Lamian war

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The Lamian war (323322 BC) was fought between Athens, along with her allied city-states in mainland Greece, against Macedonian supreme rule and Antipater, regent in Macedonia and all Greece. It was the last war in which the Athenians played a central part, and after they were defeated, Athens lost its independence.


The revolt started after the news of Alexander the Great’s death in Babylon reached Greece. Athens was incited to begin this war by the speeches of Leosthenes and Hyperides. Joined by cities in central and northern Greece, the Athenians defeated Antipater in battle. They forced him to take refuge in Lamia, where he was besieged for several months by the southern Greek allies.

After being relieved by forces led by Leonnatus, Antipater was eventually able to move from Lamia and return to Macedonia. There, reinforced by the arrival by sea of Craterus’ troops, he engaged the allies at the Battle of Crannon (5 September 322 BC) in Thessaly.


That battle was a complete victory for Antipater. Soon after, Demosthenes committed suicide by poison and Hyperides was killed on Antipater’s orders. The outcome of the war was the suppression, for the moment, of Greek resistance to Macedonian domination. The Lamian War was concurrent with revolts in Cappadocia and the eastern domains of the empire, put down by Perdiccas and Eumenes, and Peithon, respectively.


In October 323, Athens and the Aetolian League fielded 30,000 men and seized Thermopylae, also managing to keep Antipater's army bottled up at Lamia; however, after the Aetolian League deserted the cause, the Athenians lost a major sea battle in 323 BC, then suffered defeat on land, at the Battle of Crannon, Thessaly, in September 322. This left Athens no choice but to surrender unconditionally.

The cost to Athens was heavy: some of its most important leaders were executed, and the great orator-philosopher Demosthenes (ca. 385–322 BC) committed suicide. Athens was saddled with a crippling indemnity and lost its democratic status, becoming an oligarchy. Piraeus, its principal port, was relinquished to Macedonian occupation.

See also

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