Lysimachus (c. 360 BC–281 BC) was a Thessalian Greek officer and "successor" (Diadochi) of Alexander the Great, later a king (306 BC) in Thrace and Asia Minor.
Bust of Lysimachus
, Selçuk, Turkey
Son of Agathocles, he was a citizen of Pella in Macedonia. During Alexander's Persian campaigns he was one of his immediate bodyguard and distinguished himself in India. After Alexander’s death (323 BC) he was appointed to the government of Thrace and the Chersonese. For a long time he was chiefly occupied with fighting against the Odrysian king Seuthes.
In 315 BC he joined Cassander, Ptolemy and Seleucus against Antigonus, who, however, diverted his attention by stirring up Thracian and Scythian tribes against him. In 309 BC, he founded Lysimachia in a commanding situation on the neck connecting the Chersonese with the mainland. He followed the example of Antigonus in taking the title of king. In 302 when the second affiance between Cassander, Ptolemy and Seleucus was made, Lysimachus, reinforced by troops from Cassander, entered Asia Minor, where he met with little resistance. On the approach of Antigonus he retired into winter quarters near Heraclea, marrying its widowed queen Amastris, a Persian princess. Seleucus joined him in 301 BC, and at the battle of Ipsus Antigonus was defeated and slain. His dominions were divided among the victors, Lysimachus receiving the greater part of Asia Minor.
Feeling that Seleucus was becoming dangerously great, Lysimachus now allied himself with Ptolemy, marrying his daughter Arsinoe II of Egypt. Amastris, who had divorced herself from him, returned to Heraclea. When Antigonus’s son Demetrius I of Macedon renewed hostilities (297 BC), during his absence in Greece, Lysimachus seized his towns in Asia Minor, but in 294 BC concluded a peace whereby Demetrius was recognized as ruler of Macedonia. He tried to carry his power beyond the Danube, but was defeated and taken prisoner by the Getae king Dromichaetes (Dromihete), who, however, set him free on amicable terms. Demetrius subsequently threatened Thrace, but had to retire in consequence of a rising in Boeotia, and an attack from Pyrrhus of Epirus.
In 288 BC Lysimachus and Pyrrhus in turn invaded Macedonia, and drove Demetrius out of the country. Pyrrhus was at first allowed to remain in possession of Macedonia with the title of king, but in 285 BC he was expelled by Lysimachus.
Domestic troubles embittered the last years of Lysimachus’s life. Amastris had been murdered by her two sons; Lysimachus treacherously put them to death. On his return Arsinoë asked the gift of Heraclea, and he granted her request, though he had promised to free the city. In 284 BC Arsinoe, desirous of gaining the succession for her sons in preference to Agathocles (the eldest son of Lysimachus), intrigued against him with the help of her brother Ptolemy Ceraunus; they accused him of conspiring with Seleucus to seize the throne, and he was put to death.
This atrocious deed of Lysimachus aroused great indignation. Many of the cities of Asia revolted, and his most trusted friends deserted him. The widow of Agathocles fled to Seleucus, who at once invaded the territory of Lysimachus in Asia. In 281 BC, Lysimachus crossed the Hellespont into Lydia, and at the decisive battle of Corupedium was killed. After some days his body, watched by a faithful dog, was found on the field, and given up to his son Alexander, by whom it was interred at Lysimachia.
- Arrian, Anabasis v. 13, vi. 28
- Justin xv. 3, 4, xvii. I
- Quintus Curtius V. 3, x. 30
- Diodorus Siculus xviii. 3
- Polybius v. 67
- Plutarch, Demetrius, 31. 52, Pyrrhus, 12
- Appian, Syriaca, 62
- Thirlwall, History of Greece, vol. viii. (1847)
- J. P. Mahaffy, Story of Alexander’s Empire
- Droysen, Hellenismus (2nd ed., 1877)
- A. Holm, Griechische Geschichte, vol. iv. (1894)
- B. Niese, Gesch. d. griech. u. snaked. Staaten, vols. i. and ii. (1893, 1899)
- J. Beloch, Griech. Gesch. vol. iii. (1904)
- Hunerwadel, Forschungen zur Gesch. des Könige Lysimachus (1900)
- Possenti, Ii Re Lisimaco di Tracia (1901)
- Ghione, "Note sul regno di Lisimaco" (Atti d. real. Accad. di Torino, xxxix.)
This article incorporates text from the public domain 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica.