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Pyrrhus

army, king and epirus

PYRRHUS, pIelis, Greek military leader, king of Epirus: b. about 318 a.c.; d. Argos, 27 ac. He was the son of fEacides, who traced his descent from Pyrrhus, son of Achilles. He spent an eventful youth, regained the throne from which his father had been deposed, and was himself expelled several years later. He became the friend of Demetrius Poliorcetes, whom he accompanied on the fatal campaign closed by the battle of Ipsus (301 a.c.), then proceeded to Egypt as hostage for Demetrius, and there married Antigone, daughter of Queen Berenice. With the aid of Ptolemy Soter he recovered his kingdom (296), agreeing to share the sovereignty with Neoptolemus, who had been king since his expulsion, but soon after put his colleague to death, and succeeded by courage, affability and generosity is gaining the admiration of his soldiers and people. He temporarily conquered Macedonia, and in 280 went to southern Italy at the head of a large army to assist the Tarantines against the Ro mans. Near Heraclea, on the Sins, the consul M. Valerius Lxvinus was defeated by Pyrrhus, whose elephants played an important part in the conflict, his loss being so great that he is re ported as saying aAnother such victory and I must return to Epirus alone? After having approached within 24 miles of Rome he re turned to Tarentum. In 279 he again defeated

the Romans, but was glad to accept the offered truce, and passed with his army into Sicily, where he assisted the Greeks against the Carthaginians. At first he met with brilliant success; but his attack upon Lilybceurn failed. The war ended in the following year with the total defeat of Pyrrhus by the Romans under Curius Dentatns, near Beneventum. On dtis occasion the famous elephants of Pyrrhus> rushed back upon his own army and contributed to his loss. He reached Epirus with a small, remnant of his once splendid army. Nothing daunted, he again invaded Macedonia, and be.1 came its king a second time. He afterward turned his arms against Sparta, but was driven from before the walls of that city.. In a night attack made upon Argos he was stunned by a tile thrown by a woman from a house-top, and being recognized by the enemy's soldiers was slain.