Alexander II of Epirus

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Illustration of silver coin of Alexander

Alexander II was a king of Epirus, and the son of Pyrrhus and Lanassa, the daughter of the Sicilian tyrant Agathocles.[1]


He succeeded his father as king in 272 BC, and continued the war which his father had begun with Antigonus II Gonatas, whom he succeeded in driving from the kingdom of Macedon. He was, however, dispossessed of both Macedon and Epirus by Demetrius II of Macedon, the son of Antigonus II; upon which he took refuge amongst the Acarnanians. By their assistance and that of his own subjects, who entertained a great attachment for him, he recovered Epirus. It appears that he was in alliance with the Aetolians.[2]

Alexander married his paternal half-sister Olympias, by whom he had two sons, Pyrrhus, Ptolemy and a daughter, Phthia. On the death of Alexander, around 242 BC, Olympias assumed the regency on behalf of her sons, and married Phthia to Demetrius.[3] There are extant silver and copper coins of this king. The former bear a youthful head covered with the skin of an elephant's head. The reverse represents Pallas holding a spear in one hand and a shield in the other, and before her stands an eagle on a thunderbolt.[4][5][6]

Relations with India[edit]

Alexander II of Epirus on a cameo of agate

One Alexander is mentioned in the Edicts of Ashoka, as one of several rulers in the West to receive the "religious emissionaries" of the third Indian Emperor of the Maruya-dynasty Ashoka around 250 BCE.[7] However, Alexander of Corinth and Alexander, Seleucid vicegerent at Sardis have more arguments on their side.


  1. ^ Mason, Charles Peter (1867). "Alexander". In William Smith. Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. 1. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. p. 116. 
  2. ^ Wikisource Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Alexander II.". Encyclopædia Britannica. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 545. 
  3. ^ Universal Pronouncing Dictionary of Biography and Mythology, by Joseph Thomas - 1908 - page 90
  4. ^ Justin, xvii. 1, xxvi. 2, 3, xxviii. 1
  5. ^ Polybius, ii. 45, ix. 34
  6. ^ Plutarch, Pyrrhus 9
  7. ^ "The conquest by Dharma has been won here, on the borders, and even six hundred yojanas (5,400-9,600 km) away, where the Greek king Antiochos rules, beyond there where the four kings named Ptolemy, Antigonos, Magas and Alexander rule, likewise in the south among the Cholas, the Pandyas, and as far as Tamraparni (Sri Lanka)." (Edicts of Ashoka, 13th Rock Edict, S. Dhammika).


Preceded by
Pyrrhus I
King of Epirus
272–242 BC
Succeeded by
Pyrrhus II