Alexander the Great. Bust. Archaeological Museum, Istanbul
Great states arise when people in the ascending stage are headed by extraordinary (passionary, by definition, Lev Gumilyov), capable of super-strong personalities who surround themselves with people with similar qualities. Even after the master's death, the will of these people, like a tough hoop, binds together diverse pieces of empires. That was how Rome and Byzantium held out, which, even entering the phase of obscuration, managed to scoop passionarity among the neighboring nations for some time. Vandal by origin Stilicho defeated the Visigoths led by Alaric. The last great commander of Rome, Aetius, who stopped Attila himself, was half German, but, after Procopius, we call him "the last Roman," and L. Gumilev considered him "the first Byzantine." When the vital forces of the descendants of Genghis Khan dried up, the banner of the great conqueror was picked up by rootless temniki, and if Mamai failed in this field and died, then iron Timur shook his conquests half of the universe and died at the zenith of fame and power. Alexander, too, was by no means the only passionate in Macedonia: a whole galaxy of brilliant and loyal commanders was fully capable if not to continue conquering the world, then at least for a while to protect the state he created from disintegration. The Macedonian army was the best in the world and as strategists Antipater, Antigonus, Perdiccas and others did not have worthy opponents outside the borders created by Alexander. What is the cause of the fall of the empire? In this case, we have a unique illustration of the statement that not only the lack of drive people, but also their excessive number, are fatal for the state. To Alexander personally, his commanders were, of course, unconditionally loyal, but voluntarily submitting to any of their rivals was beyond the power of any of them.
After reigning over the entire 13 years, Alexander was unexpectedly and suddenly died at the age of 33 in June 323 BC, distinguished by excellent health.
Dying Alexander (unknown sculptor)
Legend claims that during the feast the warlord Kassander secretly poured water from the Styx into his wine - in one place in Greece, this river allegedly came to the surface. Ferried this poison to Babylon either Aristotle himself, or one of his students (as revenge for the death of the philosopher Callisfen). It was believed that the water of Styx corrodes everything - even iron and stone, so it was delivered in a goat hoof. Undoubtedly, there were reasons to hate Alexander for Kassandr: it was quite difficult for him to forget how the king beat his head against the wall when he came to him as an ambassador from his father Antipater (brought up in the Hellenistic traditions of the young man falling at the feet of Alexander). This is how Oliver Stone saw this episode in the film "Alexander" (2004):
Since then, Cassander was so afraid of Alexander that, many years later, as king of Macedonia and subjugating Hellas, he almost fainted at the sight of his statue in Delphi.
But in fact, the doctors who acted as experts in this matter have long concluded that the symptoms of Alexander's disease are most similar to those that are characteristic of "West Nile fever." This disease is quite common in Africa, Western Asia and the Middle East. The carriers of the virus are birds and animals, carriers - mosquitoes. This virus received worldwide fame in 1999 after it was imported to the USA.
When the dying Alexander was asked: "To whom do you leave the kingdom?", He whispered: "To the most worthy." And to the question: "Who will be the tombstone victim over you?" replied: "you."
The answers are simply amazing: the great conqueror directly pushes his commanders to "competition" for the title of "the first after God", that is, himself. Unsaturated with blood, Ares demands that the feast be continued through the mouth of his beloved hero. And the situation was already incredibly complicated and extremely confusing: after the death of Alexander, there was no one left from the royal family to whom the generals agreed to obey. Male offspring of a kind were destroyed by Alexander himself immediately after accession to the throne. Heracles was alive - an illegitimate son of Barsina, the daughter of the Persian exile Artabaz (whom Alexander had known since childhood). Barsina was a widow twice - the commanders of the Greek mercenaries Persia Mentor and Memnon, she was inseparable from the king of Macedonia before his meeting with Roxana. The other aspirant was the feeble-minded son of Philip II Arydeus - also an illegitimate. In addition, the wife of Alexander Roxan was five months pregnant. And under such circumstances, Alexander himself refuses to name his successor, or at least the regent! More recently, faithful comrades and combat comrades tried in dozens of battles rushed to divide kingdoms and provinces. The body of the most powerful monarch Oikumena remained for thirty days without burial, it was preserved only because some of the servants had the idea to pour honey on it. The matter is not in the absence of due respect: the king's burial ceremony was to be organized and carried out by his successor (in Greek - diadoh). There were many people who wanted to hold this ceremony - too much for Alexander. As a result, Perdikka was the first among equals to whom Alexander handed over his ring with a seal. The situation became even more aggravated after receiving the prophecy about the great future of the country, in which the remains of Alexander would rest. After fierce disputes that lasted a whole year, the body of the conqueror, immersed in a sarcophagus with honey, was sent to Macedonia (and the city of Pella). However, Ptolemy intercepted him on the way.
