1. King of Macedonia, and son of Antipater, was 35 years old before his father's death, if we may trust an incidental notice to that effect in Athenaeus, and must, therefore, have been born in or before B. C. 354. (Athen. 1.18
a.; Droysen, Gesch. der Nachfolger Alexanders,
p. 256.) His first appearance in history is on the occasion of his being sent from Macedonia to Alexander
, then in Babylon, to defend his father against his accusers : here, according to Plutarch (Plut. Alex. 74
), Cassander was so struck by the sight, to him new, of the Persian ceremonial of prostration, that he could not restrain his laughter, and the king, incensed at his rudeness, is said to have seized him by the hair and dashed his head against the wall. Allowing for some exaggeration in this story, it is certain that he met with some treatment from Alexander
which left on his mind an indelible impression of terror and hatred,--a feeling which perhaps nearly as much as ambition urged him afterwards to the destruction of the royal family.
The story which ascribed Alexander's
death to poison [see pp. 201, 320], spoke also of Cassander as the person who brought the deadly water to Babylon.
With respect to the satrapy of Caria, which is said by Diodorus, Justin, and Curtius to have been given to Cassander among the arrangements of B. C. 323, the confusion between the names Cassander and Asander is pointed out in p. 379a. (Comp. Diod. 18.68
.) On Polysperchon's being appointed to succeed Antipater in the regency, Cassander was confirmed in the secondary dignity of Chiliarch (see Wess. ad Diod.
18.48; Philolog. Mus.
1.380),--an office which had previously been conferred on him by his father, that he might serve as a check on Antigonus, when (B. C. 321) the latter was entrusted by Antipater with the command of the forces against Eumienes. Being, however, dissatisfied with this arrangement, he strengthened himself by an alliance with Ptolemy Lagi and Antigonus, and entered into war with Polysperchon. For the operations of the contending parties at Athens in B. C. 318, sec p. 125b.
The failure of Polysperchon at Megalopolis, in the same year, had the effect of bringing over most of the Greek states to Cassander, and Athens also surrendered to him, on condition that she should keep her city, territory, revenues, and ships, only continuing the ally of the conqueror, who should be allowed to retain Munychia till the end of the war.
He at the same time settled the Athenian constitution by establishing 10 minae (half the sum that had been appointed by Antipater) as the qualification for the full rights of citizenship (see Böckh, Publ. Econ. of Athens,
1.7, 4.3); and the union of clemency and energy which his general conduct exhibited, is said to have procured him many adherents. While, however, he was successfully advancing his cause in the south, intelligence reached him that Eurydice and her husband Arrhidaeus had fallen victims to the vengeance of Olympias, who had also murdered Cassander's brother Nicanor, together with 100 of his principal friends, and had even torn from its tomb the corpse of Iollas, another brother of his, by whom she asserted (the story being now probably propagated for the first time), that Alexander
had been poisoned. Cassander immediately raised the siege of Tegea, in which he was engaged, and hastened with all speed into Macedonia, though he thereby left the Peloponnesus open to Polysperchon's son [ALEXANDER], and cutting off from Olympias all hope of aid from Polysperchon and Aeacides [CALAS, ATARRHIAS], besieged her in Pydna throughout the winter of B. C. 317.
In the spring of the ensuing year she was obliged to surrender, and Cassander shortly after caused her to be put to death in defiance of his positive agreement.
The way now seemed open to him to the throne of Macedon, and in furtherance of the attainment of this object of his ambition, he placed Roxana and her young son, Alexander Aegus, in custody at Amphipolis, not thinking it safe as yet to murder them, and ordered that they should no longer be treated as royal persons.
He also connected himself with the regal family by a marriage with Thessalonica, half-sister to Alexander the Great, in whose honour he founded, probably in 316, the town which bore her name; and to the same time, perhaps, we may refer the foundation of Cassandreia in Pallene, so called after himself. (Strab. Exc. c Lib.
vii. p. 330.) Returning now to the south, he stopped in Boeotia and began the restoration of Thebes in the 20th year after its destruction by Alexander (B. C. 315), a measure highly popular with the Greeks, and not least so at Athens, besides being a mode of venting his hatred against Alexander's memory. (Comp. Paus. 9.7
; Plut. Polit. Praec.
100.17; for the date see also Polem. up. Athen.
i. p. 19c.; Casaub. ad loc.;
ii. p. 174.) Thence advancing into the Peloponnesus, he retook most of the towns which the son of Polysperchon had gained in his absence; and soon after he succeeded also in attaching Polysperchon himself and Alexander to his cause, and withdrawing them from that of Antigonus, against whom a strong coalition had been formed. [See pp. 126, a, 187, b.] But in B. C. 313, Antigonus contrived, by holding out to them the prospect of independence, to detach from Cassander all the Greek cities where he had garrisons, except Corinth and Sicyon, in which Polysperchon and Cratesipolis (Alexander's widow) still maintained their ground; and in the further operations of the war Cassander's cause continued to decline till the hollow peace of 311, by one of the terms of which he was to retain his authority in Europe till Alexander Aegus should be grown to manhood, while it was likewise provided that all Greek states should be independent.
