Antigonus I

(Antigonus Cyclops (Monopthalmos))

382–301 BC

Antigonus I, also known as Monopthalmos, or Cyclops for having lost an eye, was the founder of the Antigonid Dynasty and one of the most important figures during the wars of the Diodochi, following the death of Alexander the Great. He was made governor of Phrygia shortly after Alexander the Great conquered Asia Minor. He held the position for ten years, and at the time of Alexander's death, several other provinces in Asia Minor were added to his command. He soon however, incurred the wrath of Perdiccas, who was Alexander's nominal successor, and fled to Greece with his son Demetrius, to the protection of Antipater, the regent of Macedonia.

Antigonus I
Two years after the original partition of Alexander's empire, Perdiccas was assassinated, and Antigonus led and army into Asia Minor to contend with Eumenes, who was allied with Perdiccas and had inherited his realms. Eumenes was completely defeated, and obliged to retire to Cappadocia. This state of affairs lasted for about three years, until Antipater died, at which point a war for the succession of Macedonia broke out. In this second War of the Diodochi, Antiochus was allied with Cassander, the son of Antipater, while his enemy Eumenes was allied with Polyperchon, Cassander's rival. After numerous furious battles between Antigonus and Eumenes in Asia, Eumenes was captured and delivered into the hands of Antigonus through treachery, after which he was put to death. Antigonus then claimed authority over the whole of Asia, seized the treasures at Susa, and drove Seleucus out of Babylonia.

Antiochus had gained such great power in Syria and Asia that he threatened the other Diodochi, and they formed an alliance against him. These included Ptolemy (Egypt), Lysimachus (Thrace), Cassander (Macedonia), and Seleucus (Babylon). After the war had been carried on with varying success from 315 to 311 B.C., peace was concluded, by which the government of Asia Minor and Syria was provisionally secured to Antigonus. This agreement was soon violated on the pretext that garrisons had been placed in some of the free Greek cities by Antigonus, and Ptolemy and Cassander renewed hostilities against him. Demetrius Poliorcetes, the son of Antigonus, wrested part of Greece from Cassander. At first Ptolemy had made a successful descent upon Asia Minor and on several of the islands of the Archipelago; but he was at length totally defeated by Demetrius in a naval engagement off Salamis, in Cyprus (306 B.C.). On this victory Antigonus assumed the title of king, and bestowed the same upon his son, a declaration that he claimed to be the heir of Alexander. Antigonus now prepared a large army, and a formidable fleet, the command of which he gave to Demetrius, and hastened to attack Ptolemy in his own dominions. His invasion of Egypt, however, proved a failure; he was unable to penetrate the defences of Ptolemy, and was obliged to retire. Demetrius now attempted the reduction of Rhodes, which had refused to assist Antigonus against Egypt; but, meeting with obstinate resistance, he was obliged to make a treaty upon the best terms that he could (304). In 302 B.C., although Demetrius was again winning success after success in Greece, Antigonus was obliged to recall him to meet the confederacy that had been formed between Cassander, Seleucus and Lysimachus. A decisive battle was fought at Ipsus, in which Antigonus fell, in the eighty-first year of his age.

Key events during the life of Antigonius I:

334 BC
Alexander invades Persia, wins battle of Granicus.
333 BC
Antigonus I made ruler of Phrygia in Asia Minor.
323 BC
On death of Alexander, Antiognus granted more territory.
322 BC
Broke with Perdiccas and Eumenes—fled to protection of Antipater.
321 BC
First Diodochi War, after death of Perdiccas. Antigonus seizes Eumenes' territory.
318 BC
Second Diodoch War following death of Antipater.
316 BC
Antiochus defeats and kills Eumenes. Siezes his vast territories in Asia.
314 BC
Ptolemy, Lysimachus, and Seleucus commence war on Antigonus and son Demetrius.
312 BC
Battle of Gaza. Seleucus wins much territory in Asia from Antigonus.
307 BC
Naval victory for the fleet of Demetrius over Ptolemy.
302 BC
Antigonus killed at the battle of Ipsus. His empire divided between the allies. Demetrius flees to Greece.

Other Resources

Story Links
Book Links
Colossus of Rhodes  in  The Story of the Greeks  by  H. A. Guerber

Short Biography
Antipater One of Philip's most trusted generals. Left in charge of Macedonia during Alexander's conquests.
Perdiccas Took over the empire of Alexander at his death, but couldn't keep it.
Eumenes Enemy of Antigonus, allied with Perdiccas; controlled Asia Minor until killed by Antigonus.
Demetrius Son of Antigonus, active in the wars of the Diadochi.
Ptolemy I General of Alexander, founded Egyptian Dynasty that lasted for 300 years.
Lysimachus Bodyguard of Alexander. Took control of Thrace on his death. Engaged in Wars of Diadochi.
Seleucus Son of a general of Alexander. Founded Seleucid Dynasty, in Syria and Central Asia.