The Bullet Point Alexander

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:

  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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

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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The Bullet Point Alexander: Ptolemy I Soter’s Family

Blog posts for the interested and rushed
read a section at a time

  •  Read more bullet points here

Ptolemy I Soter

  • Ptolemy Lagides was born in the Macedonian province of Eordaea
  • His father was named Lagus and his mother Arsinoë
  • Ptolemy had one known sibling – Menelaus
  • The date of Ptolemy’s birthdate is not known with certainly. Pseudo-Lucian places it c. 367/6 BC but this is disputed by scholars who believe Ptolemy to be Alexander the Great’s (b. 356 BC) contemporary
  • During the Wars of the Successors that followed Alexander’s death in 323 BC it was rumoured that Ptolemy was Alexander’s half-brother. This was probably no more than propaganda
  • In 305/4 BC, Ptolemy helped the island of Rhodes in its fight against Demetrios Poliorcetes. The Rhodians won the day. To thank Ptolemy for his help, they gave him the title of Soter (Saviour)
  • Ptolemy died in 283 BC

Ptolemy’s Women

  • Ptolemy married either three or four times and had eleven children (six sons and five daughters)
  • The uncertainty in the above figure is caused by the fact that we don’t know if he married Thaïs or not


  • Date of birth and death are both unknown
  • Thaïs was an Athenian hetaera (courtesan)
  • Nota Bene Today, courtesans are commonly regarded as escorts or high-class prostitutes. This understanding does no justice to the hetaera of ancient Greece. Hetaerae were highly educated and cultured women whose company was sought for their intellect and artistic skills. They may also have been hired for sexual services but, unlike prostitutes (pornai), not for this purpose – or for this purpose – alone
  • We do not know when Ptolemy met Thaïs but it may have been through Alexander as Athenaeus (fl. late AD C2nd – early C3rd) states Alexander “liked to keep Thaïs with him”
  • Thaïs is most (in)famous for inciting Alexander to burn the Royal Palace in Persepolis down
  • This story appears in Diodorus’ history, which is based on Cleitarchus’ account of Alexander’s expedition (which draws from the memories of eye witnesses)
  • Unlike Ptolemy, Cleitarchus did not take part on the expedition
  • For his part, Ptolemy mentions what happened at Persepolis only briefly
  • Was he protecting Thaïs’ reputation? Possibly – but be warned, although Cleitarchus spoke to soldiers in the Macedonian army for his history his is not a wholly reliable account. As Livius notes, Cleitarchus ‘delights in fantastic tales and he sometimes sacrificed historical reliability to keep the story entertaining and to stress the psychological development. Therefore, Cleitarchus’ History of Alexander contains many errors (some serious)
  • Thaïs gave birth to three children. Two sons and a daughter: Lagus, Leontiscus and Eirene

Ptolemy’s Children by Thaïs


  • Date of birth/death unknown
  • Won a chariot race at the Arcadian Festival in 308/07


  • Date of birth/death unknown
  • Taken prisoner in Cyprus by Demetrios Poliorcetes in 307/6 (and sent home to Egypt)


  • Date of birth/death unknown
  • Married Eunostus, king of Soli (in Cyprus)

II. ARTAKAMA (aka Apame)

  • Born c. 355-345
  • Daughter of Artabazus (Satrap of Hellespontine Phrygia under Artaxerxes II and Bactria under Alexander)
  • Sister of Alexander’s mistress, Barsine
  • Married Ptolemy in Susa, 324 BC
  • No further mention is made of her in the histories. Possible/likely that Ptolemy divorced her after Alexander’s death
  • No known issue


  • Date of birth and death are both unknown
  • Daughter of Antipater
  • Sister of the diadoch Cassander
  • Married Ptolemy in 321/0 as part of an alliance between Ptolemy and Antipater
  • Gave birth to (at least) one son: Ptolemy ‘Keraunos’ and two daughters: Ptolemais and Lysandra
  • Divorced/became estranged from Ptolemy at an unknown date
  • In 280 BC, Keraunos took his mother to live in Cassandreia in Macedon
  • Appears to have had a festival (the Euridikeia) created in her honour by someone named Apollodorus
  • Aunt of Euridike, daughter of Lysimachus (b. ?362/1 – 282/1 BC) and Nicaea (b. ? – ?)

