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Cassander (358-297 BC)


Cassander (358-297 BC)

Cassander was the son of Antipater. He was a minor figure during the reign of Alexander the Great, but after the death of his father rose to be ruler and then king of Macedonia. Antipater was the regent of Macedonia during Alexander’s expedition to the east. In 324 BC he had been summoned to Alexander’s court at Babylon, and Craterus sent west to replace him. Rather than travel in person, Antipater sent his son Cassander. Alexander and Cassander formed an immediate dislike of each other, so severe that Cassander was suspected of having poisoned the king.

In the settlement of Triparadisus (320) Cassander was appointed cavalry commander in the army of Antigonus. This settlement lasted for barely a year, before the death of Antipater triggered fighting between his successors. The immediate cause of the conflict (Second Diadoch War) was Antipater’s choice of an old general, Polyperchon, as his successor, on the grounds that Cassander was too young and inexperienced to cope with Alexander’s more senior companions.

Cassander responded by turning to Antigonus and Lysimachus to form a coalition against the new regent. Cassander rapidly established himself in Greece. By 318 Polyperchon had been forced back into the Peloponnese, where he retained some support. At the start of 317 Cassander regained control of Athens, where he established an oligarchy and placed Demetrius of Phalerum in charge. He then moved south into the Peloponnese to campaign against Polyperchon.

Events in Macedonia now intervened. Polyperchon had taken the young Alexander IV with him, leaving Philip III and his wife Eurydice in Macedonia. They now declared for Cassander, appointing him regent. Meanwhile, Alexander the Great’s mother Olympias had been called back from her exile in Epirus by Polyperchon. This was a huge tactical mistake. Olympias returned to Macedonian at the head of an army. Eurydice attempted to resist, but her army deserted her when faced with Olympias. Philip and Eurydice were captured, Philip was executed and Eurydice forced to commit suicide.

Olympias had over-reached herself. She lost all support in Macedonia. Cassander rushed north from the Peloponnese. The Macedonian army sided with Cassander. Olympias was besieged in Pydna, forced to surrender and then executed. Cassander ended 317 as ruler of Macedonia and most of Greece.

In theory he ruled as regent for Alexander IV, who was now six. In reality Cassander had no intention of surrendering his power. He married Thessalonike, a half sister of Alexander the Great. Early in 316 he organised a royal funeral for Philip and Eurydice – burying your predecessor was an important duty of a new Macedonian monarch. Cassander would not claim the throne for another decade, but his intentions were already clear.

In 315 Cassander joined with Lysimachus and Ptolemy to issue an ultimatum to Antigonus, who was threatening to become too powerful. In that ultimatum Cassander seems to have demanded Cappadocia and Lycia in Asia Minor, but the ancient text is unclear. During the war that followed (Third Diadoch War), Cassander was keep busy by Polyperchon, who had now formed an alliance with Antigonus. Peace came after the defeat of Antigonus’s son Demetrius at Gaza in 312 BC. Antigonus negotiated a peace with Cassander and Lysimachus. Ptolemy soon followed, and the peace was signed in 311.

In the peace Cassander was confirmed as the strategos of Europe until Alexander IV came of age. The young king was in Cassander’s care, and rather unsurprisingly was almost immediately assassinated (310 BC). Alexander the Great’s direct legitimate line was extinct.

Only Polyperchon remained to threaten Cassander’s position. In 309-8 Polyperchon championed Heracles, an illegitimate son of Alexander. An advance force reached as far as the Macedonian border, but Cassander then bought Polyperchon off by confirming him as strategos of the Peloponnese in return for the death of Heracles. Polyperchon played no further part in events, and was dead by 302, quite possibly of natural causes.

One should not be surprised to learn that Cassander’s success in Greece immediately attracted the hostility of his fellow Diadochi. Ptolemy was the first to respond, sending a large expedition to the Peloponnese in 308. Ptolemy failed to raise any enthusiasm for his cause, and soon withdrew after making peace with Cassander.

