Cassander, Olympias & the 3rd Diadoch War: Early Chronology

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Cassander, Olympias & the 3rd Diadoch War: Early Chronology

Post by agesilaos »

That there is something wrong with this siege seems clear, or rather with our perception of it. We have two markers for its length in Diodoros; it is news of the death of the King that spurs Kassandros to move north. This is six years and four months after Daisios 323 which is Dios 317, this ran 23 June to 22 July. The other marker is that Olympias surrendered when 'spring was coming on'. Diodoros places this under the archonship of Demokleides which ran 25-June-316 to 14- July 315. That Diodoros may have got the archon wrong is made less likely by the Marmor Parium agreeing with him. There was, of course, only one spring in Demokleides' archonship, that of 315. So we have a siege of over a year, it is just that Diodoros has reported it all under the year it ended.

This does not really alter the arguments about when the funeral was, other than pushing it a year later, but it does avoid the necessity of any apologia.
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Re: Cassander, Olympias & the 3rd Diadoch War: Early Chrono

Post by Paralus »

Xenophon wrote:My mention of the Argyraspids was merely to illustrate as an example the 'fickleness' of the Macedonian troops to put their own interests before those of their leaders - you have kindly supplied several more examples of 'the mood of the times'. :)
Your original mention of the Argyraspids was in reply to my question as to why Diodorus or his source felt the need to write an apology for this episode. In other words, if the source is Hieronymus, why does he feel the need to go into an exaggerated excursus to apologise for Olympias' guards (or Olympias herself for that matter)? The implication of the reply (below, my italics) is that because there was, as yet, no precedent for such dastardly self-serving behaviour (else why emphasise the Argyraspids' treachery as "not-yet-known"?), this was an episode in need of obfuscation and explaining away as it was the first such.
Xenophon wrote: Bearing in mind the 'fickleness' of the Macedonians, and the not-yet-known precedent of the "Silver shields", I have the deepest suspicion that what actually happened was that the 'followers' - Ambracian cavalry and bodyguards - surrendered Olympias and her court to Cassander 'toute de suite' when the weather broke, in exchange for their lives.....
I disagree. As I've shown, the fickleness of the Macedonians was illustrated by several episodes prior to this including the murder of the regent Perdiccas in Egypt. A need to apologise for Olympias' troops purported handing her over to Cassander because the Argyraspids' example was "as-yet-unknown" is not persuasive. In the previous year the Macedonian troops had handed over the king (Philip III) and his entire court to Olympias (Eurydice escaped to be captured later).

But, even if your view is accepted, why does Diodorus or his source feel compelled to apologia in this episode?
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Re: Cassander, Olympias & the 3rd Diadoch War: Early Chron

Post by Xenophon »

Agesilaos wrote:
That Diodoros may have got the archon wrong is made less likely by the Marmor Parium agreeing with him. There was, of course, only one spring in Demokleides' archonship, that of 315. So we have a siege of over a year, it is just that Diodoros has reported it all under the year it ended.
Ee..ee..eek ! Whilst that would solve many of the anomalies I have drawn attention to about the siege, it also reverts to Anson's 'low' chronology as set out in "Dating the deaths of Eumenes and Olympias" in AHB.

I was under the impression that there was general agreement here that the 'mixed' chronology of Boiy/Stylianou/Wheatley/Meeus/Lendering was to be preferred.....indeed I am surprised Paralus hasn't commented on what could prove to be another lengthy digression. :wink:

Since there is general agreement that Eumenes and Olympias both died around the same time, you are going to have to shift the whole chronology ! Not to mention that the next year Cassander presides over the Nemean Games, and so that year can only realistically be 315 BC....( Nemean Games being bi-annual)
Paralus wrote:
As I've shown, the fickleness of the Macedonians was illustrated by several episodes prior to this including the murder of the regent Perdiccas in Egypt. A need to apologise for Olympias' troops purported handing her over to Cassander because the Argyraspids' example was "as-yet-unknown" is not persuasive. In the previous year the Macedonian troops had handed over the king (Philip III) and his entire court to Olympias (Eurydice escaped to be captured later).

