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(pĭr`əs), c.318–272 B.C., Molossian king of Epirus. He fought at Ipsus in Asia Minor in the service of Demetrius Poliorcetes (later Demetrius IDemetrius I
(Demetrius Poliorcetes) , c.337–283 B.C., king of Macedon. The son of Antigonus I, he proved himself a very able commander in his father's wars, particularly against Ptolemy I. Though Ptolemy defeated him at Gaza in 312 B.C.
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) of Macedon, and by the aid of Ptolemy I he became (297 B.C.) joint king of Epirus with Neoptolemus. He removed (295) Neoptolemus from the throne, but before his kingdom was consolidated he went to war with Demetrius (291–286); Pyrrhus obtained half of Macedonia and Thessaly but was driven back (c.286) by LysimachusLysimachus
, c.355–281 B.C., Thessalian general of Alexander the Great. He was a commander in Alexander's fleet on the Hydaspes as well as his bodyguard. On Alexander's death (323 B.C.) Lysimachus took control of Thrace. He joined (314 B.C.
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. He then went to S Italy with a large force to aid the Tarentines and defeated (280) the Romans at Heraclea. In the same year Pyrrhus' peace proposals were rejected by the Romans. In 279 he again defeated the Romans at Asculum in Apulia. His heavy losses caused him to declare, "one more such victory and I am lost," thus the origin of the term "Pyrrhic victory." At Beneventum (now Benevento) he was barely defeated (275) by the Romans. He again attempted to conquer Macedonia, defeating (273) Antigonus II. Turning his attention suddenly to the Peloponnesus, he failed to take Sparta by siege. He then fled to Argos, where he was killed by a mob in the street. He accomplished nothing beyond bringing Epirus to ruin.


in Greek legend: see NeoptolemusNeoptolemus
, in Greek legend, son of Achilles. In the Trojan War he proved himself brave but cruel. He killed Priam at the altar of Zeus and threw Astyanax, son of Hector, from the wall of Troy. After the war he took Andromache as a slave to his kingdom in Epirus.
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Born 319 B.C.; died 273 B.C. King of Epirus from 307 to 302 and 296 to 273 B.C. Military leader of the Hellenistic age.

In 302 B.C., after being deprived of power as a result of an uprising by the local tribes of Molossians, Pyrrhus went to Demetrius I Poliorcetes and fought at his side in 301. In 296, after seizing power again in Epirus, he annexed the islands of Corcyra (Corfu) and Leucas (Levkas), the provinces of Acarnania and Ambracia, and other territories in Greece. For seven months in 287, Pyrrhus held sway over Macedonia. In 280, during the war between the city of Tarentum and Rome, he sided with Tarentum in the battle of Heraclea in southern Italy. His army of mercenaries inflicted a defeat on the Romans. In 279, Pyrrhus again routed the Romans at the city of Ausculum but suffered enormous losses. It is from this event that the term “Pyrrhic victory” is derived.

In 278, in alliance with the Syracusans, Pyrrhus advanced against the Sicilian Carthaginians, who at the time were allies of Rome. However, because of the Sicilian population’s dissatisfaction with his requisitions policy, Pyrrhus was compelled to leave Syracuse. In 276 he returned to Italy. In 275, Pyrrhus’ army was completely routed by the Romans at Beneventum. Pyrrhus himself fled to Tarentum and then to Epirus.


Hassel, U. Pyrrhus. Munich, 1947.
Nenci, G. Pirro. Turin, 1953.


319--272 bc, king of Epirus (306--272). He invaded Italy but was ultimately defeated by the Romans (275 bc)
References in periodicals archive ?
We know that Cyneas was a confidant of King Pyrrhus, who advised him to rest [and rejoice] first, since it was his purpose (as he confessed) when he had conquered Sicily, Calabria, Rome and Carthage.
in 'The Murder of Gonzago' is both Claudius and Hamlet, poisoner and avenger, just as Pyrrhus in the Player's speech was murderer of Priam and avenger of his father Achilles.
The repetitions suggest that Hermione is a doublet of Helen; this repeated history, although inexact, plays itself out in the next generation as Andromache reveals that Orestes pursued his stolen wife Hermione and killed Pyrrhus (3.
This is particularly true of the arguments in chapter 3, an exploration of power relations wrapped around the onomastic nucleus of the name "Pirro," one, Ascoli maintains, that deliberately recalls that of the Roman general Pyrrhus, whose name has long been a byword for the paradox of a victory that is a defeat.
Campaigns under Charles known as the Wise, under Pyrrhus,
5) And Pyrrhus, son of Achilles, is compared to a serpent as he begins his massacre in the palace of King Priam, culminating in the slaughter first of Priam's son Polites and then of Priam himself.
In fact, Poole has given me further evidence for this speculation by tracing connections between the vengeful and patricidal Pyrrhus in the player's speech in act two and Vulcan's underground workshop in that other supposed volcanic entrance to purgatory, Mount Aetna (123).
In some cases there is a confusion of names, for example in the scene from Act II where Agamemnon is in dialogue with Pyrrhus, son of Achilles, who is demanding that Polyxena should be sacrificed to his father's shade.
As we look back on this epic folly and again hear calls for war against Iran, we remember the famed words of King Pyrrhus of Epirus, "one more such victory and we are lost.
Alexander the Great, not Hannibal, introduced them to classical warfare, and Carthage learned about elephantine warfare from Pyrrhus, who used them against Punic forces in Sicily.
One day, Eric Ruf transforms from Stanley Kowalski in an afternoon rehearsal to the Greek general Pyrrhus in Racine's Andromaque at 8:30 that evening; the next day, he changes from Stanley to Chekhov's dangerously unbalanced Soliony.
It never reached Gaza, but the commander of the Israeli navy could well repeat the words of Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, whose victory over the Romans was so costly that he is said to have exclaimed: "Another such victory, and I am lost