D EMETRIUS, having failed to take Rhodes, now passed over into Greece, hoping to overthrow Cassander; but the other kings, growing afraid of him, agreed to help the ruler of Macedon. They therefore collected a large army, and forced Demetrius to stop and fight them all at Ipsus, in Asia Minor.
Here, just twenty years after Alexander's death, his generals met in a great battle. Seleucus, it is said, brought a number of fighting elephants, such as Porus had used, which added much to the confusion and fierceness of the struggle.
Antigonus, the father of Demetrius, was slain, and Demetrius himself was defeated, and driven to Ephesus. The Athenians, who had been his friends and allies as long as he was prosperous, now basely deserted him. They declared themselves his enemies, and made a law whereby any one who spoke well of him, or tried to make peace with him, should be put to death.
The battle of Ipsus decided the fate of Alexander's kingdom. It was now divided into four principal parts. Ptolemy remained master of Egypt, and his family reigned there many years, until under Cleopatra, the last of his race, the country fell into the hands of the Romans.
Seleucus and his descendants, the Seleucidæ, had the Persian Empire, or Syria and the land between the Indus and the Euphrates. The capital of this empire was first Seleucia, near Babylon, and later Antioch, which became a rich and well-known city.
Lysimachus was given the kingdom of Thrace, which however, soon passed into other hands; and Cassander remained master of Macedon. As for Demetrius, although he had lost a kingdom at the battle of Ipsus, he soon managed to conquer another.
In his anger at the Athenians, he first marched against them, and besieged them in their own city. The Athenians were frightened, for they knew how well they deserved punishment; but they resisted as well as they could, and the siege dragged on for several months.
At the end of this time there was no food left in the city, and the people suffered greatly from hunger. Finally they were obliged to yield; and Demetrius rode into Athens in triumph.