But, even if your view is accepted, why does Diodorus or his source feel compelled to apologia in this episode?
I think you over-read too much into what I wrote, as I have already said. I merely plucked the example of the Argyraspides out of the air, and added "as yet unknown" so as to anticipate someone pointing this out.... You have kindly added other 'precedents', again as I said.

As to reasons why this particular act of treachery needed an 'apologia', I cannot say for certain - not being a mind-reader of D.S or his source.

As a hypothesis let us consider that Olympias, despite her murderous predilections, especially against the house of Antipater, was very popular among the Makedones - as the betrayal and surrender of Philip Arrhidaeus and Eurydike demonstrates. More than that, Olympias was effectively the head of the 'legitimate' Argead house, wife of Philip who had made Macedon great, and mother to Alexander who became a legend in his own lifetime, and was grandmother to the 'legitimate' heir(s) who were in her custody. This was a far worse betrayal in the eyes of Macedonians, because it meant the end of the Argead house and Philip and Alexander's line. Far more important than 'fickleness' and betrayal of mere Generals such as Perdiccas ( murdered by a small group of officers, be it noted, rather than betrayed by the whole army ) or Eumenes - a mere inferior Greek after all.Not even the betrayal of Arrhidaeus and Eurydike was in the same League, because the Makedones had enthusiastically swapped this 'branch' line for the one true legitimate 'main line' represented by Olympias and her grandchildren - and that fairly recently too.Bear in mind too that Cassander feared that she would be restored if brought to trial before the Makedones - such was her popularity. In Macedonia, the fact that she - and the 'legitimate' Argead house - had been surrendered without a fight ( to certain extinction) required some explaining, at the very least. Hence the probably made-up story of 'loyalty unto death', for even if we follow Agesilaos and Anson into 'low' chronology to make the siege "very long", it still doesn't explain the patently non-starving soldiers immediately being sent home, hale and hearty enough to walk, to spread the news of Olympias' demise ( i.e. her surrender, not her death - that likely occurred after the deserters had been sent home - D.S. XIX.49.2 - she was still alive when they departed) "to the various cities".
The failure to do the utmost to preserve the line of Philip and Alexander, the Argead house, might indeed require an 'apologia'.
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Re: Cassander, Olympias & the 3rd Diadoch War: Early Chron

Post by Paralus »

Xenophon wrote:Ee..ee..eek ! Whilst that would solve many of the anomalies I have drawn attention to about the siege, it also reverts to Anson's 'low' chronology as set out in "Dating the deaths of Eumenes and Olympias" in AHB.

I was under the impression that there was general agreement here that the 'mixed' chronology of Boiy/Stylianou/Wheatley/Meeus/Lendering was to be preferred.....indeed I am surprised Paralus hasn't commented on what could prove to be another lengthy digression. :wink:
Because of those last words.

The death of Olympias and Eumenes clearly belong to the same winter. In short, Diodorus is an archon year out of phase here. Your noting of Cassander's presiding over the Nemean games is correct. This occurred in 315 - the same year as Aristodemus reaches the Peloponnese (the reason Cassander marches to the Peloponnese) on behalf of Antigonus.

Agesilaos speaks in terms of ancient months where as Diodorus speaks in terms of "years". If this is to be reckoned in months (and I'm not sure it should), then the siege is longer than otherwise thought. It certainly did not last into 315 though.
Xenophon wrote:As to reasons why this particular act of treachery needed an 'apologia', I cannot say for certain - not being a mind-reader of D.S or his source.
This is exactly what one must become when positing such though. The supposed kinship or, at least, friendship of Eumenes and Hieronymus is often held up as the reason for the blackened reputations of Peucestas and the Argyraspides. Some even go so far as to argue this relationship gave Hieronymus the freedom to blacken the reputation of Antigonus, the eponymous Antigonid. One would have to suppose some bias in the source towards Olympias. Not likely I'd have thought given the harsh judgement upon her for her actions.