Ptolemy I Soter
The best parts of Perdiccas, the color of the Macedonian army, the best of the best, were thrown in pursuit of the kidnappers - and now, to motivate the veterans, it was not necessary to speak long, pathetic speeches or promise a precious reward. But Ptolemy deceived everyone by organizing a brilliant cover-up operation: he put a false caravan with a big guard under attack, while a small detachment with Alexander's body was walking towards Egypt by a different route - quietly and imperceptibly. After a fierce battle with the people of Ptolemy (who were confident of their high mission and were not going to give in), the soldiers of Perdiccas got a skillfully made doll. And Ptolemy, having acquired the body of Alexander, began to lay claim to the title of the first of the diadochi. And for twenty years, the bloody battles in the territory of Alexander's empire did not abate - there were four wars of the Diadochi, and the Babylonian War (between Antigone and Seleucus) was also between the third and fourth. The situation was complicated by the arbitrariness of the veterans of the Macedonian army, who could not disobey the decision of any of these rulers.
“The famous phalanx of Alexander the Great, which passed through Asia and defeated the Persians, was accustomed to glory and self-will, did not want to obey the leaders, but tried to command them, as our veterans now do”,
- lamented the Roman historian Cornelius Nepos about this.
Dividing the state between themselves, the commanders of Alexander declared themselves strategists, autocrators (commanders-autocrat) of a single power. Most researchers agree that those can be called 12 people:
Antipater, the commander (and friend) of the father of Alexander - Tsar Philip II. During the Asian campaign, he was left by the governor of Macedonia and Greece, defeated the insurgent Sparta, but quarreled with the king's mother - the Olympics, which after the death of Alexander was forced to go to Epirus. He was appointed strategist of Europe.
Cassander, son of Antipater, entrenched in Macedonia and Greece.
Polyperchon, commander of the phalanx, was his, and not his son, Cassandra appointed Antipater to be his successor. After gaining power, he invited the Olympiad in Epirus to Macedonia, which launched widespread repression against its enemies, including against the relatives of Antipater.
Antigonus the One-Eyed, one of the generals of Philip II, even during the life of Alexander, appointed vicar of Great Phrygia. Additionally received Pamphylia and Lykia. In 306 BC declared himself king, the rest of the dyadohi followed suit.
Demetrius, son of Antigone. He was nicknamed Soter (Savior, received it from the Athenians) and Poliorket. Over the years, controlled Hellas, Macedonia, Cilicia, Cyprus. In Athens for some time he lived in the Parthenon and was worshiped by a living god. His descendants owned Macedonia until the conquest of this country by Rome.
Seleucus, commander, who started his career as Alexander’s bodyguard (the tsar’s bodyguards in Macedonia of those years were the closest personnel reserve, from which the army commanders and provincial governors were chosen). After the Battle of Hydasp (326 BC), he received the nickname Nicator (Victorious). When the first section of the empire received Babylon.
Evmen, secretary of Philip II, and then his son - Alexander. A Greek from Cardia, who achieved a high position not because of his origin, but because of his outstanding abilities. Got Cappadocia and Paphlagonia, which still needed to be conquered.
