Partition of Babylon

Partition of Babylon

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The Partition of Babylon designates the attribution of the territories of Alexander the Great between his generals after his death in 323 BC
323 BC
Year 323 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Longus and Cerretanus...



The partition was a result of a compromise, essentially brokered by Eumenes
Eumenes of Cardia was a Thracian general and scholar. He participated in the wars of the Diadochi as a supporter of the Macedonian Argead royal house.-Career:...

, following a conflict of opinion between the party of Meleager
Meleager (general)
Meleager was a Macedonian officer of distinction in the service of Alexander the Great.Meleager, son of Neoptolemus, is first mentioned in the war against the Getae . At the Granicus in the following year , he commanded one of the divisions of the phalanx, a post which he afterward held...

, who wished to give full power to Philip III of Macedon
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...

, and the party of Perdiccas
Perdiccas was one of Alexander the Great's generals. After Alexander's death in 323 BC he became regent of all Alexander's empire.Arrian tells us he was son of Orontes, a descendant of the independent princes of the Macedonian province of Orestis...

, who wished to wait for the birth of the heir of Alexander (the future Alexander IV of Macedon
Alexander IV of Macedon
Alexander IV Aegus was the son of Alexander the Great and Princess Roxana of Bactria.-Birth:...

) to give him the throne under the control of a regent. Under the agreement, Philip III became king, but Perdiccas, as a regent, ruled. Perdiccas
Perdiccas was one of Alexander the Great's generals. After Alexander's death in 323 BC he became regent of all Alexander's empire.Arrian tells us he was son of Orontes, a descendant of the independent princes of the Macedonian province of Orestis...

, as regent, managed the repartition of the territories between the former generals and satraps of Alexander. Meleager and about 300 of his partisans were eliminated by Perdiccas soon after.


  • Macedon
    Macedonia or Macedon was an ancient kingdom, centered in the northeastern part of the Greek peninsula, bordered by Epirus to the west, Paeonia to the north, the region of Thrace to the east and Thessaly to the south....

    , Greece
    Ancient Greece
    Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

     & Epirus
    The name Epirus, from the Greek "Ήπειρος" meaning continent may refer to:-Geographical:* Epirus - a historical and geographical region of the southwestern Balkans, straddling modern Greece and Albania...

All sources agree that 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...

 became governor of Macedon and Greece; Arrian adds Epirus to this. Arrian also suggests that this region was shared with Craterus
Craterus was a Macedonian general under Alexander the Great and one of the Diadochi.He was the son of a Macedonian nobleman named Alexander from Orestis and brother of admiral Amphoterus. Craterus commanded the phalanx and all infantry on the left wing in Battle of Issus...

, whereas Dexippus has "the general charge of affairs and the defence of the kingdom was entrusted to Craterus"
  • Illyria
    In classical antiquity, Illyria was a region in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula inhabited by the Illyrians....

Arrian explicitly includes Illyria within Antipater's remit; Diodorus says that "Macedonia and the adjacent peoples were assigned to Antipater". However, Justin has 'Philo' as governor of Illyria; there is no apparent other mention of Philo in the sources, so it is possible this is a mistake by Justin.
  • Thrace
    Thrace is a historical and geographic area in southeast Europe. As a geographical concept, Thrace designates a region bounded by the Balkan Mountains on the north, Rhodope Mountains and the Aegean Sea on the south, and by the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara on the east...

All sources agree that Lysimachus became governor of "Thrace and the Chersonese, together with the countries bordering on Thrace as far as Salmydessus on the Euxine".

Asia Minor

  • Greater Phrygia
    In antiquity, Phrygia was a kingdom in the west central part of Anatolia, in what is now modern-day Turkey. The Phrygians initially lived in the southern Balkans; according to Herodotus, under the name of Bryges , changing it to Phruges after their final migration to Anatolia, via the...

    , Lesser/Hellespontine Phrygia
    Hellespontine Phrygia
    Hellespontine Phrygia was an Achaemenid satrapy in ancient Anatolia, comprising lands of Troad, Mysia and Bithynia and whose seat was at Daskyleion, south of Cyzicus, Mysia. Pharnabazus was satrap of Darius III there, until Alexander the Great appointed Calas which was replaced by Arrhidaeus in the...

    , Cappadocia
    Cappadocia is a historical region in Central Anatolia, largely in Nevşehir Province.In the time of Herodotus, the Cappadocians were reported as occupying the whole region from Mount Taurus to the vicinity of the Euxine...

