WHO WAS ANTIPATER?

ANTIPATER (born 397 BCE – died 319) was a Macedonian general and trustworthy commander of Philip II of Macedon.  Following the Battle of Charonea in 338, he was entrusted with the task of accompanying young Prince Alexander to Athens to take the remains of the Athenians killed in the battle.  He was one of the leading figures in Macedon and afer the assassination of Phil in 336, he helped to secure the succession to the throne for Alexander. When Alexander was named king at age 20 and left for his conquest of Asia, he left Antipater in charge as Regent.

Antipater’s main task was to hold down the northern frontier against hostile tribe and keep order among the Greek states. He was unpopular in Greece because he supported the oligarchic governments. There also conflicts with Alexander’s indomitable mother, Olympias, who he described as “a sharp-tongued shrew” Her attempts to meddle in government affairs forced Alexander to intercede and eventually she returned to her home in Dodona, Epirus in exile.

After Alexander’s death, when Perdikkas became leader of the army, Antipater too control of Macedon and Greece. After Perdikkas’ death,he was named Regent of the Macedonian Empire for the two joint kings: the intellectually disfunctional Philip III and Alexander’s infant son, Alexander IV (Iskander).

Antipater died in 319 BCE aged 80 after he had named Commander Polyperchon as Regent, inciting anger with his eldest son Kassandros who would eventually take control and was responsible for the fall of Alexander the Great’s dynasty.

INTRODUCTION TO POLYPERCHON

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Polyperchon was the son of Simmeas, a Macedonian nobleman, born in 380 BC. He showed up in Plutarch’s “Lives of Alexander” in 351 as one of the murders of Dion’s assassins in Syracuse. He later became a general in Alexander’s army, first as phalanx leader at Issus (333 BC), then Gaugamela and the Hydaspes. He was leader of one of the six battalions of phalanx that crossed Asia with Alexander. His first independent command was during the Lamian War (321 BC) where he proved to be a skilled leader. He was later sent back to Macedon with Krateros to settle affairs with the Regent.Lux Standart

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Polyperchon is introduced at the end of Volume One of SHADOW OF THE LION: BLOOD ON THE MOON and plays an important role in Volume Two: SHADOW OF THE LION: THE FIELDS OF HADES when he is named guardian of the joint kings and acting regent after the death of Antipater.

He appeared to be a heroic figure, charming, likeable, popular and loyal but he is also shown as an opportunist and is capable of manipulating to get what he wants (fame, fortune and a good slice of the empire!)

He had a good relationship with Alexander’s widow, Roxane and knew how to manipulate her with his charms. To Alexander’s son, Iskander, he seems a heroic ‘grandfatherly’ figure, strong, manly and very Macedonian. He was always loyal to Alexander’s mother, Olympias. She trusted him and found him charming. He knew how to humor her and was never intimidated by her. He reckoned on Olympias’ hatred of Kassandros when he invited her back to Macedon from her exile in Epirus. (Discontent with his role as ‘vizier’ Kassandros had organized a rebellion supported by Adea-Eurydike.)

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Polyperchon’s courage, good humor and affability made him popular. He resolved to win the whole of Greece to his side by proclaiming liberty to the Greeks.  At the same time the other successors of Alexander, the Diodochi, were warring over Alexander’s empire. Eventually Polyperchon ended up siding with Kassandros. This was the end of his political career although he remained master of the Peloponnese at least until 304 BC. He died not much later when he was more than ninety years old!

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Introducing General Perdikkas

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There isn’t a lot written about Alexander’s Companion and general Perdikkas who was one of the Successors.  From what I did read (in histories) he seemed like a self-serving individual who grasped onto the power in order to better his own status. In his career he was known to have made several tactical errors that cost Macedonian lives. And in fact, his final act, a forced crossing of the crocodile-infested Nile River, cost him his own life.

Perdikkas was the son of Orontes, one of the tribal lords of the Macedonian province of Orestis. He distinguished himself during the conquest of Thebes (335 BC) where he was severely wounded.  He was 4 years older than Alexander and had been a Companion since Alexander’s youth serving as one of the generals in the campaigns of Asia. After Hephaestion’s unexpected death, he was appointed as commander of the Companion cavalry and chiliarch. At the marriage nuptials encouraged by Alexander at Susa, Perdikkas married the  daughter of Atropates, a Persian satrap. During the campaigns in India he held an important command.

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When Alexander died in Babylon in 323 BC Perdikkas seized the opportunity to interpret Alexander’s dying words to mean that he should serve as the supreme commander of the army.  When we first meet Perdikkas in SHADOW OF THE LION: BLOOD ON THE MOON he is 37 years old.  His actions, claiming the power, were rejected by a number of the generals who felt that Alexander meant his beloved commander Krateros should be declared supreme commander, however Krateros had been sent back to Macedonia shortly before. Perdikkas then took over as official guardian of the royal family and had Alexander’s idiot half-brother Arridaios named joint-king along with Alexander’s newborn son and legitimate heir, Iskander (Alexander IV). He was intolerant of anyone who opposed his position and further alienated himself by brutally killing any of these opponents.

Once they royal family had left Babylon en route back to Macedonia, Perdikkas furthered his quest to seize control of the throne by agreeing to marry the Regent’s daughter Nikaea.  However, true to form, when he was also offered the hand of Alexander’s sister Kleopatra, he broke off his marriage to Nikaea and sent her home.  Perdikkas knew that because of Arridaios mental deficiency and Iskander’s part-Persian heritage, he would stand a good chance of seizing the throne himself. When the other generals and the Regent learned of this they set out to stop him.

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As Perdikkas marched south in pursuit of Ptolemy who had hijacked Alexander’s funeral carriage and taken the body to Egypt, Perdikkas actions created friction in the army who complained against his severe orders.  When he ordered troops to cross the crocodile infested river that was the final disaster of his career.  After seeing hundreds of their companions drowned and killed by these vicious river beasts, a group of his officers plotted to kill him. Led by Peithon and Seleukos, a group of  generals raided Perdikka’s tent and stabbed him to death.  He was 39 years old.

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There is no monument for Perdikkas.  No bust of him has been found (at least there is no record that I have found) so there is no physical image of him.  He left behind his legacy of corruption and the tragic consequences of his quest for power.