Perdiccas, he began his career as a bodyguard of Tsar Philip II, under Alexander Alexander commanded cavalry units, the last commander of getyrs. Became chiliarch Asia.
Lysimachus, a native of the family of pensions peasants, bodyguard Alexander, who valued him for his great physical strength and courage. One of the commanders of the Macedonian cavalry. Got Ionia and Thrace.
Ptolemy, Alexander's childhood friend, who showed himself to be a commander during the Asian campaign. Harassed and captured the murderer of Darius - Bess. Tradition calls him the illegitimate son of Philip II, which is unlikely. He was an ardent supporter of the division of the state among the generals. He received the Egyptian administration, whose governor, the Greek Clement (a very capable and intelligent manager who built Alexandria from scratch), was to become his deputy. Ptolemy began his reign with the killing of Clement. Soter received the nickname from the inhabitants of the island of Rhodes (who defended it from Demetrius). In his old age, he wrote memoirs about Alexander and the Asiatic campaign, which became one of the sources for the writing of Arrian from Nicomedia, "The Walk of Alexander the Great". The last representative of his dynasty in Egypt was the famous Cleopatra.
Crater, the commander of the foot bodyguards of Alexander, a commander who had great authority and won universal love among the soldiers and officers of the Macedonian army. He was instructed to withdraw the army from 11 500 veterans to their homeland (Polyperchon became deputy). Appointed trustee of the Macedonian kingdom.
Python, Alexander's bodyguard, who supported Perdiccas in his claim to power and obtained the Media, but later joined the conspiracy against Perdiccas. Executed by Antigonus in 316 BC
It could have been 15, but the most experienced commander Parmenion, during the Asian campaign, invariably commanded the left flank of the Macedonian army (the flank of deterrence, which took upon itself the strikes of the elite units of the right wing of the enemy), and his son Filot, the commander of the guards of Getai, were killed by order of Alexander. Personally, Alexander was killed by Cleit, who saved the king in a battle on the river Granik, his nanny's brother, the commander of agema, an elite squadron of getyrs. We can also recall Hephaestion, who undoubtedly would have been appointed regent if he had not died before the death of Alexander. But this appointment would not change anything in further events: "comrades on arms"and" faithful companions "devoured" Alexander's pet, who had no great prestige in the army, even earlier than Perdiccas.
Of those who took part in the division of Alexander's empire, only three died in their own bed: Antipater, Cassander and Ptolemy (the circumstances and exact date of Polyperkhon's death are unknown, but most likely he died of old age after living for 90). Diadoci attempted to preserve the appearance of unity by making Philip Arridea the kings, the mentally retarded son of Philip of Macedon and the unknown dancer (choice of the Macedonian army) and Alexander IV, the newborn son of Alexander (choice of diadochi) under the regency of the commander Perdiccas.
Distribution of Satrapies Perdikkoy
The first section of the empire did not suit anyone, and the borders began to crumble literally in front of shocked contemporaries.
The kingdom of the Diadochi in 315 BC.
In Europe, the aged, but very authoritative commander Antipater, who was joined by the most popular commander after Alexander himself, was recognized as the regent of the royal house.
Crater in the O. Stone film "Alexander", 2004
But already in 321 BC. Ptolemy, the son of Laga, the one that captured the body of Alexander and buried him in Alexandria, refused to obey Perdiccas. Antipater and Cassander also opposed Asia's chiliarch, but their blow was successfully repelled by the former secretary of Philip and Alexander Eumenes, who now showed himself to be an outstanding commander.
