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Antigonos the One-Eyed and the Creation of the Hellenistic State (Hellenistic Culture and Society) Paperback – June 6, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0520208803 ISBN-10: 0520208803

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Antigonos the One-Eyed and the Creation of the Hellenistic State (Hellenistic Culture and Society) + Dividing the Spoils: The War for Alexander the Great's Empire (Ancient Warfare and Civilization)
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Product Details

  • Series: Hellenistic Culture and Society (Book 4)
  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (June 6, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520208803
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520208803
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #489,081 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"With meticulous and wide-ranging scholarship, Professor Billows gives this vigorous, huge, and hugely ambitious figure his just deserts. A well-paced narrative of Antigonos's career, culminating in his disastrous bid for empire at Ipsus (301 B.C.), is followed by masterly analyses of his administrative, economic, and cultural policies. The result fills, with distinction, a notable gap in both Hellenistic history and biography."—Peter Green, author of Alexander to Actium: The Historical Evolution of the Hellenistic Age

About the Author

Richard A. Billows is Assistant Professor of History at Columbia University.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By jeffergray on January 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a remarkably interesting scholarly biography of the man I've always found to be the most interesting of the Successors of Alexander. Antigonus the One-Eyed originally seemed one of the least likely of Alexander's generals to come into the dead King's inheritance, but thanks to his shrewdness, military skill, and the mistakes of others, within ten years of Alexander's death he had taken control of two-thirds of the dead King's former realm. Twelve years later, all of the other Successors united against him in a great coalition, and Antigonus went down fighting (at the age of 80) at the Battle of Ipsus in 301 B.C. The ancients saw Antigonus's life as a cautionary tale about the dangers of hubris and vaulting ambition; Billows takes a more positive view.

If your interest in this book comes from the standpoint of an ancient history buff rather than an academic, you should understand that Billows's book started out life as a dissertation, and it's really two books in one. The first book -- which consists of the first 190 pages -- is essentially a well-researched biography that treats Antigonus's life and career in chronological order. The second book -- consisting of the last 120 pages -- treats Antogonus's foreign relations, economic and social policies, etc., and will be of more interest and utility to scholars. Billows argues that Antigonus should be better known not merely because of his dramatic life story and his status as the founder of the Antigonid line that eventually ruled Macedon from 277-167 B.C., but also because he laid the foundations upon which Seleucus I built the Seleucid Empire.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Dirk Nomad on May 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover
For anyone interested in immersing themselves into the early Hellenistic period, this book that focuses on the life of Antigonus the One-Eyed is a good place to turn to. I expected a dry scholarly biography and was pleasantly surprised at the amount of space and detail allotted to military and naval campaigns and battles. These battles were interesting in many respects, including the fact there were clever, tactically adept Macedonian generals on either side of the battle matching wits against each other - men who had fought alongside Alexander. The book left me with a vivid impression of the wealth of the Hellenistic kings. Antigonus and the others had access to treasuries crammed with thousands of talents from which they could easily outfit armies and build fleets.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JPS TOP 500 REVIEWER on January 14, 2013
Format: Paperback
This book, derived from the author's dissertation, is a masterpiece and a must for anyone with a deep interest in the Hellenistic Kingdoms in general, and Alexander's Successors in particular. As another reviewer on the US site has already mentioned, it is - almost - two books in one. The first part (Antigono's Life and Career) is a political and military history, with as many bibliographical elements of the life and character of Antigonus the One-Eyed as can be pieced together from the surviving sources. The second part (Antigonos as Ruler of a Hellenistic Empire) is an assessment of his rule, of his relations with his subjects and in particular with the Greeks, and of his considerable legacy.

One of the author's main merits is to manage to bring to life a rather extraordinary character, the father of the flamboyant Demetrios, and the founder of the Antigonid dynasty who would take-over the ancestral heartland of Macedon under his grand-son (Antigonos II Gonatas) and rule the Kingdom of Macedonia until its conquest by the Romans. Given the limited source material and its often biased nature - then, as know, history tended to be written by the victors - and Antigonos the One-Eyed was killed in the final battle of Ipsos in BC 301 against a coalition of all of his four main rivals. This, in itself, shows how powerful the old Macedonian veteran of Philip's wars (he was an almost exact contemporary of Alexander's father) had become by the time he died in battle at over 80 years of age.

Another merit of this book is to show how powerful he had become in building what can only be seen as his Empire. At its peak, he controlled all of Anatolia (Asia Minor, most of modern Turkey), Syria, Phoenicia and Coele Syria (modern Lebanon, Palestine and most if not all of Jordan).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By William on June 15, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of the best books I have read on any aspect of the Hellenistic world. Richard Billows takes the evidence as far as it can be taken in presenting an accurate and fascinating account of the life and times of Antigonos the One Eyed. Billows references his facts and explains his logic throughout the book and he notes where his views and interpretations differ from those of other scholars. In addition to his very strong background in the subject, Billows uses and cites primary sources throughout his work, while noting that even primary sources can be skewed to biased points of view. This is a must read book for all who are interested in Antigonos Monophthalmos, his contemporaries, and the era in which they lived.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By N. Perz on December 17, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
3.5 stars.

Let's be very clear: AtOE is not for the general reader. It's a rather dry work geared for an academic audience. It presumes a certain level of knowledge about the times and the geography. (At least a few maps were included.) That being said, it's a useful resource; material on the Diodochi seems rather sparse. The first half of the book is a narrative of Antigonos's life while the second half deals with the manner of his administration. The two were obviously cobbled together and not conceived as a single project.

Recommended (if you have a particular interest in the subject).
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