The next problem came from Epirus (now north western Greece and southern Albania). Cassander led an expedition west that ended in double failure. Not only did he fail against Epirus, while he was absent Antigonus sent his son Demetrius to Athens (307 BC), where he was welcomed as a liberator. Demetrius quickly established a strong position in Greece, before being called away in 306 to campaign on Cyprus and then against Rhodes (305-4 BC).

After their conquest of Cyprus, Antigonus and Demetrius finally adopted the title of king, staking a claim to replace Alexander through right of conquest. Cassander, Lysimachus and Ptolemy all responded by adopted the same title. Cassander went one step further, and appeared as king of Macedonia on some of his coins.

He then made a determined effort to expel Demetrius from Greece. Cassander took up a position on the island of Euboea, from where he applied so much pressure on Athens that Demetrius was forced to abandon the siege of Rhodes (304 BC) to return to Greece.

Demetrius was once again successful in central Greece. In 302 BC he established a new Greek league, based at Corinth. The new league was intended to help in the war against Cassander. At the same time, Antigonus was preparing an army in Asia Minor, hoping to crush Cassander between two forces. Cassander was sufficiently worried to make a peace offer, but Antigonus now wanted total surrender.

Cassander now turned to Lysimachus, Ptolemy and Seleucus. Antigonus’s four rivals now united against him. Lysimachus led an allied army into Asia Minor, with a large contingent provided by Cassander. This army avoided battle with Antigonus until Seleucus arrived with his elephants. Antigonus summoned Demetrius back from Greece. The resulting battle at Ipsus was one of the largest of the Hellenistic era. The allied were victorious. Antigonus was killed during the battle and Demetrius only just escaped.

This was perhaps the ultimate irony of Ipsus. Cassander had inspired the coalition that had fought the battle, but his main enemy escaped, and still posed a real threat. Demetrius lost Athens, but kept Corinth, Cyprus, parts of Phoenicia, especially Sidon and Tyre and retained the support of the League of Islanders.

That threat would not become a reality during Cassander’s life. After Ipsus he concentrated on Macedonia, largely disappearing from international affairs. This may have been the result of illness, for in 297 BC he died, possibly of tuberculosis. After a brief interlude, which saw his oldest son die and his surviving family engage in a civil war, Cassander would be replaced in Macedonia by Demetrius.


Thebes, Greece

Thebes ( / ˈ θ iː b z / Greek: Θήβα , Thíva [ˈθiva] Ancient Greek: Θῆβαι , Thêbai [tʰɛ̂ːbai̯] [2] ) is a city in Boeotia, Central Greece. It played an important role in Greek myths, as the site of the stories of Cadmus, Oedipus, Dionysus, Heracles and others. Archaeological excavations in and around Thebes have revealed a Mycenaean settlement and clay tablets written in the Linear B script, indicating the importance of the site in the Bronze Age.

Thebes was the largest city of the ancient region of Boeotia and was the leader of the Boeotian confederacy. It was a major rival of ancient Athens, and sided with the Persians during the 480 BC invasion under Xerxes. Theban forces under the command of Epaminondas ended the power of Sparta at the Battle of Leuctra in 371 BC. The Sacred Band of Thebes (an elite military unit) famously fell at the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC against Philip II and Alexander the Great. Prior to its destruction by Alexander in 335 BC, Thebes was a major force in Greek history, and was the most dominant city-state at the time of the Macedonian conquest of Greece. During the Byzantine period, the city was famous for its silks.

The modern city contains an archaeological museum, the remains of the Cadmea (Bronze Age and forward citadel), and scattered ancient remains. Modern Thebes is the largest town of the regional unit of Boeotia.


]] As Antipater grew close to death in 319 BC, he transferred the regency of Macedon not to Cassander, but to Polyperchon, possibly so as not to alarm the other diadochi through an apparent move towards dynastic ambition, but perhaps also because of Cassander’s own ambitions.Green, Peter. Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic Age. p35-36, 2007 Ed. Cassander rejected his father’s decision, and immediately went to seek the support of Antigonus, Ptolemy and Lysimachus as his allies. Waging war on Polyperchon, Cassander destroyed his fleet, put Athens under the control of Demetrius of Phaleron, and declared himself Regent in 317 BC. After Olympias’ successful move against Philip III later in the year, Cassander besieged her in Pydna. When the city fell two years later, Olympias was killed, and Cassander had Alexander IV and Roxanne confined at Amphipolis.

