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The Diadochi (plural of Latin Diadochus, from Greek: Διάδοχοι, Diadokhoi, "Successors") were the rival generals, family and friends of Alexander the Great who fought for the control of Alexander's empire after his death in 323 BC. The Wars of the Diadochi were the turbulent opening of the Hellenistic period.
When Alexander the Great died (June 10, 323 BC), he left behind a huge empire which comprised many essentially independent territories. Alexander's empire stretched from his homeland of Macedon itself, along with the Greek city-states that his father had subdued, to Bactria and parts of India in the east. It included parts of the present day Balkans, Anatolia, the Levant, Egypt, Babylonia, and most of the former Persia, except for some lands the Achaemenids formerly held in Central Asia.
"The first rank" 
"The second rank" 
Macedonian satraps 
Other Successors 
Royal family 
Non-Macedonian satraps and generals 
Sons of the Diadochi 
Struggle for unity (323–319 BC) 
Partition of Babylon 
Without a chosen successor there was almost immediately a dispute among his generals as to who his successor should be. Meleager and the infantry supported the candidacy of Alexander's half-brother, Arrhidaeus, while Perdiccas, the leading cavalry commander, supported waiting until the birth of Alexander's unborn child by Roxana. A compromise was arranged – Arrhidaeus (as Philip III) should become King, and should rule jointly with Roxana's child, assuming that it was a boy (as it was, becoming Alexander IV). Perdiccas himself would become Regent of the entire Empire, and Meleager his lieutenant. Soon, however, Perdiccas had Meleager and the other infantry leaders murdered, and assumed full control.
The other cavalry generals who had supported Perdiccas were rewarded in the partition of Babylon by becoming satraps of the various parts of the Empire. Ptolemy received Egypt; Laomedon received Syria and Phoenicia; Philotas took Cilicia; Peithon took Media; Antigonus received Phrygia, Lycia and Pamphylia; Asander received Caria; Menander received Lydia; Lysimachus received Thrace; Leonnatus received Hellespontine Phrygia; and Neoptolemus had Armenia. Macedon and the rest of Greece were to be under the joint rule of Antipater, who had governed them for Alexander, and Craterus, Alexander's most able lieutenant, while Alexander's old secretary, Eumenes of Cardia, was to receive Cappadocia and Paphlagonia.
In the east, Perdiccas largely left Alexander's arrangements intact – Taxiles and Porus ruled over their kingdoms in India; Alexander's father-in-law Oxyartes ruled Gandara; Sibyrtius ruled Arachosia and Gedrosia; Stasanor ruled Aria and Drangiana; Philip ruled Bactria and Sogdiana; Phrataphernes ruled Parthia and Hyrcania; Peucestas governed Persis; Tlepolemus had charge over Carmania; Atropates governed northern Media; Archon got Babylonia; and Arcesilas ruled northern Mesopotamia.
Revolt in Greece 
Meanwhile, the news of Alexander's death had inspired a revolt in Greece, known as the Lamian War. Athens and other cities joined together, ultimately besieging Antipater in the fortress of Lamia. Antipater was relieved by a force sent by Leonnatus, who was killed in action, but the war did not come to an end until Craterus's arrival with a fleet to defeat the Athenians at the Battle of Crannon on September 5, 322 BC. For a time, this brought an end to Greek resistance to Macedonian domination. Meanwhile, Peithon suppressed a revolt of Greek settlers in the eastern parts of the Empire, and Perdiccas and Eumenes subdued Cappadocia.
First War of the Diadochi, (322–320 BC) 
Soon, however, conflict broke out. Perdiccas' marriage to Alexander's sister Cleopatra led Antipater, Craterus, Antigonus, and Ptolemy to join together in rebellion. The actual outbreak of war was initiated by Ptolemy's theft of Alexander's body, and diversion of it to Egypt. Although Eumenes defeated the rebels in Asia Minor, in a battle at which Craterus was killed, it was all for nought, as Perdiccas himself was murdered by his own generals Peithon, Seleucus, and Antigenes during an invasion of Egypt.
