I will have a slightly different set of ‘fixed points’; but for the moment I want to concentrate on a question that has never even been considered as far as I can see. It is ‘When did Antigonos first build a fleet?’, this links to another question which is ‘why do I say that Kassandros needed to be in alliance with Athens in order to fight at the Chalcedonian Temple?’
Polyainos IV 6 viii would seem to settle the matter;
Antigonus fitted a fleet of a hundred and thirty ships, and placed Nicanor in command of them. Nicanor confronted the fleet of Polysperchon, which was commanded by Cleitus, in the Hellespont; but because of his inexperience, he engaged the enemy with the swell of the tide against him, and lost seventy ships. The enemy had won a decisive victory, by the time that Antigonus reached the fleet in the evening. Undaunted at the defeat he had received, he ordered the sixty ships that remained, to be ready to renew the action the next morning. On board each of them he posted some of the bravest and most resolute men of his own guards; and he commanded them to threaten death to all, who would not charge boldly against the enemy. Byzantium, which was then in alliance with him, was situated nearby; from there he summoned light-armed troops, and peltasts, and archers, a thousand of each. He posted them on the shore, in order to support the fleet, by annoying the enemy with javelins and arrows. This was all achieved in a single night. At day break a shower of javelins and arrows was poured upon the enemy. While they were just arising, and scarcely awake, they were seriously injured, before they realised where the attack was coming from. Some cut their cables, and others weighed their anchors; while nothing prevailed but noise and confusion. Antigonus at the same time ordered the sixty ships to bear down upon them. Under attack both from the sea, and from land, the conquerors were obliged to yield their victory to the conquered.
This seems an open and shut case and were it not that Diodoros states at XIX 58 i
After attending to these matters, Antigonus set out for Phoenicia, hastening to organize a naval force; for it so happened that his enemies then ruled the sea with many ships, but that he had, altogether, not even a few.
This is hardly congruent with a fleet of over 130 ships, Kleitos resources having been absorbed, or even the 100 or so, had he just made good his losses.
Polyainos would have us believe that Antigonos raised a fleet in Asia and that Nikanor went from Athens to join it, presumably with the thirty-five ships that Antigonos had lent to Kassandros.
This would be quite difficult to achieve while Kleitos was still lurking around Athens with his fleet, which must have outnumbered Nikanor’s 35 ships by at least 3:1. Nor does the narrative ring true; Diodoros has a clear sequence, XIX 72 ,
72 1 After this piece of good fortune the Megalopolitans were more confident, but Polyperchon repented of the siege; and as he himself could not wait there for a long time, he left a part of the army for the siege, while he himself went off about other more necessary business. 2 He sent Cleitus the admiral out with the whole fleet, ordering him to lie in wait in the region of the Hellespont and block the forces that were being brought across from Asia into Europe. Cleitus was also to pick up Arrhidaeus, who had fled with all his soldiers to the city of the Cianoi since he was an enemy of Antigonus. 3 After Cleitus had sailed to the Hellespont, had won the allegiance of the cities of the Propontis, and had received the army of Arrhidaeus, Nicanor, the commander of Munychia, reached that region, Cassander having sent him with his entire fleet. Nicanor had also taken over the ships of Antigonus so that he had in all more than a hundred. 4 A naval battle took place not far from Byzantium in which Cleitus was victorious, sinking seventeen ships of the enemy and capturing not less than forty together with their crews, but the rest escaped to the harbour of Chalcedon.
Polyperchon leaves a force to cover Megalopolis
He cannot stay because of ‘more pressing business’
Kleitos is sent to the Hellespont to join up with Arrhidaios and stop Antigonos crossing
He gains the alliance of the cities of the Propontis
Now, it is true that the Loeb seems to make Nikanor meet a separate Antigonid fleet, but the Greek
κατέπλευσεν εἰς τοὺς τόπους ἐκείνους Νικάνωρ ὁ τῆς Μουνυχίας φρούραρχος,ἐξαπεσταλμένος ὑπὸ Κασάνδρου μετὰ παντὸς τοῦ στόλου: προσελάβετο δὲ καὶ τὰς παρ᾽ Ἀντιγόνου ναῦς, ὥστε τὰς πάσας ἔχειν πλείους τῶν ἑκατόν.
need only say that he ‘took Antigonos’ warships as well’
προσελάβετο δὲ καὶ τὰς παρ᾽ Ἀντιγόνου ναῦς
This most naturally means the 35 that he had lent to Kassandros, so Kassandros’
παντὸς τοῦ στόλου
‘whole fleet’, would have to be something else and, given whence they are sailing, the obvious source is the Athenian fleet. This is not strange as Diodoros links the Athenian volte-face with Polyperchon’s failure at Megalopolis.