Cassander associated himself with the Argead dynasty by marrying Alexander’s half-sister, Thessalonica, and he had Alexander IV and Roxanne executed in either 310 BC or the following year. By 309 BC, Polyperchon began to claim that Heracles was the true heir to the Macedonian inheritance, at which point Cassander bribed him to have the boy killed.Green, Peter. Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic Age. p44, 2007 Ed. After this, Cassander’s position in Greece and Macedonia was reasonably secure, and proclaimed himself King in 305 BC.Green, Peter. Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic Age. p163, 2007 Ed. After the Battle of Ipsus in 301 BC, in which Antigonus was killed, he was undisputed in his control of Macedonia however, he had little time to savour the fact, dying of dropsy in 297 BC.

Cassander’s dynasty did not live much beyond his death, with his son Philip dying of natural causes, and his other sons Alexander and Antipater becoming involved in a destructive dynastic struggle along with their mother. When Alexander was ousted as joint king by his brother, Demetrius I took up Alexander’s appeal for aid and ousted Antipater II, killed Alexander V and established the Antigonid dynasty. The remaining Antipatrids, such as Antipater Etesias, were unable to re-establish the Antipatrids on the throne.

Of more lasting significance was Cassander’s refoundation of Therma into Thessalonica, naming the city after his wife. Cassander also founded Cassandreia upon the ruins of Potidaea.


Royalties similar to or like Cassander

Ancient kingdom on the periphery of Archaic and Classical Greece, and later the dominant state of Hellenistic Greece. Founded and initially ruled by the royal Argead dynasty, which was followed by the Antipatrid and Antigonid dynasties. Wikipedia

Ancient state in what is now the Macedonian region of northern Greece, founded in the mid-7th century BC during the period of Archaic Greece and lasting until the mid-2nd century BC. Led first by the Argead dynasty of kings, Macedonia became a vassal state of the Achaemenid Empire of ancient Persia during the reigns of Amyntas I of Macedon ((r. 547 – 498 BC)) and his son Alexander I of Macedon ((r. Wikipedia

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Cassander (358-297 BC) - History


Cassander coin 316 BC, text — King Kassandros.

Cassander (&Kappaά&sigma&sigma&alpha&nu&delta&rho&omicron&sigmaf Ἀ&nu&tau&iota&piά&tau&rho&omicron&upsilon, Kassandros Antipatrou, "son of Antipatros" c. 350 BC &ndash 297 BC) was king of the Hellenic Kingdom of Macedon from 305 BC until 297 BC, and de facto ruler of southern Greece from 317 BC until his death.

Eldest son of Antipater and a contemporary of Alexander the Great, Cassander was one of the Diadochi who warred over Alexander's empire following the latter's death in 323 BC. Cassander later seized the crown by having Alexander's son and heir Alexander IV murdered. In governing Macedonia from 317 BC until 297 BC, Cassander restored peace and prosperity to the kingdom, while founding or restoring numerous cities (including Thessalonica, Cassandreia, and Thebes).


Early history

In his youth, Cassander was taught by the philosopher Aristotle at the Lyceum in Macedonia. He was educated alongside Alexander the Great in a group that included Hephaestion, Ptolemy and Lysimachus. His family were distant collateral relatives to the Argead dynasty.

Cassander is first recorded as arriving at Alexander the Great's court in Babylon in 323 BC, where he had been sent by his father, Antipater, most likely to help uphold Antipater's regency in Macedon, although a later contemporary who was hostile to the Antipatrids suggested that Cassander had journeyed to the court to poison the King.