     & Paphlagonia
    Paphlagonia was an ancient area on the Black Sea coast of north central Anatolia, situated between Bithynia to the west and Pontus to the east, and separated from Phrygia by a prolongation to the east of the Bithynian Olympus...

    , Lydia
    Lydia was an Iron Age kingdom of western Asia Minor located generally east of ancient Ionia in the modern Turkish provinces of Manisa and inland İzmir. Its population spoke an Anatolian language known as Lydian....

     and Cilicia
    In antiquity, Cilicia was the south coastal region of Asia Minor, south of the central Anatolian plateau. It existed as a political entity from Hittite times into the Byzantine empire...

All sources agree on the distribution of these satrapies to, respectively, Antigonus, Leonnatus
Leonnatus was a Macedonian officer of Alexander the Great and one of the diadochi.He was a member of the royal house of Lyncestis, a small kingdom that had been included in Macedonia by King Philip II of Macedon. Leonnatus was the same age as Alexander and was very close to him. Later, he was one...

, Eumenes of Cardia, Menander
Menander (general)
Menander was an officer in the service of Alexander the Great. He was one of those called etairoi, but he held the command of a body of mercenaries. He was appointed by Alexander to the government of Lydia, during the settlement of the affairs of Asia made by Alexander when at Tyre...

 and Philotas
Philotas (satrap)
Philotas was a Macedonian officer in the service of Alexander the Great, who commanded one taxis or division of the phalanx during the advance into Sogdiana and India. It seems probable that he is the same person mentioned by Curtius, as one of those rewarded by the king at Babylon for their...

  • Caria
    Caria was a region of western Anatolia extending along the coast from mid-Ionia south to Lycia and east to Phrygia. The Ionian and Dorian Greeks colonized the west of it and joined the Carian population in forming Greek-dominated states there...

Diodorus has Asander
Asander was the son of Philotas and brother of Parmenion. Alexander the Great appointed him in 334 BC governor of Lydia and the other parts of the satrapy of Spithridates, and also placed under his command an army strong enough to maintain the Macedonian authority...

 as satrap, but Arrian and Justin have Cassander
Cassander , King of Macedonia , was a son of Antipater, and founder of the Antipatrid dynasty...

. Since Asander was definitely satrap of Caria after the Partition of Triparadisus, it is possible that both Arrian and Justin have mistaken Asander for the better-known Cassander (or that the name has changed during later copying/translation etc.).
  • Lycia
    Lycia Lycian: Trm̃mis; ) was a region in Anatolia in what are now the provinces of Antalya and Muğla on the southern coast of Turkey. It was a federation of ancient cities in the region and later a province of the Roman Empire...

     & Pamphylia
    In ancient geography, Pamphylia was the region in the south of Asia Minor, between Lycia and Cilicia, extending from the Mediterranean to Mount Taurus . It was bounded on the north by Pisidia and was therefore a country of small extent, having a coast-line of only about 75 miles with a breadth of...

Both Diodorus and Arrian have Antigonus receiving these satrapies in addition to Greater Phrygia, whereas Justin has Nearchus receiving both of them. This is possibly another mistake by Justin; Nearchus was satrap of Lycia and Pamphylia from 334 to 328 BC.


  • Egypt
    Ancient Egypt
    Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

    , Libya
    Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

     and Arabia

All sources agree that these regions ("Egypt and Libya, and of that part of Arabia that borders upon Egypt") were given to Ptolemy, son of Lagus
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...


Western Asia

  • Syria
    Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

    , Mesopotamia
    Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

All sources agree that these regions were given to Laomedon of Mytilene
Laomedon of Mytilene
Laomedon , native of Mytilene and son of Larichus, was one of Alexander the Great's generals, and appears to have enjoyed a high place in his confidence even before the death of Philip II, as he was one of those banished by that monarch for taking part in the intrigues of the...

 and Arcesilaus respectively.

