Diodorus on the revolt of the Greek settlers

After the death of Alexander the Great, the Greek veterans that he had settled in punitive colonies in the eastern satrapies, decided to leave their towns and go back to Europe. Perdiccas, the regent appointed for Alexander's successor Philip Arridaeus, sent an army to defeat them.

The story is told by Diodorus of Sicily (World history, 18.7). The translation was made by Russel Geer.

The revolt of the Greek settlers

[18.7.1] The Greeks who had been settled by Alexander in the Upper Satrapies,note as they are called, although they longed for the Greek customs and manner of life and were cast away in the most distant part of the kingdom, yet submitted while the king was alive through fear; but when he was dead they rose in revolt.

[18.7.2] After they had taken counsel together and elected Philon the Aenianian as general, they raised a considerable force. They had more than 20,000 foot soldiers and 3,000 horse, all of whom had many times been tried in the contests of war and were distinguished for their courage.

[18.7.3] When Perdiccas heard of the revolt of the Greeks, he drew by lot from the Macedonians 3,000 infantry and 800 horsemen. As commander of the whole he selected Peithon, who had been of the Bodyguard of Alexander, a man full of spirit and able to command, and assigned to him the troops that had been drawn. After giving him letters for the satraps, in which it was written that they should furnish Pithon 10,000 and 8,000 horsemen, he sent him against the rebels.

[18.7.4] Peithon, who was a man of great ambition, gladly accepted the expedition, intending to win the Greeks over through kindness, and, after making his army great through an alliance with them, to work in his own interests and become the ruler. of the upper satrapies.

[18.7.5] But Perdiccas, suspecting his design, gave him definite orders to kill all the rebels when he had subdued them, and to distribute the spoils to the soldiers. Peithon, setting out with the troops that had been given to him and receiving the auxiliaries from the satraps, came upon the rebels with all his forces. Through the agency of a certain Aenianian he corrupted Letodorus, who had been made a commander of 3,000 among the rebels, and won a complete victory.

[18.7.6] For when the battle was begun and the victory was doubtful, the traitor left his allies without warning and withdrew to a certain hill, taking his three thousand men. The rest, believing that these were bent on flight, were thrown into confusion, turned about, and fled. Peithon, being victorious in the battle, sent a herald to the conquered, ordering them to lay down their arms and to return to their several colonies after receiving pledges.

[18.7.7] When oaths to this effect had been sworn and the Greeks were interspersed among the Macedonians, Peithon was greatly pleased, seeing that the affair was progressing according to his intentions. But the Macedonians, remembering the orders of Perdiccas and having no regard for the oaths that had been sworn, broke faith with the Greeks.

[18.7.8] Setting upon them unexpectedly and catching them off their guard, they shot them all down with javelins and seized their possessions as plunder. Peithon then, cheated of his hopes, came back with the Macedonians to Perdiccas. 

This page was created in 2000; last modified on 16 July 2020.