NamePyrrhus I Aeacid King of Epirus
Birth319 BC
Death272 BC, Argos, Argolis
FatherAeacides Aeacid King of Epirus (349bc-313bc)
Misc. Notes
Pyrrhus of Epirus

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Pyrrhus (318 BC -272 BC ) ("the color of fire, reddish, red-blonde") was the king of Epirus in 306 -301 BC and again in 297 -272 BC .

Prince of one of the Alexandrian successor states, Pyrrhus was unseated at the age of 17 when he left his Kingdom to attend a wedding. A clever and vigorous soul, he soon recaptured his Kingdom with the help of the Ptolmeic kings of Egypt. By 286 he had as well deposed his former brother-in-law and took control over the Kingdom of Macedonia, which he as quickly lost.

In 280 he launched an invasion of Italy to assist the city state of Tarantum in their war against Rome (280-275). He entered Italy with slightly over 20,000 infantry and archers, 3,000 cavalry, and 20 elephants in an this bid to subdue the Romans. Due to his superior cavalry and his elephants he defeated the Romans at Heraclea under their consul Publius Valerius Laevinus in 281 BC . He then offered a peace treaty, which was rejected by the Romans. Later ( 279 BC ), the two armies met in the Battle of Asculum (279) where he won a very costly victory.

Eventually, he was defeated at Beneventum [275 B.C.] in Sicily, being trumped by the discipline and new tactics of the Roman Republican Legions. He abandoned the war and was forced to return to Epirus, where he continued his military adventures in Greece and the Peleponese. He was killed in house-to-house fighting while trying to capture the city of Argos in 272.

While he was a mercurial and often restless leader, and not always a wise king, he was considered one of the greatest military commanders of his day, ranked by Hannibal himself to be the second greatest general the world had seen after Alexander the Great. As a general, Pyrrus' greatest failures were the failure to maintain focus, the failure to maintain a strong treasury at home (many of his soldiers were costly mercenaries), and the fact that his Macedonian-style Phalanx system was simply no match for the new Legion tactics developed by the Romans.

His name is famous for the phrase " Pyrrhic victory " which refers to the Ausculum in 279 BC . After this very costly defeat he is noted to have said: "One more victory like this will be the end of me."
Spouses
ChildrenAlexander II (-247bc)
Birth317 BC
Death295 BC
FatherPhilip of Macedonia (322bc-)
MotherBerenice I of Macedonia (333bc-275bc)
ChildrenOlympias (297bc-)
Last Modified 25 Jul 2003Created 4 Sep 2012 using Reunion for Macintosh