Personally I think it comes down to Diodorus and his love of the turns of tyche. Olympias is humbled and even deserted by those closest to her. From the top of the world (ma!) to utter abandonment and death. I don't think that Hieronymus (if he is indeed the direct source) needed to apologise for Cassander's destruction of the Argead line: he was, after all, an enemy of Antigonus and Demetrius. It was, after all, Cassander who extinguished the line; the guards merely abandoned the queen.
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Re: Cassander, Olympias & the 3rd Diadoch War: Early Chron

Post by Xenophon »

We seem to find ourselves in agreement here, with Agesilaos the odd one out. I do not see how you can think "the siege is longer than otherwise thought". Our sources are quite clear. Cassander hastens north, and even at 'normal' march pace,[ see possible timetable ante] will have arrived in Macedonia in November 317 BC, whereupon Olympias seems to have been taken by surprise, and holes up in Pydna. Her army, under Aristonous, is far to the North-west, in Amphipolis, presumably waiting to link up with a triumphant Eumenes marching west to the rescue, which was not to be.

Upon learning Olympias is in Pydna, Cassander 'force marches' there "with the utmost expedition" [Justin XIV.14.6] and circumvallates the place, but the winter weather arrives ( early December) and delays the assault. As soon as the weather breaks ( "As spring came on..." which must mean the spring following that winter ) her soldiers effectively unconditionally surrender her to Cassander in return for their lives, knowing an assault and certain death are upon them. Cassander evidently has an overwhelming force, and it is unlikely in the extreme that Cassander sat there for 12 months without attacking the place.....the cost in money would be prohibitive, not to mention what his enemies might get up to while he sat on his hands. To my mind, and I believe to the vast majority of scholars, Eumenes and Olympias died in the Spring of 316 BC. In addition the re-founding of Thebes takes place in the twentieth year after its destruction at Alexander's hands ( 336 BC) i.e 316 BC [D.S. XIX.53], and cannot be 315 BC.
Personally I think it comes down to Diodorus and his love of the turns of tyche.
...And in due course, Cassander too suffers the turn of tyche, with his family too doomed to be wiped out 'root and branch'.....
....the guards merely abandoned the queen.
"merely" ? There can have been no illusions by anyone in Macedon what the outcome of abandoning the Queen would be, when the 'blood-feud' between Olympias and the Antipatrids had been going decades, and Cassander's brother and relatives were not long in their graves at Olympias' hands. This 'Macedonian way' had much the same hallmarks as a Sicilian mafia vendetta...only worse, for Mafia vendettas seldom include women and children....
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Re: Cassander, Olympias & the 3rd Diadoch War: Early Chron

Post by Paralus »

Xenophon wrote: I do not see how you can think "the siege is longer than otherwise thought".
It is rather simple: I do not; Agesilaos does. Agesilaos posits that Diodorus' note Arrhidaeus ruled for "two years and four months" is measured in Macedonian months. Thus Arrhidaeus is murdered sometime in July. If - and it is a big if - he is correct, the siege obviously lasts longer than supposed.
Xenophon wrote:
....the guards merely abandoned the queen.
]"merely" ? There can have been no illusions by anyone in Macedon what the outcome of abandoning the Queen would be, when the 'blood-feud' between Olympias and the Antipatrids had been going decades, and Cassander's brother and relatives were not long in their graves at Olympias' hands. This 'Macedonian way' had much the same hallmarks as a Sicilian mafia vendetta...only worse, for Mafia vendettas seldom include women and children....
Yes, merely. No matter how you may like to present it, it was Cassander who exterminated the Argead line - not Olympias or her "treacherous" guards. I reject the notion that the handing over of the choice of the phalanx at Babylon (Arrhidaeus) was nothing near comparable. This was the acknowledged king of over six years; a king who'd been ensconced in Macedon since 319. There can have been no illusions by anyone in Macedon what the outcome of abandoning the king and his court to Olympias would have been - especially considering your supposed " 'blood-feud' between Olympias and the Antipatrids" which had been going on for decades.
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Re: Cassander, Olympias & the 3rd Diadoch War: Early Chron

