Battle of Paraitakene

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The Battle of Paraitakene (also called Paraetacene; Greek: Παραιτακηνή) was a battle in the wars of the successors of Alexander the Great (see Diadochi) between Antigonus I Monophthalmus and Eumenes. It was fought in 317 BC.


After the death of Alexander the Great, his generals immediately began squabbling over his huge empire. Soon it degenerated into open warfare, with each general attempting to claim a portion of Alexander's vast kingdom. One of the most talented successor generals (Diadochi) was Antigonus Monophthalmus, so called because of an eye he lost in a siege. During the early years of warfare between the Diadochi, he faced Eumenes, a capable general who had already crushed Craterus. The two Diadochi fought a series of battles across Anatolia and Persia.

In the summer of 317 BC, Eumenes, trying to capitalize on an earlier victory, was on the move against Antigonus. The two armies came to face one another in the lands of the Paraitakenoi, to the northeast of Susa.


Antigonus deployed his army obliquely, the right wing leading, in the same fashion used by Alexander and Philip. Antigonus deployed his light horse on the left, his heavy cavalry and light infantry were placed on the right flank resting on the hills. His phalanx held the center, while the war elephants were spread across the line. Eumenes, also placed his phalanx in the center, with the elite Argyraspides. His left flank, resting near the hill, was made up of cavalry, elephants and auxiliaries. The right flank was led by Eumenes himself with his heavy cavalry.

The battle began with Antigonus' light horse attacking Eumenes' line. Eumenes dispersed this force with a flanking attack of his own light cavalry squadrons brought over from his left flank.

In the center, the phalanxes engaged, again to Eumenes’ advantage due to the incredible skill of the Argyraspides who, despite their age (60 to 70 years old), seemed invincible. With his light horse in ruins, and his phalanx being pushed back, the situation looked grave for Antigonus.

However, Antigonus observed that the very success of the Argyraspides had led them forward to reveal a gap in the battle line as it detached from their left flank. In a bold move Antigonus charged his heavy cavalry into this gap, wheeling to the rear of Eumenes' cavalry. The attack proved successful – ending what seemed to be the start of a Eumenes victory over another opponent. The battle slowed as both sides tried to rally broken units. As the day ended, both armies retired to their camps.


Antigonus claimed victory, even though he lost some 3,700 infantry to death, and a further 4,000 wounded. Eumenes came off with a loss of only 540 infantry killed and some 1,000 injured. Their next major confrontation would be the Battle of Gabiene.

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