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Nicanor (satrap)

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Subject: Partition of Babylon, Classical Anatolia, Hellenistic partitions, Seleucus I Nicator, Gorgias of Macedon
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Nicanor (satrap)

Nicanor (Latin; Greek: Νικάνωρ Nikanōr) or Nikanor was a Macedonian officer of distinction who served as satrap of Media under Antigonus. (Possibly to be identified with Nicanor of Stageira, who served under Alexander the Great.)

In the division of the provinces at Triparadeisus, after the death of Perdiccas in 321 BCE, he gained the position of governor of Cappadocia.[1] He attached himself to the party of Antigonus, whom he accompanied in the war against Eumenes. After the second battle, that at Gabiene, the mutinous Argyraspids agreed to surrender their general into Antigonus' hands; it was Nicanor who was selected to receive the prisoner from them.[2]

After the defeat of Peithon and his associates in 316 BCE, Nicanor was appointed by Antigonus as satrap (governor) of Media and the adjoining provinces, commonly termed the "upper satrapies", which he continued to hold until 312 BCE when Seleucus made himself master of Babylon, and provoked the Babylonian War.

Nicanor now assembled a large force and marched against the invader, but was surprised and defeated by Seleucus at the passage of the river Tigris, and his troops were either cut to pieces or defected to the enemy.

What happened to Nicanor in this battle is uncertain. Diodorus writes that Nicanor escaped the slaughter and escaped to the desert, from where he wrote to Antigonus for assistance. Appian, however, says he was killed in the battle. It is certain, at least, that we hear no more of him.[3]


  1. ^ Arrian, as reported by Photius 72a; Diodorus 18.39; Appian Mithr. 8.
  2. ^ Plutarch Eumenes 17.
  3. ^ Diodorus 19.92, 100; Appian Syriaca. 55.

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