The Lamian War, or the Hellenic War (323–322 BC) was fought by a
coalition of Greek cities including
Athens and the Aetolian League
Macedon and its ally Boeotia. The war ended in a Macedonian
In 323 BC,
Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great died leaving the empire to be governed
by his generals for his unborn son, Alexander IV.
against the control of
Macedon and took the opportunity to form a
coalition of Greek cities in an attempt to detach
Greece from Macedon.
The Greek forces commanded by
Leosthenes had some initial successes
Boeotians at Plataea before advancing north where at
Thermopylae they defeated the Macedonian army of the regent Antipater.
The defeated Macedonians fled to Lamia where they were besieged by the
Antipater waited for reinforcements to arrive from Asia.
The success of the Greeks on land was offset by the defeats of the
Athenian fleet at the
Amorgos by the Macedonian navy.
The Macedonians, now with control of the sea were able to transfer
troops to Europe. Though the Greeks defeated the Macedonian
reinforcements at Rhamnus, the Macedonians were able to leave from
Lamia and unite with the remnants of the defeated army. The combined
Macedonian forces were assisted by the arrival of more troops from
Asia and defeated the Greeks at the Crannon and effectively ended the
revolt of the Greeks.
7.1 Ancient sources
7.2 Modern sources
In 324 BC,
Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great had the Exiles Decree proclaimed in
Greece. The effect of this decree was that citizens of Greek cities
that had previously been exiled would be able to return to their
cities of origin. Though this affected many of the cities of Greece,
two regions where this had a major effect were
Athens and the Aetolian
League. This was a problem for the Aetolians as they had previously
occupied the city of
Oeniadae and evicted the original inhabitants of
the city, settling it with their own citizens. Similarly, the
Athenians had taken over and colonized the island of Samos. The
outcome of the decree was that the Aetolians and Athenians would be
required to surrender control of these occupied territories. The
hostility to Macedonian suzerainty was compounded by a grain shortage
in Greece, worsened by the fact the Alexander was requisitioning
supplies for his campaigns in the East.
The death of Alexander in 323 BC left
Macedon in the midst of a
succession crisis, with no universally accepted successor to the
throne. While awaiting the birth of the child of Alexander, a regency
Perdiccas was formed for the yet unborn child and the
mentally deficient brother of Alexander, Philip III. News of his death
was considered by the Athenians as an opportunity to shatter the
Macedonian hegemony over Greece. After vigorous debate in the
ecclesia, it was determined – despite the opposition of prominent
individuals such as
Phocion – that
Athens would wage war
Making use of the 5,000 talents that had been seized from Harpalus,
the treasurer of Alexander who had fled to Athens, the Athenians sent
Taenarum with the aim of engaging
Leosthenes was given the order by the ecclesia to make it
appear that he was engaging the mercenaries on his own behalf, so as
Athens additional time to prepare for the upcoming war.
The total Greek force at the outset of the war appears to have been
25,000 strong and was composed of up to 10,000 Athenians, 12,000
Aetolians and various contingents of mercenary forces.
Antipater, commander of the Macedonian forces in Europe, meanwhile
scrambled to assemble Macedonian troops, most of which were engaged in
Asia or in transit to or from that continent. He set out against the
rebels with an initial force of some 13,000 troops, with messages sent
to various commanders to bring reinforcements.
The Thessalians originally sided with Antipater, but were quickly
persuaded to join the Athenians as allies. This sudden shift in
strength led to some early confederate successes against Antipater,
and he was constrained to seek refuge in the fortified city of Lamia.
The Athenians and her allies, despite their early successes, were
bogged down in their siege of Lamia. The well-walled town proved
impregnable to the Athenians, and their commander
mortally wounded during a sallying forth from the city by the
Macedonians who sought to harass their ditch-digging besiegers. His
death prompted the Athenians to retreat.
Hypereides pronounced the funeral oration over the dead
including his friend Leosthenes.
