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*Lusi/maxos), king of Thrace. He was a Macedonian by birth (according to Arrian, a native of Pella), but not by origin, his father, Agathocles, having been originally a Penest or serf of Cranon in Thessaly, who had insinuated himself by his flatteries into the good graces of Philip of Macedon, and risen to a high place in his favour. (Arr. Anab. 6.28; Theopomp. apud Athen. 6.259, f.; Euseb. Arm. p. 156.) Lysimachus himself was early distinguished for his undaunted courage, as well as for his great activity and strength of body, qualities to which he probably owed his appointment to the important post of one of the σωματοφύλακες, officers immediately about the person of Alexander. But though we find him early attaining this distinction, and he is frequently mentioned as in close attendance on the king, he does not seem to have been readily entrusted with any separate command, or with the conduct of any enterprise of importance, as was so often the case with Ptolemy, Perdiccas, Leonnatus, and others of the same officers. Hence it would appear that Alexander deemed him more qualified for a soldier than a general. (Arr. Anab. 5.13, 24, 6.28, 7.5, Ind. 18; Curt. 8.1.46; but comp. Ael. VH 12.16, who calls him στρατηγεῖν ἀγαθός.) We are told by Q. Curtius that Lysimachus, when hunting in Syria, had killed a lion of immense size single-handed, though not without receiving severe wounds in the contest; and this circumstance that writer regards as the origin of a fable gravely related by Justin, Plutarch, Pliny, and other authors, that on account of sonic offence, Lysimachus had been shut up by order of Alexander in the same den with a lion; but though unarmed, had succeeded in destroying the animal, and was pardoned by the king in consideration of his courage. (Curt. 8.1.15; Plut. Demetr. 27; Paus. 1.9.5 ; Just. 15.3; Plin. Nat. 8.16 (21); V. Max. 9.3, ext. 1; Seneca, de Ira, 3.17.) In the division of the provinces, after the death of Alexander, Thrace and the neighbouring countries as far as the Danube were assigned to Lysinmachus, an important government, which lie is said to have obtained in consequence of his well-known valour, as being deemed the most competent to cope with the warlike barbarians that bordered that country on the north. (Diod. 18.3; Arrian, up. Phot. p. 69b; Dexippus, ibid. p. 64b; Curt. 10.10.4; Just. 13.4.) Nor was it long before he had occasion to prove the justice of this opinion; he had scarcely arrived in his government when he was called upon to oppose Seuthes, king of the Odrysians, who had assembled a large army, with which he was preparing to assert his independence. In the first battle Lysimachus obtained a partial victory, notwithstanding a great disparity of force; but we know nothing of the subsequent events of the war. (Diod. 18.14; Paus. 1.9.6.) It seems probable, however, that he was for some time much occupied with hostilities against the Odrysians and other barbarian tribes; and that it was this circumstance which prevented him from taking any active part in the wars which arose between the other generals of Alexander. But during the seven years which he thus spent in apparent inactivity, it is clear that he had not only consolidated his power, but extended his dominion as far as the mouths of the Danube, and occupied with his gar risons the Greek cities along the western shores of the Euxine. (Diod. 19.73; Droysen, Hellenism. vol. i. p. 326.)

At length, in B. C. 315, the increasing power of Antigonus induced Lysimachus to join the league which Ptolemy, Seleucus, and Cassander, had already formed against that monarch: he laid claim to the Hellespontine Phrygia, in addition to the territories he already possessed; and on the refusal of Antigonus, immediately prepared for war. Still we do not hear of his taking any active part in the hostilities that ensued, until he was aroused by the revolt of thie Greek cities on the Euxine, Callatia, Istrus, and Odessus. He thereupon immediately crossed the Haemus with an army, defeated the forces of the Scythian and Thracian tribes, which the Greeks had called in to their assistance, as well as a fleet and army sent by Antigonus to their support, and successively reduced all the three cities. (Diod. 19.56, 57, 63; App. Syr. 53; Paus. 1.6.4.) By the general peace of 311, Lysimachus was confirmed in the possession of Thrace (including, apparently, his recent acquisitions on the north), but without any farther accession of territory. (Id. 19.105.) In 309 he founded the city of Lysinmachia, on the Hellespont, not far from the site of Cardia, great part of the inhabitants of which he compelled to remove to the new settlement. (Id. 20.29; Paus. 1.9.8; App. Syr. 1.) Three years afterwards (B. C. 306) he followed the example first set by Antigonus, and immediately imitated by Ptolemy, Seleucus, and Cassander, and assumed the title and insignia of royalty. (Diod. 20.53; Plut. Dconeir. 18; Jcstin. 15.2.)

