The death of Alexander the Great left his empire without a leader. Over the next twenty years his generals, the Diadochi (successors) fought each other, first in an attempt to seize the entire empire and then to carve out their own kingdoms. This period is certainly not lacking in interest. Its relative obscurity owes much to its position between two more immediately attractive periods - the conquests of Alexander and the rise of Rome. It doesn't help that the Diadochi's own successors did so badly against the Romans, or that the most famous of their dynasties is best known for inbreeding and incompetence.
This is unfair to the Diadochi. The commanders of the battles examined here nearly all began the period with impressive reputations won under Alexander (Eumenes and Demetrious being the main exceptions). They led armies that were similar to the one Alexander led to glory, and often demonstrated a great deal of ability as commanders in their own right.
This book focuses on the armies and battles that decided the shape of the ancient world in the aftermath of the disruption caused by Alexander. Although the book covered the period to 281 BC the detailed battle accounts end at Ipsus in 301 BC, the last battle between the Diadochi to be recorded in any detail and the battle that ended the last chance that Alexander's empire might be re-united.
The book starts with a look at the armies themselves, examining how they changed over time as most of the Diadochi were cut off from Macedonia. We then look at the Lamian War, the last serious Greek attempt to throw off Macedonian rule. Two chapters are devoted to Eumenes' War, which ended with the defeat of the Loyalists, supports of Alexander's sons. The battles of Gaza and Ipsus, two defeats for the Antigonids, each get a chapter to themselves. The final three chapters each cover a different theme - sieges, naval warfare and the constant border warfare that slowly hemmed in the Diadochi.
This is a useful piece of work that demonstrates that the Diadochi were rather more skilful than they are normally portrayed.
Soldiers and Armies
The Lamian War
Gabene and Paraetacene
Battle of Gaza
Battle of Ipsus
Author: Bob Bennett & Mike Roberts
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military