The Diadochi

Diadochi (“Successors”) was the name given to the generals of Alexander the Great who contested amongst themselves after his death. At first most of them were hoping to either inherit or recreate Alexander’s entire empire (with the exception of Ptolemy I, who seems to have been content to occupy Egypt). The age of the Diadochi lasted from Alexander’s death in 323 BC until the death of Seleucus I in 280, although most of the issues between them were settled after the battle of Ipsus (301 BC). Amongst the most important of the Diadochi were:

Antigonus I (d. 301) – Macedonian soldier, served as satrap of Phrygia (Asia Minor) from 333 BC, from about 320 until his death in 301 BC. Antigonus had the best chance to maintain Alexander’s empire intact.

Antipater (d.319) – Macedonian general who served Philip II and Alexander the Great. During Alexander’s campaigns in the east, Antipater was left to rule Macedonia and Greece. He was loyal to the Macedonian royal family, and his death in 319 BC ended any chance that Alexander’s young son would inherit any of his father’s empire.

Cassander (d.297) – Son of Antipater, Cassander occupied Macedonia after 316 BC, and opposed Antigonus in his efforts to reunite the empire. He was responsible for the deaths of Alexander’s mother, widow and son.

Craterus (d.321) – Alexander’s second in command at the time of his death, Craterus was killed too early to make his mark on the wars of the Diadochi.

Demetrius (d.283) – Son of Antigonus I and briefly king of Macedonia (294-288 BC), he was an able general but unable to hold on to his conquests. He was captured by Seleucus in 285 BC, and died in captivity two years later.

Eumenes of Cardia (d.316) – Greek who served as Alexander the Great’s secretary, and remained loyal to Alexander’s son. He was a successful general but was betrayed by his troops and executed.

Lysimachus (d.281) – close friend and bodyguard of Alexander the Great, Lysimachus established himself in Macedonia by 306 and was one of the last of the successors to fall, dieing in battle against Seleucus I in 281. 

Perdiccas (d.321) – Senior Macedonian general under Alexander the Great, Perdiccas my have been Alexander’s choice as regent after his death. He was murdered by his soldiers during an invasion of Egypt.

Ptolemy I (d.283) – Perhaps the most successful of the successors, Ptolemy was a childhood friend of Alexander, who was allocated control of Egypt after Alexander’s death and concentrated his efforts on maintaining control of his new kingdom. He was one of the few of the successors to die of natural causes.

Seleucus I (d.280) – A minor general under Alexander the Great, Seleucus was appointed satrap of Babylonia in 321 BC. He was expelled in 316 and returned in 312, expanding his possessions into a vast empire that included most of Alexander’s conquests in Asia. He was on the brink of adding Macedonia to his conquests when he was murdered by Ptolemy Keraunos in 280 BC.

Kings and Kingship in the Hellenistic World 350-30 BC, John D Grainger. Looks at the nature of kingship in the years between Alexander the Great and the Roman conquest of the Hellenistic world, a period in which a surprising number of dynasties established themselves, and in some cases even flourished for centuries before disappearing. Organised thematically, so we see how the various dynasties differed, and more often how much they had in common. Also helps to explain how some of these apparently unstable dynasties managed to survive for so long (Read Full Review)
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (4 June 2007), The Diadochi,

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