Category Archives: Empire Campaign

Empire: 280 BC to 271 BC

Seleucus, having regained Syria in 286 BC could either have moved east against the Antigonids in Asia or west to regain Bactria. Planning was well underway when Seleucus was assinated in 281 BC, aged 77. Control of the Empire however passed without incident to Antiochus who in 279 BC, at the head of a significant army, advanced east intent on crushing Andragoras II, King of Bactria.

Andragoras was now well established in the sprawling province. Initially the Seleucid invasion proceeded well with a number of smaller cities being bought to heel. However, in the Autumn of 278 BC the Seleucid army was caught by Andragoras who himself had determined to bring the Seleucids to battle, rather than risk further devastation to his kingdom. Andragoras attacked quickly while before the Seleucids were fully deployed. Antiochus countered and expanded his left rapidly while resting his right on an area of rocky ground.

Soon the Bactrians were in a precarious situation with their own right under heavy pressure and their pachyderms giving ground. Andragoras, desperate to stabilise the situation, ordered forward a number of his heavy cavalry in the centre. Unbelievably the Seleucid centre, comprising phalangites, began to crumble. Both commanders now threw in reserves, but Antiochus was unable to stabilise the situation and the Seleucid line collapsed. Antiochus, as with his father before him, was forced to abandon Bactria.

Meanwhile to the west of the Seleucids the Antigonids were also suffering revolts. In 279 BC the province of Pontus, stripped of Antigonid troops, erupted in revolt. Instead of eliminating these revolts Demetrius focussed his efforts to securing Macedonia. In 277 BC the Antigonid army moved from Thracia into Macedonia.

Macedonia had seen many Kings since Alexander’s death and believing that Pyrrhus’ position in Macedonia was weak, Demetrius felt confident that a quick victory would secure him the old capital and the legitimacy that would provide. In the late Summer of 276 BC the two armies deployed for battle on an open plain. Demetrius’ army comprising a core of Macedonians was bolstered by a number of mercenaries, while Pyrrhus drew his support from Macedonians, Epirotes and Greeks. In addition both armies deployed some 50 elephants.

Demetrius struck first moving decisively towards the left Macedonia right flank targeting Pyrrhus. In a series of clashes Pyrrhus was first isolated and then wounded. As he was carried from the field Melander his trusted general rallied the right and then moved his reserve, comprising his elephants, to bolster the Macedonian flank. 

Now, Melander counter-attacked. In the ensuing combats Demetrius was himself mortally wounded. Unlike the Macedonians the Antigonids now fell into a lethargy and were progressively outmaneouvered by the remaining Macedonian forces. Demoralised and leaderless the rump of the Antigonid army fell back to Thracia where it was rallied by Antigonus Gonatus.

Carthage, frustrated with her failed invasion into Gallia looked again to Magna Graecia. In 275 BC Hamilco crossed from Sicilia at the head of a magnificent army. The Carthaginians had by now abandoned the heavy chariots but Hamilco was keen to try a new weapon. Having transported some 100 elephants to Magna Graecia via Sicilia he hoped these beasts would unnerve the Romans. Hamilco’s Punic army, comprising pachyderms, hoplites, auxiliaries and cavalry was indeed imposing. Several cities opened their gates to the Carthaginians, hoping to regain their independence from the Roman oppressors. Moving north however Hamilco was soon met by a Roman army under Lucius Cornelius Lentulus Caudinus deployed outside Heraclea.

Like the Carthaginians the Roman army had undergone reforms. Now the hastatai and principes were armed with pilum and only the tararii the longer spear. Hamilco determined to attack on his right where he massed his mounted and elephants, while holding his centre and left with his foot.

The Carthaginian pachyderms had the desired affect breaking up the Roman flank despite being countered to an extent by the Roman light troops. This allowed the Carthaginian mounted to break into the Roman line and eventually, with support of the Punic foot, destroy the Roman army.

Rome however was not broken by the defeat and in 274 BC the Senate ordered Manius Curius Dentatis to advance south and bring the Carthaginians to battle. Hamilco was deployed with his elephants in the centre and his right extended towards Asculum by his heavy Punic foot. His left, constrained by the steep and rocky slopes of a nearby hill was held by various mercenaries, more suited to the broken ground.

The Romans deployed with the allied legions, drilled in the Roman style, on the left and the Roman citizens on their right. Hamilco pressed forward where his elephants once again battered the Italian legions back. The Punic heavy foot on the right and the mercenaries on the left pressed forward in support.

