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Old July 22nd, 2013, 04:40 AM   #1

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Eumenes of Cardia


This figure assumes, in the modern historiography, one of the most prominent places of all of Alexander' Diadochoi (a position, one might argue, out of proportion of his actual achievements and the overall impact of his actions, both successful and unsuccessful), no doubt in large part because he already had such a position in ancient historiography.

Now, that ancient historiography, when examining the reasons for his ultimate failure, assigns the most important position to the same reason why they were so interested in him in the first place: namely, him being a Greek, rather than a Macedonian.

What do YOU think, why did Eumenes failed? What were the reasons for his inability to rise to the top of the food-chain in that first round of the fight for the possession of Alexander' legacy?
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Old July 22nd, 2013, 05:02 AM   #2

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Leaving aside the issues of his generalship and skill at diplomacy and politics, I think, having read many books dealing with the wars of the Diadochoi, the ultimate, underlying cause of his failure was NOT his "ethnicity", but his unwillingness to abandon the cause of the "constitutional" authority, and the cause of the royal Argead House.

Think about it. Even though he was not born in Macedonia, he was a loyal long-time secretary of Philip, and after he died, he equally loyally served Alexander throughout his career. After Alexander' death, he choose the side of Perdiccas, the official Regent and representative of royal power. Later, at the Partition of Triparadisus, he was outlawed and proclaimed the enemy of all of them due to the actions he committed under orders of the said Regent (leaving aside the issue of how much Perdiccas deserved to be a Regent, as well as his own personal selfish and self-promoting actions and moves).

He was partially rescued from this outlawed status by Polyperchon, who, get this, WAS ALSO A REGENT at the time. So, when he returned to again serving someone, Eumenes chose, yet again, an official representative of the royal house. Upon re-assuming service, he continued to prosecute war against a person who, although controlling a much bigger territory and greater resources than the "constitutional" authority, was STILL officially a rebel from the royal house (as were all the other major power-players)

To sum it up, Eumenes can be very much "faulted" for his inability to choose a winning side, but he certainly can not be faulted for disloyalty, inconsistency or treachery.

It is perhaps a sad, but definitely ironical fact of history, that the man who was ultimately the most loyal of them all to the Macedonian royal house was himself not a Macedonian, but a foreigner.
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Old July 22nd, 2013, 11:29 AM   #3

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Definitely, I completely agree with your precise analysis.
Out of all the Diadochi, Eumenes seems the only one who was driven by something different(Alexander's legacy) than personal glory.
He was a great military commander...Sometimes I wonder what He would have been able to achieve with the full support of his army.
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Old July 22nd, 2013, 05:38 PM   #4

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alcibiades View Post
Leaving aside the issues of his generalship and skill at diplomacy and politics, I think, having read many books dealing with the wars of the Diadochoi, the ultimate, underlying cause of his failure was NOT his "ethnicity", but his unwillingness to abandon the cause of the "constitutional" authority, and the cause of the royal Argead House.

Think about it. Even though he was not born in Macedonia, he was a loyal long-time secretary of Philip, and after he died, he equally loyally served Alexander throughout his career. After Alexander' death, he choose the side of Perdiccas, the official Regent and representative of royal power. Later, at the Partition of Triparadisus, he was outlawed and proclaimed the enemy of all of them due to the actions he committed under orders of the said Regent (leaving aside the issue of how much Perdiccas deserved to be a Regent, as well as his own personal selfish and self-promoting actions and moves).

He was partially rescued from this outlawed status by Polyperchon, who, get this, WAS ALSO A REGENT at the time. So, when he returned to again serving someone, Eumenes chose, yet again, an official representative of the royal house. Upon re-assuming service, he continued to prosecute war against a person who, although controlling a much bigger territory and greater resources than the "constitutional" authority, was STILL officially a rebel from the royal house (as were all the other major power-players)

To sum it up, Eumenes can be very much "faulted" for his inability to choose a winning side, but he certainly can not be faulted for disloyalty, inconsistency or treachery.