The next satrapies moving eastward are much more problematic, with Justins's account widely diverging from both Diodorus and Arrian/Dexippus. The following passage is the source of most of these differences:
"The Arachosians and Gedrosians were assigned to Sibyrtius; the Drancae and Arci to Stasanor. Amyntas was allotted the Bactrians, Scythaeus the Sogdians, Nicanor the Parthians, Philippus the Hyrcanians, Phrataphernes the Armenians, Tlepolemus the Persians, Peucestes the Babylonians, Archon the Pelasgians, Arcesilaus, Mesopotamia."
This passage seems to be directly derived from Diodorus, listing the satrapies in more-or-less the same order, cf.
"He gave Arachosia and Cedrosia to Sibyrtius, Aria and Dranginê to Stasanor of Soli, Bactrianê and Sogdianê to Philip, Parthia and Hyrcania to Phrataphernes, Persia to Peucestes, Carmania to Tlepolemus, Media to Atropates, Babylonia to Archon, and Mesopotamia to Arcesilaüs."
Pelasgia does not appear in any other accounts, and does not seem to have been a real satrapy; it is possible that the insertion of this word has caused some of the satraps to shift by one place in the interpretation of Justin's passage.Note 1 In addition, Armenia, also not mentioned in any other accounts as a satrapy may be a mistake for Carmania (which appears in the same position in Diodorus's list).

The equivalent passage is missing from Arrian, although it does appear in Dexippus - albeit with its own mistakes:
"Siburtius ruled the Arachosians and Gedrosians; Stasanor of Soli the Arei and Drangi; Philip the Sogdiani; Radaphernes the Hyrcanians; Neoptolemus the Carmanians; Peucestes the Persians...Babylon was given to Seleucus, Mesopotamia to Archelaus."
Radaphernes is presumably Phrataphernes, and Dexippus has possibly confused Tlepolemus (clearly named by Arrian, Justin and Diodorus) with Neoptolemus (another of Alexander's generals). It is well established that Seleucus only became satrap of Babylonia at the second partition (the Partition of Triparadisus
Partition of Triparadisus
The Partition of Triparadisus was a power-sharing agreement passed at Triparadisus in 321 BCE between the generals of Alexander the Great, in which they named a new regent and established the repartition of their satrapies...

), so Dexippus may have mixed up the two partitions at this point.
  • Babylonia
    Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia , with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as a major power when Hammurabi Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as...

Since Diodorus is the more reliable text, and there seem to mistakes here in both Justin & Dexippus, the probability is that Archon of Pella
Archon of Pella
Archon was a Pellaean, appointed satrap of Babylonia after the death of Alexander the Great , is probably the same as the son of Cleinias mentioned in the Indian expedition of Alexander. He perished in 321 BC in a fight against Docimus. As it is proved from an inscription in Delphi, Archon had...

 was satrap of Babylonia.
  • Persia

Since Diodorus & Dexippus both agree on Peucestas being satrap of Persia, this is probably the case.
  • Carmania
    Carmania (satrapy)
    Carmania was a satrapy of the Achaemenid Empire as well as, later on, the Sassanid Empire. The region is approximately equal to that of modern day Kermān Province in Iran. Little is known about the exact boundaries of ancient Carmania, which may have fluctuated...

Tlepolemus was definitely satrap of Carmania after the second partition, and Diodorus places him as satrap at the first partition, so this was probably the case.
  • Hyrcania
    Hyrcania was the name of a satrapy located in the territories of present day Gilan, Golestan, Mazandaran and part of Turkmenistan, lands south of the Caspian Sea. To the Greeks, the Caspian Sea was the "Hyrcanian Sea".-Etymology:...

     and Parthia
    Parthia is a region of north-eastern Iran, best known for having been the political and cultural base of the Arsacid dynasty, rulers of the Parthian Empire....

Diodorus allots these regions to Phrataphernes, and Dexippus also has (Ph)rataphernes as satrap of Hyrcania, so it was probably the case that these two adjacent regions were governed by this native Persian. Phrataphernes had been satrap of these regions during Alexander's lifetime, and therefore his retention of these satrapies corresponds with Arrian's statement that: "At the same time several provinces remained under their native rulers, according to the arrangement made by Alexander, and were not affected by the distribution."
  • Lesser Media
    The MedesThe Medes...

All sources agree that this was given to Atropates
Atropates was a Persian nobleman who served Darius III, then Alexander III of Macedon, and eventually founded an independent kingdom and dynasty that was named after him...

, who was also a native Persian, and satrap of Media under Alexander.
  • Greater Media
    The MedesThe Medes...

Diodorus and Dexippus allot this to Peithon
Peithon or Pithon was the son of Crateuas, a nobleman from Eordaia in western Macedonia. One of the bodyguards of Alexander the Great, later satrap of Media and one of the diadochi....