Ptolemy’s Children by Euridike

Ptolemy Keraunos

  • Born c. 319 BC
  • Keraunos means ‘Thunderbolt’ not because of ‘…”his unpredictable and sinister character,” as hostile propaganda claimed, but for the power he wielded‘ (Waterfield, p. 194)
  • In c. 287 BC Ptolemy I named Ptolemy II Philadelphus as his successor
  • In response to this and on an unknown date Keraunos left Egypt
  • He made his way to Lysimachus’ court in Thrace, perhaps because his half-sister, Arsinoë II, was at that time married to Lysimachus there
  • On an unknown date Keraunos left Thrace after Arsinoë II had Lysimachus’ son, Agathocles (who was married to Arsinoë’s sister, Lysandra), killed
  • They went to the Seleucid court
  • In 281 BC, Seleucus defeated Lysimachus in the Battle of Corupedium. Keraunos took part in the battle on the side of Seleucus
  • In 281/0 BC Seleucus crossed into Thrace to take the Macedonian throne. Wanting it for himself, Keraunos killed the last surviving diadoch
  • Keraunos became king of Macedon. He married his step-sister, Arsinoë II
  • Not long after the marriage, Keraunos murdered three of Arsinoë II’s sons by Lysimachus (a fourth, the eldest, survived)
  • She fled to Egypt where she would marry her brother, Ptolemy II
  • In 279 BC, Keraunos died fighting Celtic invaders


  • Date of birth and death unknown
  • In c. 298 BC, she was betrothed to Demetrios Poliorcetes as part of a friendship pact between Ptolemy and Seleucus
  • Ptolemais finally married Demetrios in 286 BC at the behest of her mother, Euridike, who was now estranged from Ptolemy


  • Date of birth and death unknown
  • Married to Alexander V in c. 298/7 BC. He was murdered by Demetrios Poliorcetes in 294 BC 
  • Married to Agathocles son of Lysimachus in c. 293 BC as part of an alliance between Ptolemy and Lysimachus
  • Fled to the Seleucid court after Arsinoë II had Agathocles killed


  • Date of birth and death unknown
  • Succeeded Ptolemy Keraunos as king of Macedon for two months in 279 BC before being forced to abdicate by his army


  • No details of Argaeus’ life are known to me


  • Born c.340s BC
  • Daughter of Magas and Antigone
  • Granddaughter of Cassander who was Antipater’s brother (uncle of the diadoch with that name)
  • Married a man named Philip on an unknown date and gave him a son and daughter – Antigone and Magas
  • The father of a third child, Theoxene, is not known with certainty
  • Philip appears to have died by 320/19 when Berenike travelled to Egypt with her cousin Euridike who was on her way to marry Ptolemy
  • Not long after their arrival, Berenike became Ptolemy’s mistress
  • Married Ptolemy in 317 BC
  • Gave birth to three children – one son – Ptolemy II Philadelphus and two daughters: Arsinoë II and Philotera

Ptolemy’s Children by Berenike

Ptolemy II Philadelphus

  • Born 309 BC on Cos
  • Ruled Egypt as Joint-King with Ptolemy I between 285-283 BC
  • Married i. Arsinoë I, daughter of Lysimachus ii. his own sister, Arsinoë II
  • Continued the building of the Lighthouse of Pharos
  • Continued the translation of the Septuagint Bible
  • Continued the building of the Museum of Alexandria (incl. temple and library)
  • Deified his mother and father as ‘Saviour Gods’
  • Ptolemy II and Arsinoë II were worshipped as the Theos Adelphoi (‘Sibling Gods’)
  • Died in 246 BC
  • Succeeded by Ptolemy III Euergetes (son of Arsinoë I)