In the same year Cassainder made one more step towards the throne, by the murder of the young king and his mother Roxana. In B. C. 310, the war was renewed, and Polysperchon, who once more appears in opposition to Cassander, advanced against him with Hercules, the son of Alexander the Great and Barsine, whom, acting probably under instructions from Antigonus, he had put forward as a claimant to the crown; but, being a man apparently with all the unscrupulous cruelty of Cassander without his talent and decision, he was bribed by the latter, who promised him among other things the government of the Peloponnesus, to murder the young prince and his mother, B. C. 309. [BARSINE, No. 1.] At this time the only places held by Cassander in Greece were Athens, Corinth, and Sicyon, the two latter of which were betrayed to Ptolemy by Cratesipolis, in B. C. 308; and in 307, Athens was recovered by Demetrius, the son of Antigonus, from Demetrius the Phalerean, who had held it for Cassander from B. C. 313, with the specious title of " Guardian" (ἐπιμελητής
). In B. C. 306, when Antigonus, Lysimachus, and Ptolemy took the name of king, Cassander was saluted with the same title by his subjects, though according to Plutarch (Plut. Demetr. 18
) he did not assume it himself in his letters. During the siege of Rhodes by Demetrius in 305, Cassander sent supplies to the besieged, and took advantage of Demetrius being thus employed to assail again the Grecian cities, occupying Corinth with a garrison under Prepelaus, and laying siege to Athens.
But, in B. C. 304, Demetrius having concluded a peace with the Rhodians, obliged him to raise the siege and to retreat to the north, whither, having made himself master of southern Greece, he advanced against him. Cassander first endeavoured to obtain peace by an application to Antigonus, and then failing in this, he induced Lysimachus to effect a diversion by carrying the war into Asia against Antigonus, and sent also to Seleucus and Ptolemy for assistance. Meanwhile Demetrius, with far superior forces remained unaccountably inactive in Thessaly, till, being summoned to his father's aid, he concluded a hasty treaty with Cassander, providing nominally for the independence of all Greek cities, and passed into Asia, B. C. 302.
In the next year, 301, the decisive battle of Ipsus, in which Antigonus and Demetrius were defeated and the former slain, relieved Cassander from his chief cause of apprehension.
After the battle, the four kings (Seleucus, Ptolemy, Cassander, and Lysimachus) divided among them the dominions of Antigonus as well as what they already possessed ; and in this division Macedonia and Greece were assigned to Cassander. (Comp. Daniel. viii.; Plb. 5.67
; App. Bell. Syr.
p. 122, ad fin.
) To B. C. 299 or 298, we must refer Cassander's invasion of Corcyra, which had remained free since its deliverance by Demetrius, B. C. 303, from the Spartan adventurer Cleonynmus (comp. Liv. 10.2
; Diod. 20.105
), and which may perhaps have been ceded to Cassander as a set-off against Demetrius' occupation of Cilicia, from which he had driven Cassander's brother Pleistarchus.
The island, however, was delivered by Agathocles of Syracuse, who compelled Cassander to withdraw from it. In B. C. 298, we find him carrying on his intrigues in southern Greece, and assailing Athens and Elatea in Phocis, which were successfully defended by Olympiodorus, the Athenian, with assistance from the Aetolians. Not being able therefore to succeed by force of arms, Cassander encouraged Lachares to seize the tyranny of Athens, whence however Demetrius expelled him; and Cassander's plans were cut short by his death, which was caused by dropsy in the autumn of B. C. 297, as Droysen places it ; Cünton refers it to 296. (Diod. xviii.--xx. xxi. Exc.
2; Plut. Phocion, Pyrrhus, Demetrius;
Just. xii.--xv.; Arrian, Arr. Anab. 7.27
; Paus. 1.25
; Droysen, Gesch. der Nachf. Alexanders ;
It will have appeared from the above account that there was no act, however cruel and atrocious, from which Cassander ever shrunk where the objects he had in view required it; and yet this man of blood, this ruthless and unscrupulous murderer, was at the same time a man of refinement and of cultivated literary tastes,--one who could feel the beauties of Homer, and who knew his poems by heart. (Caryst. apud Athen.
xiv. p. 620b.) For a sketch of his character, eloquently drawn, see Droysen, pp. 256, 257.
The head on the obverse of the annexed coin of Cassander is that of Hercules.