MACEDONIA-SUCCESSORS OF ALEXANDER.
maintained a shadowy authority. Having thus gained a foothold, Antigonus
made war on Cassander and stripped him of all his Grecian dependencies.
He next turned his arms against Lysimachus, governor of Thrace; and him
also he overthrew and drove from his dominions. Syria was next
conquered, chiefly through the warlike abilities of Demetrius, the son
of the Regent. The government of Ptolemy still remained intact.
At this juncture the confederates made known their desire for peace; but
the ambition of Antigonus had grown with what it fed on, and he would
listen to nothing. Ptolemy thereupon took up arms and went forth with a
large army to Gaza. Here a decisive battle was fought, in which the
Egyptian was completely victorious. The fortunes of Antigonus were so
badly shattered that Seleucus was enabled to return to Babylon and
resume the duties of his satrapy. The Syrian cities opened their gates
to Ptolemy, who intrusted the defense of the conquered countries to
Cilles and returned to Alexandria. His lieutenant, however, was soon
defeated in two battles by Demetrius, and all that Egypt had gained was
as suddenly lost. Ptolemy was obliged to give up Syria to the foe. (1)
After his return to Babylon, Seleucus was obliged to defend himself
against the satraps of Media and Persia. It will be remembered that
these officers had been elevated to power by Antigonus, and their
continuance in authority now depended upon their supporting his cause.
But Seleucus, collecting his forces, went forth against them and they
were overwhelmingly defeated. Evagoras, the Persian governor, was left
dead on the field, and Nicanor of Media was obliged to save himself by
flight. This victory, B.C. 312, was decisive in one part of the
struggle. Seleucus was firmly seated. A Greek kingdom in the East was
thus established, with its capital at Babylon. The great dynasty of the
Seleucidae was founded on the Euphrates, under whose beneficent
government the eastern part of the dominions conquered by Alexander were
destined for a long time to enjoy a measure of peace and prosperity.
The sudden success achieved by Seleucus induced Antigonus to listen to
proposals for a general settlement. An important conference was
accordingly held between himself and the confederate leaders, and
conditions of peace were agreed upon. It was decided that Egypt should
be given to Ptolemy and his successors. Thrace went to Lysimachus; and
Macedonia, not including Greece, was awarded to Cassander until such
time as Alexander AEgus, the son of the conqueror, should arrive at his
majority. Antigonus reserved Asia for himself, thus refusing to
recognize the government of Seleucus at Babylon. Thus by the successors
of Philip's son was the world again parceled out into kingdoms.
Scarcely had this settlement been effected when Cassander opened the
ball by the murder of the young Alexander and his mother, Roxana. Then
followed soon afterwards the destruction of Hercules, another son of the
conqueror, and Barcina, his mother. Thus at last was the deck cleared of
the legitimate claimants to the crown of the Macedonian Empire. The
bloody conspirators now had the game to themselves.
In a short time, Ptolemy, in disregard of the terms of the treaty, made
a campaign into Syria and retook certain cities belonging to Antigonus.
He then opened a correspondence with Cleopatra, sister of Alexander the
Great, with a view to marriage; but Antigonus, having discovered what
was going on, sent a dispatch to the satrap of Sardis, where Cleopatra
resided, and had the princess assassinated.
Soon after this event Demetrius raised a large force and invaded Greece.
By the terms of the treaty the Grecian states were to remain
independent; but Cassander had at once seized them as a part of the
spoils belonging to him. With an armament of two hundred and fifty
galleys, and five thousand talents in money, Demetrius now proceeded to
enforce the settlement. The Athenians went wild over this ghastly
restoration of __________________________________________ 1 It was in
the withdrawal of Ptolemy from Syria that he was accompanied to
Alexandria by the Jews, who thenceforth constituted so important an
element of population in that city.