358–297 BC

Cassander was the eldest son of Antipater, whom Alexander the Great had left in charge of Macedon while he campaigned to conquer Persia. During his long career in Macedon, Antipater had been always at loggerheads with Olympias, the domineering mother of Alexander, so there existed in Macedonia two long feuding rivals factions. There were several potential legal heirs to the Macedonian throne, including Arrhidaeus, a retarded brother of Alexander, Heracles, an illegitimate son of Alexander, and Alexander IV, the son of Alexander's Roxana, who was not even born at the death of Alexander. None were fit to rule the kingdom, so control of the hapless royal family was a point of constant contention between the warring factions. After the death of Antipater, Cassander became the head of the anti-Olympias party, and Polyperchon, who succeeded Antipater as 'regent' allied himself with Olympias.

Cassander first appears at the court of Alexander at Babylon, where he defended his father against the accusations of his enemies. Having been passed over by his father in favour of Polyperchon as his successor in the regency of Macedonia, Cassander allied himself with Ptolemy I. and Antigonus I., and declared war against the Polyperchon. Most of the Greek states went over to him, and Athens also surrendered. He further effected an alliance with Eurydice, the ambitious wife of King Philip Arrhidaeus of Macedon. Both she and her husband, however, together with Cassander's brother, Nicanor, were soon after slain by Olympias. Cassander at once marched against Olympias, and, having forced her to surrender in Pydna, put her to death (316 B.C.). In 310 or 309 he also murdered Roxana and Alexander, the wife and son of Alexander the Great, whose natural son Heracles he bribed Polyperchon to poison. He had already connected himself with the royal family by marriage with Thessalonica, Alexander the Great's half-sister, and, having formed an alliance with Seleucus, Ptolemy and Lysimachus, against Antigonus, he became, on the defeat and death of Antigonus in 301 B.C., undisputed sovereign of Macedonia. He died of dropsy in 297 B.C.. Cassander was a man of literary taste, but violent and ambitious. He restored Thebes after its destruction by Alexander the Great, transformed Therm into Thessalonica, and built the new city of Cassandreia upon the ruins of Potidaea.

The sons of Cassander were unable to hold the empire together after his death. One of them was murdered by Demetrius, and the Antigonids seized the throne of Macedonia.

—Adapted from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Key events during the life of Cassander:

319 BC
On the death of his father Antipater, declares war on his father's successor Polyperchon.
318 BC
Polyperchon flees from Macedon, but takes the heirs of Alexander with him.
317 BC
Cassander's allies in Macedonia, including King Arrhidaeus, are murdered by Olympias,
316 BC
Cassander marches on Olympias in Epirus and slays her.
  Allies with Ptolemy I., Lysimachus, and Seleucus against Antigonus I.
310 BC
Murders Alexander IV, the only remaining living heir to Alexander's kingdom.
307 BC
Demetrius, son of Antigonus, sails to Greece to 'liberate' it from Cassander's rule.
302 BC
Undisputed ruler of Greece after the battle of Ipsus.
297 BC
Dies, leaving two sons to rule Macedonia.
294 BC
Macedonia falls into the hands of the Demetrius, and the Antigonid dynasty,

Other Resources

Story Links
Book Links
Cassander  in  Pyrrhus  by  Jacob Abbott
Last of the Athenians  in  The Story of the Greeks  by  H. A. Guerber
Colossus of Rhodes  in  The Story of the Greeks  by  H. A. Guerber

Short Biography
Polyperchon One of Alexander's Generals. Allied with Craterus and Antipater. Fought Cassander for control of Macedonia.
Olympias Wife of Philip of Macedon. Alexander's mother. Quarreled with Antipater over charge of Macedonia.
Demetrius Son of Antigonus, active in the wars of the Diadochi.
King Philip Arrhidaeus Retarded brother of Alexander, and nominal 'king' of his Empire.
Lysimachus Bodyguard of Alexander. Took control of Thrace on his death. Engaged in Wars of Diadochi.
Ptolemy I General of Alexander, founded Egyptian Dynasty that lasted for 300 years.