The Bullet Point Alexander: Alexander’s Siblings

Blog Posts for the interested and the rushed

  • Alexander had six siblings – two half-brothers, three half-sisters and one full-sister
  • CAVEAT! One of those siblings (Caranus) may not have actually existed
  • In the early years of the diadoch period a rumour emerged that Ptolemy I was Philip II’s son by Arsinoë. To my mind this is straight forward propaganda so I have not included Ptolemy here
  • Read more bullet points here

In order of year of birth:
.
I PHILIP III ARRHIDAEUS

  • Born in 358/57 BC
  • Son of Philip II and Philine of Larissa
  • According to tradition, Philine was a woman of ill repute but Heckel rejects this
  • Arrhidaeus suffered from an unidentified disability throughout his life
  • This disability may have been epilepsy or a mental impairment of some sort
  • Plutarch states that the condition was brought about by Olympias when she gave him drugs (that is, to either kill him or damage his faculties sufficiently to render him unable to rival Alexander for the Macedonian throne)
  • In 336 BC Philip II proposed that Arrhidaeus marry Ada of Caria. Alexander’s fear that this might threaten his accession to the throne made him propose marriage to Ada
  • Her father, Pixodarus, was delighted by the proposal but Philip was decidedly not. He put a stop to the matter and banished those of Alexander’s friends who had helped him court Pixodarus from Macedon
  • Arrhidaeus’ movements during Alexander’s eastern expedition are unknown
  • Upon Alexander’s death, his generals proposed that Roxane’s unborn child – if a boy – be declared king. The cavalry agreed to this but the infantry demanded that Arrhidaeus be made king
  • Roxane did indeed give birth to a boy. He was named Alexander IV
  • Eumenes suggested that there should be a joint kingship. This was agreed by generals, cavalry and infantry alike 
  • Under the terms of the deal, Craterus should have become Philip III’s guardian. As it turned out, however, Perdiccas took on that role
  • In 322/1 BC, Philip III married Adea, daughter of Alexander’s half-sister, Cynnane
  • After Perdiccas was assassinated in 320, Peeithon and and an officer named Arrhidaeus took over the regency of Philip III
  • (NB: The care of Philip III and Alexander IV was offered to Ptolemy but he declined)
  • Following the conference at Triparadeisus (320 BC), Antipater took over the regency of both kings
  • In 319 BC, upon Antipater’s death, Polyperchon became Philip III’s regent
  • In 317 BC Polyperchon formed an alliance with Olympias
  • To prevent Olympias gaining control over Philip III, Adea transferred his regency to Cassander
  • Adea tried to block Polyperchon and Olympias’ return to Macedon from Epirus but failed
  • Thereafter, Olympias had Arrhidaeus murdered and forced Adea to commit suicide
  • Philip III is buried in Aegae along with Cynnane and Adea

II CYNNANE

  • Spelling variations: Kynane, Kyna, Kynnana and Cyna
  • Born c. 358 BC
  • Daughter of Philip II and Audata
  • Marched on campaign with Philip II in the 340s and – it is said – killed an Illyrian queen ‘with her own hand’ (Heckel)
  • Married Amyntas son of Perdiccas III
  • Mother of Adea
  • Amyntas was the young king who Philip II acted as regent for before taking the Macedonian throne for himself (360/59 BC)
  • Upon Philip’s death, therefore, Amyntas had as good a claim to the throne as Alexander
  • For this reason Alexander had him killed in 336/35
  • During his Thracian campaign in 335 BC Alexander promised Cynnane to King Langarus of the Agrianes. He died, however, before any marriage could take place
  • During Alexander’s eastern campaign, Cynnane had Adea ‘trained in the Illyrian arts of War’ (Heckel)
  • Killed by Alcetas in 321 BC as she travelled to Perdiccas’ court to arrange Adea’s marriage to Philip III Arrhidaeus
  • Buried in Aegae alongside Adea and Philip III Arrhidaeus

III CLEOPATRA

  • Born between 355 – 353 BC
  • Daughter of Philip II and Olympias
  • In 336 Cleopatra married Alexander I of Epirus (her uncle)
  • During the wedding celebrations, Philip II was assassinated by Pausanias
  • In 335 BC Cleopatra gave birth to Cadmeia and Neoptolemus (twins?)
  • At some point after the birth of his children Alexander I went on campaign in southern Italy
  • During Alexander’s absence, Cleopatra ruled Epirus as the regent of her son
  • Alexander I died while on campaign in 331/0
  • After her husband’s death, Cleopatra returned to Macedon and remained there until Alexander the Great’s death in Babylon
  • In 322 BC Cleopatra offered to marry Leonnatus. He died before the wedding could take place
  • Not long later, she made a similar offer to Perdiccas. But he had already agreed to marry Nicaea, daughter of Antipater
  • Between c. 322 – 308 BC Cleopatra lived in Sardis (Asia Minor)
  • In 308 Ptolemy I proposed to her – ‘in connection with his only serious bid for greater power’ (Heckel)
  • Fearing the consequences of this alliance, Antigonus Monophthalmus had Cleopatra killed

IV THESSALONIKE

  • Spelling variations: Thettalonike and Thessalonice
  • Born c. 345/4 BC
  • Daughter of Philip II and Nicesipolis of Pherae
  • Jason of Pherae’s niece
  • Thessalonike’s mother died twenty days after her daughter’s birth
  • Nothing is known of Thessalonike’s life between her birth and 316/5 BC
  • It is possible, though, that Olympias served as her guardian during that time
  • In 315 BC Thessalonike was forced to marry Cassander
  • They had three children together – Philip, Alexander and Antipater
  • Cassander founded a city in Thessalonike’s honour, naming it after her
  • Murdered c. 296 by her son, Antipater, for not promoting his sole claim to the Macedonian throne

V EUROPA

  • Born in 336 BC just before Philip II’s death
  • Daughter of Philip II and Cleopatra Euridike
  • Full-sister of Caranus
  • Scholars who believe that Caranus existed suggest that Cleopatra was born in 337 BC
  • Assassinated by Olympias in the weeks/months following Philip’s death and against Alexander’s wishes

VI CARANUS

  • Born between 338 BC (when Philip married Cleopatra) and 336 BC (when Cleopatra was assassinated)
  • Son of Philip II and Cleopatra Euridike
  • Full-brother of Europa
  • Assassinated in 336 BC along with his mother and older sister, Europa
  • Heckel states that our only source for Caranus’ life is Justin who refers to him in his Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus
  • Wikipedia states that Satyrus also refers to Caranus
  • Heckel does not believe that Caranus existed as there would have been no time for Cleopatra to produce a second child between the birth of Europa and her death

Sources
Waldemar Heckel Who’s Who in the Age of Alexander the Great
Robin Waterfield Dividing the Spoils
Arrian The Campaigns of Alexander tr. by Aubry de Sélincourt
(with help from Wikipedia)

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