Selected Search Enquiries

The following are all enquiries that lead people to this blog.

“who was the successor of philip iii arrhidaeus”
Philip III Arrhidaeus didn’t have a successor; at least, not an Argead one.

When Alexander the Great died in 323 B.C., Arrhidaeus was declared king. To that end, he was given the regnal name of Philip III. A few months later, Roxane gave birth to a son; he was named Alexander IV and became Arrhidaeus’ co-ruler. Because he was an infant, and because Arrhidaeus had a mental impediment that made him unable to rule by himself, the two were placed under the regency of Alexander’s general, Perdiccas. They would spend the rest of their lives being controlled by others.

Philip III Arrhidaeus was assassinated in 317 B.C. and Alexander IV in c. 310 B.C. Their successors were those of Alexander’s generals who declared themselves to be kings of their respective territories a few years later:

Antigonus Monophthalmus and Demetrios Poliocetes (Joint kings) – Asia Minor – 306
Cassander – Macedon – 305-304
Lysimachus – Thrace – 305-04
Ptolemy – Egypt  - 305
Seleucus – Babylon and the east – 305

I have used used Robin Waterfield Dividing the Spoils as my principle source for these dates. Other scholars give different dates, albeit only slightly. For example, Heckel in Who’s Who in the Age of Alexander the Great says that Ptolemy became king in 306 or 305.

“alexander and bagoas sex”
Yes, Alexander probably very likely had sex with Bagoas, but there was more to a eunuch’s life in antiquity than satisfying his master’s sexual desire. The Encyclopaedia Iranica describes eunuchs as being,

… castrated males who were in charge of the concubines of royal harems, [eunuchs] served in the daily life of the court, and sometimes carried out administrative functions.

For more, click here.

“”what if darius iii survived lived””
In my opinion, if Darius had survived his arrest and abduction by Bessus he would either have been executed by Alexander in order to secure his succession as Great King or been allowed to rule in a subordinate capacity, as happened with Porus.

Although in Diodorus XVII.54 Alexander suggests that he would indeed have let Darius rule under him, I think he would have executed his predecessor. Darius was too obvious a rallying point for Persians and therefore too dangerous to be allowed to live.

However, had Darius lived and been given kingship over, say, Persia, I could see him becoming a major player in the Successor battles, remaining king of Babylon and the east and interfering in the west as suited him.

“which battle did alexander kill cleitus”
Alexander didn’t kill Black Cleitus during a battle but after a quarrel during a drunken party in Maracanda in the Summer of 328 B.C. According to Arrian (IV.8) it started when some sycophants claimed that Alexander’s achievements outstripped those of certain gods. Cleitus angrily rejected this assertion. This did not put off the flatterers, though, for they then claimed that Philip II’s achievement had been ‘quite ordinary and commonplace’ (ibid). Cleitus defended the late king and taunted Alexander for saving his life at the Battle of the Granicus (334 B.C.). Alexander tried to strike Cleitus, but was held back. He then took a spear and ran Cleitus through with it.

Curtius, Justin and Plutarch all tell the story slightly differently but in the same setting and, of course, same result.

Arrian IV.8-9
Curtius VIII.22-52
Plutarch Life of Alexander 50-51

“haephestion was cremated source”
To the best of my knowledge no source says explicitly “Hephaestion was cremated”. However:-

Arrian VII.15 - States that a ‘funeral pyre’ was built for Hephaestion
Diodorus XVII.115 - Refers to the building of Hephaestion’s pyre. Chapter 116 begins ‘After the funeral’ implying that it took place. However, the Greek word ‘pyra’ which is translated here as pyre could also mean ‘monument’. But even if it doesn’t, what about Diodorus XVIII.4 which suggests the pyre – whether to cremate Hephaestion on or a monument – wasn’t built at all?
Justin XII.12 – Refers to a monument to Hephaestion being built.
Plutarch Life of Alexander Chapter 72 - Refers to Hephaestion’s funeral. No mention of cremation.

See my post “Hephaestion’s Remains – Update” here

Categories: Searching Alexander | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Eurylochus <3 Telesippa – Plutarch Life of Alexander 41

Stories of war and derring-do are what first attracted me to Alexander the Great, but there is so much more to him than that. He was loved, and loved in return. This applies not only him, but his men, too. In this series, I shall take a creative look where love struck amongst the Macedonians. 

