) of CARDIA, secretary to Alexander the Great, and after his death one of the most distinguished generals among his successors.
The accounts of his origin vary considerably, some representing his father as a poor man, who was obliged to subsist by his own labour, others as one of the most distinguished citizens of his native place. (Plut. Eum. 1
; Corn. Nep. Eum.
1; Aelian, Ael. VH 12.43
The latter statements are upon all accounts the most probable : it is certain, at least, that he received a good education, and having attracted the attention of Philip of Macedon on occasion of his visiting Cardia, was taken by that king to his court, and employed as his private secretary.
In this capacity he soon rose to a high place in his confidence, and after his death continued to discharge the same office under Alexander
, whom lie accompanied throughout his expedition in Asia, and who seems to have treated him at all times with the most marked confidence and distinction, of which he gave a striking proof about two years before his death, by giving him in marriage Artonis, a Persian princess, the daughter of Artabazus, at the same time that he himself married Stateira, the daughter of Dareius. (Arrian, Arr. Anab. 7.4
A still stronger evidence of the favour which Eumenes enjoyed with Alexander
is, that he was able to maintain his ground against the influence of Hephaestion, with whom he was continually at enmity. (Arrian, Arr. Anab. 7.13
; Plut. Eum. 2
.) Nor were his services confined to those of his office as secretary: he was more than once employed by Alexander
in military commands, and was ultimately appointed by him to the post of hipparch on leader of one of the chief divisions of cavalry. (Arrian, Arr. Anab. 5.24
; Plut. Eum. 1
; Corn. Nep. Eum.
In the discussions and tumults which ensued on the death of Alexander
, Eumenees at first, aware of the jealousy with which as a Greek he was regarded by the Macedoniian leaders, refrained from taking any part; but when matters came to an open rupture, he was mainly instrumental in bringing about a reconciliation between the two parties.
In the division of the satrapies which followed, Eumenes obtained the government of Cappadocia, Paphlagonia, and Pontus : but as these provinces had never yet been conquered, and were still in the hands of Ariarathes, Antigonus and Leonnatus were appointed to reduce them for him. Antigonus, however, disdained compliance, and Leonnatus was quickly called off to Greece by his ambitious projects. [LEONNATUS.] In these he endeavoured to persuade Eumenes, who had accompanied him into Phrygia, to join; but the latter, instead of doing so, abruptly quitted him, and hastening to Perdiccas, revealed to him the designs of Leonnatus.
By this proof of his fidelity, he secured the favour of the regent, who henceforward reposed his chief confidence in him.
As an immediate reward, Perdiccas proceeded in person to subdue for him the promised satrapies, defeated and put to death Ariarathes, and established Eumenes in the full possession of his government, B. C. 322. (Plut. Eum. 3
; Diod., 18.3, 16; Arrian, apud Phot.
p. 69. a.; Corn. Nep. Eum.
2.) Here, however, he did not long remain, but accompanied the regent and the royal family into Cilicia.
In the following spring, when Perdiccas determined to proceed in person against Ptolemy, he committed to Eumenes the chief command in Asia Minor, and ordered him to repair at once to the Hellespont, to make head against Antipater and Craterus. Eumenes took advantage of the interval before their arrival to raise a numerous and excellent body of cavalry out of Paphilagonia, to which he was indebted for many of his subsequent victories. Meanwhile, a new enemy arose against him in Neoptolemus, governor of Armenia, who had been placed under his command by Perdiccas, but then revolted from him, and entered into correspondence with Antipater and Craterus. Eumenes, however, defeated him before the arrival of his confederates, and then turned to meet Craterus, who was advancing against him, and to whom Neoptolemus had made his escape after his own defeat.
The battle that ensued was decisive; for although the Macedonian phalanx suffered but little, Craterus himself fell, and Neoptolemus was slain by Eumenes with his own hand, after a deadly struggle in the presence of the two armies. (Plut. Eum. 4
; Diod. 18.29
; Arrian, apud Phot.
p. 70b., 71, a.; Corn. Nep. Eum.
3, 4; Justin, 13.6
This took place in the summer of 321 B. C.
But while Eumenes was thus triumphant in Asia, Perdiccas had met with repeated disasters in Egypt, and had finally fallen a victim to the discontent of his troops, just before the news arrived of the victory of Eumenes and the death of Craterus.
It came too late : the tide was now turned, and the intelligence excited the greatest indignation among the Macedonian soldiers, who had been particularly attached to Craterus, and who hated Eumenes as a foreigner, for such they considered him.
A general assembly of the army was held, in which Eumenes, Attalus, and Alcetas, the remaining leaders of the party of Perdiccas, were condemned to death.
The conduct of the war against them was assigned to Antigonus; but he did not take the field until the following summer (B. C. 320). Eumenes had wintered at Celaenae in Phrygia, and strengthened himself by all means in his power, but he was unable to make head against Antigonus, who defeated him in the plains of Orcynium in Cappadocia; and finding himself unable to effect his retreat into Armenia, as he had designed to do, he adopted the resolution of disbanding the rest of his army, and throwing himself, with only 700 troops, into the small but impregnable fortress of Nora, on the confines of Lycaonia and Cappadocia. (Plut. Eum. 8
; Diod. 18.37
; Corn. Nep. Eum.
5.) Here he was closely blockaded by the forces of Antigonus; but, confident in the strength of his post, refused all offers of capitulation, and awaited the result of external changes.
