If you had to name one person who embodies the Hellenistic period? Who would you chose? I am willing to eat my hat that you answered that question with only one name: Alexander the Great. While I completely agree with you, the Hellenistic period is soooo much more than the history and the life of Alexander the Great. But there are so many other interesting and influential kings, scientists, statesmen, women, artists, poets and historians who also deserve to be remembered!

Hellenistic Hero Showdown?

So I have decided to chose thirty-two individuals from the Hellenistic period who over the next few days who will go head to head in a duel. The winner will move on to the next round and then to take on the winner of another duel. This will go on until there are just two Hellenistic Heroes left and eventually one winner will be crowned the (second-best) Hero of the Hellenistic Period. 

How does it work?

During the next few days, two historical figures from the list below will battle one another and you have 24 hours to vote for your favourite to make sure they progress to the next round. There are three ways in which you can vote: right here on the website, on the instagram account or through the facebook page! By the end of the 24 hour voting period, I will combine all the votes and announce the winner! This process will repeat itself until there is only one historical figure left!

GRAND FINAL: Archimedes vs Cleopatra VII

Hellenistic Hero Showdown Final: Who deserves the title of ultimate Hellenistic Hero?

  • Cleopatra VII (88%, 15 Votes)
  • Archimedes (12%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 17

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battle 1: Polybius vs Hannibal

Hellenistic Hero Showdown 1

  • Hannibal (53%, 9 Votes)
  • Polybius (47%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 17

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Polybius of Megalopolis
Born around 200 BC, Polybius was part of an aristocratic Megalopolitan family. His father Lykortas had a prominent career in the Achaean Koinon, a federal state which united a large number of poleis on the Greek mainland. Not much is known about Polybius’ youth, by the time he was thirty in 170 BC, Polybius had been elected commander of the cavalry for the tenth time. However, the Third Macedonian War (171-168 BC) brought the renewed tensions between Macedonian Kingdom and Rome to the Greek states. The Roman victory not only established the end of the Macedonian kingdom but it also had an impact on internal Achaean affairs: a thousand of the most influential Achaean leaders, including Polybius, were shipped off to Rome due to Roman concerns that the Achaeans had not justly supported their cause. Doomed to spend the next 17 years in exile in Rome, Polybius became acquainted with Scipio Aemilianus and accompanied him on his foreign expeditions.
During his exile in Rome, Polybius had direct access to the inner workings of the Roman state. Due to his interest in politics and history, Polybius decided to write a history to discover how the Romans came to conquer a big part of the known world in only 53 years (229-168 BC), eventually expanding his work until 146 BC. Polybius’ Histories are an invaluable source for anyone working on Roman history of the second century BC, as well as the wider Hellenistic World as he pays considerable attention to other parts of the Hellenistic World throughout his narrative.

Hannibal Barca

Hannibal Barca was a general and statesman from Carthage. He was born around 247 BC and died around 182 BC. He commanded was one of the greatest military 
leaders from the Hellenistic period who commanded the Carthaginian forces again Rome during the Second Punic Wars (218-201 BC).
His father Hamilcar Barca had faced the Romans during the First Punic War (264-241 BC). Even though Rome had won this war, resentment in Carthage remained high. The Second Punic War broke out after Hannibal attacked Saguntum, a Roman ally in Hispania. This was followed by his famous crossing over the Alps with the elephants. Thanks to his military and strategic genius, he was able to claim several important victories and conquer several Italian cities. He occupied the south of Italy for 15 years but a counterattack on Carthage by Scipio Africanus lead him to return. He was eventually defeated at the battle of Zama in 202 BC.
After the War, Hannibal was the sufter (community leader) and tried to help Carthage recover from the war. However, opposition grew and he was forced into exile, spending time at the Seleucid court and advising Antiochus III in his War against Rome. He eventually died in Bithynia where he committed suicide after a betrayal to the Romans. He is considered to be one of the greatest military leaders of Antiquity and was one of the few generals who posed a genuine threat to the Roman Republic.

battle 2: Lysimachos vs Antiochus III

Hellenistic Hero Showdown 2: Who is your favourite?

  • Antiochus III (83%, 5 Votes)
  • Lysimachos (17%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 6

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Born in 360 BC, Lysimachos was a Macedonian general and one of Alexander’s successors who ruled over a large part of his empire: Thrace, Asia Minor and Macedon.  

During Alexander’s conquests he served as his bodyguard and after his death was appointed the rule of Thrace. For the first few years after Alexander’s death Lysimachos did not really get involved in the wars. However in 302 BC Lysimachos marched against Antigonos Monophtalmus and after the battle of Ipsus managed to take control of parts of Asia Minor.  During the next few decades, he battled against Demetrius Poliorcetes for the control of Asia Minor and Macedon. He managed to conquer Macedon in 287 BC with the help of Pyrrhus of Epirus before becoming the sole-ruler in 285 BC.

Lysimachos’ personal life was marred by intrigues and betrayal. His third wife Arsinoe II plotted against Agathocles, his heir, accusing him of collusion with Seleukos, who ruled over the other parts of Asia Minor. His son was executed, leading to internal unrest and Seleukos invading Lysimachos’ territory in Asia Minor. In 281 BC, Lysimachos was killed in the Battle of Corupedium trying to defend his territory. 

Antiochus III the Great

Antiochus III Megas was the sixth ruler of the Seleucid Empire (242-187 BC). He rebuilt the eastern part of the Seleucid Empire and reorganized its administration by reducing the size of the provinces, established a ruler cult and conducted marriage politics to improve the relationships with neighboring countries. 

