318 - 272 BC
Greek King of Epirus

Pyrrhus was king of the Hellenistic kingdom of Epirus whose costly military successes against Macedonia and Rome gave rise to the phrase' Pyrrhic victory'.

In 281 BC Tarentum, a Greek colony in southern Italy, asked his assisstance against Rome. Pyrrhus crossed to Italy with 25,000 men and 20 elephants. He won a complete, but costly, victory over a Roman army at Heraclea. In 279 Pyrrhus, again suffering heavy casualties, defeated the Romans at Asculum.

His remark 'Another such victory and I shall be ruined' gave name to the term 'Pyrrhic victory' for a victory obtained at to great a cost. Later he tried to create a kdm of Sicily, but his harsh methods provoked a revolt of the Greek Sicilians and he returned to Italy. In 275 the Romans defeated him at Beneventum.

Pyrrhus returned to Epirus, invaded Macedonia and made an unsuccessful attack on Sparta. He was killed in street fighting while trying to capture Argos.

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