- This article refers to Antigonus I Monophthalmus (382 B.C. - 301 B.C.). For other persons named "Antigonus," see the underwritten articles.
Antigonus I Monophthalmus (382 B.C. - 301 B.C.) was a member of the army of Alexander the Great, and a high-ranking general of the same. His title, "Monopthalmus," refers to the fact that, after his youth, he had only a single eye.
Antigonus was also a high-ranking general under Alexander's Father, Philip II of Macedon. When his son ascended to the throne, Antigonus followed Alexander on his war against Persia, and his subsequent quest through the Middle East.
Founding of the Antigonid Dynasty
Alexander the Great died without leaving plans for the dispensation of his vast Empire, which stretched from Macedon (north of Greece) to India, and included Egypt and all of modern-day Iraq. Thus, it fell to Alexander's friends and generals to manage the Empire.
However, Antigonus, and other generals, proved unable to work together, due to personal rivalries and greed. The generals thus appointed themselves the "Diadochi" - "Successors" - and dissolved the Empire, each administering an individual portion of the Empire. For example, Egypt fell to Ptolemy, who went on to call himself Pharoah Ptolemy I Soter ("The Savior"). Antigonus and his subsequent dynasty took control of Macedon, Alexander's former home, and his ancestral kingdom.
Breakdown of the Successor States
Early in the division of the Empire, the Diadochi thought of themselves of keeping custody of the territories until they could be surrendered to Alexander's young son. However, when Alexander's son died, Antigonus crowned himself King, and crowned his son (Demetrios) Prince.
Shortly thereafter, relations between the Diadochi deteriorated further, and war broke out between the former friends. These wars - the "Wars of the Diadochi" - form the backdrop of the Hellenistic Era, and lasted until the ascendancy of Rome.
An old man, Antigonus did not live to see much of the future of his inherited nation (Macedon). However, members of his ruling dynasty (the Antigonids) would rule for some time to come, continually clashing with other Diadochi, especially Ptolemy. For examples, the second Antigonid ruler, Demetrios, fought many wars against Ptolemy, ultimately earning the title "Poliorketes" (Besieger of Many Cities).
In fact, one of the wonders of the Ancient World, the Colossus at Rhodes, was erected to honor Ptolemy after he defeated Demetriois in a pitched battle for the city of Rhodes.