He conducted several wars against the other Hellenistic Kingdoms, Rome and combatted internal rebellions. In the Fourth Syrian War (219-216 BC), he fought against Ptolemy IV over Coele Syria, Palestine and Phoenicia culminating in the battle of Raphia in 217 BC. After this, he went further east and established alliances in Bactria, India, and Parthia. 

While Philip V of Macedon was battling Rome in the Second Macedonian War (200-196 BC), Antiochus marched into Egypt and gained permanent control over southern Syria. He even occupied parts of Pergamum, a Roman ally, and focused his attention on Thrace. This led to increasing tension with Rome, which worsened when the Aetolians invited the king to liberate them from Rome’s influence in Greece (192 BC). Antiochus suffered devastating losses in the ensuing conflict: his kingdom was reduced to Syria, Mesopotamia and Western Iran and he pay a war indemnity, surrender his fleet and elephants and provide hostages. He died in 187 BC.

Battle 3: Eumenes I VS Archimedes

Hellenistic Hero Showdown 3: Who is your favourite?

  • Eumenes I (50%, 1 Votes)
  • Archimedes (50%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 2

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Eumenes I

Eumenes I was a ruler of the Attalids, a Hellenistic dynasty ruling over Pergamum in Mysia. He was king from 263 BC until 241 BC. A year after he he succeeded his uncle Philetairos, who ruled over a prosperous Pergamum. However formally the area was under Seleucid control, so a year after Eumenes came to the throne, he revolted against Antiochus I, possibly on the suggestion of Ptolemy II.  He was able to defeat the Seleucid army near Sardis and made Pergamum an independent city-state. 

For the remainder of his rule there was no conflict with other Hellenistic dynasties, like the Ptolemies or Seleucids, or the Galatian Gauls who were continually plundering the area. He started minting coins with the image of his uncle Philetairos, the founder of the dynasty, to show that Pergamon now was now an independent city. He never assumed the title of Basileus but he did exercise all of the powers of one and a festival called the Euemenia was established in his honour in Pergamum. He died in 241 BC and was succeeded by his cousin Attalus I.


Archimedes was born in Syracuse on Sicily around 287 BC. He was one of the most influential and most famous mathematicians and inventors from the Hellenistic period. He was known for several  inventions, the most famous of which was Archimedes screw, a device for raising water. His greatest discoveries have happened in the field of mathematics with the discovery of a hydrostatic principle (the conclusion that submerging in object in water allow you to gauge its volume) or different ways to calculate the surface object of those objects. He also developed a system to express large mathematical numbers in Greek. 

He spent most of life in Syracuse but there are indications that he visited the library in Alexandria around 260 BC as he corresponded with the director. He became an advisor of king Hieron II, a reluctant ally of Rome during the Second Punic War.  After the king’s death, Syracuse became an ally of Carthage and Archimedes’ skills were used to invent military machines to repel a Roman siege. He was killed during the Roman sack of Syracuse in 212/211 BC after reputedly designing ship-grappling machines and a parabolic mirror to burn the Roman fleets with sun rays.

Battle 4: Cleomenes III vs Apollonius of Rhodes

Hellenistic Hero Showdown 4: Who is your favourite?

  • Cleomenes III (100%, 2 Votes)
  • Apollonius of Rhodes (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 2

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Cleomenes III

Cleomenes was a Spartan king who instated social reforms in the city and waged a war against the Achaean Koinon. Kleomenes ascended to the throne around 235 BC. Cleomenes’ social reforms in Sparta were similar to those of his predecessor Agis IV. He cancelled debts, redistributed the land in order to divide it equally between citizens and restored the Ephebeia. He abolished the Ephorate, probably curbed the powers of the council and created the patronomoi as well as some reforms of the army and education of the young ones. 

Tensions between Sparta and the
koinon increased between 235 and 229 BC, so when Kleomenes took possession of the Athenaion in Megalopolitan territory, the Achaians declared war with Sparta. After a few years, Kleomenes had achieved considerable successes: he won several decisive battles against the Achaians including the one at Ladokeia in 227 BC where Lydiades of Megalopolis had died, and Ptolemy III Euergetes had abandoned the Achaians in favour of the Spartan king. This left the koinon and its leader Aratos in a state of isolation and meant they had no other option than to ask Antigonos and his Macedonian forces to aid them, particularly after Kleomenes gained control over the city of Corinth in 225 BC. Together, the allies managed to regain control over the Arkadian cities. Because of the loss of these cities, Kleomenes felt threatened and attacked Megalopolis (Plut. Kleo. 12. 2). Only in 222 BC, not long after the destruction of Megalopolis, did the two allies finally succeed in defeating the king in the battle at Sellasia. Cleomenes was forced to flee Sparta and committed suicide in 219 BC at the Ptolemaic court.

Apollononius Rhodios

Apollonius of Rhodes was a Greek poet who lived during the third century BC, best known for his epic poem the Argonautica about the mythical quest of Iason and the Argonauts to find the Golden Fleece. Not much is known about his life, but here is what we do know: he lived in Alexandria, was the head of the Library of Alexander, probably tutored Ptolemy III and enjoyed a close relationship with fellow poet Callimachos. The nickname Rhodios suggests that he had some sort of connection to the island. But what this connection was, is not exactly clear: he might have lived or died there or he could simply have written a poem about the island. 

