361–316 BC

Eumenes was Macedonian general, although he was not a Macedonian, but rather a native of Cardia in the Thracian Chersonesus. At a very early age he was employed as private secretary by Philip II. of Macedon, and on the death of that prince, by Alexander, whom he accompanied into Asia. In the division of the empire on Alexander's death, Cappadocia and Paphlagonia were assigned to Eumenes; but as they were not yet subdued, Leonnatus and Antigonus were charged by Perdiccas to put him in possession. Antigonus, however, disregarded the order, and Leonnatus in vain attempted to induce Eumenes to accompany him to Europe and share in his far-reaching designs. Eumenes joined Perdiccas, who installed him in Cappadocia.


When Craterus and Antipater, having reduced Greece, determined to pass into Asia and overthrow the power of Perdiccas, their first blow was aimed at Cappadocia. Craterus and Neoptolemus, satrap of Armenia, were completely defeated by Eumenes (321); Neoptolemus was killed, and Craterus died of his wounds. After the murder of Perdiccas in Egypt by his own soldiers, the Macedonian generals condemned Eumenes to death, and charged Antipater and Antigonus with the execution of their order. Eumenes, being defeated through the treachery of one of his officers, fled to Nora, a strong fortress on the confines of Cappadocia and Lycaonia, where he defended himself for more than a year. The death of Antipater (319) produced complications. He left the regency to his friend Polyperchon over the head of his son Cassander, who entered into an alliance with Antigonus and Ptolemy against Polyperchon, supported by Eumenes, who, having escaped from Nora, was threatening Syria and Phoenicia. In 318 Antigonus marched against him, and Eumenes withdrew east to join the satraps of the provinces beyond the Tigris. After two indecisive battles in Iran, Eumenes was betrayed by his own soldiers to Antigonus and put to death. He was an able soldier, who did his utmost to maintain the unity of Alexander's empire in Asia; but his efforts were frustrated by the generals and satraps, who hated and despised the "secretary" and "foreigner."

—Adapted from the 1911 Encylopaedia Britannica.

Key events during the life of Eumenes:

  Secretary to Philip II of Macedonia.
323 BC
Installed as Satrap of Cappadocia.
321 BC
Defeated Craterus in Asia Minor, but his ally Perdiccas was killed in Egypt.
322 BC
Fled to Nora in Cappadocia.
318 BC
Attacked by Antigonus. Withdrew to the east, but was betrayed by his army. Murdered by Antigonus.

Other Resources

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Eumenes  in  Our Young Folks' Plutarch  by  Rosalie Kaufman

Short Biography
Philip of Macedonia Used statesmanship as well as military force to bring Greece under sway of Macedonia.
Perdiccas Took over the empire of Alexander at his death, but couldn't keep it.
Craterus Popular General of Alexander. Allied with Antipater after the death of Alexander.
Antigonus I Allied with Antipater and Ptolemy I in early Diadochi Wars. Won control of Asia Minor and Syria.