Whatever the truth of this suggestion, Cassander stood out amongst the Diadochi in his hostility to Alexander's memory. As Cassander and the other diadochi struggled for power, Alexander IV, Roxana, and Alexander's supposed illegitimate son Heracles were all executed on Cassander's orders, and a guarantee to Olympias to spare her life was not respected. Cassander's decision to restore Thebes, which had been destroyed under Alexander, was perceived at the time to be a snub to the deceased King. It was later even said that he could not pass a statue of Alexander without feeling faint. Cassander has been perceived to be ambitious and unscrupulous, and even members of his own family were estranged from him.


Later history

As Antipater grew close to death in 319 BC, he transferred the regency of Macedon not to Cassander, but to Polyperchon, possibly so as not to alarm the other Diadochi through an apparent move towards dynastic ambition, but perhaps also because of Cassander's own ambitions. Cassander rejected his father's decision, and immediately went to seek the support of Antigonus, Ptolemy and Lysimachus as his allies. Waging war on Polyperchon, Cassander destroyed his fleet, put Athens under the control of Demetrius of Phaleron, and declared himself Regent in 317 BC. After Olympias&rsquo successful move against Philip III later in the year, Cassander besieged her in Pydna. When the city fell two years later, Olympias was killed, and Cassander had Alexander IV and Roxanne confined at Amphipolis.

Cassander associated himself with the Argead dynasty by marrying Alexander's half-sister, Thessalonica, and he had Alexander IV and Roxanne poisoned in either 310 BC or the following year. By 309 BC, Polyperchon began to claim that Heracles was the true heir to the Macedonian inheritance, at which point Cassander bribed him to have the boy killed. After this, Cassander's position in Greece was reasonably secure, and he proclaimed himself king in 305 BC. After the Battle of Ipsus in 301 BC, in which Antigonus was killed, he was undisputed in his control of Macedonia, however, he had little time to savour the fact, dying of dropsy in 297 BC.

Cassander's dynasty did not live much beyond his death, with his son Philip dying of natural causes, and his other sons Alexander and Antipater becoming involved in a destructive dynastic struggle along with their mother. When Alexander was ousted as joint king by his brother, Demetrius I took up Alexander's appeal for aid and ousted Antipater II, killed Alexander V and established the Antigonid dynasty. The remaining Antipatrids, such as Antipater Etesias, were unable to re-establish the Antipatrids on the throne.

Of more lasting significance was Cassander's refoundation of Therma into Thessalonica, naming the city after his wife. Cassander also founded Cassandreia upon the ruins of Potidaea.


Research Areas

Cassander: 317 to 297 BC

Chapter Two: King Cassander

His career and the building of Thessalonica
323 to 297 BC

When Alexander the Great died in Babylon in 323 BC, his generals split-up his huge territories and almost immediately began fighting wars with each other. Still, for seventeen years each man was only the “general” or “regent” of his own region. The infant Alexander IV was the “King”, and their battle was mainly to see who controlled him. Eventually, however, one man did become King over Macedonia, in his own right – the first man to do so after Alexander himself. His name was Cassander.

Cassander’s Background

Cassander’s father was Antipater, the chief deputy of Alexander, placed in charge in 334 when the King left to conquer the East. Antipater was an old Macedonian noble, a longtime and loyal ally of Philip II. Cassander himself helped Alexander conquer the east, as one of his Generals.

When Alexander died, Antipater held onto power back home long enough for the other generals to sign a treaty naming hiim as the official Regent to the toddler-King, Alexander IV.[1] When Antipater died in 319, the council of Macedonian nobles chose his deputy, a noble named Polyperchon, to take his place as Regent. Cassander was named deputy to Polyperchon, though he used that position to build up support for himself, and quickly deserted, to start a rebellion.

Cassander’s Struggle and Conquest

Cassander took Athens and the Pireaus in 319, and fought for control of Macedonia until 315. At first, the rebel had so much support among Macedonians, that Polyperchon the Regent was afraid, and recruited Alexander the Great’s mother, Olympias, from out of exile to return and govern with him. She waited until he was away fighting a battle, chose that moment to return, and then took over completely. Olympias was immediately respected, and soon crushed all other opposition there in the north[2]. Soon after that, Cassander invaded Macedonia, drove the Royal Family to Pydna and besieged them there, eventually capturing them all. He executed Olympias in 315. Without the Queen’s influence, Polyperchon was too weak to challenge, and Cassander proclaimed himself Regent over the (now six-year old) King.

