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The Settlement at Babylon


Detail of the Alexander mosaic, found in Pompeii. National Archaeological Museum, Naples (Italy). After the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BCE, his brother Arridaeus and his posthumous son Alexander were made kings; but because Philip was considered mentally deficient and Alexander was still a baby, Perdiccas was made their regent. The satrapies were given to Alexander's generals during a conference at Babylon. Soon, they started to behave independently.

The results of the conference are described by the Greek author Arrian of Nicomedia in the sequel to his better known Anabasis, the Events after Alexander. This work, which covered the events between 323 and 320, is now lost, but a Byzantine excerpt made by patriarch Photius (820-897) survives. Section 34-38 can be read below in the translation by M.M. Austin.

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Map of Babylon in the age of Alexander the Great. Design Jona Lendering.
Babylon

Arrian also wrote an account in ten books of what happened after Alexander. They comprise the sedition in the army and the proclamation of Arridaeus, a son of Philip, Alexander's father, from the Thessalian Philine, on the condition that the throne would be shared between him and Alexander, who was about to be born to Roxane from Alexander (the Great); and that is what happened when the child saw the light of day. They proclaimed Arridaeus king and changed his name to Philip. 

Strife broke out between the infantry and the cavalry; the most eminent of the cavalry and of the commanders were Perdiccas son of Orontes, Leonnatus son of Anteas and Ptolemy son of Lagus, after them Lysimachus son of Agathocles, Aristonous son of Pisaeus, Peithon son of Crateuas, Seleucus son of Antiochus and Eumenes of Cardia. These were the commanders of the cavalry, while Meleager commanded the infantry. They then sent numerous embassies to each other, and in the end the infantry who had proclaimed the king and the commanders of the cavalry came to an agreement, to the effect that Antipater should be general of Europe, Craterus protector of the kingdom of Arridaeus, Perdiccas should hold the office of 'chiliarch' which Hephaestion had held (this made him supervisor of the whole kingdom), while Meleager should be Perdiccas' lieutenant.


Map of the Persian empire. Design Jona Lendering.
(**)

On the pretext of purging the army Perdiccas arrested the most conspicuous leaders of the sedition, and had them put to death in his presence, alleging orders from Arridaeus; this struck terror in the rest of the army. Not long after he also put Meleager to death.

As a result mutual suspicions were rife between Perdiccas and all the others. Nonetheless Perdiccas, pretending to act under the orders of Arridaeus, decided to appoint to the satrapies men who were suspected by him. 

  • Accordingly Ptolemy son of Lagus was appointed to rule Egypt and Libya and the parts of Arabia that lie close to Egypt, while Cleomenes who had been placed by Alexander in charge of this satrapy was to be Ptolemy's lieutenant; 
  • Laomedon was to rule Syria next to Egypt,
  • Philotas to Cilicia and 
  • Peithon to Media
  • Eumenes of Cardia Cappadocia and Paphlagonia and the territory along the Black Sea as far as the Greek city of Trapezus, a colony of Sinope; 
  • Antigonus the Pamphylians, Lycians and Phrygia
  • Asander the Carians
  • Menander the Lydians
  • Leonnatus Hellespontine Phrygia, which Calas had received from Alexander to govern, and which Demarchus had then ruled. 
Such was the distribution of provinces in Asia. In Europe, Thrace, the Chersonese and all the people who neighbor on the Thracians as far as the sea at Salmydessus on the Black Sea were entrusted to the rule of Lysimachus; the further parts of Thrace as far as the Illyrians, Triballians and Agrianians, Macedonia itself and Epirus as far as the Ceraunian Mountains, and all the Greeks, were entrusted to Craterus and Antipater.

Such was the distribution of provinces [1];  but many parts remained unassigned, under the control of native rulers, as organized by Alexander. Arrian also wrote an account in ten books of what happened after Alexander. 






Note 1:
Arrian ignores the eastern satrapies, but from other sources we know that Perdiccas decided not to change too much. 




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