Storge……………….. Philia……………….. Eros……………….. Agape

In the summer of 324 B.C., Alexander called an assembly of his men to inform them that he was discharging those of their number who were ‘unfit through age or disablement for further service’*.

The assembly took place in the Babylonian city of Opis and as you may know, it lead to the second revolt of the Macedonian army against its king.

The first had taken place on the Hyphasis River two years earlier when the army, exhausted by eight years of warfare, had refused to march any further. Now, the men believed that the veterans were being sent home, not for the reasons that Alexander gave, but because he no longer valued their service to him. Hecklers berated the king as he spoke and the mutiny began.

A three day stand-off between the two sides ensued. Eventually, however, they were reconciled. Alexander still got his way though and ten thousand men were chosen to return to Macedon**.

Roman_mosaic-_Love_Scene_-_Centocelle_-_Rome_-_KHM_-_Vienna_2

Before leaving, the ten thousand lined up to receive their outstanding wages and ‘a gratuity of one talent’ each***.

Bearing in mind Alexander had already paid the entire army’s debts in Susa† this money represented pure profit for the veterans. Their mood, therefore, was good. There was lots of laughing and bold talk about what the men would do in their retirement. Drinking, hunting and sex were all high on the agenda.

One man, however, remained quiet. And as he drew nearer and nearer to the financial officer’s table, he grew correspondingly more anxious.

Eurylochus had good reason to be afraid for he was neither too old nor unfit for service. To join this queue he had claimed that his limp was the result of an arrow wound in India. In fact, he had invented it last night. The scar on his leg that ‘proved’ he had been shot had been there since childhood.

Was it Eurylochus’ trembling voice or shifty eyes that made the financial officer look at him a second time? Probably both. But he might have dismissed them as coming from the shaken nerves of a man who had seen too much fighting had he not, in those few seconds, recognised Eurylochus.

Where was it now? Oh yes, Susa… At that party after the king settled our debts… He had had no limp that night.

The officer called over the guards.

Arrest him. He is liar and a fraud. He is attempting to cheat the king out of his money.

Euylochus opened his mouth to protest. But he was an honest man, as well as a liar and a fraud, and could not bring himself to speak. Instead, he simply blushed with shame as the guards laid their hands upon him and pulled him away. He didn’t bother to maintain his limp.

Ancient_Greek_Symposium._Museum_of_Nicopolis

What had led Eurylochus to try and cheat his way out of the army? The answer was currently in his tent, waiting for him to return with his money so that they could begin their journey to the Mediterranean Sea. Her name was Telesippa and she was a courtesan.

The two had met on the eve of the Macedonian army’s departure for Asia Minor and formed an instant attachment. Come with us, Eurylochus said, Alexander is going to make us rich; richer than the richest man in Athens.

Telesippa didn’t believe him. Alexander was just another warrior-king to her. He would probably grow rich; his men would probably get dead. But she had debts, and in Eurylochus, a protector. All that needed to happen was for him to stay alive long enough for her to find a richer client.

It was on those terms, then, that Telesippa agreed to become Eurylochus’ mistress. The expedition got underway. She never did find a richer client – at least, not one who would keep her – and as time passed, she did what she promised herself she would never do and fell in love.

Telesippa could never quite work out how that happened. It shouldn’t have. As the expedition progressed, Eurylochus collected many scars and she liked unblemished things. He also collected plunder and loot, and Telesippa’s life dream had always been to get rich then go her own way. One day, however, as she made love to him in his tent she realised that she no longer cared what he looked like, or how rich he was; she loved him. Just him. She loved him and that was that.

That was that… This feeling had lasted until the incessant rains of India. Telesippa’s health had suffered under the permanently iron-grey clouds and never recovered, thereafter. Gedrosia nearly killed her. I can’t go on, she told him in Carmania, I want to go home. I need to go home. Eurylochus didn’t argue. Not that he would have, for he too had had enough. Long before India, he had had enough.