Practically, Cassander had been in control from the moment he had trapped Olympias. For one entire year, from 316 to 315, Cassander’s army besieged Pydna while he strengthened his support among the Macedonians (whom Olympas had treated very harshly in a short period of time). Many of the nobles had supported his father, and Cassander convinced them that he was the most fit to rule as Regent – though secretly, his eyes were on the throne itself.

When his army had finally taken the city of Pydna, they not only collected Olympias, her grandson and his Bactrian mother, Roxanne, but they also found one last, surviving member of the Royal bloodline with them. It was a woman, a daughter of Philip II, though not by Olympias, and her name was Thessalonike. To cement his control, Cassander executed Olympias, secured Alexander and Roxanne under guard at Amphipolis, and offered to marry Thessalonike. She did not refuse.

Cassander’s Rule and One Failure

So, in 315 BC Cassander was in control, with a link by marriage to the Royal Bloodline, and the boy King firmly in hand. Still, some of his allies (the “generals”) in other lands showed the potential to become enemies soon. So Cassander needed to strengthen his country as well as his claim… his own rebellion had succeeded thanks to a strong fleet and the strong walls of his allied cities. He began to restore and to found several cities on or near to the coast of the Thermaic Gulf. Like all good generals, he named one of them after himself – Cassandrea. The one at the north end of the Gulf, the one he built over the small town called Therme – that one, he named after his wife – Thessalonica.

Cassander fought more battles, but not on Greek soil, and he held onto power until his death in 297. He had kept Alexander and Roxanne alive for the first seven years of his rule, until his power was secure. He had them killed quietly, and slowly allowed his supporters to start putting “King” on his coins and his papers, and offering him royal honors. His oldest son died, surprisingly, soon after he did, and Thessalonike foolishly favored her youngest son over his (next-in-line) brother. The nobles were split, and new wars began. Cassander’s nineteen years of peaceful rule in Macedonia were over, and it would be 20 more years until a strong-enough ruler established a stable, new dynasty. Once more the promise of Macedonia’s greatness was placed on hold by civil strife and war.

As for Cassander’s legacy, he succeeded by ending the struggle for power, establishing peace for a time, and strengthening his country by founding and re-fortifying cities in strategic locations. His biggest mistake was failing to establish support for a chosen successor – and failing to establish a dynasty that would continue his policies and strengthen his country some more.

2300 years of history have proven that his greatest accomplishment is that which he is most remembered for, the founding of Thessalonica. It is ironic, then, to consider that his greatest failure might have been marrying Thessalonike! Although it was she who strengthened his claim to the throne, it was also she who ended his chance for a dynasty.

[1] This actually took three years to become official. While the stronger generals were positioning themselves and defeating their rivals around the empire, Cassander was biding his time under his father's administration.

[2] Notably, this included the mentally disabled half-brother of Alexander, known as Philip Arrhidaios and his wife Eurydike. Eurydike and her associates raised an army using the mentally-retarded member of the royal bloodline as a claim to power. Olympias not only defeated them, but reportedly executed her simple stepson with a special brutality. Cassander later gave Arrhidaios and Eurydike’s remains a royal funeral, and won extra favor from the Macedonians for doing it.


Alexander the Great’s Memory and Legacy – A guest post by Grigoris Charalampidis

Clearly, many Macedonians were against the orientalization policy Alexander had been promoting, even while he was still alive. Adding to this aspect must have been his dealings with the Persians in the later stages of his campaign. Some things changed when the great Macedonian king died.

The sources available to us portray two different versions in how Alexander was perceived by his generals after his death. As it stands in the first version, ancient historians emphasized the Macedonians were immensely sad over the body of Alexander. In another description of the reactions to Alexander’s death, Justin mentions the Macedonians were rather glad and joyful at his passing. This is something that contradicts Justin’s sayings elsewhere and seems unrealistic his personal statement as a dramatic depiction of events. There aren’t any other sources portraying joyful moments amongst the Macedonian ranks after the death of Alexander.