It was not long before these took place: the death of Antipater caused a complete alteration in the relations of the different leaders; and Antigonus, who was anxious to obtain the assistance of Eumenes, made him the most plausible offers, of which the latter only availed himself so far as enabled him to quit his mountain fortress, in which he had now held out nearly a year, and withdraw to Cappadocia. Here he was busy in levying troops and gathering his friends together, when he received letters from Polysperchon and Olympias, entreating his support, and granting him, in the name of the king, the supreme command throughout Asia. Eumenes was, whether from interest or from real attachment, always disposed to espouse the cause of the royal family of Macedonia, and gladly embraced the offer: he eluded the pursuit of Menander, who marched against him by order of Antigonus, and arrived in Cilicia, where he found the select body of Macedonian veterans called the Argyraspids, under Antigenes and Teutamus.
These, as well as the royal treasures deposited at Quinda, had been placed at his disposal by Polysperchon and Olympias: but though welcomed at first with apparent enthusiasm, Eumenes was well aware of the jealousy with which he was regarded, and even sought to avoid the appearance of commanding the other generals by the singular expedient of erecting a tent in which the throne, the crown and sceptre of Alexander
were preserved, and where all councils of war were held, as if in the presence of the deceased monarch. (Plut. Eum. 11
; Diod. 18.42
; Polyaen. 4.8.2
; Just. 14.2
By these and other means Eumenes succeeded in conciliating the troops under his command, so that they rejected all the attempts made by Ptolemy and Antigonus to corrupt their fidelity.
At the same time he made extensive levies of mercenaries, and having assembled in all a numerous army, he advanced into Phoenicia, with the view of reducing the maritime towns, and sending a fleet from thence to the assistance of Polysperchon This plan was, however, frustrated by the arrival of the fleet of Antigonus, and the advance of that general himself with a greatly superior force. Eumenes in consequence retired into the interior of Asia, and took up his winterquarters in Babylonia. (Diod. 18.61
In the spring of 317 he descended the left bank of the Tigris, and having foiled all the endeavours of Saleucus to prevent his passing that river, advanced into Susiana, where he was joined by Peucestes at the head of all the forces of Media, Persia, and the other provinces of Upper Asia. Still he did not choose to await here the advance of Antigonus; and leaving a strong garrison to guard the royal treasures at Susa, he took post with his army behind the Pasitigris. Antigonus, who had followed him out of Babylonia, and effected his junction with Seleucus and Pithon, now marched against him; but having met with a check at the river Copratas, withdrew by a cross march through a difficult country into Media, while Eumenes took up his quarters at Persepolis.
He had many difficulties to contend with, not only from the enemy, but from the discontent of his own troops, the relaxation of their discipline when they were allowed to remain in the luxurious provinces of Persia, and above all from the continual jealousies and intrigues of the generals and satraps under his command.
But whenever they were in circumstances of difficulty or in presence of the enemy, all were at once ready to acknowledge his superiority, and leave him the uncontrolled direction of everything.
The two armies first met on the confines of Gabiene, when a pitched battle ensued, with no decided advantage to either side; after which Antigonus withdrew to Gadamarga in Media, while Eumenes established his winter-quarters in Gabiene. Here Antigonus attempted to surprise him by a sudden march in the depth of the winter; but he was too wary to be taken unprepared: he contrived by a stratagem to delay the march of his adversary until til had time to collect his scattered forces, and again bring matters to the issue of a pitched battle. Neither party obtained a complete victory, and Eumenes would have renewed the combat the next day; but the baggage of the Macedonian troops had fallen into the hands of the enemy, and the Argyraspids, furious at their loss, agreed to purchase its restoration from Antigonus by delivering up their general into his hands.
The latter is said to have been at first disposed to spare the life of his captive, which he was strongly urged to do by Nearchus and the young Demetrius; but all his other officers were of the contrary opinion, and Eumenes was put to death a few days after he had fallen into the hands of the enemy. (Plut. Eum. 13
; Diod. 19.12
; Corn. Nep. Eum.
7-12; Just. 14.3
; Polyaen. 4.8.3
These events took place in the winter of 317 to 316 B. C. 1
Eumenes was only forty-five years old at the time of his death. (Corn. Nep. Eum.
13.) Of his consummate ability, both as a general and a statesman, no doubt can be entertained; and it is probable that he would have attained a far more important position among the successors of Alexander
, had it not been for the accidental disadvantage of his birth.
But as a Greek of Cardia, and not a native Macedonian, he was constantly looked upon with dislike, and even with contempt, both by his opponents and companions in arms, at the very time that they were compelled to bow beneath his genius.
This prejudice was throughout the greatest obstacle with which he had to contend, and it may be regarded as the highest proof of his ability that he overcame it even to the extent to which he was able.
It must be borne in mind also, if we praise him for his fidelity to the royal house of Macedonia, that this same disadvantage, by rendering it impossible for him to aspire to any independent authority, made it as much his interest as his duty to uphold the legitimate occupants of the throne of Alexander
He is described by Plutarch (Plut. Eum. 11
) as a man of polished manners and appearance, with the air of a courtier rather than a warrior; and his oratory was more subtle and plausible than energetic. Craft and caution seem indeed to have been the prevailing points in his character; though he was able also to exhibit, when called for, the utmost energy and activity.
[E. H. B.