***

Upon a moment, the door of the tent was flung open.
The king summons you. the gruff voice said.
Eurylochus…
My king…
You lied. Why?
I lied. I confess it. But not for money, my lord; not even for freedom. For my beloved. She is ill…
Name her.
Telesippa. I met her in Aegae ere we left for Asia Minor and have loved her with all my heart every day since. I love her more than life.
Would you die for her?
Yes.
Not today… Not at my hands. I have been speaking to your commanding officer. He tells me of a soldier good and true. One who has been brave many times, and complained never. Tell me, what is Telesippa’s rank?
She is a free-born woman, my king. A hetaira.
She wants to leave?
She… she wants whatever is best for me.
Would you stay if she wished it?

We will try to win her over! Whether with presents or by courtship – but by those means alone! Nothing else will do for lovers. Speak to my secretary – I will pay for whatever you decide. Do not use a penny of your own money. That is for another day. You are dismissed.

*** 

Perdiccas watches Eurylochus leave the throne room before turning to Alexander.
“She wants to leave,” he says, “And so does he.”
“Hmm?” Alexander replied. He had forgotten the man named Eurylochus already. Soldiers were his priority at the moment, soldiers who would do his bidding. This one had said nothing against his wishes so was clearly for them. The woman had to be persuaded but everyone could be persuaded, eventually.

***

History does not record what happened next. If the truth be told, it doesn’t even recall Eurylochus’ name properly – Plutarch calls him Eurylochus in his Life of Alexander and Antigenes in his Moralia.

In his Life Plutarch has Eurylochus say he wants to leave simply to accompany Telesippa ‘to the coast’. In the Moralia, the impression is giving that Telesippa was leaving (for undisclosed reasons) and Antigenes/Eurylochus could not bear to behind without her.

Whatever Eurylochus’ exact motives, it is clear he loved her, and for that reason he and Telesippa – who, sadly, is a silent character in the narratives – are included here on my list of lovers.

* Arrian VII.8
** Arrian VII.12
*** ibid. The wages also covered the period of the journey home
† Arrian VII.5

Categories: Love Stories | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Plutarch’s Life of Alexander on Tumblr (8-14)

Here are the links to this week’s posts on Plutarch’s Life over on Tumblr. For the links to chapters 1 – 7, click here

Chapter Eight - Alexander the healer and literary man
Days and Dates in Ancient Macedon
Chapter Nine - War on the Battlefield and at Home
Chapter Ten - The Pixodarus Affair
Chapter Eleven - Alexander inherits the Throne
Chapter Twelve - Timocleia’s Revenge
Chapter Thirteen - Alexander’s Regret
Chapter Fourteen - Diogenes of Sinope

Categories: Plutarch | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Hephaestion’s Remains – Update

Exactly one year ago I wrote a post for this blog in which I speculated about what might have happened to Hephaestion’s body after he died.

You can read the post here but in short, I said that I did not think that his magnificent funeral (Diodorus XVII.115) took place, and that after Alexander died, Hephaestion was probably quietly cremated and buried by the Successors in Babylon before being forgotten about.

When I wrote my post, I never imagined that a year on I would have reason to return to it. However, the discovery of a skeleton in the Lion Tomb at Amphipolis, and the suggestion that it could be Hephaestion’s, has drawn me back to the subject.

The person to whom I owe the idea that Hephaestion might be buried at Amphipolis is Dorothy King – see her post here.

As you’ll see, she theorises that the Lion Tomb was originally built for Alexander. If that is correct, the presence of Hephaestion’s body would presumably mean that Alexander intended to be buried with his friend.

Given how Alexander identified himself with Achilles, and treated Hephaestion as Patroclus*, together with the fact that Achilles and Patroclus were buried together at Troy**, this idea makes perfect sense.

***

But, do the bones belong to Hephaestion?

Tests are being carried out on them at the moment. It goes without saying that they won’t tell us the deceased’s name but hopefully they will give us information that will help in the identification process.

For example (and again, hopefully) they’ll tell us the person’s sex, their approximate age at time-of-death, and perhaps what injuries or illnesses they suffered from in their life.

If the sex of the person is female then that obviously rules out the deceased being Hephaestion.

If, however, it is male and the person died in their 30s that would make it possible for the bones to be his as he was about Alexander’s age and we know that in 324 B.C. Alexander was 32.

