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The Babylon Conference, 323 BC
Alexander the Great died in 323. Following his death, the Macedonian high command met to discuss what should happen to his empire. Alexander had no heir – his wife Roxane was still pregnant – and his half-brother, Arrhidaeus, had a mental disability that stopped him from being a serious candidate for the kingship.
At the behest of the Macedonian phalanx, Arrhidaeus – despite his disability – was made king. Perhaps to appease the senior officers, Perdiccas was appointed his regent. Thereafter, and in the name of the king, Perdiccas appointed the most senior officers to the empire’s various satrapies. You can read who got what here.
323 – 320
Being appointed satrap was on the face of it a promotion for the generals but really they were just glorified caretakers – keeping the empire ticking over until Alexander IV was old enough to inherit his birthright.
Well, that’s what they were supposed to do. But it wasn’t long before the caretakers became generals once again and took to the field to try and extend their power and influence. Thus began the First War of the Successors, which I wrote about here.
The war ended in 319 after Antigonus defeated Eumenes and Alcetas; the year before, Perdiccas was assassinated by disgruntled officers following his botched invasion of Egypt. This meant that a new regent had to be found.
Perdiccas’ men offered the regency to Ptolemy, but he declined it. After doing so, he proposed that it be given to Peithon, who had lead the assassination of Perdiccas, and Arrhidaeus. Perdiccas’ men agreed and they were duly appointed.
For someone who would prove to be such an ambitious man, Peithon gave up the regency very quickly. It happened after he and Arrhidaeus arrived in Triparadeisus (possibly modern day Baalbek in the Lebanon). There, they found Adea Euridike conspiring against them. Seeing that she was making inroads with the Macedonians, Peithon and Arrhidaeus resigned the positions. An assembly then elected Antipater to replace them.
On this occasion, Antipater was made of tougher stuff than Peithon and Arrhidaeus and he managed to see off the princess. It wasn’t easy, though. It seems that Adea Euridike turned Perdiccas’ men against him and only prompt action by Seleucus and Antigonus saved Antipater from being lynched.
The Triparadeisus Conference
Once Adea Euridike had been dealt with, Antipater announced how he was redistributing the satrapies. Here is the list as Diodorus* gives it:
Amphimachus – Mesopotamia & Arbelitus
Antigenes – Susiane
Antigonus Monophthalmus – Great Phrygia & Lycia
Arrhidaeus – Hellespontine Phrygia
Asander – Caria
(White) Cleitus – Lydia
Laomedon of Mitylene – Syria
Nicanor – Cappadocia
Peithon – Media
Peithon son of Agenor – ‘India bordering on Paropanisadae’
Peucestas – Persia
Philip – Parthia
Philoxenus – Cilicia
Ptolemy – Egypt
Seleucus – Babylonia
Stasander of Cyprus – Aria & Drangene
Stasanor of Soli – Bactria & Sogdia
Tlepolemus – Carmania
Oxyartes – Paropanisadae
Porus – Allowed to retain his kingdom
Taxiles – Allowed to retain his kingdom
* Loeb Classical Library (Harvard University Press, 2004. Translated by Russel M. Geer)
In his notes, Geer states that ‘[m]ention of the re-appointment of Sibyrtius as satrap of Arachosia [and Gedrosia?] seems to have been omitted or lost at this point’.
As well as confirming Antigonus Monophthalmus in his satrapy, Antipater also gave him orders to finish the war with Eumenes and Alcetas. Concerned, though, about Antigonus’ ‘ambitions’, Antipater assigned his son, Cassander, to Antigonus’ army with the rank of chiliarch. This order would soon be countermanded, however, and Cassander would return to Macedon with his father and the two kings.
Changes to the Babylon arrangement
- Amphimachus replaced Arcesilaus as satrap of Mesopotamia
- Antigenes replaced an eastern satrap in Susiane
- Arrhidaeus replaced Leonnatus as satrap of Hellespontine Phrygia
- (White) Cleitus replaced Menander as satrap of Lydia
- Nicanor replaced Eumenes as satrap of Cappadocia
- Philip replaced Phrataphernes as satrap of Parthia
- Philoxenus replaced Philotas as satrap of Cilicia
- Seleucus replaced Archon as satrap of Babylonia
- Stasander of Cyprus replaced Stasanor of Soli as satrap of Aria & Drangene/Drangine
- Stasanor of Soli replaced Philip as satrap of Bactria & Sogdia
- Pamphylia (Still part of Antigonus’ satrapy?)
- Paphlagonia (Under Nicanor’s authority?)
- Thrace (Lysimachus did retain this satrapy)
- North West (or Lesser) Media (Under Philip’s authority?)
- Hyrcania (Under Philip’s authority?)
There would be no further conferences to decide who would have authority over which satrapy. Future changes would be decided by war, etc.