However, they were less successful and while the pachyderms continued forward the Punic foot began to be driven back with increasing casualties. Finally, Punic losses crippling and Hamilco watched helplessly as his army broke and Magna Graecia once again became under the Roman yoke.

It will be recalled that in 276 BC that Pyrrhus defeated Demetrius’ invasion of Macedonia and indeed killed Demetrius. Once recovered from his own wounds Pyrrhus and Antigonus Gonatus agreed a fragile peace. Both used this time to strengthen their power base and rebuild their armies. In the Spring of 272 BC Pyrrhus crossed into Thracia with a significant army under his command. Antigonus Gonatus moved quickly reinforcing his veterans with light cavalry from his Asian provinces and selected a battlefield carefully. Here he hoped his superior light troops would have some advantage over the Macedonian, Epirotes and Greeks. Both commanders faced each other on the open flank.

The advance by Pyrrhus was particularly rapid and caught Antigonus reorganising his lines. Antigonid skirmishers thrown foolishly forward where overwhelmed and the Antigonid phalanx struggled to retain its order. However, on the Antigonid right initial setback soon turned to success. As the Macedonian left collapsed Pyrrhus was lucky to escape with his life.

At the end of the decade the various states control the following provinces, the first province being the home province:

  • Carthage: Africa; Numidia; Iberia; Sicilia
  • Rome: Italia; Magna Graecia; Cisalpina
  • Macedonia: Macedonia; Greece
  • Antigonids: Asia; Thracia
  • Seleucids: Mesopotamia; Persia; Parthia; Armenia; Syria
  • Ptolemaic: Aegyptus
  • Independent states currently comprise: Gallia; Illyria; Pontus; Bactria & India.

Empire: 290 BC – 281 BC

With a few changes to the campaign mechanics we have completed another turn from our ongoing Empire Campaign, this time covering the years 290 BC to 281 BC. Dramatic events unfold in Italia, the Gauls become active and the Successors continue their relentless wars.

The year of 290 BC, and those immediately following, were dramatic for Rome. Increasing Gallic pressure had been brewing in Cisalpina and in 290 BC a large Gallic host moved south threatening those cities that fell under Rome’s protection. To defeat this threat Manius Curius Dentatus marched north and confronted the Gallic host. Caught by the rapid Roman advances the Gauls were not fully deployed from their camp when Dentatus drew up his army. The Roman consul placed the majority of his horse on his left, supported by his Italian allies while a portion of his legions extending his centre. Echeloned back was his right comprising the remaining Roman foot.

Aware the Gauls had not fully deployed on the left, due to a wooded area, Dentatus advanced rapidly in an effort to restrict the Gauls further. Above, the Romans advance against the Gallic host whose right is restricted by woods reducing the deployment of their cavalry.

The fighting centred mostly against the Gallic right and centre. The Roman legions, and their Italian allies, fought with great determination. Despite suffering heavy casualties the Romans soundly defeated the Gallic host, with most casualties falling on the dismounted warriors. The threat to Rome itself had been averted.

Following the assassination of Alexander V of Macedonia Pyrrhus managed to secure the Macedonian throne at the head of his Epirot army. Having consolidated his position he lost no time in moving south and securing Graecia. It was Athens now, rather than Sparta, that assembled an alliance of city states to oppose the Macedonian army that in the spring of 288 BC that threatened to extinguish Greek independence. The Athenian general Clinias, a conservative, favoured the use of hoplites and ensured the army assembled contained many citizens. Seeking a more open battlefield he selected the plain east of Thebes to confront Pyrrhus in pitched battle. The Greek right outflanked the Macedonian left though their own left was constrained by a large wood and risked turning by Macedonian light troops. While the Greeks advanced forward Pyrrhus undertook a series of complex wheels of his phalanx to maximise his advantage against the Greek left, but in so doing weakened his centre. Clinias seized the advantage and pressed forward.

Above, the weak Macedonian centre is clearly visible.

Unfortunately Clinias’ aggressive advance resulted in his horse, positioned on his right being charged by the Macedonian mounted led by Pyrrhus. Decimated by the attack the Greek cavalry routed. Undeterred Clinias, leading by example, pressed the Macedonian centre. Several times the Macedonian centre looked likely to collapse, yet each time it held. While his centre held Pyrrhus focussed his attentions of his left taxis which were supported by xystophoroi. Subjected to a brutal series of attacks the Greek right broke and with it Greek resolve.