His most famous epic, the Argonautica, comprised of four books, which is good for about 6000 lines of Greek text. It differs from other Hellenistic and Greek poems because of the humanity of its main character Iason and the many detours of local myths, aetiology and other interesting things. Aside from the Argonautica, Apollonius wrote several foundation poems, some of which survived in fragmentary condition, such as the foundation of Alexandria, Cnidus, Naukratis, Rhodes or Lesbos. He was an important scholar of the period, having written the first monograph of Homer, was considered an expert on geography ad wrote about the works of Archilochus and Hesiod. 

BATTLE 5: Flamininus vs Pyrrhus 

Hellenistic Hero Showdown 5: Who is your favourite?

  • Flamininus (67%, 4 Votes)
  • Pyrrhus (33%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 6

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Titus Quinctius Flamininus

Titus Quinctius Flamininus was a Roman statesman and politician who played a big role in the Roman conquest of Greece. He was born around 228 BC into the patrician gens Quinctia, an influential aristocratic family of Rome. Flamininus’ career started in 208 BC with his election as military tribune. He then moved up the cursus honorum and in 198 BC he was elected consul. He went to Greece to lead the troops against Philip V of Macedon in the Second Macedonian War.

Flamininus was determined create alliances with the Greeks in the War via diplomacy – and sometimes by force. After some initial trouble, Flamininus was able to do and defeated Philip at the Battle of Cynoscephalae in 197 BC.  He then prevented the Aetolian League from dominating other Greek cities and at the Isthmian Games of 196 BC, he proclaimed that all of the Greeks in Europe and Asia were free and autonomous. This ambiguous statement caused some problems: the Greeks considered this to be confirmation that Rome would not involve itself in local matters, while for Rome they were now Roman clients. It also led the Aetolians to turn to Antiochus III to protect them from Rome.

During the next years, he fought a war against Nabis of Sparta, who was causing trouble in the Peloponnese and by 194 all of the Roman troops had left Greece and Flamininus enjoyed a triumph in Rome. He remained active in politics although he slowly became overshadowed by others: he told Antiochus III that it was Rome’s duty to liberate the Greeks from his influence, but the subsequent war was fought by Scipio Africanus and his brother. His last diplomatic mission to the east in 183 BC, apparently resulted in the death of Hannibal. He died around 174 BC.

Pyrrhus of Epirus

Pyrrhus was the king of Epirus from 297-272 BC. He succeeded in defeating Macedon and Rome in the third century BC, but these victories came at such a price that they have become known as Pyrrhic victories. He became king at the age of 12 but in 302 BC, he was dethroned in a uprising and ended up as a hostage in Alexandria. In 297 BC, he was restored as king by Ptolemy I Soter. In 294 BC, he marched on Macedon and was able to conquer and control a substantial part of the kingdom before he was driven back to Epirus by Lysimachus in 284 BC.

In 281 BC, he was asked by Tarentum to help them in their fight against Rome. Over the next years, he defeated Rome twice (at Heraclea in 280 and at Ausculum in 279), conquered Sicily and occupied most of the Punic province. He had to deal with a revolt in Sicily in 276/5 BC was defeated by the Romans at Benevento soon after. This defeat resulted in the loss of all of his new gains and he returned to Epirus.

In 274 BC he succeeded in taking the Macedonian throne from Antigonos II Gonatas. His rule over Macedon was not a long one and while Pyrrhus moved his attention the Pelopponese in 272 BC to restore Cleonymus, a Spartan of royal blood, to the throne, Antigonos attempted to reclaim his land. Moreover, Pyrrhus met with strong resistance at Sparta and was unable to meet his goal. He then moved onto Argos to intervene in a civic dispute but was killed by a hostile soldier after being hit by rooftop tile. 

Battle 6: Demetrius Poliorcetes vs PTOLEMY II PHILADELPHUS

Hellenistic Hero Showdown 6: Who is your favourite?

  • Ptolemy II (83%, 5 Votes)
  • Demetrius Poliorcetes (17%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 6

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Demetrius Poliorcetes

Demetrius the Besieger was a statesman and king of Macedon from 294 until 288 BC. He was the son of Antigonos I Monophthalmus and was the first of the Antigonids to rule over Macedon. During the first years of his military career Demetrius fought in many battles along side his father against the other diadochi. In 307 BC, Demetrius sailed to Athens to free the city from Cassander and Ptolemy. He succeeded in defeating the garrisson led by Demetrius of Phaleron after which the Athenians hailed him as Demetrius Soter.

In 306 he left Athens to battle Ptolemy once again in the battle of Salamis, destroying the Ptolemaic navy in the process. In 305 BC, he unsuccessfully tried to besiege Rhodes after they refused to help him in his battle against Ptolemy. This failed siege earned him the nickname Poliorcetes. In 302 BC, he returned to Greece to ‘liberate’ the cities in reinstated the League of Corinth, but soon after Cassander, Lysimachus and Seleukos, working together defeated Demetrius and his father, killing Antigonos. Retreating to Ephesus, Demetrius managed to keep control of Athens and instated a new government.

In 294 BC, he murdered Alexander V, the son of Cassander and became the king of Macedon. He managed to keep ahold of the kingdom until the 288 BC when he was driven out by the combined power of Pyrrhus, Ptolemy and Lysimachos. He then suffered a few more military losses and eventually moved east, where he was eventually abandoned by his army, surrendered himself to Seleucos and died after three years of imprisonement in 283 BC.