. Justin says that: "Atropatus was set over the Greater Media; the father-in-law of Perdiccas over the Less(er)". However, Atropates was the father-in-law of Perdiccas., so Justin is clearly confused on this point. Since Peithon was definitely satrap of Greater Media after the second partition, it is likely he also was at the first.
  • Susiana
    Susa was an ancient city of the Elamite, Persian and Parthian empires of Iran. It is located in the lower Zagros Mountains about east of the Tigris River, between the Karkheh and Dez Rivers....

Neither Diodorus nor Arrian/Dexippus mention Susiana at the first partition, but both mention it at the second partition; it was therefore a real satrapy. Only Justin gives a name, Scynus, for this satrapy at the first partition, but this person is not apparently mentioned elsewhere.

Central Asia

  • Bactria
    Bactria and also appears in the Zend Avesta as Bukhdi. It is the ancient name of a historical region located between south of the Amu Darya and west of the Indus River...

     & Sogdiana
    Sogdiana or Sogdia was the ancient civilization of an Iranian people and a province of the Achaemenid Empire, eighteenth in the list on the Behistun Inscription of Darius the Great . Sogdiana is "listed" as the second of the "good lands and countries" that Ahura Mazda created...

Diodorus has Philip
Philip (satrap)
Philip was satrap of Sogdiana, to which government he was first appointed by Alexander the Great himself in 327 BC...

 as satrap of both these regions; Dexippus also has Philip as Satrap of Sogdiana, but does not mention Bactria. Justin, however, names Amyntas and Scytheaus as satraps of Bactria and Sogdiana. This is the most problematic part of Justin's account, which is clearly completely at variance with the other accounts. Amyntas and Scythaeus are not apparent in other records of the period, and their presence here is not easy to explain.
  • Drangiana
    Drangiana or Zarangiana was a historical region of the Achaemenid Empire. This region comprises territory around lake Hâmûn, wetlands in endorheic Sīstān basin on the Irano-Afghan-Pakistan border, and its primary watershed Helmand river in nowadays southwestern Afghanistan and the "Nok Kondi" of...

     & Aria
    An aria in music was originally any expressive melody, usually, but not always, performed by a singer. The term is now used almost exclusively to describe a self-contained piece for one voice usually with orchestral accompaniment...

    , Arachosia
    Arachosia is the Latinized form of the Greek name of an Achaemenid and Seleucid governorate in the eastern part of their respective empires, around modern-day southern Afghanistan. The Greek term "Arachosia" corresponds to the Iranian land of Harauti which was between Kandahar in Afghanistan and...

     & Gedrosia
    Gedrosia from Pashto Gwadar-khua is the hellenized name of an area that corresponds to today's Balochistan. Eastern Balochistan is southwestern province of Pakistan and parts of southwestern and south-central Afghanistan and western Balochistan is divided between Iranian provinces of Hormozgan and...

All accounts are consistent in naming Stasanor
Stasanor was a native of Soli in Cyprus who held a distinguished position among the officers of Alexander the Great.-Stasanor, officer of Alexander:...

 and Sibyrtius
Sibyrtius was a Greek officer from Crete in the service of Alexander the Great, who was appointed by him, on his return from India , governor of the province of Carmania. This post he shortly after exchanged for the more important satrapy of Arachosia and Gedrosia, to which he succeeded on the...

 as respective satraps of these two double satrapies.
  • Paropamisia
    Paropamisadae or Paropamisus was the ancient Greek name for a region of the Hindu-Kush in eastern Afghanistan, centered on the cities of Kabul and Kapisa .-History of Paropamisadae:...

Diodorus and Dexippus both have Alexander's father-in-law Oxyartes
Oxyartes was a Bactrian, father of Roxana, the wife of Alexander of Macedon. He is first mentioned as one of the chiefs who accompanied Bessus on his retreat across the Oxus river into Sogdiana...

, a native Bactria, as ruler of this region. Justin has "Extarches" which is presumably a corrupted version of Oxyartes. Oxyartes was another native ruler left in the position to which Alexander appointed him.
  • Indus & Punjab
    Punjab region
    The Punjab , also spelled Panjab |water]]s"), is a geographical region straddling the border between Pakistan and India which includes Punjab province in Pakistan and the states of the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and some northern parts of the National Capital Territory of Delhi...