For some years Seleucus had focussed his army in the east content to watch the Antigonids and Ptolemy wrestle for control of Syria. With Ptolemy, and his son Ptolemy II, now firmly in control of Syria, and aware his own capital was threatened by future Ptolemaic expansion, Seleucus gathered a large army and sought battle against the ageing Ptolemy in Syria. The two armies finally faced each other in late autumn of 286 BC across the plain of Panaes. Seleucus’ intended the battlefield to be featureless and therefore ideal for his elephants and scythed chariots. However, the season was late and recent rains had turned many cultivated areas to mud restricting the battlefield further.

With Ptolemy Soter in Alexandria the army was commanded by Ptolemy II, who remained confident. With his peltasts concentrated on his left he advanced his phalanx in the centre and his xystophoroi on the right supported by light infantry. Seleucus, now hesitated and Ptolemy launched a number of xystophoroi forward on the extreme right. Below, the Ptolemaic forces are on the left and Seleucid on the right.

However, Seleucus resolve returned and he countered. Sacrificing depth for width he extended a portion of his phalangites which were in turn engaged and broken by Ptolemy at the head of a large body of xystophoroi. Pursuing too far they were themselves caught by redeploying scythed chariots with disastrous results. Ptolemy wounded was carried from the battlefield while his reserves tried desperately to restore the situation. The battle continued for some time with determination being shown by Ptolemy’s veterans. However, robbed of their commander slowly Seleucus gained the advantage. While Ptolemy II would escape to Alexandria, where he would recover, his army and Syria was lost. Ptolemaic losses would continue when finally Ptolemy Soter died in the Spring of 282 BC, aged 84.

Carthage, having failed in its expansion into Magna Graecia, looked elsewhere to expand its influence. A combination of trade, military action and colonisation had established an strong base in Southern Iberia. Carthage now looked to expanded along the coast of Gallia. By 287 BC it had gained, by alliance with several Greek colonies, a fragile influence along the coast. Now Carthage’s resolve stiffened. Punic control was to be expanded by military means. Therefore the Punic general Malchus was dispatched inland at the head of a strong army. A series of ruthless acts by Malchus had, by 285 BC, resulted in a confederation of tribes assembling a large army in opposition.

Battle was joined in late spring when the two armies drew up opposite. A steep and rocky hill dominated the centre of the battlefield. This was seized early by Gallic light troops while the majority of Gallic foot advanced in support. To their flanks Gallic chariots and cavalry extended the front. Unusually Malchus formed in two lines. His Punic foot, hoplons locked, formed the second line while his heavy chariots, Spanish cavalry and Numidian light horse formed the first line. Malchus contempt for the Gallic horse and dismounted warriors was clear.

Yet, the Gauls were not deterred. Several thousand advanced rapidly down a road behind the dominating high ground to hurl themselves against the Punic right flank.

Unfortunately details of the battle are largely lost, instead only general fragments remain. The Gallic flanking manoeuvre delivered with great determination, shown above, was held. This was in part due to reinforcement by Gallic chariots was prevented by Punic light troops who challenged the Gallic position on the high ground. In due course however the main lines clashed and slowly the Carthaginians gained an advantage. However, Punic losses were crippling. When the Gallic forces finally collapsed in rout Carthaginian resolve was shaken. Malchus and his army returned to Iberia. Their resolve to secure Gallia was, at least for now, lost.

With Pyhrrus distracted by campaigning in Greece Demetrius crossed the Hellespont again to reassert Antigonid authority in Thrace in 283 BC. The usurper, if you are to believe Antigonid historians, rushing back north and assembled a force to defend his claim. Demetrius moved rapidly to attack the assembling force.

Pyrrhus deployed on open ground with his left flank anchored on a large wood. The Antigonid battle line was anchored, on its left flank, against a broken range of steep hills. Pyrrhus reorganised his battle line to move light troops to oppose the Antigonid elephant corp, then began a cautious advance. The appearance of psiloi supported by heavier mercenary infantry on the hills threatening Pyrrhus’ right flank led to protracted skirmishing on the heights. The enthusiastic insertion of Pyrrhic heavy cavalry into the fight led to the temporary capture of the heights.