Having defeated the former satop of Armenia Neoptolem (formerly Alexander is the commander of the shield bearers in the army of Alexander - the commander of the shield bearers) Eumenes, who was defeated by the satrap of Armenia, he was forced to fight the favorite commander of the Macedonian army, the idol of Alexander veterans and his friend - Crater. Sure that the Macedonians would not fight against him, the crater went out to this battle without a helmet. But Eumenes directed against the Crater Asian riders, one of whom and inflicted a mortal wound. Joining the crater Neoptolem in that battle, he found his death in a duel with Eumenes. The description of this battle by Plutarch, worthy of a heroic poem, has been preserved:
“With terrible force, like triremes, they both let go of the reins and, clinging to each other, began to pull the helmet off the enemy and break the shell on their shoulders. During this fight, both horses slipped out from under their riders and sped off, and the horsemen, falling to the ground, continued their fierce struggle. Neoptolem tried to get up, but Eumenes cut his knee, and he jumped to his feet. Leaning on a healthy knee, and not paying attention to the injured, Neoptolem desperately defended himself, but his blows were harmless, and finally struck in the neck, he fell and stretched out on the ground. All in the grip of anger and old-fashioned hatred, Eumenes, with curses, began to rip off his armor, but the dying imperceptibly stuck his sword, which he still held in his hand, under Eumene’s armor and wounded him in the groin, where the armor loosely adjoins the body. The blow struck with a weakening hand was harmless and scared Eumenes more than hurt him. ”
The Macedonian Crater Army, which was considered invincible (which included more than 11 000 veterans of Alexander!), Suffered a complete defeat.
But Pericque, who had gone on a campaign to Egypt, was killed in 321 BC. in his tent after an unsuccessful crossing over the Nile (then about 2000 soldiers drowned). The conspiracy was led by Python and Seleucus. The help that Ptolemy gave to the Macedonians of the army of Perdiccas made such an impression on everyone that he was offered to become the regent of the empire and the chiliarch of Asia. However, Ptolemy apparently knew his former comrades-diadochi very well in order to create illusions about the possibility of preserving the state of Alexander. "Tit in arms" in the form of a stable and self-sufficient Egypt seemed to him more valuable than a "crane" of a crumbling empire. Python was appointed interim regent; in this post he was soon replaced by Europe's strategist Antipater, who has now become the sole ruler of the state. After his death in 319 BC, Eumene, already familiar to us, became the main defender of the dynasty. By virtue of his origin (we recall that he was a Greek, not a Macedonian), he was the only Diadochoi who could not claim the royal throne and therefore was not interested in eliminating the heirs of Alexander. The old comrades of Philip and Alexander did not like Eumenes and did not forgive him for the death of Crater, popular in the army. Eumenes was sentenced to death in absentia, Asia’s strategist Antigonus the One-Eyed sent a large army against him, which was unable to either storm the Phrygian fortress Nora, in which Eumenes hid, or prevent him from retreating from it. The Olympiad, which came to power in Macedonia, appointed Eumenes a strategist of Asia, he was supported by the governors of the Indian and Central Asian provinces. Antigonus suffered a series of defeats, but, during the last battle (in Susian), thanks to the treachery of the satrap Persis Peukeste, he managed to capture the convoy of Eumenes. And, who did not suffer a single defeat on the battlefield, Eumenes was issued by his Argyrospid warriors - they simply traded their commander for a wagon train captured by the enemy.
In the meantime, the Olympiad, called Polyperchon in Macedonia (317 BC), ordered Arridea to be killed (his wife Eurydice was ordered to strangle what she performed by wishing the same fate to the Olympics) and unleashed a campaign of terror against noble Macedonian families, first of all - against the family of Antipater hated by her.