Post by agesilaos »

I think we can all agree that neither Diodoros nor,more importantly, his source here is using a Julian reckoning so the reign of 'six years and four months' has to reckoned six years Daisios to Daisios plus four months which gives Dios or, if the last month was incomplete, or the count inclusive, Hyperberetaios. The equation June plus four months equals October, simply cannot figure in a pre-Roman Greek source.

Further, the circumstances speak of Kassandros' move being made during the campaigning season not after it. He abandons the siege of Tegea (XIX 35.i), yet Alexander is still in the field waiting to initiate an attack on the Peloponnese, which can only involve sieges which are usually started close to the beginning of harvest season, in order to deprive the besieged and sustain the besiegers rather than after the land is fallow and the besieged well-supplied, this is surely the cause of the allies' confusion; they are going to be left to face Alexander while still vulnerable, too weak to risk an engagement and insufficiently provisioned to withstand a siege (harvest c mid May, threshing and storage mid-June). By October, the allies would be prepared to resist any move of Alexander's whose own supplies would be precarious (as they had been when Polyperchon had had to leave him and a fragment of the army before Athens due to supply difficulties the previous season, 318, XVII 68 iii).

Again, on arriving in Perrhaebia, and suborning Olympias' defenders, Kassandros sends Atarrhias to prevent an invasion from Epeiros ( XIX 36.ii), if the closing of the passes in winter is an argument for a spring funeral it follows that there was no threat of an invasion across snow-closed passes, this cannot be November, then.

If Kassandros arrived before Pydna in June it is possible that all was not 'safely gathered in' contibuting to Olympias' plight.

A siege ending in the spring of 315 does not contradict Kassandros hosting the Nemean Games (XIX 64.i)in the autumn of the next archon year, it is still 315.

The only evidence for the sychronism of Eumenes' and Olympias' deaths, that I can see, is Diodoros' remark that Aristonous was ignorant of the death of Eumenes (XIX 50.viii) so it is a question of rejecting this statement and accepting the archon dating of Diodoros and an independent source, the Marmor Parium, or rejecting these two for what may be Diodoros' own embellishment. Olympias herself is never stated as expecting help from Eumenes, nor does he seem to figure in Polyperchon's reckoning of the future of the 'King's cause', this would be unsurprising if he were already dead. I would posit that Diodoros has been led astray by the proximity of his own report of Gabiene to gild the lily; what help could an army 2,000 miles away be to Aristonous with Kassandros on his doorstep? This smacks of a Diodoran motivation.
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Re: Cassander, Olympias & the 3rd Diadoch War: Early Chron

Post by Paralus »

agesilaos wrote:A siege ending in the spring of 315 does not contradict Kassandros hosting the Nemean Games (XIX 64.i)in the autumn of the next archon year, it is still 315.
Since it seems I've used the "phrase of the moment", I'll use it again: I disagree root and branch. The siege cannot have ended in spring 315. For such to be the case Cassander conducts a siege, marries, buries, founds a city, raises an army to conduct a campaign into the Peloponnese, refounds Thebes, returns to Macedon, raises and army, conducts a campaign into the Peloponnese (19.63.3ff) to confront Aristodemus and then presides over the Nemean games. These events cannot possibly have happened within the same campaigning year and, logically, they did not. The siege ended in 316 and the first campaign and the re-founding of Thebes took place in the "twentieth year" after its destruction 316 (53.1; 54.1). The second campaign - to deal with Aristodemus - self evidently occurred in 315 when, at its end, Cassander presides over the Nemean Games.

