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For other persons named Antipater, see Antipater (disambiguation).

Antipater (Latin) Antipatros (Greek) (c. 397 BC-319 BC, Greek: Αντίπατρος) was a Macedonian general and a supporter of kings Philip II of Macedon and Alexander the Great. In 321 BC he became main regent of all Alexander's empire.

He first appears in history as Philip's envoy. He had been sent as ambassador to Athens and negotiated peace in 347 BC - 346 BC. He was a great friend to both the young Alexander and the boy's mother, Olympias; there were even rumours that he was Alexander's true father. He aided Alexander in the struggle to secure his succession after Philip's death, in 336 BC. During Alexander's campaign in the East, Antipater was governor of Macedonia and "general of Europe", posts he held from 334 BC to 323 BC.

This was a busy post at first; tribes in Thrace rebelled in 332 BC, followed shortly by the revolt of Agis III of Sparta, whom Antipater defeated in battle of Megalopolis in 331 BC. Antipater was disliked for supporting oligarchs and tyrants in Greece, but he also worked with the Greek League of Philip. His regency was greatly troubled by the ambition of Olympias, with whom his previously close relationship had vastly deteriorated. Antipater was nominally superseded by Craterus in 323 BC. Craterus should, from then on, have been the supreme commander of the Macedonian forces in Europe, but Antipater was able to forestall the transference of power when Alexander suddenly died in Babylon.

The new regent, Perdiccas, left Antipater in control of Macedonia and Greece. Antipater faced revolts in Athens, Aetolia, and Thessaly that made up the Lamian War, in which the Greeks attempted to regain their indpendence. He defeated them at the Battle of Crannon in 322 BC, with Craterus' help, and broke up the rebellion. As part of this he imposed oligarchy upon Athens and demanded the surrender of Demosthenes, who committed suicide to escape capture. Antipater and Craterus were engaged in a war against the Aetolians when he received the news from Antigonus in Asia Minor that Perdiccas contemplated making himself outright ruler of the empire. Antipater and Craterus accordingly went to war against Perdiccas, allying themselves with Ptolemy, the satrap of Egypt. Antipater crossed over to Asia in 321 BC. While still in Syria, he received information that Perdiccas had been murdered by his own soldiers.

In Treaty of Triparadisus (321 BC) Antipater made a new division of Alexander's great kingdom. He appointed himself supreme regent of all Alexander's empire and was left in control of Macedonia and Greece as guardian of Alexander's son Alexander IV and brother Philip III. Antipater returned to Macedonia, arriving there in 320 BC. Soon after, he was seized by an illness which terminated his active career, and died, leaving the regency to Polyperchon, passing over his son Cassander.

Alexander's assassin?

Though the debate surrounding the cause of Alexander's sudden death has never been clearly resolved, all of our ancient sources—even those who reject the notion of murder and assign the death to natural causes—mention that rumours abounded in the late fourth century BC that Antipater had been responsible for poisoning the great king. Shortly before Alexander's demise, Antipater's position had recently come under threat, as Alexander's mother Olympias had been writing to her son that Antipater was fomenting unrest and disloyalty in Macedon. Alexander had summoned him to Babylon to answer these charges, but, citing his fear of an uprising in Greece, he had sent his son Cassander in his place. Cassander—so the rumour goes—then had his younger brother Iollas, Alexander's butler, poison the king. Plutarch, who does not believe that Alexander was murdered, cites as the authority behind these rumours one Hagnothemis, who overheard Antigonus discuss the matter.

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