Further to this, if there is sign of injury in at least one of the arm bones, that would also make it possible for  the skeleton to be Hephaestion’s as Curtius says he ‘suffered a spear-wound in the arm’ at the Battle of Gaugamela (IV.16.32).

It has to be emphasised, though, that even if the tests point to the skeleton being Hephaestion’s we can gain no certainty in the matter from them. What we must really hope for is the discovery of an inscription that spells out clearly to whom the tomb belongs. Otherwise, there will always be an element of doubt.

 ***

But let’s backtrack a bit – how can we be talking about Hephaestion’s skeleton being in Amphipolis when the sources have his funeral – and cremation at that – taking place in Babylon?

That’s a good question. What could have happened is that after the funeral his remains were transported to Amphipolis and there deposited. This, however, doesn’t answer the question how it is we have a skeleton in the Lion Tomb when Hephaestion was cremated.

So, what about the bones? Dr King provides an answer. In a comment made on 13th November 2014 at 10:30am (I’m sorry – I can’t seem to link directly to it) underneath the above mentioned blog post she states that ancient cremations did not take place at the same temperatures as modern ones.

This means that Hephaestion could have been cremated to the point that his flesh burned off but that – due to the lower temperature of the pyre – his bones survived.

Perhaps the tests currently being done on the skeleton will be able to tell us if the bones were indeed subjected to fire?

If we agree to the survival of Hephaestion’s bones as a possibility we can move on to the question of how they got from Babylon to Amphipolis.

As it happens, though, we need to correct the starting point of his final journey.

***

Let’s look at what the five major Alexander historians say about Hephaestion’s death and what happened to his body afterwards.

Arrian (VII.14,15) states that Hephaestion fell ill and died in Ecbatana and that a funeral pyre was built for him in Babylon. There is no reference, however, to the funeral actually taking place once Alexander arrived there.

Curtius Unfortunately, a lacuna in the MS means we do not have his account of Hephaestion’s death and funeral.

Diodorus has Hephaestion die in Ecbatana and his body transported to Babylon (XVII.110) where his pyre built XVII.115). No mention is made of what happened to Hephaestion’s remains afterwards.

Justin does not say explicitly where Hephaestion died. In terms of the narrative, his death takes place in Chapter 12. The last city Alexander is identified as reaching prior to this is Babylon (in Chapter 10), but at the start of Chapter 13 Justin appears to suggest that Alexander went to Babylon after Hephaestion’s death.

Neither does Justin say what happened to Hephaestion’s body. He does mention, however (in Chapter 12), that a monument was built in his honour, and that it cost 12,000 talents.

Plutarch states that Hephaestion died in Ecbatana (Chapter 72) but doesn’t say that his body was taken to Babylon. He does state, however, that Alexander decided to spend 10,000 talents on his friend’s funeral and tomb.

***

In summary, Arrian, Diodorus and Plutarch all agree that Hephaestion died in Ecbatana. But while Arrian and Diodorus state explicitly that his body was taken to Babylon, Plutarch makes no such claim. By implication he has Hephaestion’s body remain in Ecbatana. This may be what Justin is getting at although his account is really too vague to be of much use.

***

So, we have a disagreement. Who, in that case, do we believe?

Up until this week, I would have accepted Arrian’s and Diodorus’ account. Diodorus is not the best historian but Arrian has a very good reputation, and based his history on people who were witnesses to what happened four hundred years earlier – including one who was at the very centre of Macedonian power.

However, my opinion changed after I read an article by Paul McKechnie called Diodorus Siculus and Hephaestion’s Pyre, which offered a compelling reason not to accept Arrian’s and Diodorus’ account at face value.

I came across McKechnie’s article thanks to a link on Dorothy King’s blog here.

If I have understood McKechnie correctly, he argues that the account of Hephaestion’s funeral in Diodorus is not an account of an historical event at all but a literary conceit, designed to foreshadow Alexander’s death***.

Seeing the funeral in this way allows us to make sense of a statement that Diodorus makes in XVIII.4 of his Library of History. There, he says that after Alexander’s death, Perdiccas found among the late king’s papers

… orders for the completion of the pyre of Hephaestion.

Now, obviously, if the funeral had taken place as per XVII.115 there would be no need for these orders to be in Alexander’s papers.