Ptolemy came to terms with Perdiccas's murderers, making Peithon and Arrhidaeus regents in his place, but soon these came to a new agreement with Antipater at the Treaty of Triparadisus. Antipater was made regent of the Empire, and the two kings were moved to Macedon. Antigonus remained in charge of Phrygia, Lycia, and Pamphylia, to which was added Lycaonia. Ptolemy retained Egypt, Lysimachus retained Thrace, while the three murderers of Perdiccas—Seleucus, Peithon, and Antigenes—were given the provinces of Babylonia, Media, and Susiana respectively. Arrhidaeus, the former Regent, received Hellespontine Phrygia. Antigonus was charged with the task of rooting out Perdiccas's former supporter, Eumenes. In effect, Antipater retained for himself control of Europe, while Antigonus, as leader of the largest army east of the Hellespont, held a similar position in Asia.
Partition of Triparadisus 
Death of Antipater 
Soon after the second partition, in 319 BC, Antipater died. Antipater had been one of the few remaining individuals with enough prestige to hold the empire together, and after his death, the fragmentation of the empire would begin in earnest. War soon broke out again, however, following the death of Antipater in 319 BC. Passing over his own son, Cassander, Antipater had declared Polyperchon his successor as Regent. A civil war soon broke out in Macedon and Greece between Polyperchon and Cassander, with the latter supported by Antigonus and Ptolemy. Polyperchon allied himself to Eumenes in Asia, but was driven from Macedonia by Cassander, and fled to Epirus with the infant king Alexander IV and his mother Roxana. In Epirus he joined forces with Olympias, Alexander's mother, and together they invaded Macedon again. They were met by an army commanded by King Philip Arrhidaeus and his wife Eurydice, which immediately defected, leaving the king and Eurydice to Olympias's not so tender mercies, and they were killed (317 BC). Soon after, though, the tide turned, and Cassander was victorious, capturing and killing Olympias, and attaining control of Macedon, the boy king, and his mother.
Wars of the Diadochi (319–275 BC) 
Kingdoms of the Diadochi (275–30 BC) 
Decline and fall 
This division was to last for a century, before the Antigonid Kingdom finally fell to Rome, and the Seleucids were harried from Persia by the Parthians and forced by the Romans to relinquish control in Asia Minor. A rump Seleucid kingdom limped on in Syria until finally put to rest by Pompey in 64 BC. The Ptolemies lasted longer in Alexandria though as a client under Rome, Egypt was finally annexed to Rome in 30 BC.
Historical uses as a title 
Aulic rank title 
Ironically in the formal 'court' titulature of the Hellenistic empires ruled by dynasties we know as Diadochs, the title was not customary for the Monarch, but has actually been proven to be the lowest in a system of official rank titles, known as Aulic titulature, conferred – ex officio or nominatim – to actual courtiers and as an honorary rank (for protocol) to various military and civilian officials. Notably in Ptolemaic Egypt, it was reported as the lowest aulic rank, under Philos, during the reign of Ptolemy V Epiphanes.
Modern revival 
In the modern Kingdom of Greece, established in 1832 after Greece attained independence from the Ottoman Empire (1830), under a Bavarian dynasty, the title of Diadochos was 'revived' as particular princely style for the heir, apparent or presumptive, to the constitutional royal throne, as unique as the Dauphin of France, but not linked to any territory. However, the Diadochos from 1868 until 1913 – i.e. Crown Prince Constantine, the later King Constantine I of Greece – enjoyed the specific geographic style of Duke of Sparta.
- Shipley, Graham (2000) The Greek World After Alexander. Routledge History of the Ancient World. (Routledge, New York)
- Walbank, F. W. (1984) The Hellenistic World, The Cambridge Ancient History, volume VII. part I. (Cambridge)
- Alexander's successors: the Diadochi from Livius.org (Jona Lendering)
- Wiki Classical Dictionary: "Successors" category and Diadochi entry
- T. Boiy, "Dating Methods During the Early Hellenistic Period", Journal of Cuneiform Studies, Vol. 52, 2000 PDF format. A recent study of primary sources for the chronology of eastern rulers during the period of the Diadochi.