We hear no more of Lysimachus for some time: but he appears, though taking no prominent part in the hostilities between the other rival monarchs, to have been constantly on friendly terms, if not in direct alliance with Cassander, to whose sister, Nicaea, he was married, and who was accustomed, we are told, to apply to him for counsel on all occasions of difficulty. (Diod. 20.106.) Thus in 304 we find them both sending supplies of corn to the relief of the Rhodians, at that time besieged by Demetrius (Id . 20.96); and two years later (B. C. 302) Lysimachus readily joined in the plan originated by Cassander, for forming a general coalition to oppose the alarming progress of Antigonus and Demnetrius. They accordingly sent ambassadors to Ptolemy and Seleucus, who were easily persnaded to join the proposed league; and in the meatime they both took the field in person; Cassander to oppose Demetrius in Greece, while Lysimachus, with a large army, invaded Asia Minor. His sac cesses were at first rapid: several cities on the Hellespont either voluntarily submitted, or were reduced by force; and while his lieutenant, Prepelaus, subduted the greater part of Aeolia and lonia, he himself overran Phrygia. and made himself master of the important town of Synnada. On the advance of Antigonus, however, he determined to confine himself to the defensive, and not risk a general engagement until lie should have been joined by Seleucus : he, in consequence, withdrew first to Dorylaeum, where he fortified himself in a strong position, but was ultimately forced from thence; and retiring into Bithynia, took up his winter quarters in the fertile plains of Salomia, where the neighbourbood of the friendly city and port of Heracleia secured him abundant supplies. Before the close of the winter Seleucus arrived in Cappadocia, while Demetrius, on the other side, with the army which lie brought from Greece, recovered possession of the chief towns on the Hellespont. All particulars of the campaign of the following year are lost to us; we know only that in the course of the spring Lysimachus effected his junction with Seleucus; and Demetrius, on the other hand, united his forces with those of Antigonus; and that early in the summer of B. C. 301 the combined armies met at Ipsus, in the plains of Upper Phrygia. The battle that ensued was deeisive: Antigonus himself fell on the field, and Demetrius, with the shatered remnant of his forces, fled direct to Ephesus, and from thence embarked for Greece. The conquerors immediately proceeded to divide between them the dominions of the vanquished; and Lysimachus obtained for his share all that part of Asia Minor extending from the Hellespont and the Aegaean to the heart of Phrygia; but the boundary between his dominions and those of Seleucus in the latter quarter is nowhere clearly indicated. (Diod. 20.106-109, 113; Plut. Denmetr. 28-30; Just. 15.2, 4; Appian. Syr. 55; Paus. 1.6.7; Euseb. Arm. p. 163. Concerning the extent of Lysimachus' dominions, see Droysen, Hellenism. vol. i. p. 545, foll.)