Ptolemy II Philadelphus

Ptolemy II Philadelphus ruled over Egypt from 283 to 246 BC. Ptolemy married his sister Arsinoe II, after the banishment of his first wife Arsinoe I, the daughter of Lysimachus. Profiting from the internal weaknesses in the other Hellenistic kingdoms, Ptolemy was able to expand his rule into Syria, Asia Minor an the Aegean. But Ptolemy wasn’t always successful in his military endeavors: he unsuccessfully tried to coax the Greeks against Macedon in the Chremonidean War and he did not fare so well during the Second Syrian War. Yet his diplomatic genius saved him many times.

Domestically, Ptolemy II stabilized the Ptolemaic Empire, improving the economy and the administration. Under his rule, agriculture and commerce were further developed and Alexandria served as a main trading and export centre. He built temples and established a ruler-cult for his parents as well as himself and his sister wife. They were known as the theoi adelphoi,  the first example of a Hellenistic ruler cult. 

He also surrounded himself with famous poets and scientists such as Callimachus and Apollonius of Rhodes. He funded the Museum, a research institution which included the famed library of Alexandria.  His rule happened at the height Hellenistic civilization and under Ptolemy, the culture and literary influence of the Alexandrian court was at it highest.

battle 7: Arsinoe II vs Zeno of Citium

Hellenistic Hero Showdown 7: Who is your favourite?

  • Arsinoe II (80%, 4 Votes)
  • Zeno of Citium (20%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 5

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Arsinoe II

Arsinoe II was the daughter of Ptolemy I Soter and became the queen of Thrace, Macedon and Anatolia through her marriage to Lysimachus and queen of the Ptolemaic Empire via her marriage with her brother Ptolemy II. She had a big political influence in both of her marriages and was an example for subsequent Ptolemaic queens.

She was raised in Alexandria and in 299 BC she married Lysimachos, most likely to solidify an alliance with the king. She had three sons with him and in order to secure the throne for them Arsinoe is said to have turned Lysimachos against him, leading to his execution in 283/3 BC. After his Lysimachos’ death in 281 BC, Arsinoe fled to the city of Cassandreia and married her half-brother Ptolemy Keraunos. This destastrous marriage was most likely arranged for political reasons and would eventually lead to the death of two of her sons to seek protect protection from her younger brother Ptolemy II. 

Once there, she married her brother, after possibly having his first wife Arsinoe I exiled. Together with her brother – they were known as the Philadelpoi – Arsinoe actively took part in her brother’s rule. She had her own ruler cult, was a patron of the arts, shared in all of her brother’s titles, had towns dedicated to her, coins were minted in her image and she contributed to political victories. She died at some point between 270 and 260 BC. After her death she was deified by her husband as Arsinoe Philadelphus.

Zeno of Citium

Zeno of Citium, a Hellenistic philosopher, born in Citium on Cyprus around 335 BC and died around in Athens in 263 BC. He founded the Stoic school of philosophy which became highly influential during the later Hellenistic and Roman period. 

After moving to Athens in 312 BC, Zeno attended lectures at the famed Academy and Cynic philosophers such as Crates of Thebes. He soon developed his own theory of thought, Stoicism, named after the Stoa Poikili in Athens where he taught this philosophy. None of his works survive and his ideas have been expanded upon by later philosophers so it is not known what the specific ideas were.

At the center of Stoicism were three principles: logic, physics and ethics. According to Zeno, happiness or could only be achieved by conquering passions and emotions and conforming to divine will, which governs the universe. Zeno believed the humans should live in accordance to Nature and his view on ethics was also based on this. 

During his lifetimes, his teachings were popular and he had several famous admirers such as Antigonos II Gonatas, the Macedonian king who visited Zeno every time he was in Athens. He is said to have lived an ascetic life, despite his wealth, and apparently declined the offer of Athenian citizenship, not wanting to upset his native land where he was involved in the rebuilding of the baths.

battle 8: Philip V of Macedon vs Theocritus

Hellenistic Hero Showdown 8: Who is your favourite?

  • Philip V (75%, 3 Votes)
  • Theocritus (25%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 4

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Philip V

Philip V was the king of the Antigonid dynasty who ruled Macedon from 221 until 179 BC. Although Philip V was very young when he came to power, he was keen to show that Macedon was not weak. From 220 until 217 BC Philip got involved in a conflict between the Greek states called the Social Wars, where he led his allies – which were assembled in the so-called Hellenic League – against Sparta, Aetolia and Elis. 

His leadership during the Social War established his prowess as a general and soon Philip found himself embroiled in a series of Wars against Rome, when he tried to expand Macedonian influence along the Adriatic coast. The First Macedonian War (214-207 BC) saw him defend his Greek allies against Rome and their allies (notably the Aetolian League) before reaching a settlement with Rome in the Peace of Phoinice in 205 BC. 

Philip then apparently turned his attention East before tensions with Rome once again rose high and the Second Macedonian War (200-196 BC) broke out. This turned out less favorably for Philip as his allies the Achaeans joined the Roman side and he was eventually beaten by Flamininus in 196 BC at Cynoscephalae. Philip was forced to give up all possessions aside from Macedon, had to pay a war indemnity and his son had to go Rome as a hostage. Philip supported Rome against her allies until 189 BC. In 190 BC, his son Demetrius was allowed to return to Macedon and Philip spent the next decade trying to restore his former empire to its former glory. Philip died in 179 BC, his eldest son Perseus succeeded him and was the last Macedonian king it became a Roman province.


