Peukestas (Diadoche)

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Peukestas ( Greek Πευκέστας; * around 350 BC; † after 315 or 301 BC) was a bodyguard ( somatophylax ) of Alexander the Great and was one of the diadochi after his death . Peukestas was the son of an Alexandros and was probably born around 350 BC. Born in Mieza .

Asian campaign

Nothing is known about Peukestas' work on Alexander's campaign in Asia , except that he denied it as Hypaspist . Only in the year 326 BC He is named as one of the Trierarchs of the Indus fleet with which Alexander drove down the Hydaspes and Indus . When the city of Multan was stormed in January 325 BC Peukestas distinguished himself as the lifesaver of Alexander, who was wounded by an arrow, by protecting him with his shield and carrying him out of the danger zone together with Leonnatos on the shield. This shield is said to have once belonged to Achilles who, together with his armor , is said to have come into the possession of Alexander from the holy temple of Athena of Troy .

Through this act Peukestas rose into the closest circle of friends of Alexander and became one of his somatophylakes. During the celebrations for the mass wedding of Susa in 324 BC He was crowned by Alexander with a golden diadem. Around the same time, Alexander had the satrap of Persis , Orxines , executed because he had set himself up in this office during the king's absence in India. Peukestas himself was entrusted with the governorship of one of the most important provinces of the empire with the capital Persepolis . He qualified for this office because he was the only Macedonian who was willing to learn Persian customs and language and to wear Persian clothes.

Alexander's death

After the ephemeris of the following year, Peukestas was involved in the last drinking bout of Alexander in Babylon , who then fell seriously ill. He is said to have slept with Seleucus and others in the temple of the god Serapis , whom he asked to be allowed to bring the sick king to the temple so that he could be healed there through prayers. The god, however, rejected this request, whereupon Alexander died a little later after he had given his kingdom to "the best".

However, this tradition about Alexander's death is not considered credible, since the Serapis cult was only founded years later by Ptolemy in Egypt . It is doubtful that Peukestas was in Babylon at all at this point in time, since satraps usually stayed behind in their areas of office and no longer belonged to the immediate vicinity of the king.


Peukestas was recognized by the new imperial regent Perdiccas in his satrapy, which he continued after its end in 320 BC. At the conference of Triparadeisus was confirmed by Antipater . His brother, Amyntas, was born in 320 BC. To the bodyguard of King Philip III. Arrhidaios appointed.

Like all other satraps in the East, Peukestas was initially not involved in the mutual wars of the Diadochs. Instead, they were preoccupied with their own power struggles among themselves. In 318 BC The satrap of Medien , Peithon , conquered the province of Parthia and installed his brother there as satrap. The other satraps then allied themselves and formed a large army. Peukestas contributed the largest contingent with 10,000 Persian archers, 3,000 foot troops, 600 Macedonian and 400 Persian horsemen, with which he expressed his claim to leadership among the satraps of the east. The Satrap Alliance suggested Peithon in 317 BC. Back to media and restored the original power structure in the east.

Immediately afterwards, the East also became the scene of the Diadoch fights, when Eumenes of Cardia in 317 BC. Crossed the Tigris with his army and reached Susa. Eumenes was appointed strategist (commander-in-chief) of Asia by the regent Polyperchon , but this was denied by the previous holder of this office, Antigonos Monophthalmos . Eumenes called on the satraps to support him in the fight against Antigonus, and this call was emphasized by a letter from the imperial regent, which was written in the name of the kings who were incapable of government . Peukestas and his colleagues in office followed this with reluctance, since, according to their interests, they would have waited for the outcome of the fight on the sidelines, in order to then offer themselves to the victor. Peukestas in particular is said to have subsequently undermined Eumenes' leadership position by making a claim to the supreme command himself. He was arguably the driving force behind the satraps 'refusal of Eumenes' plan to establish a land connection with Polyperchon in Europe. Peukestas demonstrated his exceptional position in the Alliance of Eumenes when he held a sacrificial banquet in Persepolis, the rite of which was based on Persian customs. He paid the same honors to high Persian nobles as the Macedonians. At the same time, he demonstrated his ties to Persianism. The course of this cult was handed down through the historian Hieronymos von Kardia , who belonged to Eumenes' retinue.

Peukestas soon gave up his alliance with Eumenes when their army faced that of Antigonus at the Battle of Gabiene . Peukestas was in command of the strong cavalry that formed the right wing. Although their center (the "silver shields") was able to hold out against the enemy, Peukestas led the cavalry without a fight from the battlefield after the left wing had been worn apart. This sealed Eumenes' defeat. His inaction with Gabiene did not pay off for Peukestas. When Antigonos in 315 BC When Peukestas came to Persepolis to reorganize the satrapies of the East, despite his popularity with the Persians, Peukestas was removed from office and replaced by Asklepiodorus. The Persian nobleman Thespios, who objected to this measure, was immediately executed by Antigonus.

Peukestas thus disappeared from tradition. According to a fragment of historians, it could still be seen after the Battle of Ipsos in 301 BC. Belonged to the retinue of Demetrios Poliorketes .


  • KW Dobbins: Alexander's Eastern Satrapies . 1984.
  • Waldemar Heckel : The marshals of Alexander's empire . Routledge, London / New York 1992.
  • Josef Wiesehöfer : The 'dark centuries' of Persis. Studies on the history and culture of Fārs in the early Hellenistic period (330–140 BC) . CH Beck, Munich 1994.


  1. ^ Arrian , Indike 18.6.
  2. Diodorus 17,99,4.
  3. ^ Arrian, Indike 18.6.
  4. Arrian, Indike 19.8; Plutarch , Alexander 63.5.
  5. Arrian, Anabasis 6.28.4.
  6. Arrian, Anabasis 6.30; Diodorus 19: 14, 4-5.
  7. Arrian, Anabasis 7.24.4-7.27.2.
  8. Diodorus 19,14,5.
  9. Diodorus 19,14,4.
  10. Diodorus 19,13,7.
  11. Plutarch, Eumenes 13:10.
  12. Diodorus, 19.15,1; Plutarch, Eumenes 14.6.
  13. Diodorus 19: 17: 5-6.
  14. Diodorus 19,22,2-3; Plutarch, Eumenes 14.5.
  15. Diodorus 19,43,3.
  16. Diodor 19,48,1 ff.
  17. Diodorus 19,48,5.
  18. FrGrHist 81 F12.