The power of Lysimachus was thus firmly established, and he remained from this time in undisputed possession of the dominions thus acquired, until shortly before his death. During the whole of this period his attention seems to have been steadily directed to the strengthening and consolidation of his power, rather than to the extension of his dominions. His naturally avaricious disposition led him to accumulate vast treasures, for which the possession of the rich gold and silver mines of Thrace gave him peculiar advantages, and he was termed in derision, by the flatterers of his rival, "the treasurer (γαξοφύλαξ)." The great mass of these accumulations was deposited in the two strong citadels of Tirizis on the coast of Thrace, and of Pergamus in Mysia. (Strab. vii. p.319, xiii. p. 623; Athen. 6.246e. 261, b.; Plut. Demetr. 25.) At the same time he sought, after the fashion of other other contemporary monarchs, to strengthen his footing in his newly-acquired dominions in Asia by the foundation of new cities, or at least by the enlargement and re-establishment of those previously existing. Thus, lie rebuilt Antigonia, a colony founded by his rival Antigonus, on the Ascanian lake, and gave to it the name of Nicaea, in honour of his first wife: he restored Smyrna, which had long remained almost unin habited, but which quickly rose again to a high point of prosperity; and when Ephesus, which had been one of he last places in Asia that remained faithful to Demetrius, at length fell into his hands, he removed the city to a situation nearer the sea, and repeopled it with the inhabitants of Lebedus and Colophon, in addition to its former population. New Hium and Alexandria Troas are also mentioned as entitled to him for improvements which almost entitled him to rank as their founder. (Strab xii. p. 565, xiii. p. 593, xiv. p. 640, 646; Pau s. 1.9.7, 7.3. §§ 4, 5; Steph. Byz. v. Ἔφεσος.) In Europe we hear less of his internal improvements, but lie appears to have effectually reduced to submission the barbarian tribes of the Odrysians, Paeonians, &c., and to have established his dominion without dispute over all the countries south of the Danube. (Paas. 1.9.6; Polyan. 4.12.3 Diod. apud Tzetz. Chil. 6.53.)

Meanwhile, Lysinmachus was not indifferent to the events that were passing around him. The alliance concluded by Selcucus with Demetrius led him in his turn to draw closer the bonds of union between himself and Ptolemy; and it was probably about the same period that he married Arsinoe, the daughter of the Egyptian king. (Plut. Demetr. 31; Paus. 1.10.3; comp. Droysen, Helenism. vol. i.p. 555.) With Macevdonia his; frieadly relations continued unbroken until the death of Cassander (B. C. 297), and after that event he sought still to maintain them by giving his daughter Eurydice in marriage to Antipater, one of the sons of the deceased king. The dissensions between the brothers however, having eventually opened the way for Demetrius to seat himself on the throne of Macedonia [DEMETRIUS, vol. i. p. 964], Lysimachus found himself involved in a war with that monarch, but was content to purchase peace by abandoning the claims of his son-in-law, whom he soon after put to death, either to gratify Demetrius, or from displeasure at the indignant remonstrances of the young man himself. (Paus. 1.10.1; Just. 16.1, 2; Plut. Pyrrh. 6; Diod. Exc. Hoeschel. xxi. p. 490.) We are told that Lysimachus was compelled to conclude this disadvantageous peace, because he was at the time embarrassed by the hostilities in which he was engaged on his northern frontier with the Getae. (Just. 16.1.) We know little of the circumstances which led to this war (B. C. 292), but it appears to have been one of pure aggression on the part of Lysimachus. If so, he was deservedly punished by the series of disasters that followed. His son Agathocles, who had led an army into the enemy's territory, was defeated and taken prisoner, but generously set at liberty and sent back to Lysimachus. Notwithstanding this the king soon assembled a more powerful army, with which he crossed the Danube and penetrated into the heart of the country of the Getae; but he was soon reduced to the greatest distress by want of provisions, and ultimately compelled to surrender with his whole army. Dromichaetes, king of the Getae, treated him with the utmost generosity, and after gently reproaching him with his unprovoked aggression, restored him at once to his liberty. (Diod. Exc. xxi. p. 559, ed. Wess., Exc. Vat. xxi. p. 49, ed. Dind.; Strab. vii. pp. 302, 305; Paus. 1.9.6; Plut. Demetr. 39, 52; Polyaen. 7.25; Memnon, 100.5, ed. Orell.) On his return to his own dominions Lysimachus found that Demetrius had taken advantage of his absence and captivity to invade the cities of Thrace, but that prince had been already recalled by the news of a fresh insurrection in Greece, and Lysimachus apparently found himself too weak to avenge the aggression at the moment. (Plat. Demetr. 39.) In B. C. 288, however, he once more united with Ptolemy and Seleucus in a common league against Demetrius, to which the accession of Pyrrhus was easily obtained, and early in the following spring Lysimachus invaded Macedonia on the one side, and Pyrrhus on the other. The success of their arms was owing not so much to their own exertions as to the disaffection of the Macedonian soldiers. Demetrius, abandoned by his own troops, was compelled to seek safety in flight, and the conquerors obtained undisputed possession of Macedonia, B. C. 287. Lysimachus was compelled for a time to permit Pyrrhus to seat himself on the vacant throne, and to rest contented with the acquisition of the territories on the river Nestus, on the borders of Thrace and Macedonia. He soon after appears to have found an opportunity to annex Paeonia to his dominions; and it was not long before he was able to accomplish the object at which he was evidently aiming, and effect the expulsion of Pyrrhus from his newly acquired kingdom of Macedonia, B. C. 286. For this result Lysimachus appears to have been indebted mainly to the influence exercised upon the Macedeonians by his name and reputation as one of the veteran generals and companions of Alexander. (Plut. Demetr. 44, Pyrrh. 11, 12; Paus. 1.10.2; Just. 16.3; Dexippus, apud Syncell. p. 267.)