Arsinoë II

  • Born c. 317/15
  • Married Lysimachus in 300 BC
  • Married her half-brother Ptolemy Keraunos c. 280 BC
  • Fled to Egypt c 280/79 BC after Keraunos murdered three of her sons by Lysimachus
  • In Egypt, she was reunited with her eldest son
  • Married her brother, Ptolemy II Philadelphus c. 276 BC
  • Date of death unknown
  • Callimachus wrote a poem in her honour after her death


  • Lived c. 315/09 – c. 282/68 BC
  • Not known if she married or had children
  • After her death, Ptolemy II had Philotera deified, and a temple built in her honour in Alexandria. He also built a new town and named it after her. This town is modern day Safaga

Dividing the Spoils 
by Robin Waterfield (OUP, 2011)
Ptolemy of Egypt by Walter M. Ellis (Routledge, 1994)
Who’s Who in the Age of Alexander the Great by Waldemar Heckel (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009)
When I say that something is ‘unknown’, I mean principally that it unknown to me. Therefore, if you know any information regarding Ptolemy’s family (or anything else you read on this blog) do feel free to let me know!

Categories: The Bullet Point Alexander, The Ptolemaic Dynasty | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Bullet Point Alexander: Philip II’s Wives

Blog posts for the interested and the rushed

  • In the course of his life (383/2 – 336 BC), Philip II of Macedon married seven times
  • We know all his wives’ names, but not the order in which he married them
  • Read more bullet points here
    Here is a brief outline of each…
  • Philip’s first or second wife
  • An Illyrian noblewoman
  • After marrying Philip (possibly in 359/8), Audata took the name Euridike
  • In c. 358 she gave birth to a daughter, Cynnane
  • In 337/6, Cleopatra (below) took the name Euridike on marrying Philip indicating that Audata had, by then, either died or left Philip’s court
  • The other candidate for being Philip’s first or second wife
  • Born in c. 375
  • An Elimeiot princess…
  • … Phila may have been related to Alexander’s friend and (unreliable) treasurer, Harpalus
  • Did not bear Philip any children
  • Date of death: unknown
    Philine (or Philinna)
  • From Larissa in Greece, and probably a noblewoman
  • Married Philip c. 358
  • Date of birth and death are both unknown
  • Between 358 and 356 Philinna gave birth to a son: Arrhidaeus
  • Philip’s fourth wife
  • An Epirot princess
  • Paternal descent: Pyrrhus, son of Achilles
  • Maternal descent: Helenus, a Trojan prince
  • Married Philip in 357
  • Olympias changed her name several times during her life (c. 375 – 316 BC)
  • She was born Polyxena. Upon marrying Philip she became Myrtale…
  • … after Philip’s triumph at the 356 BC Olympic Games, she took the name Olympias
  • Finally, in 317, she became known as Stratonike
  • Gave birth to Alexander in 356
  • Took part in the wars of the successors until her execution at Cassander’s hands in 316
  • A Thracian princess
  • Married Philip sometime between 357 and 342
  • Date of birth and death: unknown
  • Died childless
    Nikasipolis, Nikesipolis
  • Thessalian by birth, possibly a noblewoman
  • Date of birth: Unknown
  • Jason of Pherae’s niece
  • Known for her great beauty
  • Married Philip II in 352 or 346 and died in c. 345/4 BC…
  • … just twenty days after giving birth to her daughter, Thessalonike
    Cleopatra Euridike
  • Macedonian by birth
  • Niece of Attalus, one of Philip II’s most senior generals
  • Married Philip II in 338/7
  • Took the name Euridike upon her marriage to him
  • Gave birth to a daughter, Europa, in 336 just before Philip’s death
  • Both Cleopatra Euridike and Europa were assassinated by Olympias following Philip’s death

Source: Who’s Who in the Age of Alexander the Great by Waldemar Heckel
(with a little help from Wikipedia)

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