Battle of the Hellespont (321 BC)
|Battle of the Hellespont (321 BC)|
|Part of the Wars of the Diadochi|
|Craterus' faction||Perdiccan faction|
|Commanders and leaders|
The death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC threw his empire into a state of political and military turmoil, with his generals and governors claiming independent kingdoms as his “Successors” (the Diadochi).
Perdiccas inherited the main Macedonian army and the title ‘regent of the Asiatic Empire.’ A coalition of other successors formed against him. An army under Craterus was sent to Asia to confront Perdiccas and his allies. Perdiccas sent Eumenes and Neoptolemus with an army to the Hellespont to prevent Craterus from crossing into Asia. Neoptolemus, jealous of Eumenes, deserted with a few hundred horse and joined forces with Craterus.
After crossing, when Craterus and Eumenes met, each had around 20,000 infantry but Craterus’ phalanx of veteran Macedonians was superior. Eumenes relied on his more numerous cavalry. Both sides stationed their phalanx in the center and cavalry on the wings. Craterus, commanding the right wing, charged at the onset. The phalanxes engaged and a stiff fight endued. Craterus was slain, and his cavalry scattered. On the other wing, Neoptolemus confronted Eumenes, and in single combat, Neoptolemus was killed. Craterus’ infantry, by now surrounded and leaderless, surrendered.
Eumenes invited the defeated Macedonians to join him. They agreed, but took off by night to rejoin Antipater, the regent of Greece and Macedonia. The Battle of the Hellespont removed two contenders, but the War of the Successors would go on for another 40 years.