Antiphilus  was appointed as his
replacement. Soon after the Athenian retreat from the walls of Lamia,
Macedonian reinforcements—20,000 infantry and 1,500
Asia under the command of Leonnatus. The
Athenian naval fleet had been defeated at the
Battle of Amorgos (322
BC) and had not succeeded in preventing these reinforcements’
The Athenian and allied forces were finally defeated in 322 at the
Battle of Crannon in central
Antipater had managed to
Leonnatus and Craterus. Together they beat back the weary
Athenians in a long series of cavalry and hoplite engagements. While
the allied forces were not routed, the outcome was decisive enough to
compel the Athenians and her allies to sue for peace on Antipater’s
Antipater made peace treaties with the rebellious cities separately
and on generous terms. The Athenians were made to dissolve their
government and establish a plutocratic system in its stead, whereby
only those possessing 2,000 drachmas or more could remain citizens.
This was done in the belief that the poorer elements of the society
had compelled the war in the first place.
Hypereides was condemned
to death, fled, and was probably captured and killed in Euboea.
Demosthenes was forced to commit suicide by
Antipater for his role in
supporting the war.
^ For questions surrounding the nomenclature in antiquity see Ashton
(1984); Walsh (2011).
^ Westlake, H. D. The Aftermath of the Lamian War. "Classical Review
63" (1949) 87
^ Diodorus Siculus. XVIII.12. Penelope- U Chicago
^ Diodorus Siculus.XVIII.12-13. Penelope- U Chicago
^ Not to be confused with
Antiphilus the famous painter, active in the
^ Diodorus Siculus.XVIII.13-15. Penelope- U Chicago
^ Diodorus Siculus.XVIII.16-17. Penelope- U Chicago
^ Diodorus Siculus.XVIII.17-18. Penelope- U Chicago
^ (Oxford Classical Dictionary (1970).pp 535. Dobson. J. & pp 331.
Diodorus Siculus. Penelope - U Chicago
Hypereides, Funeral Oration
Phocion 23–29 and
Ashton, N. G. "The Lamian War. A false start?" Antichthon 17 (1983)
––––"The Lamian War-stat magni nominis umbra" The Journal of
Hellenic Studies, Vol. 104, (1984), pp. 152–157
Brill’s New Pauly. vol.7 (2005) pp. 183:
Errington, R. M.
Samos and the Lamian war. Chiron 5 (1975) 51-57.
Martin, G., "
Antipater after the Lamian War: New Readings in Vat. Gr.
73 (Dexippus fr. 33)". The Classical Quarterly, New Series, Vol. 55,
No. 1 (May, 2005), pp. 301–305
Oxford Classical Dictionary (1970)
Oikonomides, A. N.
Athens and the Phokians at the outbreak of the
Lamian War (= IG II 367). "The Ancient World 5" (1982)
Schmitt, O., Der Lamische Krieg (1992)
Walsh, J., "Historical Method and a Chronological Problem in Diodorus,
Book 18" In P. Wheatley and R. Hannah (eds), Alexander and His
Successors: Essays from the Antipodes (Claremont: 2009) 72-88.
Walsh, J., "The Lamiaka of Choerilus and the Genesis of the term
'Lamian War'." Classical Quarterly (2011) 61.2: 538–44.
Westlake, H. D. The Aftermath of the Lamian War. "Classical Review 63"
Ancient Greek wars
First Messenian War
Second Messenian War
First Sacred War
Wars of the Delian League
First Peloponnesian War
Second Sacred War
Second Peloponnesian War
Wars of the Theban hegemony
Social War (357–355 BC)
Third Sacred War
Rise of Macedon
Wars of Alexander the Great
Wars of the Diadochi
Pyrrhus' invasion of the Peloponnese
Social War (220–217 BC)
First Macedonian War
Second Macedonian War
War against Nabis
Third Macedonian War
Seleucid Dynastic Wars
Fourth Macedonian War
Mithridatic Wars (First, Second, Third)
Final War of the Roman Republic<