The Lamian War, or the Hellenic War (323–322 BC) was fought by a coalition of Greek cities including Athens and the Aetolian League against Macedon and its ally Boeotia. The war ended in a Macedonian victory, after defeating Athens in the Battle of Crannon.
In 323 BC, Alexander the Great died leaving the empire to be governed by his generals for his unborn son, Alexander IV.
The Athenians, upon learning of the death of Alexander the Great in June 323 BC, decided to rebel against Macedonian hegemony in the rest of Greece. Recruiting a force of mercenaries and joined by many other city-states the Athenians were at first able to bring superior numbers against the enemy as Antipater, the Macedonian viceroy in Europe, was short on troops due to the Macedonian campaigns in the east. Forced to take refuge in Lamia, Antipater called for reinforcements from Asia. The first to respond, Leonnatus, was killed in a battle against the rebels’ cavalry. This allowed Antipater to escape from Lamia and merge his army with that of Leonnatus. The arrival of a third Macedonian force under the leadership of Craterus decidedly shifted the numerical superiority to the Macedonian side.
Antipater and Craterus now marched their combined army south to force the Greeks to battle. The Greeks, after calling together their dispersed forces, met the Macedonians near Crannon in Thessaly.
Relying on the high reputation of the Thessalian horses, the Athenian general Antiphilus decided to try to win the battle by cavalry, as in the prior battle with Leonnatus. With the cavalry of both sides occupied, Antipater ordered his infantry to charge the Greek line. The Greek infantry was driven back by the more numerous Macedonians and withdrew to the high ground from where they could easily repulse any Macedonian assault. Seeing their infantry in retreat, the Greek cavalry disengaged from the battle, leaving the field and victory in Macedonian hands.
While the Athenian led army was still intact, it was clear that the Macedonians had gained the advantage in the war. After conferring with his cavalry commander Menon of Pharsalus, Antiphilus therefore sent an embassy to Antipater the next day asking for terms. Antipater refused to conclude any general peace with the Athenian led alliance as a whole, however, insisting instead that each city send its own ambassadors. While these terms were at first rejected, the subsequent Macedonian capture of several Thessalian cities caused a rush of defections as each city strove to make a separate peace.
Athens, abandoned by her allies, was at last forced to surrender unconditionally.