It might also be worth noting that, if the archon notations are inserted correctly, Diodorus covers two years (or the better part thereof) for European affairs under Democleides. 19.35-36 finds Cassander besieging Tegea in the autumn (or summer by your timetable) and continues through until the end of the siege of Pydna and its subsequent events to the close of the following year's campaign season (49-54). At 56.5 we find Antigonus in his winter quarters - the winter following Seleucus' summer runner from Babylon (316/15). Diodorus then immediately continues with events for the following campaign season (315). The archon change (Praxibulus) should have been at 57.1. Diodorus' archons are a year ahead of themselves... so to speak.

I do not suggest that Diodorus' source was using a Julian calendar. That said, whilst the four months might be Macedonian, the years are mean as exactly that: years. The ancients knew their calendars did not reflect solstice to solstice or equinox to equinox (hence intercalary months). Hence all scholars - to my knowledge - take six years to be that. If not, what are we to make of twenty years after destruction? All calculated in intercalary month-free years?
agesilaos wrote:The only evidence for the sychronism of Eumenes' and Olympias' deaths, that I can see, is Diodoros' remark that Aristonous was ignorant of the death of Eumenes (XIX 50.viii) so it is a question of rejecting this statement and accepting the archon dating of Diodoros and an independent source, the Marmor Parium, or rejecting these two for what may be Diodoros' own embellishment. Olympias herself is never stated as expecting help from Eumenes, nor does he seem to figure in Polyperchon's reckoning of the future of the 'King's cause', this would be unsurprising if he were already dead. I would posit that Diodoros has been led astray by the proximity of his own report of Gabiene to gild the lily; what help could an army 2,000 miles away be to Aristonous with Kassandros on his doorstep? This smacks of a Diodoran motivation.
Again, I disagree. If this is Diodoran embellishment, enabled by "the proximity of his own report of Gabiene", he is very consistent. Perhaps this is the old repetition of the "lily gilded" makes such gilding true? At 19.50.8 Diodorus notes that Aristonous is ignorant of Eumenes' death in Asia. Later, at 52.2 he writes that Cassander, too, was ignorant of Eumenes' death (Antigonus' success). If he's gilding the lily he certainly wants it fully gilded. Also, it is readily apparent that the fate of Philip Arrhidaeus is unknown in Asia else there is no basis for Eumenes' concocted letter. Diodorus gives only the summary import of the letter but it is clear Philip was still believed to be alive and kicking for Eumenes is the man who, with the support of the kings can promote or punish (19.23.3). The kings are directly referred to in the next chapter (24.1 and 2) and the kings are referred to at 44.2. Now, whilst timing in Macedonian months might seem to make sense (along with your other arguments), Philip's death, if it happened in late June / July, cannot possibly have remained unknown by winter in the east.

There is more but it will need to wait until later.
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Re: Cassander, Olympias & the 3rd Diadoch War: Early Chron

Post by agesilaos »

I cannot find your quote at 52.ii, nor elsewhere could you check the reference, please.

I think the ancients would have reckoned years as month A in year one to month A in the target year, embolimic months notwithstanding, and then counted any additional months (in which case the embolimic month would be counted); we can see this in Aristoboulos' reckoning of Alexander's life and reign in Arrian. An Athenian year would run Hekatombaion to Hekatombaion, a Makedonian one Dios to Dios, I can think of no evidence of a year count being adjusted to make it in true astronomical years. I do seem to have goofed, though, in copying and pasting Chris Bennet's table the dates seem to have morphed! Philip's death was probably in September, possibly August, not as early as I previously stated.

I confess that it does seem a long time for news of Philip's demise to reach the East, but the last attested date for Philip's regnal year in a Babylonian dating formula is 18 Tashritu(Dios) Year 8 or 10 October 316 (BM 79012, Boiy's AION Suppl.77 79, p86 'Between High and Low'). Philip acceded in the second month of the Babylonian year, and his regnal years date from then to the new year, so with his death after a reign of 6 years 4 months Macedonian the latest date should be yr7 month 7 (Tashritu) or between September 3 and October 3 317 posssibly a month or so later due to delay in the in transmission, but this is a full year of posthumous dating. There is a cuneiform text which gives the date of Philip's death as 27 Kislimu yr 7/ 26 December 317 (LDAT 14 444, I think Chris Bennet's label mutilates his reference!), this would seem to indicate a three month lag between events in Macedonia and the news reaching Babylon.

