Chremonidean War

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Chremonidean War
Date267–261 BC
Result Macedonian victory
Macedonia Athens;
Ptolemaic Kingdom
Commanders and leaders
Antigonus II Gonatas Chremonides
Areus I 
Ptolemy II Philadelphus

The Chremonidean War (267–261 BC) was fought by a coalition of some Greek city-states and Ptolemaic Egypt against Antigonid Macedonian domination. The end result of this conflict was a Macedonian victory which confirmed Antigonid control over the city-states of Greece.

The origins of the war lie in the continuing desire of many Greek city-states, most notably Athens and Sparta, for a restoration of their former independence along with the Ptolemaic desire to stir up discontent within the sphere of influence of its Macedonian rival. Ptolemy Philadelphus's ambitions in the Aegean were threatened by Antigonus Gonatas's fleet, so he carefully built up an anti-Macedonian coalition amongst the Greek city-states. He especially concentrated on courting Athens, by supplying the city with grain.

The anti-Macedonian faction in Athens, led by the Stoic statesman and general Chremonides, took power and proceeded to declare war on Macedon (possibly as early as the autumn of 268 BC). The first year of the conflict saw only minor confrontations, though they generally ended favourably for the anti-Macedonian coalition. After the indecisive campaign season of 266 BC, in which Athens was assisted by a Ptolemaic fleet under Patroclus, the war began to turn against the Greek city-states, and in 265 BC Antigonus won a decisive and crushing victory outside Corinth during which the Spartan King Areus I was killed.

With their primary ally defeated and too militarily weak to confront the Antigonids alone, the Athenians could do little but wait behind their walls and hope the Ptolemies could send aid before the inevitable siege. Unfortunately for them, however, Philadelphus would not be ready to mount a major expedition until after Athens had already been starved into surrender in either 262 BC or 261 BC. In the end it did not matter since when the Ptolemies finally tried to send aid and reinforcements to Athens, their fleet was defeated off Cos (probably in 261 BC). This action, called the Battle of Cos, also features in the narrative of the second of the Syrian Wars with a strong alternative date of 258 or 255 BC.

After the end of the war, Athens lost her last pre-Hellenistic vestiges of political independence.


  • Green, Peter (1993). Alexander to Actium: The Historical Evolution of the Hellenistic Age. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-08349-0.