McKechnie further argues that Diodorus took the story of the pyre in Babylon from a writer named Ephippus of Olynthus, who lived around the time of Alexander.

The reason I mention Ephippus is because he connects Diodorus’ narrative to Arrian’s. McKechnie suggests that Ptolemy read Ephippus’ account and decided to use it in his own history.

And indeed, he had a good reason for doing so. Just as Ephippus placed Hephaestion’s funeral in Babylon for literary reasons, Ptolemy placed it there for political ones.

So, I took Alexander’s body from Babylon to Memphis, he could say to the political doubter, I had a precedent – Alexander, himself, who took Hephaestion’s body from Ecbatana to Babylon.

Paul McKechnie’s article is really interesting, and I thoroughly recommend it to you. If you don’t have access to JSTOR, you can read it here.

***

So, as matters now stand, we have Hephaestion dying in Ecbatana and his funeral taking place there. The presence of the Lion of Hamadan (which is modern day Ecbatana) would appear to indicate that Alexander buried his friend there as well†.

Having corrected the starting point of Hephaestion’s journey, therefore, we now need to get him from Ecbatana to Amphipolis.

This part is most difficult for none of the surviving sources state that Hephaestion’s body was taken back to Macedon. If we are to place him there, we must do so by other means.

Here are three reasons for placing Hephaestion in Amphipolis.

  1. Alexander would not have regarded burying Hephaestion in Ecbatana as fitting. In life, he had seen himself as Achilles and Hephaestion as his Patroclus. In light of that, it makes better sense that he would want that identification to be made permanent in death
  2. The Lion Tomb in Amphipolis is so great, so majestic, it could only have been built for a very few people. The other possibilities are: Olympias, Philip III Arrhidaeus and Roxane, and Alexander IV.
    As I understand it, there are inscriptions in existence which state (or indicate?) that Olympias was buried in Pydna, where she was killed.
    Philip III Arrhidaeus is a possibility as he was a king but maybe buried at Vergina.
    Would Cassander to have honoured Alexander IV (and through him, Roxane) with such a great tomb after killing them?
  3. It looks like the Lion Tomb could easily have met the cost of Hephaestion’s burial as described by Plutarch and Justin

These may or may not sound like good reasons but if you are still nervous about the lack of evidence in the sources, it is perhaps worth remembering that they are the surviving sources and that – as we have seen – they disagree with one another about what happened to Hephaestion after his death. We have no obligation, therefore, to take them at their word.

***

What do I think? I honestly don’t know. I like the idea of Hephaestion being buried at Amphipolis but I wish – really wish – we had stronger literary evidence.

At the moment, though, and although he is supposed to have been buried at Vergina, I am very tempted by the idea of Alexander IV being buried there.

After his murder on Cassander’s orders, several years passed before Alexander IV’s death became known. When it did, there was no civil war, no unrest, no rioting, nothing. Cassander, Ptolemy, Lysimachus, Seleucus and Antigonus all in due course proclaimed themselves king of their individual realms and that was that.

The reason for this is that time had passed and people had let the past go. I think perhaps Cassander realised this. And when he did, he decided that he could afford to be as generous to Alexander IV in death as he had been cruel in life, and deposited his remains in the Lion Tomb at Amphipolis.

That’s what I think, and as I am sure you have noticed, I have offered no actual evidence for Alexander IV being buried there. In fact, as I read back what I have written, I am beginning to think there is a stronger case for Hephaestion’s burial.

***

A last word. I have no more of an idea about who is buried in the Lion Tomb as anyone else, and I look forward to hearing more news from the archaeologists. In the meantime, what I would say, is that Amphipolis has been – and continues to be – a great learning experience for me and I am indebted to Dorothy King who has posted very insightful blog posts and linked to equally good articles about Alexander – McKechnie’s especially. I hope I never stop learning.

