Pyrrhus


Pyrrhus
/pir"euhs/, n.
1. c318-272 B.C., king of Epirus c300-272.
2. Class. Myth. Neoptolemus.

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born 319
died 272 BC, Argos, Argolis

King of Hellenistic Epirus.

After being allied to Demetrius and taken hostage, he was befriended by Ptolemy I Soter and restored to his kingdom. In 281 he was asked for help against Rome by the Greek enclave of Tarentum (Taranto) and won costly victories at Heraclea and Ausculum. Crossing to Sicily, he conquered most of the Punic territory, but the Greek Sicilians revolted against his despotism. He suffered serious losses on his return to Italy (275) but defeated Antigonus II Gonatas in Macedonia (274) and became king there. He died in a skirmish in Argos trying to help Sparta. His costly victories gave rise to the term "Pyrrhic victory."

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▪ king of Epirus

born 319 BC
died 272, Argos, Argolis

      king of Hellenistic Epirus whose costly military successes against Macedonia and Rome gave rise to the phrase “Pyrrhic victory.” His Memoirs and books on the art of war were quoted and praised by many ancient authors, including Cicero.

      Upon becoming ruler at the age of 12, Pyrrhus allied himself with Demetrius, son of Antigonus I Monophthalmus of Macedonia. Dethroned by an uprising in 302, Pyrrhus fought beside Demetrius in Asia and was sent to Alexandria as a hostage under the treaty between Ptolemy I Soter and Demetrius. Ptolemy befriended Pyrrhus and in 297 restored him to his kingdom. At first Pyrrhus reigned with a kinsman, Neoptolemus, but soon he had his colleague assassinated.

      In 294 he exploited a dynastic quarrel in Macedonia to obtain the frontier areas of Parauaea and Tymphaea, along with Acarnania, Ampholochia, and Ambracia. Corcyra and Leucas were given to him in a marriage dowry. Next, he went to war against his former ally, now Demetrius I Poliorcetes of Macedonia. Pyrrhus took Thessaly and the western half of Macedonia and relieved Athens from Demetrius' siege, but was driven back into Epirus by Lysimachus (who had supplanted Demetrius) in 284.

      In 281 Tarentum (in southern Italy) asked for Pyrrhus' assistance against Rome. He crossed to Italy with about 25,000 men, and in 280 won a complete, if costly, victory over a Roman army at Heraclea. In 279 Pyrrhus, again suffering heavy casualties, defeated the Romans at Ausculum (Ascoli Satriano) in Apulia. He then crossed to Sicily (278) and, as “king of Sicily,” conquered most of the Punic province except Lilybaeum (Marsala). However, his despotic methods provoked a revolt of the Greek Sicilians, and in 276 (or early 275) he returned to Italy. In 275 he suffered heavy losses in a battle against Rome at Beneventum (Benevento).

      The next year he defeated the new Macedonian ruler, Antigonus II Gonatas, whose troops hailed Pyrrhus as king. Suddenly abandoning Macedonia, however, he launched an unsuccessful attack on Sparta to restore Cleonymus (272). Pyrrhus was killed in a night skirmish in the streets of Argos.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Pyrrhus — Pyrrhus, eigentlich Pyrrhos (* ca. 319/18 v. Chr.; † 272 v. Chr. in Argos), griechisch Πύῤῥος („feuerfarben“, „rot“), lateinisch Pyrrhus, altlateinisch Burrus, war der Anführer (Hegemon) des Bundes von Epirus und König der Molosser. Das Wort… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Pyrrhus — or Pyrrhos polytonic|Πύῤῥος or Pyrros polytonic|Πύρρος may refer to the following figures from Greek history and mythology: * Pyrrhus or Neoptolemus, son of Achilles * Pyrrhus of Epirus (318 272 BC), famous king * Pyrrhus II of Epirus, late 3rd… …   Wikipedia

  • Pyrrhus II — (lat.) ou Pyrrhos II (gr.) (v. 318 272 av. J. C.) roi d épire (295 272). Il secourut la colonie grecque de Tarente, vainquant les Romains à Héraclée (280) et à Ausculum (279); battu à Bénévent (275), il rentra en épire. Il repartit conquérir la… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Pyrrhus — Pyrrhus, Schmetterling, s. u. Paphia 1) …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Pyrrhus — Pyrrhus, König von Epirus, geb. 319 v. Chr., eroberte um 296 mit Hilfe Ptolemäus I. seine epirotische Herrschaft zurück; einem Hilfegesuche Tarents gegen die Römer folgend, siegte er 280 bei Heraklea und 279 bei Asculum, jedoch mit großem Verlust …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Pyrrhus [1] — Pyrrhus od. Neoptolemos, Sohn des Achilles und der Deidamia, kam nach seines Vaters Tod in das griech. Lager vor Troja, das er erobern u. zerstören half. Er ging hierauf nach Epirus, dessen spätere Könige ihre Abstammung von ihm u. der gefangenen …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Pyrrhus [2] — Pyrrhus, 311–272 v. Chr. König von Epirus, der beste Feldherr aus Alexanders d. Gr. Schule, schwang sich 287 auf den macedon. Thron, den er jedoch vor Jahresfrist wieder aufgeben mußte; 280 zog er den Tarentinern gegen die Römer zu Hilfe, siegte… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Pyrrhus — (lat.) Pyrrhos (gr.) Néoptolème (chez Homère et chez Euripide) dans la myth. gr., héros, fils d Achille et de Déidamie. Lors de la prise de Troie, il tua Priam, puis alla fonder un royaume en épire, où il emmena la veuve d Hector, Andromaque. Il… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Pyrrhus — Pyrrhus1 [pir′əs] n. Gr. Myth. Achilles son Pyrrhus2 [pir′əs] 318? 272 B.C.; king of Epirus (305? 272 B.C. ) …   English World dictionary

  • Pyrrhus — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom.  Pour l’article homophone, voir Pyrus. Pyrrhus ou Pyrrhos (en grec ancien Πύρρος / Pýrros, « le …   Wikipédia en Français


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