The instability and near anarchy following Alexander’s death may have inspired some of the Macedonians to remember his reign as a period of welfare and prosperity. The generals may have understood some of Alexander’s policy more precisely, the need to give some administrative rights to Persians of the empire.

In modern era, many scholars and researchers believe Alexander’s memory was rather unpopular in the early Hellenistic era. Rulers, especially Cassander, tried to connect more to his father, Philip II, demoting Alexander’s legacy, which is indeed true. The suggestion of historian R. Malcolm Errington is that a different perspective was put into account. One is from Philip’s branch of the royal family and the other from Alexander’s.

The popularity of the Temenids among the Macedonians seems to be undervalued in general. Most of the Successors were something like separatists and rebels. None of them had the ability or ambition to maintain Alexander’s vast empire. This largely affects the interpretation of Alexander’s image. If one of the Diadochi had the idea of continuation and legacy, he would have tried to establish some sort of connection with the Macedonian king.

Even in the later era of the Successors, the figures of Philip and Alexander were still remembered. The people of Macedonia seem to have affectionate memories of both kings. Many of the Successors tried to imitate Alexander’s actions and policies. More specifically, the Macedonians, were tired of the pathetic efforts of the Diadochi to dominate. In the wars between Demetrius I Poliorcetes and Pyrrhus of Epirus, they preferred the Epirote king, who showed himself equal to Alexander’s skills and battlefield glory. Hence, we can understand the importance of the former Macedonian leader, the respect among his compatriots and his achievements.

‘’The king brought great things to fruition, and because of his native sagacity and courage he surpassed in the immensity of his accomplishments all the kings whose memory has been passed down over the ages’’ – Diodorus Siculus 17.1.3

Many of the Diadochi had expressed the idea that Alexander had also come into their dreams. Eumenes of Cardia said he came to him in one of his dreams. Pyrrhus, Demetrius and Seleucus had also expressed the idea of Alexander appearing in their dreams. As we mentioned earlier, they all tried to create a bond with him. It was clearly propaganda and a tool for exploitation. They all wanted him to be on their side.

Alexander wasn’t just an exceptional king and general. During the last years of his life his persona was increasingly viewed as divine. Whether it was the cult of a hero or a divine cult really doesn’t matter. What matters most is that he was not treated and accepted as an ordinary mortal after his death. By the time of late 3 rd century BC, the inhabitants of Ptolemaic Egypt, and Alexandria specifically, would see Alexander no longer as a king and general, but actually as a figure of myth, a legendary patron, a founder and a benefactor of the city.

As far as numismatics is concerned, it provides us with a pretty valuable context for the situation after Alexander’s death. Coinage under his name continued to exist in almost all mints throughout the empire. Cassander and Antigonus, after they became kings, continued issuing coins with Alexander’s name on them, a true statement of political continuity and heritage. Around 304 BC, Ptolemy I Soter began minting gold staters with the depiction of Alexander in a chariot drawn by four elephants.

This article was part of the essay ‘’Cassander, the memory of Alexander and the end of the Temenid line: Early Hellenistic Propaganda War’’ for the course ‘’The Historical Sources’’ for the MA in Classical Archaeology and Ancient History of Macedonia at the International Hellenic University.

Photo: A marble head of Alexander the Great from the Archaeological Museum of Pella, Macedonia, Greece, late 4th century BC (Photo from the author’s collection

Further reading: Bosworth, A.B., 1988. Conquest and Empire: The Reign of Alexander the Great. Cambridge University Press.

Erskine, A., 2002. ‘’Life After Death: Alexandria and the Body of Alexander’’ in Greece and Rome, vol. 49, 163-179.

Meeus A., 2009. ‘’Alexander’s Image in the Age of the Successors’’ in Heckel, W., Trittle, L., (eds.) Alexander the Great: A New History. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 235-250.