By October 316 Antigonos was in power at Babylon yet his earliest date is Kislimu yr 3 (CT 49 34), December 315; the regnal year being a retrocalculation. If Pydna fell in March 316 then it takes a year or so for the news to reach Babylon? Certainly, eight months, conversely were the siege to have ended as Diodoros and the MP have it in March 315 and the fate of the royal couple only emerged then the scribe would have a reason for dating to yr 8 of Philip and Antigonos a reason for not usurping the date.

The crowded year is an artefact of Diodoros' reporting the whole siege under the year it ended and that end coming near the end of the archon year. Much of the matter needs spreading over the two years ( I have to work this out more fully). One point to remember is that Kassandros need not have remained in person before Pydna, he had bigger fish to fry.
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Re: Cassander, Olympias & the 3rd Diadoch War: Early Chron

Post by Paralus »

agesilaos wrote:I cannot find your quote at 52.ii, nor elsewhere could you check the reference, please.
Scribal error! It is 52.4:
Cassander had determined to do away with Alexander's son and the son's mother, Roxanê, so that p373there might be no successor to the kingdom; but for the present, since he wished to observe what the common people would say about the slaying of Olympias and since he had no news of Antigonus' success, he placed Roxanê and the child in custody, transferring them to the citadel of Amphipolis.
agesilaos wrote:I think the ancients would have reckoned years as month A in year one to month A in the target year, embolimic months notwithstanding, and then counted any additional months (in which case the embolimic month would be counted); we can see this in Aristoboulos' reckoning of Alexander's life and reign in Arrian. An Athenian year would run Hekatombaion to Hekatombaion, a Makedonian one Dios to Dios...
The chronographic system (Attic Archon years) Diodorus is attempting correlate to his source's campaign seasons is exactly that: an astronomical year, solstice based (first new moon after the summer solstice).
agesilaos wrote:The crowded year is an artefact of Diodoros' reporting the whole siege under the year it ended and that end coming near the end of the archon year.
It is an artifact of his incorrect archon year insertions. It goes back to 19.12-16 (well, 11-16 taking into account Olympias' return). In this archon year we have only the events of spring-summer. Eumenes' activities relate only to leaving winter quarters and making it to Susiane. Diodorus' archon year ends with Antigonus clearly never having left his winter quarters (318/17) and instead staying put and "refreshing his troops". This will mean that Antigonus awaited the arrival of the baggage train, elephants and other encumbrances that he'd left when he set of in his pursuit of Eumenes. There follows, in another archon year, Antigonus setting off to eventually confront Eumenes crossing the Coprates. These events, of summer / early autumn, obviously belong to the same campaigning year as chapters 12-16.
agesilaos wrote:Much of the matter needs spreading over the two years ( I have to work this out more fully).
Indeed: 317-316 rather than 316-315. It is impossible for it to be the latter. As you say, Antigonus was in power in Babylon in summer 316. You also agree that Cassander presided over the Nemean games of 315. Now both correlate each other for Seleucus leaves Babylon the summer before the year of the Nemean games, that is 316. This incontrovertibly places the winter of Eumenes' defeat as 317/16. Both Diodorus' narrative and his two remarks that this defeat was unknown in Macedonia at Olympias' death lock the two events (the siege of Pydna and the campaign of Gabiene) to the same winter of 317/16.