* I’m thinking here of how he had Hephaestion lay a wreath on Patroclus’ grave at Troy (Arrian I.12) and his Homeric response to Hephaestion’s death. Just as Achilles cut his hair in honour of Patroclus (Iliad XXIII.147-8)
** See Iliad XXIII.243-44 and Odyssey XXIV.73-5)
*** McKechnie notes how Diodorus emphasises Hephaestion’s status as Alexander’s second self, how Alexander attends to the funeral after setting his affairs in order, and orders the Sacred Flame in Asian cities to be extinguished in Hephaestion’s honour – something which is was only ever done upon the king’s die
It is McKechnie who uses the Lion of Hamadan as evidence for Hephaestion’s remains being in Ecbatana. He provides other reasons as well. For example, a reference to Aelian, who

… in his story of gold and silver being melted together with the corpse on Hephaestion’s pyre, speaks of Alexander’s having demolished the walls of the acropolis of Ecbatana-and gives no hint of the pyre’s being supposed to have been in Babylon

Categories: Hephaestion Amyntoros | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Plutarch’s Life of Alexander on Tumblr (1-7)

If you follow The Second Achilles on Tumblr you will know that I have begun a daily chapter-by-chapter guide to Plutarch’s Life of Alexander.

The series is an attempt (occasionally successful) to write a short post on each chapter, accompanying each one with images relevant to the text.

Every seven chapters I’ll link to them all here for anyone who would like to read them but without joining Tumblr.

Update: For links to the other posts in this series, click here

Categories: Plutarch | Tags: , | 2 Comments

From Zin to Scythia

Last Thursday, I visited the British Museum to hear Dr Sam Moorhead speak about the The Wilderness of Zin, which was published by the Palestine Exploration Fund (PEF) in 1915.

It’s authors were T E Lawrence and his (second, after D G Hogarth) boss at Carchemish, C L Woolley. The book’s purpose was to discuss the men’s search for evidence of the Israelites’ forty year sojourn in the wilderness of Zin (the Negev desert) after their flight from Egypt.

As it happened, Woolley and Lawrence found no proof of the Israelites’ presence there. To the best of my knowledge, no archaeologist ever has. Maybe the events depicted in the Old Testament are mythical or archaeologists are just digging in the wrong places or even the right places but wrong depth.

Whatever the answer, Woolley and Lawrence were not greatly incommoded by their failure. This is because their work was in fact a smokescreen. The real purpose of the expedition was to survey the desert on behalf of the War Office. This work was done by the third member of the party, Captain S F Newcombe.

The wilderness of Zin was in Ottoman territory, so had never been mapped before by the British. The reason why the War Office wanted – needed – it to be surveyed was because war was looming and Britain feared that the Ottoman empire might take up arms on the side of Germany.

If it did, Britain would need to know the lay of the land in order to defend her territory in Palestine (and, I should think, be able to attack the Ottoman’s?)

***

The PEF mission recalls to mind Derdas’ mission into Scythia in the summer of 329 B.C.

That year, Alexander reached the Tanais (aka Jaxartes) river in Sogdia. He was not in the best of health having suffered a broken leg fighting a Sogdian armed force that had massacred Macedonian foragers.

While he recovered from his injury, Alexander received a deputation of Scythians from the far side of the Tanais. Arrian calls them European Scythians as the country on that side of the river was believed to be part of Europe.

The Scythians came in peace, and Alexander made peace with them… for now. Once the meeting was over, he gave instructions to one of his Companions – Derdas – to accompany the Scythians back to their homes and, once there, to ‘conclude formally a pact of friendship’ with them.

This sounds all very reasonable and in keeping with Alexander’s policy of using diplomacy where possible in order to fulfil his objectives (recall how he tried to reach a diplomatic solution after Thebes’ rebellion in 335 B.C.).

However, Derdas also had a secret mission:

… to gather information about Scythia – its geographical peculiarities, the customs of its people, their numbers and military equipment.

Now why would Alexander want to know all that? I’m sure you’ve already guessed. Arrian spells it out. Alexander, he says, intended

… to found a city [i.e. Alexandria Eschate] on the Tanais… The site, he considered, was a good one; a settlement there would be likely to increase in size and importance, and would also serve both as an excellent base for a possible invasion of Scythia [as well as] a defensive position against raiding tribes from across the river. (my emphasis)
(Arrian IV.1)

***

Curtius repeats Arrian’s claim that Alexander founded Alexandria Eschate with a view to using it as both a barrier and springboard to invade Scythia (VII.6.13).