Olympiad, mother of Alexander
Taking advantage of the general discontent, Cassander conquered Macedonia, captured the Olympics, which, thanks to his efforts, was sentenced by a troop assembly to death. There were problems with the Olympics: Cassandra really wanted to get rid of her, but he didn’t want to be known as the murderer of the great Alexander. He offered her to flee - the proud queen refused. I had to send the executioners to her nevertheless, but when they saw the Olympiad in full royal robes, they did not decide to execute the order. Then the relatives of the people executed were sent to her by her order: the Olympics were stoned. And all the moral barriers collapsed in one hour: Cassander began to destroy in Macedonia the memory of his former idol - Alexander. Soon, on his orders, Roxana and her son, already deprived of all royal privileges, were actually taken into custody, and in the position of captives they were in the city of Amphipolis. During the III war of the Diadochi, Antigonus made a demand to restore his son Alexander to the throne, hoping, therefore, to cause unrest in Macedonia. But this had no effect on the fate of the juvenile king. Meanwhile, the Macedonians increasingly began to turn to Cassandra with questions, when did he finally return Alexander IV to the court, so that the future king began to join the government. And these questions are very unnerving and Cassandra, and the rest of the diadoes, who were still in 306 BC. declared themselves kings and began to mint coins with their portraits (until that time Alexander the Great was depicted on the diadohek coins). Cassander did not want to give the throne, the other diadohi awakened at night in a cold sweat when they had nightmares about the son of the great Alexander in the crown of the legitimate king of Macedonia. When Alexander IV turned 14 years (310 BC), Cassander ordered to poison him and Roxanne: the mother and son were buried secretly, and in Macedonia they did not immediately learn about their death. And in 309 BC. by order of Polyperchon, Barsin and Hercules were killed. This was a huge mistake for Polyperkhon: he had excellent chances of winning in Macedonia - no one, not even Cassander, who doubted the loyalty of his soldiers (who suspected that Roxana and Alexander IV did not die without his help) did not dare to oppose him. the last son of the great Alexander. But the aged commander was flattered by the promise of Cassandra to support him in the Peloponess. Satisfied with his pliability, Cassander did everything he could to learn about this murder in Macedonia and Greece: terrible damage was inflicted on Polyperkhon’s reputation, the diadoch descended from the historical scene, he still controlled 2 of the city (Corinth and Scyon), without even thinking about it more. The last mention of him relates to 303 BC, there is no clear information about the place and time of his death. We add that Alexander's two sisters were also killed: Cleopatra - by order of Antigone, Thessalonica (became the wife of Cassandra, the city of Thessaloniki was named on her behalf) - was killed by her own son. This was the end of the Macedonian dynasty of Argead.
Outside of Macedonia, meanwhile, in the civil war, fighting against Seleucus and Lysimachus, Antigon the One-eyed (301 BC) died in the battle of Ipsa.
Antigone the One-eyed
In this battle (on the side of Antigonus), for the first time, the little-known young king of Epirus, who will be the first of the great opponents of Rome, took part in the hostilities, but will be told about it in the next article.
Translated into Russian, his name means "Fiery" or "Red." Monument in the Greek city of Arta
Four dyadoch were still alive - too much for Alexander’s long-suffering empire. They now divided the provinces as follows:
Cassander received Macedonia, Thessaly, Hellas, Epirus.
Lysimachus - Thrace, Black Sea Coast, Phrygia, and then also Bithynia, Paphlagonia and Heracleia Pontic.
Seleucus added to his possessions in Syria a part of Phrygia.
Evading the battle, Ptolemy seized the lament of Seleucus Palestine.
The son of Antigone Demetrius, who turned Seleucus' cavalry to flight, but, being carried away by the pursuit, was cut off by the enemy’s elephants from his father’s phalanx (which was the reason for the defeat), was left without a kingdom.
He tirelessly fought in different countries, earning the nickname "Poliorket" ("besieging the city"). Agree, the nickname of the heir to Antigonus is much more pretentious and much more decent than that of the heir of the diadoch Ptolemy - “Loving sister” (Philadelphus), and “loving” is by no means platonic. And at once everyone understands who approached the border: a great warrior or ...
