Part One: Pausanias

by Ptolemy Lagides

I can’t remember when I first met Pausanias. He was one of those people who attends parties only to be ignored because they have no personality or grace. He had brains, though, because unlike others, he recognised how dull he was and went away to work at improving his appearance. And how it worked! Because one day, King Philip noticed him hiding in the corner of the room, and decided he wanted to know more about this attractive youth.
.
I can still see Philip stroking Pausanias’ face with his deformed hand, and biting him tenderly upon the lip as they kiss. I can still see Pausanias’ blushing cheeks and doe eyes. He loves me! So that’s how you became so handsome, Pausa’, by sacrificing your brains to Aphrodite. Philip never believed in love. Only lust – in the matter of men – and only politics, when it came to women. He’s the king, for Zeus’ sake.
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You should have known from the beginning that one day you would be discarded. Why couldn’t you have just enjoyed what you had before Philip took his body elsewhere. But no, you had to be smitten. You had to be offended. You had to mock Attalus’ Pausanias. Well, Pausa’, that was your choice, and tomorrow, it will be your funeral.
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I left the party towards the end of the first day of celebrations in the royal palace for Alexander’s* wedding to Cleopatra**. No one noticed my departure. Well, not quite. I had not walked more than a few steps down the corridor when a hand came out of the shadows and pulled me violently into them. Olympias glared at me, malevolently.
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“If he has any qualms, Ptolemy,” she whispered, “Make sure you convince him to continue. Meet any demand he comes up with.”
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“As the Queen of Macedon says.” I replied. Her lips parted and she hissed like one of her damned snakes at me.
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After leaving the palace, I crossed the narrow streets of Aegae until I came to a dead end next to a derelict house on the other side of town. Pausanias was already there, sitting in the gutter like a beggar; his head, hidden under his hood.
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“Do you believe in justice, my friend?” I called.
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“Justice is my hope.” he replied, and he pushed down the hood of his cloak. I saw his burning eyes, and I knew he had no qualms whatsoever.
.
“Here is your money,” I said, handing over the heavy purse. Your orders are to act has already been arranged. Perdiccas, Leonnatus, and Attalus will be waiting with the horses for you underneath the dead holly tree. Once you leave the theatre, join them there; they will ride with you to Orestis.”
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Pausanias nodded; he gazed into the dark. Whether it was the dark of the night or his own spirit I do not know.
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“He refused to help me, Ptolemy,” he said, “After Attalus and… and his fr… friends… did… did what they di… did what they did to me, he refused to help me. He turned me away when we were lovers, and he refused to help me when I… when I needed him.”
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“I know,” I said, “And now is your chance to be revenged.” Pausanias nodded vaguely at this.
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“Does Alexander know about this?” he asked. I didn’t answer. “Does he??”
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“… He knows all that he needs to know…” I replied.
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“When I’m gone, tell him that I am his loyal subject. I killed his father, because…”
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“Don’t worry,” I replied, “When you are gone, I will tell him everything.”
.
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To be continued…

* Alexander of Epirus
** Alexander the Great’s sister

  • The list of chapters can be found here
Categories: Ptolemy's journal | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “Part One: Pausanias

  1. I love it. I knew of Phillip’s assassination but not who–is the plot contrivance or history? I don’t even care–better twere it contrivance. >KB

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    • Hallo Annotating 60,

      Spoilers ahoy!

      A man named Pausanias did kill indeed Philip; this is a historical fact. My source for this chapter was Peter Green’s Historical Biography of Alexander. He (Green) treats Pausanias’ motivation – revenge for Philip refusing to give Pausanias justice after Attalus and his friends raped him – as historical as well. We don’t know for sure if Olympias or Alexander were involved in Philip’s murder, although they both had much to gain by being so.

      I believe it is historical fact that Perdiccas, Leonnatus and Attalus (who is not the Attalus mentioned above) chased Pausanias after he killed Philip. As you have read, they are represented here as Pausanias’ allies. Well, that won’t last long. This betrayal of him may or may not come from history – it is proposed by Peter Green again. Ptolemy’s involvement is my own invention.

      AOS

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  2. Thanks for starting this series. We really need a new approach to Alexander’s story, Other than the Mary Renault’s reference.I look forward to reading next chapters.

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    • Thank you! I don’t intend to compete with Mary Renault in terms of this being a pure drama. The first chapter is quite serious but I would like the story’s tone to reflect the comic-dramatic nature of the Twitter accounts. We’ll see if the Pella Wine Tent etc can transfer credibly from Twitter to blog. At this moment, I’m not sure if they will but we’ll see!

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  3. Mary Renault wrote in the seventies and her Alexander was a product of her time. Everyone has their own ideas about Alexander .You have yours, I have mine.But it’s good to read something new, in a new tone, about Alexander by someone who knows his subject.That’s what I have found in your various writings.

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