Theocritus is a Greek poet from Sicily who created ancient pastoral poetry. Not much is known for certain about his life, but some information has been collected from his works. He was born around 300 BC in Syracuse on Sicily  and lived in Kos as well as Alexandria during the time of Ptolemy II for a period as he wrote about the daily life in the city. His father was called Simichus. He died after 260 BC. 

Theocritus’ most famous work is the Bucolics. This is a series of poems or idylls depicting the freedom of the rural life of shepherds away from the corruption and complexity of city life.  In these poems shepherds and shepherdesses held singing contests and secuced nymphs. Other works included mimes in both rural or urban settings and short poets in epic or lyrics metres as well as epigrams.

Theocritus poems inspired tons of other poets such as Virgil, who inspired his Eclogues on Theocritus’ work. Later pastoral elegies such as Lycidas by John Milton also took inspiration from Theocritus. 

Battle 9: Aratus of Sikyon vs Seleukos I Nicator

Hellenistic Hero Showdown 9: Who is your favourite?

  • Aratos of Sikyon (50%, 2 Votes)
  • Seleukos I Nikator (50%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 4

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Aratos of Sikyon

Aratus of Sikyon was a Greek statesman and politician whose leadership of the Achaean koinon expanded both the influence and territory of the federal state during the second century BC and made it – together with Philopoemen of Megalopolis – the biggest of the Greek states. 

Aratus was born in 271 BC in Sikyon but at age seven was forced to flee the city when his father, the head of the city was murdered in a coup. He subsequently grew up in Argos but in 251 BC went back to Sikyon to free it from tyranny by secretly leading an army into the city at night. He dealt with the internal chaos in his native city and made it a member of the Achaean koinon. It was the first non-Achaean city to join the federal state. 

He soon rose to prominence within the Achaean politics, becoming strategos no less than seventeen times and was responsible for many military successes of the Achaeans, most important of which was the capture of the Acrocorinth in 243 BC from the Macedonian king Antigonos Gonatas. Corinth then became another Achaean members and soon other poleis in the region followed leading to a considerable expanse for the Achaean koinon.

Not all of his endeavours were successful however: the league was defeated twice by the Spartans during the Cleomenean War – it was their alliance with Macedon that saved them. At first, this alliance was continued under Philip V and Aratus helped Philip combat the Aetolians during the Social War but after 217 BC Aratus began resent Philip’s involvement in Achaean politics. He died in 213 BC possibly at the orders of Philip. 

Seleukos I Nicator

Seleukos I Nicator was the Macedonian general of Babylon who succeeded in establishing the Seleucid dynasty after Alexander’s death. He eventually became king of an area which centers on modern Iran and Syria. 

Under Alexander, Seleukos took part in the conquests of the East, leading the infantry against king Porus of India in 326 BC. In the ensuing chaos after Alexander’s death Seleukos was involved in many of the squabbles between the diadochi.  When the Empire was divided, Seleukos became the satrap of Babylon. The city was soon taken from him by Antigonos I whose ambition to unite Alexander’s empire caused friction with the other successors. From 316 to 312 BC, Seleukos allied himself with Ptolemy I and led an coalition against Antigonos and his son and in 312 Seleukos was able to retake the city. 

Over the next few years, Seleukos spent his time and energy expanding his empire by looking east. He got as far East as India but was stopped there by Chandragupta. In 302 BC, Seleukos was back in the West and a year later he defeated Antigonos at the Battle of Ipsos together with Cassander and Lysimachos. This win gained Seleukos control over Coele Syria which in turn led to a series of war between the Seleukids and the Ptolemies as it was previously under the control of Ptolemy. 

After 285 BC, Seleukos was able to expand his empire considerably as both Demetrius and Lysimachos died. Seleukos now controlled Lysimachos’ empire but he himself was killed in 281 BC by Ptolemy Keraunos when he crossed over to Macedon to start conquests. As a king, Seleukos founded many cities and improved the administration of his territory. After his death, he was deified and honoured as Zeus Nikator. 

Battle 10: Cleopatra VII vs Antipater

Hellenistic Hero Showdown 10: Who is your favourite?

  • Cleopatra VII (100%, 3 Votes)
  • Antipater (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 3

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Cleopatra VII

Cleopatra VII Philopater was the daughter of Ptolemy XII and the last pharao and ruler of the Ptolemaic kingdom. Born in 69 BC, Cleopatra and her brother Ptolemy XIII became co-regent of Egypt after the death of their father in 51 BC. As was the tradition with the Ptolemies, she married her brother and they ruled together. However, they soon turned on one another and Cleopatra was banished. Three years later, Pompey who had lost the civil war to Caesar, fled to Egypt and was murdered by Ptolemy. 

Taking advantage of Caesar’s anger at this act, Cleopatra used this to gain his support and had her brother killed. In 47 BC, she gave birth to Caesarion, her son with Caesar. Her rule brought stability to the a torn Egypt and she even learned Egyptian. 

When Caesar died, Cleopatra started a relationship and had three children with Marc Anthony, who married to Octavian’s sister. This caused a tension between the men, which escalated to a full out civil war. Together they ruled over the eastern part of the empire until they were beaten in battle on the coast of Greece where the two armies faced each other. Cleopatra and Marc Anthony fled back to Egypt, but Octavian pursued them and they eventually killed themselves when Alxandria was conquered in 30 BC. 


Antipater was a Macedonian general under Philip II and Alexander. He was appointed regent of Macedon in 342 BC when Philip II left to expand his kingdom to the North. He was appointed to as the Macedonian ambassador to the peace negations after battle of Chaeronea. 

