Alexander the Great Drachm 336 - 323 BC Tyre mint

Obv: Herakles wearing lion head headdress. Rev: Zeus seated. Meta: Silver 4.2 grams, 19 mm diameter. Condition: abt VF.

History of Macedonia 

Alexander left no chosen heir, so after his death there was much contention for control.

The Players:

Olympias Phillip II's first wife and the mother of Alexander III "the Great" with significant public popularity due to her connection with these two heroes.
Cleopatra Olympias' daughter.
Antipater The popular general and politician who was left in charge of Macedonia while Alexander was on campaign (over 70 years old).
Nicaea Antipater's daughter.
Cassander Antipater's son.
Phillip III (previously Aridaeus) Alexander III's brother and the legitimate heir to the throne of Macedonia, however he was mentally retarded.
Roxana Alexander III's unpopular Asian wife and mother of his yet to be born son.
Alexander Alexander III's son, Roxana was 5 months pregnant at the time of Alexander III's death.
Eurydice (previously Ada) Daughter of Cynane, Alexander III's 1/2 sister. Becomes queen when she marries Phillip III.
Perdiccas General: Alexander's second in command
Craterus General: Invalid general heading the army stationed in Macedonia.
Polysperchon General: Invalid Craterus's second in command however truly running the army stationed in Macedonia.
Ptolemy General: Popular with the soldiers and established in Egypt.
Lysimachos General: Alexander's body guard.
Seleukos General: Same age and boyhood companion of Alexander.
Antigonus General

Upon Alexander III's death, Perdiccas (with Alexander in Babylon) took control and quickly sent the various other generals to various provinces to secure them, but also to get the other generals away from the politics of taking control of the empire. He then married Nicaea to get political support and named the two royals Phillip III and baby Alexander as joint kings with himself as regent. Perdiccas' maneuvers became obvious and there was correspondences between Ptolemy and Antipater that they needed to stop Perdiccas, but Antipater being the father of Perdiccas' wife, could do nothing. Meanwhile, Perdiccas decided to divorce Nicaea and marry Cleopatra (the daughter of the very popular mother of Alexander III - Olympias). Antipater could now move against Perdiccas, he sent an army under Craterus towards Babylon. Perdiccas split his forces sending one army to meet Craterus and he led the second army himself against Ptolemy. The army sent against Craterus was defeated (however Craterus was killed in the battle). When Perdiccas' army came up against the popular general Ptolemy, they refused to fight and many defected and sided with Ptolemy. Antipater and the generals met in Babylon and divided the empire: Antipater (now over 80 years old) got Macedonia and Greece and control of the two royals (Phillip III and baby Alexander). Ptolemy - Egypt; Lysimachos - Thace; Seleukos - Syria and Persia; and Antigonus - Asia Minor.

Back-in Macedonian, Eurydice married Phillip III and started to act like a queen in power. Olympias returned to her home country "Epirus" but maintained her many connections in the Macedonian court. Soon Antipater became ill and on his death bed he declared that his general Polysperchon should succeed him and that his son Cassander should be given a high military position. He also warned Polysperchon "to never yield to a woman in public affairs, because women are creatures of impulse" (everyone knew he was referring to Olympias and Eurydice). However, one of Polysperchon's first acts was to call Olympias back to court as he thought he needed her popular support. Polysperchon ignored Cassander and the other members of Antipater's family. A revolution developed between Polysperchon and Olympias versus Cassander and Eurydice. Olympias had Phillip III and Eurydice imprisoned and later killed. She took control of Roxana and baby Alexander (now about 5 years old). Olympias paraded baby Alexander around the country to gain support. Cassander splint his forces into two armies one against Polysperchon and the remainder led by himself against Olympias. Cassander besieged Olympias to the point of cannibalism in the city and many of her soldiers began climbing over the walls at night and defecting to Cassander. Olympias called for help from the King of "Epirus" and Polysperchon, but Cassander stopped both from reaching her. Olympia surrendered and eventually all of Macedonia fell to Cassander. Cassander had Olympias assassinated in prison. Cassander held onto Roxana and young Alexander for many years, but after he felt firm in his position he also had them assassinated.