However, his account of Derdas’ mission is a little more aggressive than Arrian’s. According to Curtius, Derdas wasn’t sent over the river to conclude any pacts of friendship. Rather, he was sent to ‘warn [the European Scythians] not to cross the river Tanais without the king’s order’ (VII.6.12).

***

Derdas’ mission took nearly a year and he returned to Alexander in Spring 328 B.C. This reflects the length of time it took for Lawrence and Woolley to publish their report on their expedition to Zin.

After returning from Palestine, they had to work fast to write their report – the man in charge (?) of the expedition, Lord Kitchener, wanted it to be published ASAP in order to maintain the fiction that the expedition had been about the search for the Israelites.

Lawrence completed his contribution to the text before the end of 1914. By the end of the year he was working for the Arab Bureau in Cairo (under David Hogarth). As I understand it, Woolley completed the report and saw the book to the press before following in Lawrence’s footsteps to Egypt.

  • The Wilderness of Zin is online here
  • The PEF’s new edition can be found here
Categories: On Alexander | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Country Ancient and Modern

I have just started reading Philip and Alexander of Macedon by D G Hogarth. This book was first published in 1897 and so represents a Victorian (or Victorian’s) view of Alexander and his father.

I’m reading the book for two reasons.

One To find out what the Victorian view of Alexander was. As Philip and Alexander predates World War One I am imagining that its view of war, for example, might be more ‘positive’ (if that is the right word to use). Hogarth’s view of the Persians in relation to Alexander will also be interesting to see. Will his Alexander be to his subjects what Britain in the late Victorian period was to hers?

Two I would like to learn more about David Hogarth. I first discovered him in my reading about T E Lawrence; Hogarth was Lawrence’s boss during the 1910 archaeological season at Carchemish. The two would meet again during the Arab Revolt. Last week, I attended a talk on Lawrence at the British Museum. There, the speaker described Hogarth as a man ‘in desperate need of a biography’. If I can read more of his works, including, of course, his autobiographical ones, maybe I will jot down a few words about him.

T.E._Lawrence;_D.G._Hogarth;_Lt._Col._Dawnay T E Lawrence (L), D G Hogarth (centre), Lt. Col. Alan Dawnay (R)

***

It isn’t in my mind to do a ‘read through’ of Philip and Alexander but as and when I come across any information or insights I will be sure to share them.

On that note, I already have something I would like to mention. In his Prologue The Man of the Age Hogarth dismisses Connop Thirlwall’s idea that Philip was ‘”great, not for what he was, but for what it was given him to do!”‘. Philip, Hogarth replies, was not ‘a blind tool of heaven’ but could see clearly ‘the faults of a dying order’. His response was to evolve

… the first European Power in the modern sense of the word – an armed nation with a common national ideal.

I had to catch my breath when I read that as I am used to thinking of the nation state rising in the Middle Ages. Thinking about it, though, I can see the sense in what Hogarth is saying. If he is right, I wonder if we can call Alexander’s empire an E.U. of the east. I shall keep that thought in mind.

Picture credits
T E Lawrence, D G Hogarth and Lt. Col. A Dawnay: Wikipedia

Categories: Alexander Scholars | Tags: , | 2 Comments

From Cats to Flowers, Kings to Poets

Linked to Alexander (4)
More Links Here

30th October 2014
Local cats get national attention with calendar
Alexander the Great… cat from NWF Daily News

31st October 2014
When the Greeks Ruled Egypt
Good to read something about the Ptolemies

31st October 2014
Letter: Alexander wasn’t ‘great’
From the Daily Freeman newspaper

31st October 2014
Homer truths in high places: plant-hunting on Mount Olympus
Robin Lane Fox goes flower hunting

More Alexander
Why not visit this blog’s Tumblr page? I have started a series of short blog posts on Plutarch’s Life of Alexander. Click here to read more.

Are you a fan of Mary Renault? We are reading her Alexander trilogy over at Facebook.