Morkholm, O., 1991. Early Hellenistic Coinage from the Accession of Alexander to the peace of Apamea (336 – 188 BC). Oxford University Press.

Arrian, I. Anabasis of Alexander Books 1-4 (Loeb Classical Library)

Arrian, II. Anabasis of Alexander Books 5-7 (Loeb Classical Library)

Justinus. Epitome of Pompeius Trogus’ Philippic Histories. Books 10 to 15 (attalus.org) (accessed in 10/12/19)

Diodorus Siculus. Bibliotheca Historica, Vol 4-5. Immanel Bekker. Ludwig Dindorf. Friedrich Vogel. Kurt Theodor Fischer. in aedibus B. G. Teubneri. Leipzig. 1903-1906.

Plutarch. Lives IX. Demetrius, Antony. Pyrrhus, Gaius Marius (Loeb Classical Library)

Plutarch. Lives VIII. Sertorius, Eumenes. Phocion, Cato the Younger (Loeb Classical Library)


Later history

As Antipater grew close to death in 319 BC, he transferred the regency of Macedon not to Cassander, but to Polyperchon, possibly so as not to alarm the other diadochi through an apparent move towards dynastic ambition, but perhaps also because of Cassander’s own ambitions. [7] Cassander rejected his father’s decision, and immediately went to seek the support of Antigonus, Ptolemy and Lysimachus as his allies. Waging war on Polyperchon, Cassander destroyed his fleet, put Athens under the control of Demetrius of Phaleron, and declared himself Regent in 317 BC. After Olympias’ successful move against Philip III later in the year, Cassander besieged her in Pydna. When the city fell two years later, Olympias was killed, and Cassander had Alexander IV and Roxanne confined at Amphipolis.

Cassander associated himself with the Argead dynasty by marrying Alexander’s half-sister, Thessalonica, and he had Alexander IV and Roxanne poisoned in either 310 BC or the following year. By 309 BC, Polyperchon began to claim that Heracles was the true heir to the Macedonian inheritance, at which point Cassander bribed him to have the boy killed. [8] After this, Cassander’s position in Greece and Macedonia was reasonably secure, and proclaimed himself King in 305 BC. [9] After the Battle of Ipsus in 301 BC, in which Antigonus was killed, he was undisputed in his control of Macedonia however, he had little time to savour the fact, dying of dropsy in 297 BC.

Cassander’s dynasty did not live much beyond his death, with his son Philip dying of natural causes, and his other sons Alexander and Antipater becoming involved in a destructive dynastic struggle along with their mother. When Alexander was ousted as joint king by his brother, Demetrius I took up Alexander's appeal for aid and ousted Antipater II, killed Alexander V and established the Antigonid dynasty. The remaining Antipatrids, such as Antipater Etesias, were unable to re-establish the Antipatrids on the throne.

Of more lasting significance was Cassander’s refoundation of Therma into Thessalonica, naming the city after his wife. Cassander also founded Cassandreia upon the ruins of Potidaea.


What happened to the descendants of Alexander the Great?

Alexander had two wives when he died. Statira was one of the daughters of the defeated Persian emperor Darius, and Roxane, a Sogdian princess.

Both of them were pregnant when Alexander died in 323 BC. Alexander had not left any firm plan his succession. When his ministers tried to get him to tell who would succeed him, he only said kratistos, “the strongest.” At the time and ever since people have wondered if he was trying to name Krateros, one of his most senior generals — but the damage was done.

Things were complicated by the presence of Alexander’s mentally disabled brother Philip Arrhidaeus — most of the generals wanted a regency to hold the kingdom for a child of Alexander, but there was a faction that wanted Arrhidaeus on the throne.

Roxane gave birth to a son, Alexander IV. This helped forge a compromise with the supporters of Arrhidaeus: a kind of dual regency for the “king” and the heir. But the possibility of a rival heir — potentially, one attractive to the Persians — threatened the fragile compromise. Statira was soon murdered along with Alexander’s other, unborn, child. Rumor ever since has blamed Roxane and Perdiccas, the new regent.

