d. 316 BC
|OLYMPIAS IMPRISONS EURYDICE, HER RIVAL|
Olympias was the daughter of the king of Epirus, wife of Philip II. of Macedon, and mother of
Alexander the Great. It is said that
Philip fell in love with her in Samothrace, where they were both being initiated into the mysteries.
The marriage took place in 359 B
., shortly after Philip's accession, and
Alexander was born in 356. The fickleness of Philip and the jealous temper of Olympias led to a
growing estrangement, which became complete when Philip married a new wife, Cleopatra, in 337 B
Alexander, who sided with his mother, withdrew, along with her, into Epirus, whence they both
returned in the following year, after the assassination of Philip, which Olympias is said to have
countenanced. During the absence of Alexander, with whom she regularly corresponded on public as
well as domestic affairs, she had great influence, and by her arrogance and ambition caused such
trouble to the regent Antipater that on Alexander's death (323) she found it prudent to withdraw
into Epirus. Here she remained until 317 B
., when, allying herself with Polyperchon, Antipater's
successor as regent of Macedonia, she took the field with an Epirote army; the opposing troops at
once declared in her favour, and for a short period Olympias was mistress of Macedonia. Cassander,
Antipater's son, hastened from Peloponnesus, and, after an obstinate siege, compelled the surrender
of Pydna, where she had taken refuge. One of the terms of the capitulation had been that her life
should be spared; but in spite of this she was brought to trial for the numerous and cruel
executions of which she had been guilty during her short lease of power. Condemned without a
hearing, she was put to death (316) by the friends of those whom she had slain, and Cassander is
said to have denied her remains the rites of burial.
— Excerpted from 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica.
Key events during the life of olympias:
||Marriage to Philip II of Macedonia.
||Birth of Alexander the Great.
||Remarriage of Phillip II to Cleopatra.
||Death of Philip II, by murder.
||Antipater, instead of Olympias, left as regent in Macedonia during Alexander's campaign.
||Withdrew to Pydna on death of Alexander.
||Allied with Polyperchon against Cassander. Put last living son of Philip II to death.
||Captured by Cassander and put to death.
Eurydice in Prison
|Philip of Macedonia
||Used statesmanship as well as military force to bring Greece under sway of Macedonia.
|Alexander the Great
||Greatest general of ancient times. Conquered Persian Empire with 40,000 soldiers.
||One of Philip's most trusted generals. Left in charge of Macedonia during Alexander's conquests.
||One of Alexander's Generals. Allied with Craterus and Antipater. Fought Cassander for control of Macedonia.
||Son of Antipater. Wrestled control of Macedonia from Polyperchon. Enemy of Olympias.