Eventually the Antigonid main battle line moved forward, led on their left flank by the elephant corp, in the lee of the hills. Battle was joined along the entire front. The recently recruited allied hoplites, presumably following Pyrrhus’s recent successes in Greece, suffered the brunt of the Antigonid assault. Tarantine light cavalry having found a route through the mountainous terrain found themselves directly engaged against Pyrrhus and his companions. Supported by foot skirmishers descending from the heights, now secured by Antigonid mercenary troops, the usurper fell wounded to a Tarantine javelin. The remaining Macedonian phalanx surrendered and were enrolled by Demetrius.

Despite her victory against the Cisalpinan Gauls Rome remained apprehensive of further Gallic invasions from the north. As such in 281 BC the consul Quintus Marcius Philippus was dispatched north into Cisalpina. His army numbered 20,000 foot along with supporting cavalry. On the day of the battle Philippus drew up the army with his Italian allies on his left, their extreme left resting on a wood. His mounted were massed on the right where they were opposite the Gallic mounted.

The Gallic horse and chariots, who outnumbering the Romans, moved aggressively against the Roman right. However, as they advanced they created a significant gap between them and the Gallic foot. Philippus countered and supporting his mounted with Roman infantry. This manoeuvre however exposed the Roman foot to attack by the Gallic foot who advanced with determination. However, Roman resolve was evident and progressively the Romans over came the Gauls. Unlike the Carthaginians in Gallia, Philippus had gained a great victory and secured Cisalpina for Rome.

At the end of the decade the various states control the following provinces, the first province being the home province:

  • Carthage: Africa, Numidia, Iberia, Sicilia
  • Rome: Italia, Magna Graecia, Cisalpina
  • Macedonia: Macedonia, Greece
  • Antigonids: Asia, Pontus, Thracia
  • Seleucids: Mesopotamia, Persia, Parthia, Armenia, Syria
  • Ptolemaic: Aegyptus

Independent states currently comprise: Gallia; Illyria; Bactria & India.

Empire: 300 BC – 291 BC

After considerable delay I can finally provide a summary of the events of the Empire Campaign covering the years 300 BC to 291 BC. Again the campaign has provided some interesting context to a range of battles with some upsets along the way.

In 299 BC Ptolemy, now some 68 years old, determined to launch yet another offensive into Cyrenaica under his own command and subdue it. Too many previous attempts under his generals had after all failed. Unfortunately little is known of the desperate battle that was fought near the coast on a relatively open plain. Indications are that victory hung in the balance for some time as the armies pressed each other seeking advantage. However, Ptolemy finally defeated his enemy and with the ensuing slaughter Cyrenaica was finally absorbed into Ptolemy’s kingdom.

Even more dramatic clashes were unfolding in the west. Having secured their position in Sicilia, Carthaginian forces in 298 BC invaded Magna Graecia. An alliance of several Italiot Greek cities allowed the assembly of a significant army with which the Carthaginians could be defeated. In the Summer of 296 BC battle was joined. The Italiot Greeks formed up with their right somewhat anchored by the hill town of Quiesa with their army stretching to the left across an open plain. Concerned that the Carthaginian fleet would land troops a proportion of the army was held in reserve while other hoplites defended the city walls. Despite this the Italiot Greeks had a greater number of hoplites that outnumbered the Punic heavy foot. Recent rains caused some areas of farmland to be soft, and a hinderence to the heavy foot of both armies on this otherwise open battlefield.

The Carthaginian advance was focussed against the Greek left, which was quickly reinforced. The battle soon drew in the foot of the centre where the Carthaginian forces made significant use of various light troops to screen the advancing African and Libyan hoplites. However, it was on the Carthaginian right that victory was secured as the Carthaginian mounted slowly gained the advantage in a swirling battle. Demoralised by defeat many more cities of Magna Graecia now opened their gates to Carthage.

Despite many cities excepting Punic rule their remained a number of Italiot Greek cities that sought assistance from Rome. Emissaries were dispatched pleading for assistance to which Rome. The Roman Senate, determined to expand its area of influence in the south, dispatched the Consul Marcus Atilius Regulus, at the head of a vast army in 294 BC. The battlefield was open in the centre and Carthaginian right but broken by a steep and rocky hill on the Carthaginian left. The Carthaginians deployed their mounted, a mix of cavalry and chariots, on their right where they considerably outnumbered the Roman mounted.

