2. Son of Crateuas or Crateas, a Macedonian of Eordaea, in the service of Alexander
, whom we find holding the important post of one of the seven select officers called Somatophylaces, the immediate guards of the king's person. (Arr. Anab. 6.28
But we have no information as to the time When he obtained, or the services by which he earned, this distinguished position, though, as already mentioned, it is not always possible to say whether he or the son of Agenor is the person spoken of during the campaigns of Alexander
He mentioned among the officers in close attendance upon the king during his last illness (Id. 7.26 ; Plut. Alex. 76
), and took a considerable part in the events that followed his decease, B. C. 323.
According to Curtius, he was the first to propose in the assembly of the officers that Perdiccas and Leonnatus should be appointed regents and guardians of the infant king, the expected child of Roxana; and in the disputes between the cavalry and infantry he assumed a prominent place among leaders of the former. (Curt. 10.7
. §§ 4, 8 ; Arrian. apud Phot.
p. 69a.) His services on this were not forgotten by Perdiccas, who in the division of the provinces assigned to Pithon the important satrapy of Media. (Curt. 10.10.4
; Diod. 18.3
; Arrian. apud Phot.
p. 69a; Dexippus, ibid.
p. 64a.) Shortly afterwards he was entrusted by the regent with the charge of the Macedonian troops destined to reduce the revolted Greek mercenaries in the upper satrapies : a service, which he accomplished with complete success, and having defeated the insurgents in a decisive battle, granted a free pardon and promise of safety to the survivors.
This act of clemency we are told was secretly designed to attach these troops to himself; but Perdiccas, who suspected his ambitious projects, had given private orders to the contrary, and the unhappy Greeks had no sooner laid down their arms than they were all massacred by the Macedonians. (Diod. 18.4
; Trog. Pomp. Prol. xiii.)
It is probable that from this time Pithon had little attachment to the regent, but he made no show of discontent, and rejoined Perdiccas, whom he accompanied on his last expedition to Egypt, B. C. 32]. Here, however, the dissatisfaction which soon arose in the army [PERDICCAS] offered a tempting opening to his ambition, and he was the first to put himself at the head of the mutineers, and break out into open insurrection.
After the death of Perdiccas the regency was entrusted for a time by the advice of Ptolemy to Pithon and Arrhidaeus conjointly, but they soon showed themselves selves unworthy of so important a trust, and the intrigues of Eurydice compelled them to resign their office even before the arrival of Antipater. (Diod. 18.36
; Arrian. apud Phot.
In the distribution of the provinces that followed, Pitllon retained his former government of Media, with which, however, he seems to have received, either at this time or shortly after, a more general command over the adjoining provinces of Upper Asia. (Arr. l.c.
p. 71b; Diod. 18.39
; Droysen, Hellenism.
vol. i. p. 152.) Here his ambitious and restless spirit soon led him to engage in fresh projects : and he took an opportunity, on what pretext we know not, to dispossess Philip of his satrapy of Parthia, and establish his brother Eudeimus in his stead.
But this act of aggression at once aroused against him a general confederacy of all the neighbouring satraps, who united their forces, defeated Pithon in a pitched battle, and drove him out of Parthia. Pithon hereupon took refuge with Seleucus at Babylon, who promised to support him, and the two parties were preparing for war, when the approach of Eumenes an>d Antigonus with their respective armies drew off their attention.
The confederate satraps immediately espoused the cause of the former, while Pithon and Seleucus not only rejected all the overtures of Eumenes, but endeavoured to excite an insurrection among the troops of that leader. Failing in this, as well as in their attempts to prevent him from crossing the Tigris and effecting a junction with the satraps, they summoned Antigonus in all haste to their assistance, who advanced to Babylon, and there united his forces with those of Seleucus and Pithon in the spring of B. C. 317. (Diod. 19.12
Durilng the following campaigns of Antigonus against Eumenes, Pithon rendered the most important portant services to the former general, who appears to have reposed the utmost confidence in his military abilities, and assigned him on all important occasions the second place in the command. Thus we find him commanding the whole left wing of the army of Antigonus in both the decisive actions ; and at another time charged with the main body while Antigonus himself advanced with the cavalry in pursuit of the enemy. Even more valuable perhaps were his services in raising fresh levies of troops, and collecting supplies of provisions and other necessaries, when the scene of war had been transferred to his own government of Media.
It is probable that these circumstances called forth anew an overweening confidence in his own merits and abilities, and thus led Pithon after the fall of Eumenes to engage once more in intrigues for his own aggrandizement, which, if not directly treasonable, were sufficient to arouse the suspicions of Antigonus.
The latter affected to disbelieve the rumours which had reached him on the subject, but he sent for Pithon to join him in his winterquarters at Ecbatana, under pretence of wishing to consult him concerning the future conduct of the war. Pithon obeyed the summons without suspicion, but as soon as he arrived he was arrested, brought to trial before a council of the friends of Antigonus, and immediately put to death, B. C. 316. (Diod. 19.19
; Polyaen. 4.6.14