Cassander

Cassander

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Cassander King of Macedonia (305–297 BC), was a son of Antipater
Antipater
Antipater was a Macedonian general and a supporter of kings Philip II of Macedon and Alexander the Great. In 320 BC, he became Regent of all of Alexander's Empire. Antipater was one of the sons of a Macedonian nobleman called Iollas or Iolaus and his family were distant collateral relatives to the...

, and founder of the Antipatrid dynasty
Antipatrid dynasty
The Antipatrid dynasty was a Macedonian dynasty founded by Cassander, the son of Antipater, who declared himself King of Macedon in 302 BC. This dynasty did not last long; in 294 BC it was overthrown by the Antigonid dynasty, whose members proved to be more effective rulers.Members of the...

. He was the namesake of his paternal uncle, Cassander
Cassander (brother of Antipater)
Cassander was a Greek Macedonian nobleman that lived in the 4th century BC.Cassander was the son of Iolaus by an unnamed mother and brother of the powerful Regent and general Antipater. Cassander’s family were distant collateral relatives to the Argead dynasty...

.

Early history


In his youth, Cassander was taught by the philosopher Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 at the Lyceum
Lyceum
The lyceum is a category of educational institution defined within the education system of many countries, mainly in Europe. The definition varies between countries; usually it is a type of secondary school.-History:...

 in Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

.

Cassander is first recorded as arriving at Alexander the Great’s court in Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

 in 323 BC, where he had been sent by his father, Antipater, most likely to the help uphold Antipater’s regency in Macedon, although a later contemporary who was hostile to the Antipatrids suggested that Cassander had journeyed to the court to poison the King.

Whatever the truth of this suggestion, Cassander stood out amongst the diadochi
Diadochi
The Diadochi were the rival generals, family and friends of Alexander the Great who fought for the control of Alexander's empire after his death in 323 BC...

 in his hostility to Alexander's memory. As Cassander and the other diadochi struggled for power, Alexander IV
Alexander IV of Macedon
Alexander IV Aegus was the son of Alexander the Great and Princess Roxana of Bactria.-Birth:...

, Roxana
Roxana
Roxana sometimes Roxane, was a Bactrian noble and a wife of Alexander the Great. She was born earlier than the year 343 BC, though the precise date remains uncertain....

, and Alexander’s supposed illegitimate son Heracles were all executed on Cassander's orders, and a guarantee to Olympias
Olympias
Olympias was a Greek princess of Epirus, daughter of king Neoptolemus I of Epirus, the fourth wife of the king of Macedonia, Philip II, and mother of Alexander the Great...

 to spare her life was not respected. Cassander's decision to restore Thebes
Ancient Thebes (Boeotia)
See Thebes, Greece for the modern city built on the ancient ruins.Ancient Thebes was a Boeotian city-state , situated to the north of the Cithaeron range, which divides Boeotia from Attica, and on the southern edge of the Boeotian plain...

, which had been destroyed under Alexander, was perceived at the time to be a snub to the deceased King. It was even said that he could not pass a statue of Alexander without feeling faint. Cassander has been perceived to be ambitious and unscrupulous, and even members of his own family were estranged from him.

Later history



As Antipater grew close to death in 319 BC, he transferred the regency of Macedon not to Cassander, but to Polyperchon
Polyperchon
Polyperchon , son of Simmias from Tymphaia in Epirus, was a Macedonian general who served under Philip II and Alexander the Great, accompanying Alexander throughout his long journeys. After the return to Babylon, Polyperchon was sent back to Macedon with Craterus, but had only reached Cilicia by...

, possibly so as not to alarm the other diadochi through an apparent move towards dynastic ambition, but perhaps also because of Cassander’s own ambitions. Cassander rejected his father’s decision, and immediately went to seek the support of Antigonus
Antigonus I Monophthalmus
Antigonus I Monophthalmus , son of Philip from Elimeia, was a Macedonian nobleman, general, and satrap under Alexander the Great. During his early life he served under Philip II, and he was a major figure in the Wars of the Diadochi after Alexander's death, declaring himself king in 306 BC and...

, Ptolemy
Ptolemy I Soter
Ptolemy I Soter I , also known as Ptolemy Lagides, c. 367 BC – c. 283 BC, was a Macedonian general under Alexander the Great, who became ruler of Egypt and founder of both the Ptolemaic Kingdom and the Ptolemaic Dynasty...

 and Lysimachus
Lysimachus
Lysimachus was a Macedonian officer and diadochus of Alexander the Great, who became a basileus in 306 BC, ruling Thrace, Asia Minor and Macedon.-Early Life & Career:...

 as his allies. Waging war on Polyperchon, Cassander destroyed his fleet, put Athens under the control of Demetrius of Phaleron, and declared himself Regent in 317 BC. After Olympias’ successful move against Philip III
Philip III of Macedon
Philip III Arrhidaeus was the king of Macedonia from after June 11, 323 BC until his death. He was a son of King Philip II of Macedonia by Philinna of Larissa, allegedly a Thessalian dancer, and a half-brother of Alexander the Great...

 later in the year, Cassander besieged her in Pydna
Pydna
Pydna was a Greek city in ancient Macedon, the most important in Pieria. Modern Pydna is a small town and a former municipality in the northeastern part of Pieria regional unit, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Pydna-Kolindros, of which it is a...

