Nicanor (general)

Nicanor (in Greek Nικανωρ; executed 318 BC), a Macedonian officer under Cassander, by whom he was secretly despatched immediately on the death of Antipater, 319 BC, to take the command of the Macedonian garrison at Munychia, in Attica. Nicanor arrived at Athens before the news of Antipater's death, and thus readily obtained possession of the fortress, which he afterwards refused to give up notwithstanding the orders of Polyperchon. He however entered into friendly relations with Phocion, and through his means began to negotiate with the Athenians, who demanded the withdrawal of the Macedonian garrison from Munychia, according to the decree just issued by Polyperchon. But while he thus deluded them with false hopes, instead of surrendering Munychia, he took the opportunity to surprise the Piraeus also, and, having occupied it with a strong garrison, declared his intention to hold both fortresses for Cassander.1 In vain did Olympias, at this time on friendly terms with the regent, unite in commanding him to withdraw his troops: nor did Alexander, the son of Polyperchon, who arrived in Attica the following spring (318 BC) at the head of a considerable army, effect anything more. Shortly after, Cassander himself arrived with a fleet of thirty-five ships, and Nicanor immediately put him in possession of the Piraeus, while he himself retained the command of Munychia. He was, however, quickly despatched by Cassander with a fleet to the Hellespont, where he was joined by the naval forces of Antigonus; and though at first defeated by Clitus, the admiral of Polyperchon, he soon after retrieved his fortune, and gained a complete victory, destroying or capturing almost the whole of the enemy's fleet. On his return to Athens he was received by Cassander with the utmost distinction, and reinstated in his former command of Munychia. But his late successes had so much elated him that he incurred the suspicion of aiming at higher objects, and intending to set up for himself. On these grounds Cassander determined to rid himself of one who was beginning to give him umbrage, and having succeeded by treachery in decoying Nicanor into his power, he caused him to be put to death, after undergoing the form of a trial before the Macedonian army.2

Menyllus of Macedon


Smith, William (editor); Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, "Clitus (3)", Boston, (1867)


1 Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca, xviii. 64; Plutarch, Parallel Lives, "Phocion", 31, 32; Cornelius Nepos, Lives of Eminent Commanders, "Phocion", 2

2 Plutarch, 33; Diodorus, xviii. 65, 68, 72, 75; Polyaenus, Stratagemata, iv. 6, 11; Pompeius Trogus, Prologi, 14


This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology by William Smith (1867).

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