This morning on Twitter I read the following tweet by historian Tom Holland.
You can follow his link to The Sky at Night’s webpage here.
I have to admit, I share his scepticism. Arrhidaeus’ claim-to-fame is really just the fact that he was Alexander the Great’s (half-)brother. Apart from staying alive as long as he did Arrhidaeus didn’t really do anything to be worthy of great honour.
To be fair, he wasn’t best placed to, having some form of (mental?) illness as a result of being poisoned by Olympias when he was just a boy (Plutarch 77). Perhaps whoever decided to name a crater after him was not thinking of Arrhidaeus as one of the great men of old worthy of remembrance but as a disabled man who deserved recognition for what he unfairly suffered.
Courtesy of Wikipedia, here is a list of people who have lunar craters named after them. It includes the following Greeks,
- Alexander the Great
- Ammonius Saccas
- Anaximenes of Miletus
- Apollonius of Perga
- Aristarchus of Samos
- Autolycus of Pitane
- Philip III of Macedon
- Bartholomaeus Pitiscus
- Zeno of Citium
The list comes with the usual provisos – as useful as Wikipedia is, it can sometimes be unreliable; and, of course, I may have missed someone out.
By-the-bye, as I went through the list I was struck by the fact that there appeared to be very few Roman names mentioned. Yet, if you click on the link to The Sky at Night‘s webpage, you will notice that Arrhidaeus’ crater is located close to one named after Julius Caesar. As I said, Wikipedia can be unreliable.
One last thing – I hope you noticed the two comments below Holland’s tweet. They are notable for different reasons. Unless I am mistaken ‘Keftiu’ is the ancient name for Crete – beloved of this author for its association with Patrick Leigh Fermor. The second reply just made me smile, thus 🙂