Lysimachus now found himself in possession of all the dominions in Europe that had formed part of the Macedonian monarchy, as well as of the greater part of Asia Minor. The captivity of Demetrius soon after delivered him from his most formidable enemy; and, in order still farther to secure himself from any danger in that quarter, he is said to have repeatedly urged upon Seleucus the ungenerous advice to put his prisoner at once to death. (Plut. Demetr. 51; Diod. xxi. Exc. Vales. p. 561.) But the course of events had now rendered Lysimachus and Seleucus themselves rivals, and, instead of joining against any common foe, all their suspicions and apprehensions were directed henceforth towards one another. This naturally led the former to draw yet closer the bonds of his alliance with Egypt. Lysimachus himself, as we have seen, had already married Arsinoe, daughter of Ptolemy Soter; his son Agathocles had espoused Lysandra, another daughter of the same monarch, and, in B. C. 285, he gave his daughter Arsinoe in marriage to Ptolemy Philadelphus, who had already ascended the Egyptian throne. (Schol. ad Theocr. Idyll. 17.128; Paus. 1.7.3.)

The few remaining events of the reign of Lysimachus were for the most part connected with his private relations; and the dark domestic tragedy that clouded his declining years led also to the downfal of his empire. In B. C. 302, after the death of his first wife Nicaea, he had married Amastris, the widow of Dionysius, tyrant of Heracleia, whose noble character appears to have made a great impression upon his mind, so that long after he had been induced, by motives of policy, to abandon her for Arsinoe, he still dwelt with fondness upon the memory of her virtues; and in 286 proceeded to avenge her murder upon her two sons, Oxathres and Clearchus, both of whom he put to death. He at that time restored Heracleia to the possession of its freedom, but was soon after persuaded to bestow that city as a gift upon his wife, Arsinoe, whose influence seems to have been at this time on the increase. It was not long before she exerted it to much worse purpose. The young prince, Agathocles, had long been the object of her enmity, and she sought to poison the mind of the aged king against him, by representing him as forming designs against the life of Lysimachus. She found a ready auxiliary in her stepbrother, Ptolemy Ceraunus, who had just arrived as a fugitive at the court of Lysimachus; and the king was at length induced to listen to their representations, and consent to the death of his unhappy son, who perished, according to one account, by poison, while others state him to have fallen by the hand of Ptolemy himself. (Memnon, 100.6-8, ed. Orell.; Just. 17.1; Paus. 1.10.3; Strab. xiii. p.623.)

The consequences of this bloody deed proved fatal to Lysimachus: the minds of his subjects were alienated; many cities of Asia broke out into open revolt; his faithful eunuch, Philetaerus, to whom he had confided the charge of his treasury at Pergamus, renounced his allegiance; and Lysandra, the widow of Agathocles, fled with her children to the court of Seleucus, who, notwithstanding his advanced age, hastened to raise an army, and invade the dominions of Lysimachus. The latter also was not slow to cross into Asia, and endeavour to check the rising spirit of disaffection. The two monarchs--the last survivors of the warriors and companions of Alexander, and both of them above seventy years of age--met in the plain of Corus (Corupedion); and in the battle that ensued Lysimachus fell by the hand of Malacon, a native of Heracleia (B. C. 281). His body was given up to his son, Alexander, and interred by him at Lysimachia. (Memnon, 100.8; Just. 17.1.2; App. Syr. 62; Paus. 1.10. §§ 4, 5; Oros. 3.23; Euseb. Arm. p. 156.)

