Battle of Crannon
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|Battle of Crannon|
|Part of the Lamian War|
|Commanders and leaders|
Menon of Pharsalus
3,000 slingers and archers,
|Casualties and losses|
|130 dead||500 dead|
The Battle of Crannon (322 BC), fought between the Macedonian forces of Antipater and Craterus and rebellious forces led by the Athenians, was the decisive battle of the Lamian War. Macedonian victory, though militarily unspectacular, convinced the other Greeks to sue for peace. This marked the end of city-state freedom from Macedonian hegemony in Greece.
The Athenians upon learning of the death of Alexander the Great in June 323 BC decided to rebel against Macedonian hegemony in the rest of Greece. Recruiting a force of mercenaries and joined by many other city-states the Athenians were at first able to bring superior numbers against the enemy as Antipater, the Macedonian viceroy in Europe, was short on troops due to the Macedonian campaigns in the east. Forced to take refuge in Lamia, Antipater called for reinforcements from Asia. The first to respond, Leonnatus, was killed in a battle against the rebels cavalry, however this allowed Antipater to escape from Lamia and merge his army with that of Leonnatus. The arrival of a third Macedonian force under the leadership of Craterus decidedly shifted the numerical superiority to the Macedonian side.
Antipater and Craterus now marched their combined army south to force the Athenian led rebels to battle. The rebelled States, after calling together their dispersed forces met the Macedonians near Crannon in Thessaly.
Relying on the high reputation of the Thessalian horse, the Athenian general, Antiphilus decided to try as in the battle with Leonnatus to win the battle by cavalry. The battle therefore opened with the clash of the Athenian led and Macedonian cavalry. With the cavalry of both sides occupied, Antipater ordered his infantry to charge the rebels line. The rebels infantry was driven back by the more numerous enemy and withdrew to the high ground from where they could easily repulse any Macedonian assault. Seeing their infantry in retreat the rebels cavalry disengaged from the battle, leaving the field and victory in Macedonian hands.
While the Athenian led army was still intact, it was clear that the Macedonians had gained the advantage in the war. After conferring with his cavalry commander Menon of Pharsalus, Antiphilus therefore sent an embassy to Antipater the next day asking for terms. Antipater however refused to conclude any general peace with the Athenian led alliance as a whole, insisting instead that each city sent its own ambassadors. While these terms were at first rejected, the subsequent Macedonian capture of several Thessalian cities caused a rush of defections as each city strove to make a separate peace.
Athens, abandoned by her allies, was at last forced to surrender unconditionally. In the peace imposed by Antipater, the Athenians were forced to accept a Macedonian garrison as well as a replacement of democracy with an oligarchy under the leadership of Phocion.
- Diodorus Siculus
- Waldemar Heckel, The Marshals of Alexander's Empire