Pyrrhus


Pyrrhus

biographical name

(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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