The age of Lysimachus at the time of his death is variously stated: Hieronymus of Cardia, probably the best authority, affirms that he was in his 80th year (apud Lucian. Macrob. 11). Justin, on the contrary, makes him 74; and Appian (l.c.) only 70 years old; but the last computation is certainly below the truth. He had reigned 25 years from the period of his assuming the title of king, and had governed the combined kingdoms of Macedonia and Thrace during a period of five years and six months. (Euseb. Arm. l.c.

The accounts transmitted to us of Lysimachus are too fragmentary and imperfect to admit of our forming a very clear idea of his personal character ; but the picture which they would lead us to conceive is certainly far from a favourable one: harsh, stern, and unyielding, he appears to have been incapable of the generosity which we find associated in Pyrrhus and Demetrius, with courage and daring at least equal to his own; while a sordid love of money distinguished him still more strikingly from his profuse, but liberal contemporaries. Even his love for Amastris, one of the few softer traits presented by his character, did not prevent him from sacrificing her to the views of his interested ambition. Self-aggrandisement indeed seems to have been at all times his sole object; and if his ambition was less glaringly conspicuous than that of some of his contemporaries, from being more restrained by prudence, it was not the less his sole motive of action, and was even farther removed from true greatness.

Lysimachus was by his various wives the father of a numerous family: Justin indeed states (17.2) that he had lost fifteen children before his own death; but the greater part of these (if they ever really existed) are wholly unknown. Besides Agathocles, whose fate has been already mentioned, we hear of six children of Lysimachus who survived him; viz. 1. Alexander, who, as well as Agathocles, was the offspring of an Odrysian woman named Macris. (Polyaen. 6.12; Paus. 1.10.5.) 2. Arsinoe, the wife of Ptolemy Philadelphus, a daughter of Lysimachus and Nicaea. 3. Eurydice (probably also a daughter of Nicaea), married to Antipater, the son of Cassander . 4. Ptolemy. 5. Lysimachus. 6. Philip. The three last were all sons of Arsinoe, and shared for a time their mother's fortunes. One other daughter is mentioned as married, during her father's lifetime, to Dromichaetes, king of the Getae. (Paus. 1.9.6.)

The coins of Lysimachus are very numerous, and those in gold and silver remarkable for the beauty of their workmanship. They all bear on the obverse the head of Alexander, represented with horns, as the son of Ammon. The reverse has a figure of Pallas seated, and holding in her hand a victory.


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  • Cross-references from this page (40):
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 1.10
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 1.10.1
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 1.10.2
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 1.10.3
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 1.10.5
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 1.6.4
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 1.6.7
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 1.7.3
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 1.9.5
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 1.9.6
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 1.9.8
    • Appian, Syrian Wars, 10.62
    • Appian, Syrian Wars, 1.1
    • Appian, Syrian Wars, 9.53
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 8.16
    • Plutarch, Demetrius, 31
    • Plutarch, Demetrius, 25
    • Plutarch, Demetrius, 27
    • Plutarch, Demetrius, 39
    • Plutarch, Demetrius, 44
    • Plutarch, Demetrius, 51
    • Plutarch, Demetrius, 52
    • Plutarch, Pyrrhus, 6
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 5.13
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 5.24
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 6.28
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 7.5
    • Curtius, Historiarum Alexandri Magni, 10.10.4
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 18.14
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 18.3
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 19.56
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 19.57
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 19.63
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 19.73
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 20.106
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 20.109
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 20.113
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 20.53
    • Aelian, Varia Historia, 12.16
    • Valerius Maximus, Facta et Dicta Memorabilia, 9.3
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