Second Cousin to Alexander the Great, and rated as one of the best generals, by none other than Hannibal. Pyrrhus, born into the royal family of Epirius in Northwest Greece,sent into exile as a child, to rise from refugee to king.
Invited by the Southern Italian states to help defend them from the growing power that was the Roman Republic, Pyrrhus fought the Romans to a standstill in two bloody encounters at Heraclea and Asculum, emerging victorious in what were later to be coined his "Pyrrhic Victories" a byword for success at a crippling cost.
Pyrrhus moves from Italy to Sicily, and fights against the Carthaginians, but the locals turn against him, and he leaves to return to Italy, and his fight against Rome.
After a defeat against the Romans at Beneventum, he returns home to restore his empire in Greece, only to die whilst storming the city of Argos. Apparently, so the legend goes, by being struck on the head by a rooftile thrown by a woman, during the battle, this stuns him, and he falls from his horse, to be despatched on the ground by Antigonid troops.
I will touch more on Pyrrhus, and his army as the painting proceeds, but I felt the man deserved a bit of an introduction before we start.