Categories: Linked to Alexander | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Alexander: November Chronology

336
Nov-Dec Corinth. Alexander wins Greek support for war against Persia (Livius)
Nota Bene
Peter Green* states that this takes place in late summer

335
Nov-Dec Alexander holds festivals in Dion and Aegae (Livius)
Nota Bene
The Landmark Arrian** states that the Aegae festival takes place in Autumn

333
c. 5th November The Battle of Issus (Livius)
Nota Bene
Peter Green suggests that the battle took place in September-October
The Landmark Arrian states that the battle took place in Autumn
Michael Wood*** places the battle in November but doesn’t give a specific date

332
Alexander’s legendary visit to Jerusalem (Livius)
Alexander arrives in Egypt (Livius)
c. 14th November Memphis. Alexander is (possibly) crowned pharaoh (Peter Green)
Nota Bene
Livius states that Alexander visits Memphis in January 331 B.C.
The Landmark Arrian and Michael Wood state that Alexander entered Egypt in winter

330
Alexander in Drangiana (Livius)
The Philotas Affair (Livius)
Alexander in Ariaspa (Livius)
Parmenion is assassinated in Ecbatana (Livius)
Nota Bene
Peter Green has the ‘march to Drangiana’ and Philotas affair take place in or after ‘Late August’
The Landmark Arrian states that the Philotas Affair and Parmenion’s assassination take place in Autumn
Michael Wood states that the Philotas affair and Parmenion’s assassination take place in October

326
Macedonian fleet begins its journey down the Hydaspes River (Livius, Green, Wood)
Birth and death of Alexander’s and Roxane’s first son (Wood)
Nota Bene
Peter Green has the fleet’s journey beginning early in November
The Landmark Arrian states that the fleet sails down the ‘Hydaspes-Akesinos Rivers’ in the Autumn

* Alexander of Macedon 356 – 323 B.C. A Historical Biography (University of California Press 1991)
** The Landmark Arrian Ed. James Romm (Pantheon Books 2010)
*** In the Footsteps Of Alexander the Great A Journey from Greece to India (BBC Books 2004)

This chronology is part of an on-going work. If you see any mistakes or omissions please feel free to let me know.

At the moment, Livius‘ chronology is the one by which I test the others. That may change; I’ll note it if it does.

Categories: Chronology of Alexander's Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Waugh on Knossos

EvelynwaughIn 1929 Evelyn Waugh went on a Mediterranean cruise, which he subsequently wrote an account of in a book titled Labels (Duckworth 1930).

Part of this book was republished in When the Going was Good (Duckworth 1946) and it was while reading this today that I came across Waugh’s account of his visit to the Minoan royal palace at Knossos.

As will be seen, Waugh was not impressed by what he saw. The reason for his criticism of the palace is interesting. It’s almost as if some baleful memory has stuck to the walls of the palace and casts its long shadow on him as he walks around.

The Minoan period is not this blog’s usual area of interest, though Achilles does give the two a connection. That, and the fact that Evelyn Waugh is one of my favourite writers means I could not possibly ignore his foray into the ancient past.

On our way east we stopped for the day at Crete…

I accompanied a party of fellow passengers to the museum to admire the barbarities of Minoan culture.

One cannot well judge the merits of Minoan painting, since only a few square inches of the vast area exposed to our consideration are earlier than the last twenty years, and their painters have tempered their zeal for reconstruction with a predilection for covers of Vogue.

We chartered a Ford car and drove with a guide to Cnossos, where Sir Arthur Evans (our guide referred to him always as “Your English Lord Evans”) is rebuilding the palace. At present only a few rooms and galleries are complete, the rest being an open hillside scarred with excavations, but we were able to form some idea of the magnitude and intricacy of the operation from the plans which were posted up for our benefit on the chief platform.

I think that if our English Lord Evans ever finishes even a part of his vast undertaking, it will be a place of oppressive wickedness. I do not think that it can be only imagination and the recollection of a bloodthirsty mythology which makes something fearful and malignant of the cramped galleries and stunted alleys, these colonnades of inverted, conical pillars, these rooms that are mere blind passages at the end of sunless staircases; this squat little throne, set on a landing where the paths of the palace intersect; it is not the seat of a lawgiver nor a divan for the recreation of a soldier; here an ageing despot might crouch and have borne to him, along the walls of a whispering gallery, barely audible intimations of his own murder

(A Pleasure Cruise in 1929 from When the Going was Good pp.55-56)

Knossos
The picture of Evelyn Waugh and partly restored Knossos are from Wikipedia

Categories: Of The Moment | Tags: , | 1 Comment

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