The Babylonian evidence with respect to Arrhidaeus' regnal years is not surprising. There is great confusion in the east and the dated tablet (27 Kislimu, yr 7/ 26, December 317 LDAT 14 444) likely does represent the time the news was confirmed or arrived. This, then, fits with the fact that the satrapal coalition were yet to receive such news whilst falling out of winter quarters for Gabiene (or earlier when Eumenes' letter was produced, likely in autumn). That notations are still being made to Philip III is little different to the notations to the dead Alexander IV until the Diadochoi took up the diadem. As far as the east was concerned, there will have been no end of confusion as to whether to date to Philip, an absent (and imprisoned Alexander IV as Antigonus trumpets at Tyre) or the fellow "granted the dignity of kingship by the inhabitants as the acknowledged lord of Asia" (19.48.1; Translation Bosworth, "Legacy", p. 162, n 221) on entry into Persepolis (cf Polyaenus 4.6.13: "the Silver Shields delivered up Eumenes as a prisoner to Antigonus; who thereby became king of all Asia").
agesilaos wrote:I confess that it does seem a long time for news of Philip's demise to reach the East, but the last attested date for Philip's regnal year in a Babylonian dating formula is 18 Tashritu(Dios) Year 8 or 10 October 316 (BM 79012, Boiy's AION Suppl.77 79, p86 'Between High and Low'). Philip acceded in the second month of the Babylonian year, and his regnal years date from then to the new year, so with his death after a reign of 6 years 4 months Macedonian the latest date should be yr7 month 7 (Tashritu) or between September 3 and October 3 317 posssibly a month or so later due to delay in the in transmission,
Diodorus provides no timeline for the death of Philip other than the six years and four months. Your arguments based upon the campaign times might well be sound for there is no real indication for how long she held the royal couple prisoner (11.4-5).
But after Olympias had thus captured the royal persons and had seized the kingdom without a fight, she did not carry her good fortune as a human being should, but first she placed Eurydicê and her husband Philip under guard and began to maltreat them. Indeed she walled them up in a small space and supplied them with what was necessary through a single narrow opening. But after she had for many days unlawfully treated the unfortunate captives, she ordered certain Thracians to stab Philip to death, who had been king for six years and four months;
This,"for many days", is a typical Diodoran catch-all and ranks alongside "a short time " in chronological precision (Alexander issues the Exiles Decree "a short time" before he died. It was, in fact, a year as Anson points out - Diodorus and the Date of Triparadeisus, The American Journal of Philology, Vol. 107, No. 2 pp. 209-10). Now, whilst I don't claim months transpired here, there clearly was some time. Similarly Cassander more than likely knew of Olympias' return and the result of same prior to the news of the murder of the royal couple reaching him at Tegea. Meeus (The History of The Diadochoi in Book 19 of Diodorus' Bibliothekeca Historica - unpublished Dissertation, Leuven, 2009) argues compression of the source similar to the compression evident at 18.12.1. In the latter, Antipater requests help from Craterus after hearing of the death of Alexander and of the new satrapal arrangements. The two events were separated by weeks - likely a month - and it is unlikely in the extreme that Antipater was not informed of Alexander's death immediately it happened rather than awaiting the wash-up of protracted political plays in Babylon. It is because of the reaction of the Greeks to the news of Alexander's death that Antipater makes the request. Diodorus has compressed the lot into this note as he likely does with Cassander who will have attempted to tie matters up in his current campaign before heading north to confront Olympias. The final courier bringing news of the murders - "many days" after the capitulation - was the firing pin that blew off the siege of Tegea.
Last edited by Paralus on Mon Mar 25, 2013 3:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.

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Re: Cassander, Olympias & the 3rd Diadoch War: Early Chron

Post by Xenophon »

Since I know how difficult it can be to respond to two ( or more! ) people posting debating points/arguments for or against a particular hypothesis, I shall say no more than that at present I agree with what I thought was a consensus that Olympias and Eumenes both met their fate in the Spring of 316 BC. I am ( so far) not persuaded by Agesilaos' points, which if we were to take the siege of Pydna alone, are plausible. It is however, when taken in context, impossible to correlate the ending of the siege in 315 BC with all the other on-going events.....