It is perhaps a sad, but definitely ironical fact of history, that the man who was ultimately the most loyal of them all to the Macedonian royal house was himself not a Macedonian, but a foreigner.
I think you've hit it on the head with this. Not really anything else I can add. Excellent general though.
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Old July 23rd, 2013, 12:26 AM   #5

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Good article. Can't argue with any of your points
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Old July 23rd, 2013, 02:51 AM   #6
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Was in Ptolemy or one eyed antiganous
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Old July 23rd, 2013, 04:07 AM   #7

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Indeed, a great general. And how unexpected, too. He was definitely not brought up or raised in expectation of ever being given the chance to command armies. In such a regard, he stands in contrast to just about any other great general in the entire history of ancient Greece that I can think of.

Generals of southern Greek city-states, being citizens of polis, knew that they always stood at least some chance of rising to the position of strategos, whether constitution was oligarchical or democratic, and Macedonian great leaders, being either kings or nobles, also knew from the earliest ages they were destined for military command.

Eumenes was a Greek (even if naturalized one) serving a Macedonian state, which had more than big enough commander pool to draw upon from its own ranks. Yet (and this is another testament to Alexander' ability in spotting talent, and something that often gets overlooked), he got some military assignments even during Alexander's lifetime, in India.
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Old July 23rd, 2013, 04:10 AM   #8

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Originally Posted by Sertorius1066 View Post
Good article. Can't argue with any of your points


Thanks. But its not an article, just some of my thoughts on this issue.
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Old July 23rd, 2013, 04:20 AM   #9

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One more point, since I've already mentioned Polyperchon.

He was appointed regent of Macedonia by Antipater, the old "manager of kings", as Elizabeth Carney called him, even though the latter had several sons, the eldest of whom, Cassander, already had a not inconsiderable experience in both politics and warfare.

Which means, that his opinion about his son was something akin to my own (and, if I am not wrong, yours too, M.E.T.H.O.D?), and that he knew he was not to be trusted with this power.

But I digress. The real point I wanted to bring up, is how Polyperchon seemed to place his hopes of any great success on Eumenes (just as did Olympias, if I am not mistaken), and as soon as the latter was dead, Polyperchon abandoned any notions of grand ambitions and success, and allowed both Antigonus and Cassander to push him aside, and to make of him something of their obedient servant (they took turns, of course). And that despite the fact that he started out in a stronger position than Cassander did.
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Old July 23rd, 2013, 04:27 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alcibiades View Post
Think about it. Even though he was not born in Macedonia, he was a loyal long-time secretary of Philip, and after he died, he equally loyally served Alexander throughout his career. After Alexander' death, he choose the side of Perdiccas, the official Regent and representative of royal power. Later, at the Partition of Triparadisus, he was outlawed and proclaimed the enemy of all of them due to the actions he committed under orders of the said Regent (leaving aside the issue of how much Perdiccas deserved to be a Regent, as well as his own personal selfish and self-promoting actions and moves).

He was partially rescued from this outlawed status by Polyperchon, who, get this, WAS ALSO A REGENT at the time. So, when he returned to again serving someone, Eumenes chose, yet again, an official representative of the royal house. Upon re-assuming service, he continued to prosecute war against a person who, although controlling a much bigger territory and greater resources than the "constitutional" authority, was STILL officially a rebel from the royal house (as were all the other major power-players)
I couldn't agree more.

It also makes you wonder how Eumenes would be treated if his loyalty could have been foreseen by Alexander. I bet there were undoubtedly men who Alexander believed to be loyal who blatantly did a u-turn after his death.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alcibiades View Post
To sum it up, Eumenes can be very much "faulted" for his inability to choose a winning side, but he certainly can not be faulted for disloyalty, inconsistency or treachery.
He obviously was not manipulative and power hungry enough to keep up with the others. It is a curious thought what would have happened if he had a better chance...

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It is perhaps a sad, but definitely ironical fact of history, that the man who was ultimately the most loyal of them all to the Macedonian royal house was himself not a Macedonian, but a foreigner.
The story of human nature no doubt, blood is always not thicker than water.
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