After Philip’s death, he helped Alexander secure the throne and when he left for his conquests of the east, Antipater was once again named strategos of Macedon, suppressing troubles and threats in the western front. He dealt with attacks from the revolts and rebellions in Greece, the most important of which as the rebellion of Sparta who used the opportunity of Alexander’s absence to regain control of the Pelopponese. In 330 BC, he defeated the Spartans under Agis III and his Greek allies near Megalopolis. Sparta was forced to join the League of Corinth. 

After Alexander’s sudden death, he was involved in the successor wars keeping the order in Greece and became regent of the empire after the treaty of Triparadisus in 321 BC, meaning he was the guardian for Alexander IV and Philip III. His death in 319 BC left his son Cassander battling another successor Polyperchon for control over Macedon. 

Battle 11: diodotos I vs Antigonos i Monophthalmus

Hellenistic Hero Showdown 11: Who is your favourite?

  • Antigonos I (100%, 1 Votes)
  • Diodotos I (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 1

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Diodotus I 

Diodotos I Soter established the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom when he revolted against the Seleucids in 255 or 245 BC. It is not known exactly when or where he was born but he probably became satrap of Bactria during the rule of Antigonos II. His life was chronicled by the historian Apollodoros or Artemita in the Parthian History, but this source did not survive and not much is now known.  

Due to the scarcity of literary sources, the exact date and chronology of the revolt is not known, but it is thought that Diodotos took advantage of the wars between the Seleucids and the Ptolemies to create the Diodid dynasty. He soon divided his empire into a few satrapies and the kingdom was apparently very prosperous. Throughout his reign, he fought against the Parthians. He was succeeded by his son Diodotos II, who allied himself with the Parthians but was overthrown himself. Diodotos minted coins with his likeness, but not his own name.

Antigonos I Monophthalmus

Antigonos I was a Macedonian general and later the founder of the Antigonid dynasty. After the death of Alexander the Great, he became the satrap of the regions Phrygia, Pamphylia and Lycia but he soon went into battle for Alexander’s former empire. He formed several alliances with the other diadochi but succeeded in eliminating or defeating them and eventually gained control over Asia Minor.

He soon found himself fighting against the combined forces Ptolemy, Lysimachus, Cassander and Seleukos in the first coalition war (315-311 BC). Antigonos in turn occupied Syria and rallied the Greeks to his cause by promising them the necessary freedom. His son Demetrius  was defeated by Ptolemy and Seleucos and the latter regained control of Babylon. Antigonos sued for peace and turned his attention to Greece, he now ruled Syria and from the Hellespont to the Euphrates.

In the next few years, he managed to do just that and through several successes of his son in Greece and the Aegean, Cassander’s influence was vanished and Ptolemy had lost the control of Cyprus. In 302 BC, Antigonos and Demetrius managed to revive the Pan-Hellenic League, who chose them as their new protectors. When he wanted to conquer Macedon as well, the other diadiochi rallied against him. In 301 BC, the armies of Antigonos and Demetrius stood against forces of Lysimachos and Antigonos in Ipsos. Antigonos died in the battle when his son made the mistake of pursuing the enemy’s cavalry too far. 

Battle 12: Pytheas Of Massalia vs Antigonos ii Gonatas

Hellenistic Hero Showdown 12: Who is your favourite?

  • Antigonos II Gonatas (100%, 4 Votes)
  • Pytheas of Massilia (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 4

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Pytheas of Massalia

Pytheas was a Greek geographer and explorer from Massalia, a Greek colony in the Western Mediterranean. Born around 350 BC, he made an exploratory journey to the north of Europe in 325. He was the first of the Greek to reach the British Isles and the Atlantic Coast of Europe. He wrote about his jouneys in a work called On the Ocean, but this work did not survive.

His journey started from Massalia, passed by the Phoenician city of Gadez and following the coast of Europe reached Belerium. There he visited the mines and he apparently explored a big pat of the country on foot. He then moved even further north, possibly having seen the Artic Circle and visited Iceland or Norway. 

Aside from his travels, Pytheas’ work also showed that his interest in science: he calculated the distance between Britain and the continent, remarked that the days were getting longer as he went northwards and he realised that the moon affects the tides. He died around 285 BC.


Antigonos II Gonatas

Antigonos II Gonatas was ruled over Macedonia and he was the son of Demetrius I Poliorcetes. He was born around 320 BC and while he succeeded his father in 283 BC, he did not start his rule until 276 BC after his defeat of the Celts and a peace treaty with the Selecids who at the start of his reign had claimed the Macedonian throne. 

In 274 BC, Pyrrhus of Epirus drove him out of northern Macedon but when he died in 272 BC, Antigonos’ rule over Macedon was restored and by this point he was on good terms with the Illyrians, Thracians, occupied the city of Corinth and supported the pro-Macedonian factions in the Peloponnese. The Greeks, wanting to avoid complete dependancy on the king, went to war to liberate themselves with the support of Ptolemy II in the Chremonidean War in 267-261 BC, which they ended up losing.  Immediately after he fought together with Antiochus II against Ptolemy II. 

Antigonos’ strong position in Greece was threatened by several events in subsequent years. In 253 BC, Alexander, his regent, estabised an indepedent Corinth for a while and the Achaen Koinon was becoming more and more powerful in the Peloponnese under Aratus of Sikyon. He managed to conquer Corinth and soon several other Greek poleis withdrew from his support. The king then allied himself with the Aetolians and he beat the Egyptian fleet so he was able to maintain his control over the Aegean. He died in 239 BC.

