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R.A. Billows: The Succession of the Epigonoi The Succession of the Epigonoi Richard A. Billows Alexander the Great's successors-the Diadochoi—were an extraordinary set of men. More properly seen as Alexander's contemporaries, including several much older contemporaries, their succession to Alexander's power was a result of Alexander's early death in contrast to their own often very long lives.1 As contemporaries of Alexander, several of them had already played significant roles in the campaigns and achievements of Philip IL and all of them had played significant roles in the career and achievements of Alexander.2 This means diat the great Macedonian Empire conquered under Alexander's leadership was an achievement of the Diadochoi as well as of Alexander; and they hence all could and did pride themselves on their activities under and connections with the great Alexander.3 Their rise to power over portions of the Macedonian Empire was justified initially by reference to their links with Philip and Alexander, and furtherjustification was found in their successful military and administrative activities after Alexander's death~in particular the assumption by the Diadochoi of the royal title and status in the years 306 to 304 was explicidy linked in most if not all cases to important military 1 Alexander died aged 33. Among his successors, according to the best information we have, Antipatros was about 80 when he died in 319 (see RE s.v. Antipatros no. 12 [Kaerst]); Antigonos was about 81 at his death in 301 (see R.A. Billows, Antigonos the One-Eyedand the Creation ofthe Hellenistic State [Berkeley 1990] IS, note 1) and Polyperclion must have been similarly aged when he died, as he was almost as old as Antigonos, whom he apparendy outlived (see Billows, op. cit., 172, note 20); Ptolemy died aged about 85 (see RE s.v. Ptolemaios no. 18 [Volkmann]); at the batde of Kyroupedion in 281 Lysimadlos was about 70 to 75 and Seleukos reputedly 73 or 77 (Appian, Syriake 63; Justin 17.1.10). 2 Antipatros of course had been one of Philip's right hand men (see RE s.v. no. 12 [Kaerst]), and in all likelihood Antigonos too had been an important officer under Philip, see Billows, Antigonos the One-Eyed (above, note 1) chapter 1. Forthe careers ofthe Diadochoi under Alexander see now W. Heckel, The Marshals ofAlexander's Empire (London and New York 1992). 3 See on this now e.g., R.A. Billows, Kings and Colonists: Aspects of Macedonian Imperialism (Leiden and New York 1995) 33-41; A. Stewart, Faces of Power: Alexander's Image and Hellenistic Politics (Berkeley 1993)passim. 2 Syllecta Classica 6 (1995) victories.4 In this way, die rise of die Diadochoi from private station to die status of king was seen as die result of die extraordinary talents, achievements, and charisma of this truly gifted set ofmen.5 Consequendy, die succession to die royal status and power of die Diadochoi was problematic. These were not men from ancient, time-hallowed, revered royal families who could pass on dieir status to dieir descendants according to natural right (?at? f?s??—see die Suda s.v. Basileia). It was not immediately clear how a status derived from extraordinarypersonal qualities could be passed on in die absence of a pre-existing dynastic claim to status-indeed die claims later made by all of die Successor dynasties to links witii and/or descent from die royal Argead dynasty of Macedonia are surely to be understood in great part as a response to just diis uncertainty.6 However, at die time when die Diadochoi were aging and pondering die question of arranging for succession to tiieir power, die demise of die last members of die Argead family was too recent, and die lack ofany legitimate claim to Argead descent for die Diadochoi and tiieir families was too well known, for such claims to Argead links/descent to be used as die means for arranging and smoothing die transition ofpower. Anotiier mechanism had to be found. As so often, it was die key transitional leader Antigonos die One-Eyed who found die necessary expedient. A close contemporary of Alexander's fatiier...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2160-5157
Print ISSN
1040-3612
Pages
pp. 1-11
Launched on MUSE
2015-04-01
Open Access
No
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