Diodorus and Dexippus name Porus and Taxiles
Taksxila was the Greek chroniclers' name for a prince or king who reigned over the tract between the Indus and the Hydaspes Rivers in the Punjab at the period of the expedition of Alexander the Great, 327 BC...

 as satraps of these regions respectively; these are two more native rulers left in the position given to them by Alexander. Justin concurs with Taxiles in Punjab, and does not mention Indus.
  • Indian Colonies

All sources agree that another Peithon
Peithon, son of Agenor
Peithon, son of Agenor was an officer in the expedition of Alexander the Great to India, who became satrap of the Indus from 325 to 316 BCE, and then satrap of Babylon, from 316 to 312 BCE, until he died at the Battle of Gaza in 312 BCE....

, the son of Agenor was ruler of the rest of the Indian territory not given to Taxiles and Porus. Exactly where this was is somewhat uncertain. Diodorus describes it as:
"To Pithon he gave the satrapy next to Taxiles and the other kings"
whereas Dexippus has:
"Porus and Taxilus were rulers of India, to Porus being allotted the country between the Indus and the Hydaspes, the rest to Taxilus. Pithon received the country of the neighbouring peoples, except the Paramisades."
and Justin says:
"To the colonies settled in India, Python, the son of Agenor, was sent."


There are four ancient sources which describe the Partition of Babylon. The only complete account is Diodorus Siculus
Diodorus Siculus
Diodorus Siculus was a Greek historian who flourished between 60 and 30 BC. According to Diodorus' own work, he was born at Agyrium in Sicily . With one exception, antiquity affords no further information about Diodorus' life and doings beyond what is to be found in his own work, Bibliotheca...

's Bibliotheca historica
Bibliotheca historica
Bibliotheca historica , is a work of universal history by Diodorus Siculus. It consisted of forty books, which were divided into three sections. The first six books are geographical in theme, and describe the history and culture of Egypt , of Mesopotamia, India, Scythia, and Arabia , of North...

, which was also the first to be written, c. 40 BC, and should thus be considered the more reliable source.

The Byzantine bishop Photius (c.820–893) produced an epitome
An epitome is a summary or miniature form; an instance that represents a larger reality, also used as a synonym for embodiment....

 of 279 books in his Bibliotheca, which contains two relevant (but much abbreviated) accounts. The first is Arrian
Lucius Flavius Arrianus 'Xenophon , known in English as Arrian , and Arrian of Nicomedia, was a Roman historian, public servant, a military commander and a philosopher of the 2nd-century Roman period...

's Continuation or After Alexander (codex 92). The second is Dexippus
Publius Herennius Dexippus , Greek historian, statesman and general, was an hereditary priest of the Eleusinian family of the Kerykes, and held the offices of archon basileus and eponymous in Athens....

's History of events after Alexander (codex 82), which itself seems to be based on Arrian's account; compare Arrian:
"Cappadocia, Paphlagonia, and the country on the shore of the Euxine as far as Trapezus (a Greek colony from Sinope), to Eumenes"
with Dexippus:
"Eumenes Cappadocia, Paphlagonia, and the shores of the Euxine as far as Trapezus (Trebizond)".
However, the epitome of Dexippus contains some information which was presumably excerpted from the epitome of Arrian.

The final source is Justin's epitome of Pompeius Trogus
Gnaeus Pompeius Trogus
Gnaeus Pompēius Trōgus, known as Pompeius Trogus, Pompey Trogue, or Trogue Pompey, was a 1st century BC Roman historian of the Celtic tribe of the Vocontii in Gallia Narbonensis, flourished during the age of Augustus, nearly contemporary with Livy.His grandfather served in the war against Sertorius...

's Phillipic History, which is probably the latest source and diverges from the other sources, seemingly containing several obvious mistakes.

All the latter sources seem to have read (and to an extent copied) Diodorus, or the most likely source of Diodorus's list, Hieronymus of Cardia
Hieronymus of Cardia
Hieronymus of Cardia, Greek general and historian from Cardia in Thrace, was a contemporary of Alexander the Great .After the death of Alexander he followed the fortunes of his friend and fellow-countryman Eumenes. He was wounded and taken prisoner by Antigonus, who pardoned him and appointed him...

. One passage in particular (see below) is very similarly worded in all accounts, although ironically this same passage contains most of the ambiguities that are to be found.