He was a king with a keen interest in philosophy,  being a student of Zeno of Citium in his youth. He hosted two of Zeno’s students at the court in Pella as well as several other poets such as Aratus of Cilicia and the historian Hieronymus of Cardia.

Battle 13: Epicurus vs ptolemy i soter

Hellenistic Hero Showdown 13: Who is your favourite?

  • Epicurus (50%, 2 Votes)
  • Ptolemy I Soter (50%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 4

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Epicurus was a Greek philosopher and founder of Epicurianism. He was born around 340 on Samos to Athenian parents who migrated to the island. He started studying philosophy at the age of 14 and was a student of several other philosophers who influenced his philosophical views. When he was 18, he went to Athens to complete his military training before ;oving back to his parents in Colophon. 

Over the next few years, Epicurus travelled and developed his own philosophical ideas and theory. When he was about 32, he started teaching in Mytilene and Lampsacus from 311/0 to 307/6 BC. He met future followers who would help spread his teachings in and around Athens 306 BC. There he bought a house and in the garden he established a philosophical school called Ho Kepos which competed with Plato’s Academy and Aristotle’s Lyceum.

Epicurus believed that philosophy should help people reach a happy and peaceful life through apaxia and aponia, which indicated one should be free from fear and pain. People lved their best life by being self-sufficient and surrounded by friends. He wrote many books and treatise on explaining his views in great detail. Life at the Garden was simple and, unlike other philosophical schools, Epicurus also admitted women. When he died in 270 BC, he left the schoo to his disciples who ensured his teachings would live on. 

Ptolemy I Soter

Ptolemy I was one of Alexander’s generals who after his death warred with the other diadiochi over Alexander’s  empire. He was the first king and founder of the Ptolemaic dynasty ruling over Egypt from 323 to 285 BC.  

He grew up at the Macedonian court and became a close adviser of Alexander, supporting him on his claim to the Macedonian throne and serving in important positions during Alexander’s conquests of the East. He fought at Issos in 333 BC and helped Alexander found Alexandria. After Alexander’s death, at first Ptolemy acknowledged the rule of Alexander IV and Philip Arrhidaios but claimed the satrapy of Egypt.  He fought with the other successors Lysimachos, Antigonos and Seleucos for control over Alexander’s empire. He clashed with Cleomenes of Naucratis over the rule of Egypt but had him executed in 321 BC. From 306 to 286 BC, Ptolemy expanded his empire by gaining control over Cyrene, Palestine, Cyprus and the Syrian coast. In 286 BC, he extended his influence to include the Cycladic islands and Delos. 

Ptolemais married three times and had two children with Berenike, Arsinoe II en Ptolemy II, who deified him as Ptolemy Soter after his death in 283 BC. Ptolemy made sure that throughout his empire the administration was solid and founded the city Ptolemais. He wrote a history of Alexander’s life and campaigns which is partly preserved in Arrian’s Anabasis.

battle 14: menander vs callimachos

Hellenistic Hero Showdown 14: Who is your favourite?

  • Callimachus (100%, 2 Votes)
  • Menander (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 2

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Menander was an Atheniand Greek playwright and the best representative of the so-called New Comedy, a new style of comedy which drew on the affairs of every day themes instead of mythology like the Classic comedy. 

Menander was born in Athens around 342 BC to wealthy parents and he was a pupil of the philosoher Theophrastes. In 321 BC, he produced his first play Orge and over the next twenty years he would write over seventy plays. During his life time, he is said to have written more than 100 plays, but his success was limited: he only won the Athenian Dionysia only eight times. He apparently had close connections to Ptolemy and Demetrius of Phaleron and was declined invitations to spend time in Macedon and Egypt. He spent his life in Athens and died in 292 BC, possibly while swimming in Pireaus.

Menander was a brilliant comedian who was especially good at portraying characters such as stern fathers, cunning slaves, run-away lovers and many more. His works were adapted by and inspired Roman authors such as Plautus. Today his work only survived fragmentarily.  


Callimachos was a Greek poet and scholar who worked and lived at the library of Alexandria under the reign of Ptolemy II. He was born around 305 BC in Cyrene in Libya. When he moved to Alexandria, the king employed him at the Library of Alexandria. He was responsible for the production of a bibliographical survey based on the contents of the Library, the Pinakes.  He enjoyed a very productive career but only 6 hymns, 60 epigrams and other fragments survive. 

His most famous work is the Aitia or the causes in which Callimachos tells a bunch of tales from Greek mythology and history to explain the legendary origin of obscure customs, festivals, and names. This poem is said to have inspired the Metamorphosis. Callimachos also wrote elegies for special occasions such as the Lock of Berenike, which gives a image of life at the Ptolemaic Court. His hymns were a play on the Homeric ones which he adapted to everyday themes. He wrote poetry of high quality, he was able to show his skill and expertise within relatively short poems. 

battle 15: Philopoemen of Megalopolis vs Hiero II of syracuse

Hellenistic Hero Showdown 15 Who is your favourite?