The Romans struggled to counter the Carthaginian attacks against their left where the combination of chariots and cavalry proved particularly effective. Indeed, the Consul Regulus was almost captured as the Roman left began to collapse. Then Roman resolve in the centre stiffened and the Punic foot suffered a series of almost unbelievable reverses. Unable to withstand the Roman attacks the resolve of the Punic forces collapsed. In the ensuing months much of Punic Magna Graecia was lost as Rome’s influence expanded.

In the east you will recall the previous crushing defeat of Eumenes expedition to India and Seleucus’ seizure of Babylon. These events provided Andragoras, satrap of Bactria, the opportunity to revolt against Seleucus in 299 BC while Seleucus was still attempting to consolidate his position. Respected by Greek and Bactrian, Andragoras quickly secured the province of Bactria and absorbed Greek settlor and native Bactrian into a formidable army. Seleucus determined to crush the revolt and dispatched an expedition under one of his most trusted generals, Antigenes. Antigenes pressed deep into Bactria until in 297 BC Andragoras was forced to face him on a relatively open plain. With such an open field the role of cavalry and light horse would dominate the initial battle with dramatic flank actions. Antigenes gained an advantage but over confidence was dangerous and Andragoras exploited the extended Seleucids, cutting down Antigenes and his bodyguard. With the Seleucid expedition defeated Bactria, at least for now, would remain independent.

Between the east and west Demetrius having tired of a prolonged war with Ptolemy determined a different path and prepared to invade Thracia. Assembling a large army he crossed from Asia in 295 BC and was soon met in battle by Alexander V of Macedonia, son of Cassander. Alexander, short on phalangites, bolstered his army with Thracian auxiliaries before offering battle. The battlefield was dominated by steep and rocky hills as well as woods, yet retained large areas of open ground. Demetrius sought victory and pressed the Macedonian right flank with his mounted, which was countered by Macedonian mounted and a number of Thracians that held the high ground.

Interestingly, neither commander ordering their respective phalangites forward initially, though later, as the battle progressed, each deployed their phalanx in massed ranks opposite each other on open ground. Yet it was the battle on the flank where the battle was decided. Here the combat swung back and forth until finally the Antigonid left comprising the bulk of Demetrius’ mounted, collapsed. Yet, Alexander’s casualties were such his pursuit was limited. However, Thracia remained firmly under control of Macedonia.

Having defeated the Antigonid invasion of Thracia, Alexander V of Macedonian, replaced his casualties and turned his attention to the independent city states of Graecia in 292 BC. While a number of cities opened their gates to Alexander others rallied around an army formed by Sparta and led by Cleonymus. Seizing the initiative Cleonymus marched his army out to offer battle. He deployed his Spartans and his most trusted allies on the left while his less committed allies extended the right.

Alexander advanced his Macedonians onto the open plain and focussed his attack against the Greek right using the bulk of his Thracian mercenaries as well as his xystophoroi under his personal command. Meanwhile his phalangites and elephants pinned the Greek centre and his right was held by his remaining mounted and light troops. While the initial charge of the Macedonian xystophoroi shattered the Greek line many of the Greek allied hoplites reformed and fought with renewed determination.

Cleonymus, aware he must attack the Macedonian centre, or suffer defeat, ordered his remaining hoplites forward. While Spartan hoplites on the Greek left overwhelmed the Macedonian right Greek psiloi engaged the Macedonian elephants. As these pachyderms routed they exposed the Macedonian phalanx which was simultaneously attacked frontally and from the flank. This sudden turn of events demoralised both Alexander and his army, but such are the vagaries of war. As his army collapsed Alexander was forced to retire, his hopes of Greek hedgeomony shattered.

At the end of the decade the various states control the following provinces, the first province being the home province:

  • Carthage: Africa, Numidia, Iberia, Sicilia
  • Rome: Italia, Magna Graecia
  • Macedonia: Macedonia, Thracia
  • Antigonids: Asia, Pontus
  • Seleucids: Mesopotamia, Persia, Parthia, Armenia
  • Ptolemaic: Aegyptus, Syria, Cyrenaica

Independent states currently comprise: Gallia; Cisalpina; Illyria; Graecia & India.

Having now completed three campaign turns, and resolved around eighteen battles, I have spent some time evaluating the campaign mechanics. A couple of issues have become apparent. First is the challenge of organising games where frequently players are unavailable. Secondly, with strategic boundaries constrained by geography many games have involved the same players. I had hoped this would have been countered by other players controlling independent provinces, but it hasn’t significantly. Having read two articles in Slingshot on automated campaigns I intend to move the strategic elements of the campaign to an automated process allowing greater flexibility in using players to fighting actual tabletop battles. I hope this will address both the above issues. In addition I think I can dispense with two provinces, Cyrenaica and Scythia, instead reverting back to the original Empire map.