74 1 In Europe, as Polyperchon had come to be regarded with contempt because of his failure at the siege of Megalopolis, most of the Greek cities deserted the kings and went over to Cassander. When the Athenians were unable to get rid of the garrison by the aid of either Polyperchon or Olympias, one of those citizens who were accepted leaders risked the statement in the Assembly that it was for the advantage of the city to come to terms with Cassander. 2 At first a clamour was raised, some opposing and some supporting his proposal, but when they had considered more carefully what was the expedient course, it was unanimously determined to send an embassy to Cassander and to arrange affairs with him as best they could. 3 After several conferences peace was made on the following terms: the Athenians were to retain their city and territory, their revenues, their fleet, and everything else, and to be friends and allies of Cassander; Munychia was to remain temporarily under the control of Cassander until the war against the kings should be concluded; the government was to be in the hands of those possessing at least ten minae; and whatever single Athenian citizen Cassander should designate was to be overseer of the city. Demetrius of Phalerum was chosen, who, when he became overseer, ruled the city peacefully and with goodwill toward the citizens.
One ‘fixed date’ is 317 for the start of Demetrios of Phaleron’s Guardianship of Athens, this is tied to Poyperchon’s embarrassment at Megalopolis and the return of Nikanor’s victorious fleet, XVIII 75 I,
75 1 Afterwards Nicanor sailed into the Piraeus with his fleet ornamented with the beaks of the ships taken at his victory. At first Cassander regarded him with great approval because of his success, but later, when he saw that he was filled with arrogance and puffed up, and that he was, moreover, garrisoning Munychia with his own men, he decided that he was planning treachery and had him assassinated. He also made a campaign into Macedonia, where he found many of the inhabitants coming over to him. 2 The Greek cities, too, felt an impulse to join the alliance of Cassander; for Polyperchon seemed to lack both energy and wisdom in representing the kings and his allies, but Cassander, who treated all fairly and was active in carrying out his affairs, was winning many supporters of his leadership.
The sequence here is clear, Nikanor returned after Demetrios had been made epimeletes, despite Polyainos IV ix
9 # After the naval victory in the Hellespont, Antigonus ordered his fleet to cruise towards Phoenicia. The sailors were adorned with garlands, and the ships were decorated with the ornaments of the enemy's fleet. He ordered his captains to sail as near as they could to the harbours, and cities, that they passed; that so the victory might be broadcast throughout all Asia. The Phoenician ships, bound for Rhosus, a port of Cilicia, and charged with great sums of money from Eumenes, were under the conduct of Sosigenes. While he was standing on a steep slope, watching the tides, the crews of the Phoenician vessels saw the victorious fleet approaching, splendidly adorned. They seized the treasures that they carried, and climbed on board the vessels of Antigonus. Thereby Antigonus obtained both great treasures and new allies; and Sosigenes gave up hope of fighting by sea.
I do not see Nikanor cruising the Med for a year, bedecked in drooping wreaths towing waterlogged wrecks. The details in this story are problematic; Diodoros says that Antigonos moved on Eumenes in Phoenicia by land
73 1 As for Antigonus, by inflicting so disastrous a blow upon the enemy, he gained a great reputation for military genius. He now set out to gain command of the sea and to place his control of Asia beyond dispute. For this end he selected from his entire army twenty thousand lightly equipped infantry and four thousand cavalry and set out for Cilicia, hoping to destroy Eumenes before the latter should gather stronger forces. 2 After Eumenes had news of Antigonus' move, he thought to recover for the kings Phoenicia, which had been unjustly occupied by Ptolemy; but being forestalled by events, he moved from Phoenicia and marched with his army through Coelê Syria with the design of making contact with what are called the upper satrapies.
This is not problem-free either as the claim that Antigonos ‘now set out to gain command of the sea’ is not supported by his reported actions; he chases Eumenes onto the Iranian plateau and returns to find himself fleetless!
Since nothing indicates that Antigonos possessed a fleet (initially Kassandros asked PTOLEMY to block the Hellespont and only turned to Antigonos once he had shown his own hand and provoked the flight of Kleitos). If the Athenian fleet was used, as is indicated by Nikanor’s return to Athens after the alliance had been forged in 317, then this battle and the dependent activity cannot be placed in 318.