One of my interests for some time has been getting a better idea of just what happened after Alexander the Great’s death. Often that time period ends up ignored or summarized until Rome comes on the scene. So a book on one of the primary Successors was of decided interest, and the fact that it was by a person who I’d read prior books by only helped.

Despite the fact that this is technically about one person, it is a work of military history, not biography. While it does give as much of Antigonus’ life as is available from the sources, there’s no real attempt to draw from the somewhat sparse records any detailed sense of what he was like. The bulk of the book concerns itself with Antigonus’ campaigns, which did occupy the bulk of his life. In addition, we get some idea of what the other Successors were doing, including in the period right after Alexander’s death, when Antigonus is away from central events, just acting as a governor.

The subtitle ‘Greatest of the Successors’ doesn’t get all that well justified. Certainly, at his high mark, he was by far the most powerful of the Successors, and could draw in a lot of money as tribute/taxes. But it didn’t last long. The Battle of Ipsus killed him, and broke the power of his kingdom, leaving his son, Demetrius (who also gets a lot of attention in this book) to carry on. While he survived, it wasn’t until his son that a stable kingdom formed, and while it had the prestige of being Macedona itself, that wasn’t even part of Antigonus’ kingdom. Now this is more a case of great power attracting great enemies, but it still falls short of the lasting impact of Ptolemy or Seleucus.

Still, it’s a good book that does a good job of trying to put together the chronology of a confusing time (sometimes called the ‘Macedonian Soap Opera’), and comes with decent maps of the action in all the major battles described.