Empire: 310 BC – 301 BC

We have just completed the second turn in our Empire Campaign campaign, which covers the period from 310 BC to 301 BC. The following should provide a brief overview of the events as they unfolded. One of the interesting features of the campaign is the sequential nature of the turn sequence which in the closing poption of the decade resulted in a very dramatic turn of events. The outcomes of course determined by the order of player offensives, modified by battle outcomes.


The cities of Sicilia were most unsettled following the failed Carthaginian campaigns of the previous decade. As a result a number of cities determined to take advantage of Syracue’s weakness and revolted against Syracusian hegemony. In 310 BC Xenodicus was elected general in Akragas and immediately embarked on a limited campaign to liberate the nearby Sicilian cities from Syracusian domination. Argathocles, tyrant of Syracuse, was determined to bringing Xenodicus to battle and in the Autumn of 309 BC they arimes clashed. Both armies comprised a large number of hoplites and were supported by cavalry. However, Argathocles had a slight advantage in the mousted arm and was further supported by light cavalry and bolt shooters. Xenodicus was more concerned in keeping his revolt alive and as such deployed behind a river with his right flank resting near the coast.

Argathocles determined to attack the enemy right with his mounted and some hoplites while other hoplites, as well as bolt shooters, pinned the Siciliot centre. The battle lines swirled back and forth for most of the day as first Syracusian and then Siciliot troops attacked across the river. Finally, unable to achieve an outcome Argathocles ordered his troops to disengage. Argathocles had clearly failed to defeat Xenodicus, the rebellion would continue to gain momentum. While Syracuse had clearly lost its domination over Sicilia it was far from defeated.

In the east Eumenes determined to launch an offensive into India in an effort to secure his supply of elephants. By the summer of 308 BC Eumenes finally deployed against the Indian hordes in a area interspersed by areas of forest and marsh. In the ensuing battle his light troops suffered in the initial skirmishes but soon the main battlelines clashed. It was now the Greeks, and Persian subjects, gained an advantage destroying many Indians cavalry and chariots. Sensing an opportunity to finish off the Indian host Eumenes committed his cavalry against the lightly armed Indian archers. Now the archers drew their fearsome swords and wreaked havoc amongst the invaders. Encouraged by their inferiors, the elephants and chariots redoubled their efforts and slaughtered the phalangites in front of them. Eumenes was now forced to fight and rearguard action and begin the long journey west. His invasion of India had failed. Yet, this defeat had even greater consequences. Eumenes, far from his capital learnt that in his absence Seleucus, previously satrap of Mesopotamia had returned from exile and seized control of the capital and treasury. Eumenes, never the most trusted of commanders, was handed over to Seleucus by his veterans in return for their long overdue pay.

In Macedonia Polypechon launched an offensive into Graecia in 307 BC to bring to heal Cassander. While a number of Greek cities opened their gates to Polypechon others gathered to support Cassander. The two armies manoeuvred until finally they faced each other in Attica near Dekelea in 306BC. Cassander positioned his mounted on his left while extending his line to the right with his phalangites in the centre and the majority of his mercenary peltasts on the right. Polypechon, having a numeric superiority in phalangites, massed these along with his xystophoroi in the centre while his Greek cavalry and elephants extended his right and his light troops were positioned on a rocky hill on his left. Both armies advanced with their right, with their centre and left in support.

Cassander hoped to gain the advantage against the outnumbered Macedonian left but failed as Polypechon light troops fell back. Meanwhile on the opposite flank and centre of both armies were soon engaged. Here Cassander routed Polypechon’s Greek cavalry while the phalangites of both armies pushed back and forth inconclusively.

With his right flank shattered and desperate for a result the Macedonian centre attacked. While Polypechon, at the head of his xystophoroi charged Cassander’s Greek hoplites, his phalangites attacked Cassander’s outnumbered phalangites frontally and from the flank. However, Cassander’s troops were well motivated and repulsed first the phalangites and then routed the xystophoroi after Polypechon fell mortally wounded. Demoralised and leaderless Polypechon’s army broke with many troops now deserting to Cassander. Aware of his own tenuous hold in Greece, an amalgam of diverse political interests at best, Cassander advanced in the following weeks into Macedonia and secured Pella, leaving the fractious Greek cities behind.

