33 Facts About Antigonus II


Antigonus II Gonatas was a Macedonian ruler who solidified the position of the Antigonid dynasty in Macedon after a long period defined by anarchy and chaos and acquired fame for his victory over the Gauls who had invaded the Balkans.

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Antigonus II was descended from the Diadochi on both his father's and mother's side.

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Antigonus II's father was Demetrius Poliorcetes, himself the son of Antigonus I Monophthalmus, who then controlled much of Asia.

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Antigonus II's mother was Phila, the daughter of Antipater, who had controlled Macedonia and the rest of Greece since 334 BC and was recognized as regent of the empire, which in theory remained united.

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Antigonus II conquered Athens and in 294 BC he seized the throne of Macedonia from Alexander, the son of Cassander.

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Antigonus II Gonatas was the grandson of Antipater and the nephew of Cassander through his mother, his presence helped to reconcile the supporters of these former kings to the rule of his father.

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Antigonus II aimed at nothing less than the revival of Alexander's empire and started making preparations on a grand scale, ordering the construction of a fleet of 500 ships, many of them of unprecedented size.

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Antigonus II wrote to all the kings, especially Seleucus, offering to surrender all the territory he controlled and proposing himself as a hostage for his father's release, but to no avail.

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Antigonus II then crossed to Europe to claim Thrace and Macedonia, but Ptolemy Keraunos, the son of Ptolemy, murdered Seleucus and seized the Macedonian throne.

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Antigonus II cooperated in the defence of Greece against the barbarians, but the Aetolians took the lead in defeating the Gauls.

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Antigonus II abandoned his camp and beached his ships, then concealed his men.

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The Gauls looted the camp, but when they started to attack the ships, Antigonus II's army appeared, trapping them with the sea to their rear.

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Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, Macedonia's western neighbour, was a general of mercurial ability, widely renowned for his bravery, but he did not apply his talents sensibly and often snatched after vain hopes, so that Antigonus II used to compare him to a dice player, who had excellent throws, but did not know how to use them.

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Antigonus II then lost the support of the Greek cities in Italy and Sicily by his haughty behaviour.

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Antigonus II called Antigonus a shameless man for still wearing the purple, but he did little to destroy the remnants of his power.

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When Pyrrhus learned this, he encamped about Nauplia and the next day dispatched a herald to Antigonus II, calling him a coward and challenging him to come down and fight on the plain.

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Antigonus II replied that he would choose his own moment to fight and that if Pyrrhus was weary of life, he could find many ways to die.

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Antigonus II then covered his face with his cloak and burst into tears.

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Antigonus II then had Pyrrhus's body cremated with great ceremony.

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Antigonus II treated him kindly and brought him to his father who was more pleased with his behaviour.

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Antigonus II was troubled by the rising power and popularity of Aratus.

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Antigonus II decided therefore to either win him over to his side or at least discredit him with Ptolemy.

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In 243 BC, in an attack by night, he seized the Acrocorinth, the strategically important fort by which Antigonus II controlled the Isthmus of Corinth and thus the Peloponnese.

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Antigonus II surrounded himself at court with a circle of notable intellectuals and philosophers.

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Antigonus II was mentioned several times by Diogenes Laertius in The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, in relation to various philosophers, particularly those linked with the Megarian, Pyrrhonist, Cynic, and Stoic schools.

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We're told that "many persons courted Antigonus II and went to meet him whenever he came to Athens" and that after an unnamed sea battle, many Athenians went to see Antigonus II or wrote him flattering letters.

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Euphantus, a philosopher of the Megarian school, taught King Antigonus II "and dedicated to him a work On Kingship which was very popular".

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We're told that Antigonus II consulted Menedemus of Eretria, a distinguished member of Phaedo's school of philosophy, about whether to attend a drinking party.

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Antigonus II subsequently made a gift of three thousand drachmas to Cleanthes, Zeno's successor as head of the Stoa, whose lectures he attended.

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Antigonus II is mentioned in the Edicts of Ashoka as one of the recipients of the Indian Emperor Ashoka's Buddhist proselytism.

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In 239 BC, Antigonus II died at the age of 80 and left his kingdom to his son Demetrius II, who was to reign for the next 10 years.

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Antigonus II preferred to rely on cunning, patience, and persistence to achieve his goals.

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Life of Antigonus II is the basis of the story line of the libretto Antigono by Pietro Metastasio, first set to music by Johann Adolph Hasse in 1744.

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