Tensions among the Macedonian generals began to snowball, with plots and counterplots. Within a year there was open warfare. Alexander’s body — and the enormous golden hearse which was carrying it — was hijacked on the road back to Macedonia and dragged off to Egypt. After a botched battle in Egypt, Perdiccas was murdered.

This is believed to be the urn for the ashes of Alexander IV, the boy who never became king, from the royal tombs at Vergina.

Now, Roxane and young Alexander were now the subjects of another political scramble. A hasty peace conference packed them off to Macedonia under a new regent, the elderly Antipater. Within a year, though, Antipater was dead and there was a new regent, Polyperchon. Antipater’s son Cassander thought he should have been named regent he intrigued with Arrhidaeus’ wife Eurydice and gained control of the unfortunate king.

Now the rival factions each had their own branch of the royal bloodline. The formidable queen mother Olympias — exiled in Epirus — raised an army and joined Polyperchon, intending to protect Alexander’s child. She captured Arrhidaeus and Eurydice and had them murdered leaving only one legitimate claimant to the throne — and herself as the real power behind the throne. Unfortunately, her fiery temperament won her few friends when Cassander counterattacked her armies dissolved and she herself was captured and killed.

Cassander now controlled Roxane and young Alexander. The next several years were consumed with another complex multi-way civil war, which finally ended in 311. But Alexander was now approaching puberty, and the unpopular Cassander worried that a teenaged Alexander would be a focus for opposition to himself.

Finally, in 309, Cassander ordered Roxane and Alexander poisoned. Alexander was 14, and had never really lived a free day in his life.

After the murders became known, Polyperchon produced another possible heir: Heracles, an illegitimate child of Alexander the Great and Barsine, a Persian noblewoman who had been living in obscurity for the past decade. Polyperchon tried to raise a rebellion in the name of this potential heir, but new candidate did not rouse the hoped-for support. Polyperchon cut a deal with Cassander, and murdered the last of Alexander’s children along with his mother. Alexander’s line was completely extinguished, 14 years after his death.


Later history [ edit | edit source ]

As Antipater grew close to death in 319 BC, he transferred the regency of Macedon not to Cassander, but to Polyperchon, possibly so as not to alarm the other diadochi through an apparent move towards dynastic ambition, but perhaps also because of Cassander’s own ambitions. Ε] Cassander rejected his father’s decision, and immediately went to seek the support of Antigonus, Ptolemy and Lysimachus as his allies. Waging war on Polyperchon, Cassander destroyed his fleet, put Athens under the control of Demetrius of Phaleron, and declared himself Regent in 317 BC. After Olympias’ successful move against Philip III later in the year, Cassander besieged her in Pydna. When the city fell two years later, Olympias was killed, and Cassander had Alexander IV and Roxanne confined at Amphipolis.

Cassander associated himself with the Argead dynasty by marrying Alexander’s half-sister, Thessalonica, and he had Alexander IV and Roxanne executed in either 310 BC or the following year. By 309 BC, Polyperchon began to claim that Heracles was the true heir to the Macedonian inheritance, at which point Cassander bribed him to have the boy killed. Ζ] After this, Cassander’s position in Greece and Macedonia was reasonably secure, and proclaimed himself King in 305 BC. Η] After the Battle of Ipsus in 301 BC, in which Antigonus was killed, he was undisputed in his control of Macedonia however, he had little time to savour the fact, dying of dropsy in 297 BC.

Cassander’s dynasty did not live much beyond his death, with his son Philip dying of natural causes, and his other sons Alexander and Antipater becoming involved in a destructive dynastic struggle along with their mother. When Alexander was ousted as joint king by his brother, Demetrius I took up Alexander's appeal for aid and ousted Antipater II, killed Alexander V and established the Antigonid dynasty. The remaining Antipatrids, such as Antipater Etesias, were unable to re-establish the Antipatrids on the throne.

Of more lasting significance was Cassander’s refoundation of Therma into Thessalonica, naming the city after his wife. Cassander also founded Cassandreia upon the ruins of Potidaea.


Watch the video: Kassander, died of edema in 297 BCE (January 2022).