Antigonus I Monophthalmus   [382 - 301 BCE died in battle]

Shrewd Macedonian strategist who skillfully used political rivalries & volatile military alliances to rise to prominence among the successors of Alexander the Great. After the battle of Gordium (333 BCE), Alexander entrusted his one-eyed general to govern Phrygia in the central highlands of Asia Minor as he pursued his conquest of Asia. In the wake of the conqueror's death (323 BCE), Antigonus annexed the provinces to the south & west as well. Then he initiated an alliance with Antipater, Ptolemy, & Lysimachus against the autocratic regent Perdiccas (321 BCE). When the new regent (Antipater) died (320 BCE), Antigonus used the struggle between rival successors to gain control over all Asia Minor & proclaim himself regent (319 BCE). 

Antigonus' own attempt to reunite Alexander's fragmented empire however, provoked a series of wars with a new coalition of former allies (Ptolemy, Lysimachus,  & Antipater's son Cassander) & enemies (Perdiccas' successor, Seleucus). In the first war (315-311 BCE) Antigonus promised the cities of Greece freedom & formed a league of Aegean isles to counter Cassander.  Then his armies occupied Syria.  Their conquests were stopped by Ptolemy & Seleucus at Gaza (312 BCE).  But when Seleucus returned to Babylon, Antigonus negotiated a treaty with other opponents that recognized Greece's independence & his control of all Syria in return for his renunciation of any claim to the regency.  

This detente lasted less than a year. The second coalition war (310-301 BCE) was launched by Ptolemy. Antigonus countered indirectly by ousting the Macedonian governor of Athens appointed by Cassander (Ptolemy's ally) & restoring the old Athenian democratic constitution (307 BCE).  Then with strong support from the Greek fleet Antigonus' son, Demetrius, drove Ptolemy's forces from Cyprus (306 BCE), leaving Antigonus master of most of the eastern Mediterranean except for Egypt.  His victorious army celebrated by offering the royal diadem to the old general who had never lost a battle & proclaiming him "king" (basileus).

Antigonus' ascendancy was short-lived, however.  For now that he openly claimed supreme rule, he was less successful in eliminating opponents' resistance  than he had been in countering their aggression.  His unsuccessful attack on Egypt (305 BCE) only inspired his rivals Ptolemy, Lysimachus, Cassander & Seleucus to all proclaim themselves kings, thereby ending any pretense of a single Macedonian monarchy. Then his forces had to abandon their siege of Rhodes to counter an invasion of Greece by Cassander. Though Antigonus briefly succeeded in restoring the pre-Alexandrine Hellenic league & having the Greeks unanimously elect him as their leader (302 BCE), his attempt to subject the Macedonian homeland only provoked a three-pronged coordinated attack on his territory by Ptolemy, Seleucus & Lysimachus. The forces of the latter two came together to confront Antigonus' army at Ipsus, Phrygia.  There the aged warrior finally fell, a victim of his own imperial strategy.

References: Josephus, Antiquities 12.2. 
                   _____, Against Apion 1.185, 213.
                  Appian, Syriaca 53-55
                  Diodorus, World History 19.
                  Plutarch, Demetrius 2-14, 28-31;
                  _____, Eumenes 3, 8-19.
                  Pausanias, Description of Greece 1.6.4-8.

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