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1. A Macedonian of Pella, one of Alexander's most distinguished officers. His father's name is variously given, as Anteas, Anthes, Onasus, and Eunus. (Arrian. Anab. 3.5.7, 6.28.6, ind. 18, ap. Phot. p. 69a, ed. Bekker). According to Curtius he was descended from a royal house (Curt. 10.7), which may be the reason we find hint early occupying a distinguished post about the person of Philip of Macedon; at the time of whose death (B. C. 336) he was one of the select officers called the king's body guards (σωματοφύλακες). In this capacity he is mentioned as one of those who avenged the death of Philip upon his assassin Pausanias. (Diod. 16.94.) Though he accompanied Alexander on his expedition to Asia, he did not at first hold an equally distinguished position in the service of the young king: he was only an officer of the ordinary guards (ἑταῖροι) when he was sent by Alexander after the battle of Issus to announce to the wife of Dareius the tidings of her husband's safety. (Arr. Anab. 2.12.7; Curt. iii, 12; Diod. 17.37; Plut. Alex. 21.) Shortly after, however, during Alexander's stay in Egypt (B. C. 331), Leonnatus was appointed to succeed Arrhybas as one of the seven σωματοφύλακες (Arr. Anab. 3.5, 6.28), and from this time forward his name continually occurs, together with those of Hephaestion, Perdiccas, and Ptolemy, among the officers immediately about the king's person, or employed by him on occasions requiring the utmost confidence. Thus we find him making one of the secret council appointed to inquire into the guilt of Philotas; present at the quarrel between Alexander and Cleitus, and attempting in vain to check the fury of the king; keeping watch over Alexander's tent at the time of the conspiracy of the pages; and even venturing to excite his resentment by ridiculing the Persian custom of prostration. (Curt. 6.8.17, 8.1 § 46, 6.22; Arr. Anab. 4.12. §. 3.) Nor were his military services less conspicuous; in B. C. 327 he is mentioned as taking a prominent part in the attack on the hill fort of Chorienes, and was wounded at the same time with Ptolemy and Alexander himself, in the first engagement with the barbarian tribes of the vale of the Choes. On a subsequent occasion he led one division of the army to the attack of one of the strong positions which the Indian mountaineers had occupied: but his most distinguished exploit was in the assault on the city of the Malli, where Alexander's life was only saved by the personal courage and prowess of Leonnatus and Peucestas. (Arr. Anab. 4.21, 23, 24, 6.10; Curt. 8.14.15, 9.5.) We next find him commanding the division of cavalry and light-armed troops which accompanied the fleet of Alexander down the Indus, along the right bank of the river. During the subsequent march from thence back to Persia, he was left with a strong force in the country of the Oreitae, to enforce the submission of that tribe and maintain the communications with the fleet under Nearchus. These objects he successfully accomplished; and the Oreitae and neighbouring barbarians having assembled a large army, he totally defeated them with heavy loss. As a reward for these various services, he was selected by Alexander as one of those whom he honoured with crowns of gold during his stay at Susa, B. C. 325. (Arr. Anab. 6.18, 20, 22, 7.5, Ind. 23, 42; Curt. 9.10.)

Leonnatus thus held so conspicuous a place among the Macedonian generals, that in the first deliberations which followed the death of Alexander, it was proposed to associate him with Perdiccas, as one of the guardians of the infant king, the expected child of Roxana. (Curt. 10.9.3; Just. 13.2.) In the arrangements ultimately adopted however, he obtained only the satrapy of the Lesser or Hellespontine Phrygia (Arrian. apud Phot. p. 69b; Dexippus, ibid. p. 64a; Diod. 18.3; Curt. 10.10.2; Just. 13.4.), a share which was far from contenting his ambition, though he thought fit to acquiesce for the time. But hardly had he arrived to take possession of his government, when he received an urgent message front Antipater, calling on him for assistance against the revolted Greeks. Nearly at the same time also arrived letters from Cleopatra, the sister of Alexander, urging him to aid her against Antipater, and offering him her hand in marriage. Leonnatus immediately determined to avail himself of the double opportunity thus presented to his ambition; first to assist Antipater against the Greeks, and after having freed him from that danger, to expel him in his turn from Macedonia, marry Cleopatra, and seat himself upon the throne. With these views (for which he in vain endeavoured to obtain the support of Eumenes) he crossed over into Europe at the head of a considerable army, and advanced into Thessaly to the relief of Antipater, who was at this time blockaded in Lamia by the combined forces of the Greeks (B. C. 322). He was met by the Athenians and their allies under Antiphilus, and a pitched battle ensued, in which, though the main army of the Macedonians suffered but little, their cavalry, commanded by Leonnatus in person, was totally defeated, and he himself fell, covered with wounds, after displaying in the combat his accustomed valour. (Diod. 18.12, 14, 15; Plut. Eum. 3, Phoc. 25; Just. 13.5.) The only personal traits recorded to us of Leonnatus are his excessive passion for hunting, and his love of magnificence and display, the latter a quality common to most of his brother captains in the service of Alexander. (Plut. Alex. 40; Ael. VH 9.3; Athen. 12.539.)

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hide References (30 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (30):
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 16.94
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 17.37
    • Plutarch, Alexander, 21
    • Plutarch, Alexander, 40
    • Plutarch, Eumenes, 3
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 2.12.7
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 3.5
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 4.12
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 4.21
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 4.23
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 4.24
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 6.10
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 6.18
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 6.20
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 6.22
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 6.28
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 7.5
    • Curtius, Historiarum Alexandri Magni, 10.10.2
    • Curtius, Historiarum Alexandri Magni, 10.7
    • Curtius, Historiarum Alexandri Magni, 10.9.3
    • Curtius, Historiarum Alexandri Magni, 6.8.1
    • Curtius, Historiarum Alexandri Magni, 6.8.17
    • Curtius, Historiarum Alexandri Magni, 8.14.15
    • Curtius, Historiarum Alexandri Magni, 8.9.5
    • Curtius, Historiarum Alexandri Magni, 9.10
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 18.12
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 18.14
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 18.15
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 18.3
    • Aelian, Varia Historia, 9.3
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