The battle of Abydos was the first of two naval defeats during the Lamian War that ended Athenian naval power. After the death of Alexander the Great in 323, Athens had led a Greek revolt against Macedonian control, raising a mercenary army and a powerful fleet, under the command of a commander called Euetion.
He took the new Athenian fleet to the Hellespont, in an attempt to stop reinforcements reaching Antipater, Alexander’s regent in Macedonia. He was besieged in the town of Lamia in Thessaly, but had been able to call for help from his fellow Macedonians (the diadochi or Successors), then scattering across Alexander’s empire.
One of the successors, Craterus, was then based in Cilicia, in southern Asia Minor. He sent one of his commanders, Cleitus, to take command of the Macedonian fleet, possibly with some reinforcements of his own. With the combined Macedonian fleet, Cleitus inflicted a defeat on the Athenian fleet close to Abydos in the spring of 322 (a Greek colony on the southern shore of the Hellespont). At least part of the Athenian fleet escaped, only to suffer a final defeat at Amorgos, later in the year. Cleitus’s victory allowed Macedonian reinforcements to cross from Asia into Europe, lifting the siege of Lamia.