In 285 BC Demetri's strength and fortune dried up, he suffered a final defeat in Asia Minor, and he surrendered to Seleucus in 283 BC. died in jail in syria. But his son Antigonus Gonat (from the city of Gonna) will nevertheless become the king of Macedonia. The fate of the sons of Kassandra, who actually destroyed the Macedonian dynasty of Argead (it was his mother, two wives and two sons of Alexander who died) was both terrible and pitiful. The eldest, Antipater, who killed his mother (Alexander the Great's sister: a family tradition, apparently, such as killing someone from the relatives of the great king), was expelled from the country by Pyrrhus, who was called to help his younger son, Alexander, who later shared Macedonia with him. Alexander's mistake was also an appeal to Demetrius Poliorket. Demetrius was a little late, but he came nevertheless, frowned at Alexander, who was satisfied, and told him that “you have to pay for the challenge”, and in general, what are these things: “Where is my half of our kingdom”? Sure that all his problems are behind, the son of Cassandra, advised the diadochi to “hold on”, wished “more health and good mood,” and, as compensation, invited him to a feast. On which Demetrius and slaughtered Alexander. Pierre, whose sister was married to Demetrius, advised the somewhat discouraged Macedonians not to worry about trifles. Really, what problems? Do you need a king? So he already has - Demetrius, also a Macedonian, from a respected family, and neither he nor his dad killed any of the relatives of the former king, live and rejoice. In general, the typical raider seizure in the style of our 90's, only not business, hired as a "roof", the gangsters "squeezed", and the kingdom. And not the bandits, but the great heroes of Antiquity, thousands of pages of chronicles, monographs, and historical novels are devoted to the lives and feats of which. It happened in 294 BC. However, the allies of Pierre and Demetrius were not for long, very soon they began a war in which their armies passed each other and, as a result, each of them won: Demetrius - in Epirus, Pierre - in Macedonia. And later united against Demetrius Lysimachus, Ptolemy and Pyrrhus forced him to flee from Macedonia. After that, Lysimachus and Pyrrhus also advised to leave this country as soon as possible.
The winners in the confrontation of the Diadochs ended up in Ptolemy, who entrenched in Egypt, Seleucus (repeating Alexander's campaign in India and receiving 480 elephants from the Indian king Chandragupta) and Lysimachus (who once fell in love with Alexander because he defeated the lion with his bare hands). After the death of Ptolemy, Lysimachus and Seleucus entered the final battle - probably because, as in a famous film, only one was left to remain.
Lysimachus, bust, museum of archeology of Naples
Seleucus I Nicator
As a result, not one was left alive.
So, in 283 BC Ptolemy Lag died in Alexandria, Demetrius - in prison (Apamea, Syria), and 70-year-old Lysimachus and 80-year-old Seleucus took personal part in the Battle of Couroupedia (Syria). Lysimachus fell in battle, his soldiers went over to Seleucus (because he was now the only living comrade of Alexander). Macedonia also agreed to recognize the power of Selevka, and it seemed that now everything would be calm and good in the territory of the empire. What is there! Unfortunately, he received Ptolemy Keravna (Lightning), the son of Ptolemy I, the grandson of Antipater, who fled from his younger brother, who inherited his father’s throne, at his court. On the way to Macedonia, Seleucus was treacherously murdered by Kerawne. In the subsequent war for the long-suffering Macedonia, Ptolemy defeated the son of Demetrius - Antigone, but he himself soon died in the battle with the Galatians: he fell from a battle elephant and was captured. Galatians planted his severed head on a spear and carried them to intimidate enemies. For Macedonia, the result was very sad: the country lost a huge number of young healthy men and received nothing in return. All representatives of the chances of becoming a great dynasty of Argead, including the sons of Alexander himself, were destroyed. Greece again was fragmented into tiny city-states. But on the eastern and southern coasts of the Mediterranean Sea - in Egypt, Syria, Asia Minor - there were Hellenistic states, the top of which consisted of immigrants from Macedonia and Greek mercenaries from Alexander's army. Diadokhov wars ended, replaced by wars of their descendants and epigones. The Seleucids, the Ptolemies, the Antigonids, and other dynasties continued to wage hard and stubborn wars for a long time, until they were absorbed by the Roman Empire.