. When the city fell two years later, Olympias was killed, and Cassander had Alexander IV and Roxanne confined at Amphipolis
Amphipolis
Amphipolis was an ancient Greek city in the region once inhabited by the Edoni people in the present-day region of Central Macedonia. It was built on a raised plateau overlooking the east bank of the river Strymon where it emerged from Lake Cercinitis, about 3 m. from the Aegean Sea. Founded in...

.

Cassander associated himself with the Argead dynasty
Argead dynasty
The Argead dynasty was an ancient Greek royal house. They were the ruling dynasty of Macedonia from about 700 to 310 BC. Their tradition, as described in ancient Greek historiography, traced their origins to Argos, in southern Greece...

 by marrying Alexander’s half-sister, Thessalonica, and he had Alexander IV and Roxanne executed in either 310 BC or the following year. By 309 BC, Polyperchon began to claim that Heracles was the true heir to the Macedonian inheritance, at which point Cassander bribed him to have the boy killed. After this, Cassander’s position in Greece and Macedonia was reasonably secure, and proclaimed himself King in 305 BC. After the Battle of Ipsus
Battle of Ipsus
The Battle of Ipsus was fought between some of the Diadochi in 301 BC near the village of that name in Phrygia...

 in 301 BC, in which Antigonus
Antigonus I Monophthalmus
Antigonus I Monophthalmus , son of Philip from Elimeia, was a Macedonian nobleman, general, and satrap under Alexander the Great. During his early life he served under Philip II, and he was a major figure in the Wars of the Diadochi after Alexander's death, declaring himself king in 306 BC and...

 was killed, he was undisputed in his control of Macedonia; however, he had little time to savour the fact, dying of dropsy in 297 BC.

Cassander’s dynasty did not live much beyond his death, with his son Philip
Philip IV of Macedon
Philip IV of Macedon was the son of Cassander. He briefly succeeded his father on the throne of Macedon prior to his death....

 dying of natural causes, and his other sons Alexander
Alexander V of Macedon
Alexander V of Macedon was the third and youngest son of Cassander and Thessalonica of Macedon, who was a half-sister of Alexander the Great. He ruled as King of Macedon along with his brother Antipater from 297 to 294 BC...

 and Antipater
Antipater II of Macedon
Antipater II of Macedon , was the son of Cassander and Thessalonike of Macedon, who was a half-sister of Alexander the Great. He was king of Macedon from 297 BC until 294 BC, jointly with his brother Alexander V. Eventually, he murdered his mother and ousted his brother from the throne...

 becoming involved in a destructive dynastic struggle along with their mother. When Alexander was ousted as joint king by his brother, Demetrius I
Demetrius I of Macedon
Demetrius I , called Poliorcetes , son of Antigonus I Monophthalmus and Stratonice, was a king of Macedon...

 took up Alexander's appeal for aid and ousted Antipater II, killed Alexander V and established the Antigonid dynasty
Antigonid dynasty
The Antigonid dynasty was a dynasty of Hellenistic kings descended from Alexander the Great's general Antigonus I Monophthalmus .-History:...

. The remaining Antipatrids, such as Antipater Etesias
Antipater Etesias
Antipater Etesias was the son of Cassander's brother Phillip. He became king after the death of Ptolemy Keraunos and the ousting of Meleager. His reign lasted only a period of 45 days. The Macedonians gave Antipater the name Etesias, because the etesian winds blew during the short time that he was...

, were unable to re-establish the Antipatrids on the throne.

Of more lasting significance was Cassander’s refoundation of Therma
Therma
Therma or Thermē was a Greek city founded by Eretrians or Corinthians in late 7th century BC in ancient Mygdonia , situated at the northeastern extremity of a great gulf of the Aegean Sea, the Thermaic Gulf. The city was built amidst mosquito-infested swampland, and its name derives from the...

 into Thessalonica
Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki , historically also known as Thessalonica, Salonika or Salonica, is the second-largest city in Greece and the capital of the region of Central Macedonia as well as the capital of the Decentralized Administration of Macedonia and Thrace...

, naming the city after his wife. Cassander also founded Cassandreia
Cassandreia
Cassandrea, Cassandreia, or Cassandria was once one of the most important cities in Ancient Macedonia founded by and named after Cassander in 316 BC located on the site of the earlier Ancient Greek city of Potidaea...

 upon the ruins of Potidaea
Potidaea
Potidaea was a colony founded by the Corinthians around 600 BC in the narrowest point of the peninsula of Pallene, the westernmost of three peninsulas at the southern end of Chalcidice in northern Greece....

.

Cassander as a fictional character

  • Mary Renault
    Mary Renault
    Mary Renault born Eileen Mary Challans, was an English writer best known for her historical novels set in Ancient Greece...

     refers to Cassander in the Alexander Trilogy by his Greek name, Kassandros, and depicts him highly negatively. In Funeral Games
    Funeral Games
    Funeral Games is a 1981 historical novel by Mary Renault, dealing with the death of Alexander the Great and its aftermath, the gradual disintegration of his empire...

    , he is the villain of the piece.
  • In the Oliver Stone
    Oliver Stone
    William Oliver Stone is an American film director, producer and screenwriter. Stone became well known in the late 1980s and the early 1990s for directing a series of films about the Vietnam War, for which he had previously participated as an infantry soldier. His work frequently focuses on...

     film Alexander
    Alexander (film)
    Alexander is a 2004 epic film based on the life of Alexander the Great. It is not a remake of the 1956 film which starred Richard Burton. It was directed by Oliver Stone, with Colin Farrell in the title role...

    , he is portrayed by Jonathan Rhys Meyers.

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