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The “Lamian War”, also referred to as the “Hellenic War” and the “War against Antipater”, was fought by the Atheniansmarker and their Aetolian, Locrian, and Phocianmarker allies against the Macedonians in Thessaly during the winter of (323322 BC). After some initial successes, the Athenians and her allies besieged the town of Lamiamarker, located on the southern slope of the Othrys Mountains on the Malic Gulf, where Antipater, regent of Macedon and commander of the Macedonian forces in Europe, had taken refuge behind the substantial fortifications of the city. Unsuccessful in their siege, the rebel Athenians were eventually defeated at the Battle of Crannon in Thessaly in 322, bringing the uprising to an end.


Following Alexander the Great’s death in 323 in Babylonmarker, the Athenians were moved to liberate Hellasmarker from Macedonian hegemony, whence the name “Hellenic War”. Shortly before Alexander expired he had ordered the return of all exiles hitherto banished from the Greek cities. For the most part this measure was popular, but was unwelcome in Athens and Aetolia for different reasons, and the death of Alexander was to be their opportunity for repealing this act. Swayed principally by Hypereides, a staunch anti-Macedonian rhetor and demagogue, the Athenians went to war in the hopes of engendering a new, anti-Macedonian Hellenic League, and appointed Leosthenes general of the allied forces.


The total Greek force at the outset of the war appears to have been 25,000 strong and was composed of up to 10,000 Athenians, 12,000 Aetolians and various contingents of mercenary forces.

Antipater, commander of the Macedonian forces in Europe, meanwhile scrambled to assemble Macedonian troops, most of which were engaged in Asia or in transit to or from that continent. He set out against the rebels with an initial force of some 13,000 troops, with messages sent to various commanders to bring reinforcements.

The Thessalians originally sided with Antipater, but were quickly persuaded to join the Athenians as allies. This sudden shift in strength led to some early confederate successes against Antipater, and he was constrained to seek refuge in the fortified city of Lamia. The Athenians and her allies, despite their early successes, were bogged down in their siege of Lamia. The well-walled town proved impregnable to the Athenians, and their commander Leosthenes was mortally wounded during a sallying forth from the city by the Macedonians who sought to harass their ditch-digging besiegers. His death prompted the Athenians to retreat.

That year Hypereides pronounced the funeral oration over the dead including his friend Leosthenes. Antiphilus was appointed as his replacement. Soon after the Athenian retreat from the walls of Lamia, Macedonian reinforcements, 20,000 infantry and 1,500 calvarly, arrived from Asia under the command of Leonnatus. The Athenian naval fleet had been defeated at the battle of Amorgos and had not succeeded in preventing these reinforcements’ succoring Antipater.

The Athenian and allied forces were finally defeated in 322 at the Battle of Crannon in central Thessaly after Antipater had managed to join with Leonnatus and Craterus. Together they beat back the weary Athenians in a long series of cavalry and hoplite engagements. While the allied forces were not routed, the outcome was decisive enough to compel the Athenians and her allies to sue for peace on Antipater’s terms.


Antipater made peace treaties with the rebellious cities separately and on generous terms. The Athenians were made to dissolve their government and establish a plutocratic system in its stead, whereby only those possessing 2,000 drachmas or more could remain citizens. This was done in the belief that the poorer elements of the society had compelled the war in the first place. Hypereides was condemned to death, fled, and was probably captured and killed in Euboeamarker. Demosthenes was forced to commit suicide by Antipater for his role in supporting the Hellenic War.


  1. For questions surrounding the nomenclature in antiquity see Ashton (1984).


  1. Diodorus Siculus. XVIII.8-11. Penelope- U Chicago
  2. Brill's New Pauly. vol.7 (1995) Engels, J. pp.183
  3. Westlake, H. D. The Aftermath of the Lamian War. "Classical Review 63" (1949) 87
  4. Diodorus Siculus. XVIII.12. Penelope- U Chicago
  5. Diodorus Siculus.XVIII.12-13. Penelope- U Chicago
  6. Diodorus Siculus.XVIII.13-15. Penelope- U Chicago
  7. Diodorus Siculus.XVIII.16-17. Penelope- U Chicago
  8. Diodorus Siculus.XVIII.17-18. Penelope- U Chicago
  9. (Oxford Classical Dictionary (1970).pp 535. Dobson. J. & pp 331. Cawkwell, G.

   ancient sources:

Diodorus Siculus. Penelope- U Chicago

Hypereides, Funeral Oration

Plutarch Lives of Phocion 23-29 and Demosthenes 27-30.

   modern sources:

Ashton, N. G. "The Lamian War. A false start?" Antichthon 17 (1983) 47-63.

––––"The Lamian War-stat magni nominis umbra" The Journal of Hellenic Studies, Vol. 104, (1984), pp. 152-157

Brill’s New Pauly. vol.7 (2005) pp. 183:

Errington, R. M. Samos and the Lamian war. Chiron 5 (1975) 51-57.

Martin, G., "Antipater after the Lamian War: New Readings in Vat. Gr. 73 (Dexippus fr. 33)". The Classical Quarterly, New Series, Vol. 55, No. 1 (May, 2005), pp. 301-305

Oxford Classical Dictionary (1970)

Oikonomides, A. N. Athens and the Phokians at the outbreak of the Lamian War (= IG II 367). "The Ancient World 5" (1982) pp. 123-127.

Schmitt, O., Der Lamische Krieg (1992)

Westlake, H. D. The Aftermath of the Lamian War. "Classical Review 63" (1949) 87-90

See also

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