), one of the most distinguished generals of Alexander the Great, was a son of Alexander
of Orestis, a district in Macedonia, and a brother of Amphoterus. When Alexander the Great set out on his Asiatic expedition, Craterus
commanded the πεζέταιροι
. Subsequently we find him commanding a detachment of cavalry, as in the battle of Arbela and in the Indian campaign; but it seems that he had no permanent office, and that Alexander
employed him on all occasions where a general of able and independent judgment was required.
He was a man of a noble character, and although he was strongly attached to the simple manners and customs of Macedonia, and was averse to the conduct which Alexander
and his followers assumed in the East, still the king loved and esteemed him, next to Hephaestion, the most among all his generals and friends. In B. C. 324 he was commissioned by Alexander
to lead back the veterans to Macedonia, but as his health was not good at the time, Polysperchon was ordered to accompany and support him.
It was further arranged that Antipater, who was then regent of Macedonia, should lead reinforcements to Asia, and that Craterus
should succeed him in the regency of Macedonia. But Alexander
died before Craterus
reached Europe, and in the division of the empire which was then made, Antipater and Craterus
received in common the government of Macedonia, Greece, the Illyrians, Triballians, Agrianians, and Epeirus, as far as the Ceraunian mountains.
According to Dexippus (apud Phot. Bibl.
p. 64, ed. Bekker), the government of these countries was divided between them in such a manner, that Antipater had the command of the armies and Craterus
the administration of the kingdom. When Craterus
arrived in Europe, Antipater was involved in the Lamian war, and was in a position in which the arrival of his colleague was a matter of the utmost importance to him, and enabled him to crush the daring attempts of the Greeks to recover their independence.
After the close of this war Craterus
divorced his wife Amastris, who had been given him by Alexander
, and married Phila, the daughter of Antipater. Soon after Craterus accompanied his father-in-law in the war against the Aetolians, and in B. C. 321 in that against Perdiccas in Asia. Craterus had the command against Eumenes, while Antipater marched through Cilicia to Egypt. Craterus fell in a battle against Eumenes, which was fought in Cappadocia, and Eumenes on being informed of his death, lamented the fate of his late brother in arms, honoured him with a magnificent funeral, and sent his ashes back to Macedonia. (Arrian, Anab., ap. Phot. Bibl.
pp. 69, 224 ; Q. Curtius; Diod. 18.16
; Plut. Alex. 47
25; Corn. Nep. Eum.
4; comp. ANTIPATER, AMASTRIS, ALEXANDER.)