While the dynamic situation in Graecia was unfolding equally dramatic news arrived from Italia. The relatively unknown city state of Rome had successfully consolidated their position over Italia. Heavily populated and now commanding a united Italia rumours of Roman expansion filled many trading ports.

Watching these developments with renewed interest Carthage pressed on with her own territorial expansions. Following the defeat of her previous invasion of Sicilia Carthage prepared for another invasion of the islands now disrupted by revolts by cities seeking independence from Syracusian hegemony. Carthaginian forces landed on the west of the island from where her forces quickly expanded and consolidated their control. However, Carthage was soon in direct conflict with the much expanded Akragas League which now controlled much of Sicilia in a loose alliance of city states. This finally came to a head in 305 BC when the Akragas League dispatched Xenodicus to arrest Carthaginian arrest expansion.

The two armies met on a relatively open plain north of Heraclea, a site chosen by Hamilcar, son of Gisco. Hamilcar selecting the field to ensure his heavy chariots would benefit from an obstacle free battlefield. Hamilcar deployed with his Punic and Libyan infantry in the centre his auxilia and cavalry on his right and his heavy chariots on the left.

Taking advantage of what looked to be an unusual deployment by the Greeks Hamilcar pressed forward with his centre and left while refusing his more vulnerable right. He further moved his cavalry from his right flank to his left to gain further advantage. The Siciliot Greeks countered and repositioning some of their centre to attack the Punic right flank.

However, such deployments take time and the Carthaginian heavy chariots and cavalry, supported by Punic infantry, eventually gained the advantage on the Punic left and centre destroying the Greek flank. The surviving Greeks fled and as word of the victory spread cities opened their gates to Carthage. Sicilia had been finally secured for Carthage.

However, it was in the Syria and Aegyptus that the most dramatic events of the decade unfolded. In 303 BC Antigonus dispatched his son Demetrius against Ptolemy in a war that had now been fought for many years. Moving south a number cities offered little or no resistance to the Antigonid invasion. Now the very survival of Ptolemaic rule seemed in question.  Ptolemy finally offered battle in the Nile Delta, again using a major distributary to strengthen his position.

Demetrius launched his attack across one of these rivers while landing Greek hoplites on the coast. Ptolemy counted the landing with his mounted while his the smaller phalanx and elephants advanced to defend the river bank opposite the mighty phalanx of Demetrius. A long but determined clash over the river and marshes no took place the details of which are not known. The result however was that headway gained by the Antigonid phalanx was lost when it was finally forced back across the river and the Greek hoplites along the coast were finally over-run. Once again the Antigonid invasion of Aegyptus is repulsed.

Seeking revenge and taking advantage of the Antigonid defeat Ptolemy now launched his own invasion of Syria. Several cities opened their gates to Ptolemy as he marched relentlessly north. As these cities fell the economic cost to the Antigonids increased. Antigonus, unable to accept continued economic destruction being inflicted on Syria assembled a large army to defeat the invader.

Antigonus, having executed a night march, was able to catch the Ptolemaic host breaking camp in the summer of 301 BC. Ptolemy had deployed with his right flank anchored on a fortified position and his left an area of marsh. Having recovered from the surprise attack Ptolemy moves against the Antigonid flanks. This includes a raid against the Antigonid camp, though this attack fails. In due course the phalangites of both armies are engaged, with the aging Antigonus, now 80, fighting in the front ranks of the Antigonid phalanx. As the battle develops victory seems within Antigonus’ grasp until a series of disasters combine. Firstly, Antigonid xystophoroi fail to achieve a breakthrough and then a portion of the Antigonid phalanx, attacked frontally and from the flank, is destroyed with the loss of Antigonus. While Ptolemaic casualties are heavy the Antigonid defeat is complete. Syria has fallen to Ptolemy and two decades of determined engagements have, at least for the time being, provided a rich reward.

At the end of the decade the various states control the following provinces, the first being the home province:

  • Carthage: Africa, Numidia, Iberia, Sicilia
  • Rome: Italia
  • Macedonia: Macedonia, Thracia
  • Antigonids: Asia, Pontus
  • Seleucids: Mesopotamia, Persia, Parthia, Armenia, Bactria
  • Ptolemaic: Aegyptus, Syria

Independent states currently comprise: Gallia; Cisalpina; Magna Graecia; Illyria; Graecia; Cyrenaica; Scythia & India.