Greece History – From the Ipso War to the Death of Pyrrhus

The weakness of this restoration, however, appeared shortly after, when, defeated Antigonus and Demetrius in the battle of Ipso in which Antigonus lost his life (301), Antigonus’s dream of domination was ruined. Then a good part of the Greeks and first of all the Athenians undoubtedly broke away from Demetrius trying to preserve freedom and democracy by juggling him and Cassander. Macedonia, reduced to his own forces, deprived of all that bold youth who had gone to settle in Asia and Egypt, unable to regain the dominion of the Aegean, which Demetrius still held with the relics of his father’s armies and treasures, did not he was able to subject Greece to his will, but it might be enough to curb Demetrius’ intrusiveness. Cassandro’s death, which occurred shortly after (297), and the premature end of his eldest son Philip IV with the troubles that followed, with the weakening produced by the affirmation of the nearby epirotic power under the guidance of the brilliant Pyrrhus, gave occasion to a new intervention by Demetrius Poliorcete in Greece, who succeeded to occupy Athens (294) and then, having killed one of Cassander’s sons and forced the other to flee, to sit on the Macedonian throne. For a moment he must have thought that the unity of Macedonia and Greece was being realized again and that this time the now ancient bond of Demetrius with the Greek democracies would allow it to give it a firm foundation. In reality Demetrius, just on the throne of Macedon, resumed the tradition of his predecessors, began to approach the oligarchs and reveal his imperialist aims, dropping republican sympathies, which he had used to buy land and partisans in Greece. But in this way he prepared for himself the fate that he had prepared for the family of Cassander. The other Macedonian kings, particularly Ptolemy of Lake and Seleucus, when they wanted to act against him, suspicious of his imperialist aims and fearing that he would renew his father’s ambitious dream, found an easy alliance in republican sentiment in Greece, especially in Athens, which arose. against Demetrius in 287. While Pyrrhus and Lysimachus snatched Macedonia from him, while those of the Greeks on whom he most counted rebelled against him, Poliorcete tried to rebuild his power with a daring attempt in Asia, where he ended up miserably a prisoner of Seleucus the his life as an adventurer, leaving the possessions that remained in Greece and the Aegean to his son Antigono called Gonata. And in disunited Greece the fighting continued without a solution being found in the following years in which Macedonia was held by the Macedonian general who occupied Thrace and a large part of Asia Minor, Lysimaco, with the title of king. Nor did things change much when, Lysimachus fell fighting against Seleucus in the battle of Corupedius (282 or 281) and assassinated Seleucus, Macedonia fell into the power of Ptolemy called Cerauno, son of Ptolemy of Lake. But then a new enemy arose from the north., the Celtic barbarians (280). Ptolemy Cerauno perished fighting with them and Macedonia fell into anarchy. Hordes of Celts invaded Greece where, despite the resistance of the Greeks to Thermopylae, they overcame the passes and advanced sacking as far as Delphi (279). Here, however, they encountered valid resistance on the part of the Delphi and the Aetolians and had to start a retreat which was disastrous for them. However, leaving Macedonia and Greece alone for now, the Celts swamped in southern Thrace where the deaths of Lysimachus and Ptolemy Ceraunus had shaken Macedonian rule, whence they later passed into Asia Minor. The most powerful of the Greek dynasts of the time, Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, was far away, and in those years he fought with various fortunes for the defense of Hellenism in Italy against the Romans, in Sicily against the Carthaginians. Antigono Gonata benefited from his absence and the anarchy into which Macedonia had fallen. and turning definitively from Asia to Europe, he won a great victory over the Gauls at Lysimachia over the Hellespont, and, aided by the prestige that that victory gave him, he recovered his paternal kingdom. His success was jeopardized for a moment by Pyrrhus, who, having returned to Greece with the prestige that his wars in the West had assured him, although not always victorious, easily snatched Macedonia from Antigonus, and seemed on the point of unify Greece. But it would have been unstable unification in any case, because it was based only on his prowess as a soldier and on the military power of the Epirotes. His dream of domination ended with the vain attempt on Sparta and with the surprise he attempted in Argos, frustrated by Macedonians and Spartans for once connected, where he met his death (273 or 272).

Greece History - From the Ipso War to the Death of Pyrrhus