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Battle of Gabiene (316 BC) was a second great battle (after Paraitacene) between two of Alexander the Great's successors: Antigonus and Eumenes in the wars of the diadochi.

Since the sole reference of this battle is ultimately from Eumenes' personal aid Hieronymus of Cardia (later transmitted through the historian Diodorus), who later switched his allegiance to Antigonus, he provides a unique perspective from both parties' point of view.

Strategy of Antigonus and Eumenes

The two armies camped in Persia on a flat and sandy plain of strategic importance to both sides. Antigonos possessed the superior cavalry placed in the charge of his son Demetrios, of which he proceeded to flank the majority towards the right side. Eumenes countered this manuever by deploying towards the left side, while reserving his experienced and battle-hardened Silver Shields phalanx for a center strike.

Eumenes was the first to advance from his position with infantrymen and elephants. Antigonos countered this move by sending a horse battalion to his left flank, with the goal of seizure of his adversaries supply line. Eventually, the tactic met some modicum of success as Eumenes first wave retreated.

The Silver Shields had captured the center portion of the battlefield, while Antigonos redeployed his horse infantry to circle towards the Silver Shields rear position. Thus, the battle was a tactical win for Antigonos despite possessing an inferior force to his adversary in the field. Still, Eumenes remained to reassert control in a secondary engagement that would never transpire.

Result of Battle

Though the battle was inconclusive, Eumenes was later betrayed to Antigonus by his own soldiers including various satraps and the Silver Shields, which opposed Eumenes tacit ownership of their families and possessions as a mean of exerting control over them. Eventually, Antigonus had him executed, with the Silver Shields redeployed into various garrisons throughout the remainder of the empire.

Wars of the Diadochi
Crannon - Paraitacene- Gabiene - Gaza - Salamis - Ipsus - Corupedium

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Lecture Notes for Week Fourteen

Peter Connolly , Greece and Rome at War , Greenhill Books, ISBN: 185367303X

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