 'The Marshals of Alexander's Empire' (1992), p. 189
  2. ^ after 382 according to Billows, R., 'Antigonos the One-Eyed and the Creation of the Hellenistic State' (1990), p. 172, n. 20
  3. ^ Heckel, W., 'The Marshals of Alexander's Empire' (1992), p. 204
  4. ^ Billows, R., 'Antigonos the One-Eyed and the Creation of the Hellenistic State' (1990), p. 172, n. 20
  5. ^ Heckel, W., 'The Marshals of Alexander's Empire' (1992), p. 204
  6. ^ Billows, R., 'Antigonos the One-Eyed and the Creation of the Hellenistic State' (1990), p. 172, n. 20

References

  • Peter Green, Alexander to Actium (University of California Press, 1990), pp. 17–20.
  • R. H. Simpson, "Antigonus, Polyperchon and the Macedonian Regency," Historia 6 (1957): 371–73.
  • P. Wheatley, "The Date of Polyperchon’s Invasion of Macedonia and Murder of Herakles," Antichthon 32 (1998): 12–23.

External links

  • Livius, Polyperchon by Jona Lendering
  • Polyperchon entry in historical sourcebook by Mahlon H. Smith
Preceded by
Antipater
Regent of Macedon
319–317 BC
Succeeded by
Cassander
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