  • Hiero II of Syracuse (100%, 2 Votes)
  • Philopoemen of Megalopolis (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 2

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Philopoemen of Megalopolis

Philopoemen was an Arcadian general and statesman of the Achaean Koinon. Philopoemen was born in 253 B.C. in Megalopolis. He first came to prominence in 223 B.C. when he organised a mass evacuation of the Megalopolitans during a Spartan siege of the city by king Kleomenes III. He led the Megalopolitan cavalry in the subsequent war against Kleomenes. After a few years spent as a general in Crete, Philopoemen returned to the Peloponnese in 210 B.C. and fought in the Achaian war with Rome and the Aetolian Koinon, a former ally, on account of their alliance with Philip V of Macedon (First Macedonian War 217-205 B.C.). He had some military successes and reformed the Achaean army as well as defeating another Spartan tyrant in 207. 

Over the next few years, Philopoemen’s reputation grew and he was elected strategos of the Koinon multiple times.While Achaea had now become a Roman ally, Sparta continued to trouble Megalopolis and the Koinon as well, this time under a new ruler, Nabis. Philopoemen defeated tyrant twice and in 188 BC, Sparta became a member of the koinon. After this, te Achaian relationship with Rome started to deteriorate as Rome became more and more involved in local politics. Philopoemen actively resisted this and when Messene revolted in 183 BC, he decided to go to battle again. He was captured and forced to drink poison. The Megalopolitans and Achaeans were devastated and defeated the city, after which it became an Achaian member once more and Philopoemen’s body was transported back to Megalopolis and buried there.

Hiero II of Syracuse 

Hiero was a Greek tyrant who ruled in Syracuse from 270 to 215 BC. He was born in 308 BC and served a former general of Pyrrhus of Epirus. When his forces left the city, Hiero became the leader of the troops and when he dealt with the threath of the Marmertines who had conquered Messina. In return, his fellow citizens named him king in 270 BC.

During the First Punic War, Hiero fought on the side of the Carthaginians under the Punic leader Hanno in 264 BC. He fought the Romans in 264 BC and soon after concluded a treaty with Rome  which rectified his rule over the south-east of Sicily.  From that moment on he was a loyal ally of the Romans aiding them with sldiers and supplies during the Second Punic Wars. He even had Archimedes, the famed scientist and inventor, work on mechanical devices to protect the city of Syracuse. Hiero implemented a system of taxation that who so innovative the Romans used it as well.  The prosperty of his rule is described by Theocitus in the sixteenth idyll. He died in 215 BC.

battle 16: Scipio africanus vs mithradates vi

Hellenistic Hero Showdown 16: Who is your favourite?

  • Scipio Africanus (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Mithradates VI (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 0

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Scipio Africanus

Scipio Africanus was a Roman general, statesman and consul who defeated Hannibal during the Second Punic War in 202 BC. He was born as Publius Cornelius Scipio in 236 BC into a famous patrician Roman family. His father, also called Publius Cornelius Scipio had been a Roman consul. 

In 219 BC, the Carthaginian general Hannibal attacked the city of Saguntum in Spain, which was an ally of the Romans. This was the start of a new conflict between Carthage and Rome. Following the example of his father, Scipio fought in several battles during the early years of the War. When the Romans were badly beaten the battle of Cannae in 216 BC, Scipio was one of the survivors. He even prevented other soldiers from deserting. 

In 213 BC, Scipio took a break from fighting but after his father and uncle were killed in battle, he took the command of the Roman troops in Spain and in 209 BC, he conquered Carthago Nova. He was able to beat Hadrusbal, Hannibal’s brother in 208 BC and two years later, after defeating the last Carthaginian troops in Spain, Spain was under Roman control. He was named consul in 205 BC and planned to cross into Africa but political opposition delayed this plan. Scipio and Hannibal met in 202 at the battle of Zama, which ended in a resounding Roman victory. He returned to Rome and was nicknamed Africanus in honour of his victory. Het was named consul once more in 194 BC but he had accrued powerful enemies who accused him of bribery and treason. Disappointed by this, he left Rome for his country estate in 185 BC and died there two years later.

Mithradates VI of Pontus

Mithradates VI Eupator was the king of Pontus from 120 until 63 BC. During his rule, he managed to expand his kingdom considerably and was able to oppose Roman rule in Asia Minor for a little while. When he succeeded his father Mithradates Euergetes in 120 BC, he was very young and for the first five years, his mother ruled for him until she was thrown into prison by her son. 

His first actions as ruler was to expand his kingdom and reattach several dominions that had become independent. He agreed with the king of Bithynia, Nicomedes to dived some of these territories such as Paphlagonia but they soon argued and Mithradates’ attempts to obtain the areas for himself was thwarted several times due to Roman intervention. 

In 88 BC, Mithradates finally declared war on Nicomedes of Bithynia and the Romans, when the latter invaded Pontic lands. Mithradates was able to defeat his enemies and controlled the province of Asia. Most of the cities of Asia Minor and Cycladic islands allied themselves with the king. He sent an army into Greece and while some of the Greeks chose his side, the Roman consul of Greece was able to defeat his armies in battles in 86 and 85 BC. When he saw that he was losing the war, he in vain tried to keep the Greeks on his side at all cost, but in 85 BC, he was forced to make peace with Sulla, giving up his conquests and fleet.

Two years later, the Roman consul Lucius Licinius Marena invaded Pontus without warning, starting the Second Mithradatic War but he was soon defeated. Tension remained high and in 74 BC a new war broke out. Mithradates managed to win several battles against the Romans but lost against Sulla in 66 BC, after he had been forced to flee to his son-in-law Tigranis in Armenia. In 64 BC, the king established himself in the Bosphorus and was planning an invasion of Italy when his soldier revolted against him. He ordered a Gallic mercenary to kill him and his body was buried in Sinope by Pompey.