INTRODUCING GENERAL PERDIKKAS

1-alexander   Perdikkas was the son of an Orestian nobleman from the mountainous lake district between Macedonia and Illyria (today’s Albania). His exact age isn’t known but he is believed to have been about the same age as Alexander. He served as a cadet and young officer under Philip II and was one of Alexander’s chosen Companions.dekor-okno

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His first known military action was in 334 BC with Alexander when they attacked a group of rebels in Illyria. At that time he was a phalanx commander. When a rumor circulated that Alexander had died during the Illyrian campaign it stirred up a rebellion in Thebes and they killed the Macedonian garrison officers stationed there. Alexander went south. After a short siege, Perdikkas’ men stormed the city, breaking the official line of command. The assault had not been planned and it was reported that his men had been drunk.  In this attack Perdikkas was severely wounded. Ptolemy wrote later that the attack was due to the lack of discipline in Perdikkas’ phalanx, however it was well-known that Perdikkas and Ptolemy were at odds with each other. In retaliation for the rebellion, Thebes was razed to the ground, the male population killed, and women taken into slavery all except the family of Pindar the poet, a favorite of Alexander, was saved by Alexander.

When Alexander, now in his early 20’s, launched his long-planned campaign against Persia the following year (May 334 BC) Perdikkas was again in command of the heavy phalanx infantry. That summer there was an attack on a Persian naval base which suffered a big defeat, Ptolemy cited that Perdikkas’s soldiers were drunk, though this may have been an attempt by Ptolemy to again discredit Perdikkas.

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At the time of the Battle of Issus later that year, Perdikkas was in command of the army when Alexander was occupied with the siege of Tyre. Again, a year later, he was in command of a phalanx battalion at Guagemela.

During Alexander’s pursuit of the Persian king Darius III, Perdikkas disappears from records as the phalanx wasn’t involved. But later, when the army reached the Hindu Kush, Perdikkas took part in one of the sieges.

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When Alexander invaded the Punjab in 327/326 BC, Perdikkas, along with Alexander’s closest Companion, Hephaestion, captured an important city. During the Indian campaign, Perdikkas was a cavalry commander. Eventually, when Alexander was seriously wounded at the siege of Mallia, Perdikkas was said to have been the only one who dared help rescue him.

After the army returned to Susa, Alexander married the Persian princess, Stateira, and insisted his soldiers marry Persian wives. Perdikkas had married the daughter of the satrap of Media, a Persian woman named Atrophates.  Not long afterwards, Hephaestion unexpectedly died and Perdikkas was appointed commander of the Companion Cavalry and made Chiliarch (vizier), the highest ranking officer in the army.

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Shortly after this when Alexander lay dying in Babylon (323 BC) after being ill for several days, he gave his royal signet ring to Perdikkas sayng that he was giving his empire kratistoi “to the strongest”. It could have also meant “to Krateros” who was Alexander’s supreme commander who had been sent back to Macedon in an important mission.  When Alexander died, Perdikkas proposed that they way until Alexander’s pregnant first wife, Roxana, give birth. If it were a son, he’d be chosen as the new king. This proposal meant that Perdikkas would have command of the boy until he grew up.

At the time of Alexander’s death, both Roxana and Stateira were pregnant. It is alleged that Perdikkas aided Roxana in having the princess and her sister murdered to make sure no Persian royalty would be in line for the throne.

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Roxana gave birth to her son Alexander IV (who she named Iskander) a month later. The commander of the phalanx, Meleager, argued that Alexander’s half-brother, Philip Arridaios, should be first in line of succession in spite of the fact that Arridaios was mentally unfit. Meleager attemped a coup and a rebellion ensued. The instigators including Meleager were killed and Perdikkas was named guardian and regent of the two joint kings.

Now Perdikkas was in charge of Alexander’s army and in control of Babylonia, but he sought to command the two centres of the empire _ Macedonia and Babylon. So he set out on conquests of Asia Minor. During this time he became engaged to Nikaia, the daughter of Macedon’s regent, Antipater. But Perdikkas broke off the engagement when he was offered the opportunity to marry Alexander’s sister Kleopatra. This would make him a member of the Macedonian royal house and as Arridaios was a misfit and the other child, Alexander IV still too young,  Perdikkas would stand to claim the regency and the crown.

Perdikkas unfortunately didn’t live to see his aspirations realized. When Ptolemy hijacked Alexander’s funeral carriage and had it diverted to Egypt, Perdikkas decided to invade Egypt. By the time his army reached the Nile, his soldiers, were ready to revolt, resenting his harsh discipline and the fool-hardy commands that had left many of them dead in the Nile.  Perdikkas was assassinated by several of his commanders. His once dazzling career was finished

herodotus4_mapHe died near Pelusium at the Nile.

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