Meanwhile, as a footnote:
I wrote:
It's importance was that it had a landlocked, sheltered harbour......... Quite why she went there is a mystery - perhaps it offered the nearest walled city to 'the front', for ease of communication or perhaps she was simply caught 'in transit' by the speed of the Cassander's advance, and again made for the nearest bolt-hole with walls. Who can say ? The presence of the remaining elephants too is hard to explain. Why weren't they with Aristonous army ? "Caught out" seems a possible reason....
DOH !! One plausible answer as to why she went there is the first sentence ! Communications with Aristonous, and points further East were safest and most secure by sea ( and those to the south of Greece to Polyperchon etc), for with Antigonus' territory in between, communications with the "Royal Army" under Eumenes far to the East were really only practicable by sea.....hence the need for a harbour that was viable all year round.....
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Re: Cassander, Olympias & the 3rd Diadoch War: Early Chron

Post by Paralus »

Xenophon wrote: I wrote:
It's importance was that it had a landlocked, sheltered harbour......... Quite why she went there is a mystery - perhaps it offered the nearest walled city to 'the front', for ease of communication or perhaps she was simply caught 'in transit' by the speed of the Cassander's advance, and again made for the nearest bolt-hole with walls. Who can say ? The presence of the remaining elephants too is hard to explain. Why weren't they with Aristonous army ? "Caught out" seems a possible reason....
DOH !! One plausible answer as to why she went there is the first sentence ! Communications with Aristonous, and points further East were safest and most secure by sea ( and those to the south of Greece to Polyperchon etc), for with Antigonus' territory in between, communications with the "Royal Army" under Eumenes far to the East were really only practicable by sea.....hence the need for a harbour that was viable all year round.....
Yes, and given the description of Cassander "throwing up a palisade from sea to sea" (49.1) with the intention of "laying siege to Olympias by land and sea"(36.1), this is "old" Pydna, on the sea, rather than that forcibly re-founded inland by Archelaus. Polyaenus (4.11.3) also indicates this:
While Cassander besieged Pydna, a city in Macedonia, in which Olympias was shut up; Polysperchon dispatched a sloop with orders to land close by the town in the night. Polysperchon sent a letter to inform Olympias, and to urge her to embark on board the ship.


Thus she is not in Katerini (most often touted as the re-founded Pydna) but the old site (near the modern town of Makriyialos). One needs a good look at this archaeological site to see just how big this was. More so, if in haste, it may not have been well supplied for her siege.
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Re: Cassander, Olympias & the 3rd Diadoch War: Early Chron

Post by Xenophon »

Yes, I agree that it is clear that Olympias was in "old" Pydna with its harbour ( rather than "new" Pydna founded by Archelaus some two miles inland....sorry if I confused anyone by mentioning it ).

That is the position I was referring to previously.
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Re: Cassander, Olympias & the 3rd Diadoch War: Early Chron

Post by Paralus »

Xenophon wrote:That is the position I was referring to previously.

Yes, and as pointed out, my "Ks" have become confused: the modern town touted is Kitros not Katerini. Ancient Pydna is near the modern town of Makriyialos - some 2km to the southeast.
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Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.

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Re: Cassander, Olympias & the 3rd Diadoch War: Early Chron

Post by Xenophon »

Xenophon wrote:
Communications with Aristonous, and points further East were safest and most secure by sea ( and those to the south of Greece to Polyperchon etc), for with Antigonus' territory in between, communications with the "Royal Army" under Eumenes far to the East were really only practicable by sea.....hence the need for a harbour that was viable all year round.....
Because the narrative of what happened is broken up into chronological sections, it is often easy to overlook something.
In fact D.S. actually says that this is the reason...

" Although the risk involved in all these circumstances was clear, none the less she [Olympias] decided to remain there, hoping that many Greeks and Macedonians would come to her aid by sea " (XIX.35.6-7 )

And I agree that the site of old/ancient Pydna is roughly 2 miles to the SE of modern Makriyialos, spelt Makrigialos for those searching on Google Earth. The land-locked harbour is clearly visible, though now improved by the hand of man - breakwaters and the harbour itself increased in size at some point in time....
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