by Jeff Champion
Barnsley, Eng.: Pen & Sword / Philadelphia: Casemate, 2020. . Pp. xiv, 236.
Maps, diagr., appends., notes, biblio., index. $22.95 paper. ISBN: 1526774895
Alexander’s Greatest Successor?
In this revised edition of his 2014 book, Champion, author of Pyrrhus of Epirus and the two-volume The Tyrants of Syracuse: War in Ancient Sicily, looks at the protracted wars of the “Successors” (322-281 BC) through the life of Antigonus Monophthalmus (382-301 BC).
Antigonus was the oldest of Alexander’s marshals, and in many ways the most doughty (he was killed in action at 80!) and sire of the equally impressive Demetrios the Besieger (337-283 BC). He was initially the most successful of the Successors in grabbing pieces of Alexander’s empire upon the king’s death. But Antigonus’s success caused his normally fractious rivals to gang up on him.
Chapman sorts through the often contradictory sources to offer a comprehensive look at Antigonus’s life and the events of his times, through the last of the wars of the Successors. We see Antigonus as both an excellent strategist and a good tactician, though like many successful conquerors rather too ambitious.
Chapman offers us a good deal of detail about the numerous campaigns and battles of both father and son, and some useful insights into the cut-throat diplomacy among the Successors. A good read for anyone interested in Ancient Greece, Alexander, or the rise of the Romans, for whom the Successors set the stage.
Antigonus the One-Eyed is an excellent treatment of the wars of the Successors, which Mary novelist Mary Renault called the 'funeral games' that followed Alexander the Great's death.
Note: Antigonus the One-Eyed is also available in hard cover and e-editions.
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