Posts Tagged With: Philip III Arrhidaeus

The Haunted Empire

Several months ago, I bought a copy of Ghost on the Throne by James Romm. The sub-title to the book explains what it is about: The Death of Alexander the Great and the Bloody Fight for His Empire.

To date, the only other book dedicated to the wars of the Successors that I have read has been Robin Waterfield’s Dividing the Spoils. As I write these words I am 170 pages into the 322 page long book, and I have to say I am not enjoying it as much as I did Dividing the Spoils. Not because I think Romm is a bad historian but because Waterfield is simply a better write. He has the rare gift of making his text flow easily off the page.

Having said that, Ghost on the Throne is a well written book; it is also very well laid out. Romm not only sub-divides his chapters but gives the latter their own titles so that you know exactly where and when you are in the story.

As for me, I have seen the death of Leonnatus in the Lamian War, and the death of Alexander’s half-sister, Cynnane, as she travelled east to marry her daughter, Adea, to Philip III. Coming up is Ptolemy’s theft of Alexander’s body and the death of the most popular living Macedonian at this time, Craterus.

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Out of what I have read so far, two facts mentioned by Romm have really jumped out at me. I think I knew them already but for whatever reason they have made a strong impression on me now.

The first is that only Macedonian kings could marry more than one woman at a time. This was a big shame for Perdiccas – if noblemen could have practiced polygamy, he could have married Nicaea, Antipater’s daughter, and Cleopatra, Alexander’s only full-sister, and put himself in an all but unassailable position if he wished – as he surely did – to make a bid for the Macedonian throne. As it was, he had to pick one with the inevitable result that he would insult the parent of the other.

The second is how – between the cavalry and infantry – utterly divided the Macedonian army was. Even though I know very well what happened after Alexander died – how the infantry demanded that Arrhidaeos be made king while the cavalry decided on Roxane’s as yet unborn child, and the way in which the infantry more or less ran the cavalry out of town before a reconciliation was reached – reading about it again is still astonishing.

The fault line between infantry and cavalry seems to have been absolute. No cavalry or infantrymen joined the other side. How could they have been so opposed to each other? Had the rebellions at the Hyphasis river or at Opis divided them? Or would they have still turned on each other if Alexander had died without ever going to Asia? Whatever the answer, the fact that he managed to hold the two sides together and make sure a brilliant fighting force out of them speaks many volumes for his charisma and intelligence.

Credit Where It’s Due
Front cover of Ghost on the Throne: Goodreads

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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

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The Death of Glory

The Nature of Curtius
Book Ten Chapter 1-10
For other posts in the series click here

Chapter One
The Best Laid Plans
According to Diodorus, Nearchus and Onesicritus rejoined Alexander while the latter was resting in Salmus, a seaside town in Carmania. Curtius says that the two men brought report ‘based partly on hearsay and partly on their own observation’ of an island ‘close to the river-mouth [of the Persian Gulf] which was rich in gold but without horses’ – a very practical concern. As for the sea, they said, it ‘was full of monsters [with] bodies the size of large ships’. These were only repulsed by ‘strident’ shouting.

Nearchus’ and Onesicritus’ next report was based purely on hearsay. The natives, they said, had told them that the Red Sea in India was named after King Erythus rather than because of its colour*. They added that off the (Indian?) mainland, there was an island ‘thickly planted with palm trees’ on which stood a ‘high column’ dedicated to Erythus. The island was a mysterious and dangerous place. Ships that travelled there to trade and search for gold ‘had never been seen again’.

After hearing Nearchus’ and Onesicritus’ report, Alexander told them to proceed up the Persian Gulf until they came to the Euphrates, which they should follow to Babylon.

At this point, Curtius breaks off to give Alexander’s future plans for imperial expansion. Africa was his first target, ‘because of his enmity to the Carthaginians’. After ‘crossing the Numidian deserts, he would set his course for Gades, where the pillars of Hercules were rumoured to be’. Then would come Spain and from there, Epirus.

With these plans in mind, Alexander gave the order for trees on Mt Libanus to be felled and a new fleet to be built.

The chapter ends with Alexander receiving a letter from an agent in Europe informing him that while he was in India, Zopyrion, the governor of Thrace, had been lost at sea during an expedition against the Getae. This had led another tribe, the Odrysians, to rebel. It appears there was also trouble in Greece as well but we do not know any more as the text breaks off at this point.

* Curtius first revealed this information in Book 8 Chapter 9

Chapter Two
The Mutiny at Opis
The narrative resumes with Harpalus’ flight from Babylon and his subsequent death*. Following this, Alexander issued his Exiles Decree. You can read more about it at Livius.

Curtius does not really draw a connection between the Harpalus affair and the Decree but if – as Livius suggests – it was intended as a way for Alexander to increase his control of the Greek cities it may have been inspired by the fact that before being expelled from Athens by an assembly of the people Harpalus had been welcomed by her ‘leading citizens’.

The chapter continues with the Mutiny at Opis. This arose after Alexander ordered 10,000 (according to Diodorus and Arrian) veterans to be sent home and 13,000 infantry and 2,000 cavalry to be kept in Asia. Upon hearing this, the army suspected that the king intended ‘to fix the royal seat permanently in Asia’. This lead to the mutiny. The rest of the chapter covers the army’s rebellion and Alexander’s speech condemning its behaviour.

* Harpalus was a longtime friend of Alexander. Medically unfit to serve in the army, the king had made him his treasurer. But Harpalus abused his position by hiring courtesans and embezzling money. When Alexander returned from India, Harpalus feared that he would be brought to account for his crimes and so fled to Greece.

Chapter Three
The Mutiny at Opis, Cont’d
The next day, Alexander not only denied his men an audience but gathered his Persian troops together and, through an interpreter, told them they were now full members of his army. ‘Asia and Europe are now one and the same kingdom… you are both my fellow-citizens and my soldiers’. Unfortunately, the text breaks off during Alexander’s speech.

Chapter Four
Last Words
This chapter ‘begins’ with Alexander being berated (by one of the ringleaders of the revolt being led off to execution?*) for allowing the condemned men to be executed in a foreign manner and ‘by their own captives’. Alexander, however, is unswayed.

Another lacuna ends this chapter, and as the notes state, we lose a whole series of events, ranging** from ‘the arrival of Persian soldiers to replace the discharged Macedonian veterans’ to Medius’ dinner party and Alexander’s collapse.

* This is suggested by a quotation within the notes

** I should say ‘probably ranging’. As we don’t have the text we don’t know if Curtius includes all the events that the notes mention. 

Chapter Five
The Death of Alexander
After the initial ‘weeping and… beating of breasts… a still silence like that of desert wastes’ falls over the royal quarters as the Macedonians give thought to the critical question – what next?

Chapter Six
Babylon Conference Begins
The Successors meet to decide who will be their next king.

Chapter Seven
The Babylonian Conference Breaks Down
The Successors’ meeting degenerates into ‘a mutinous uproar’ between the supporters of Alexander’s brother, Arrhidaeus and those supporting the cause of Roxane’s unborn child. When Arrhidaeus’ supporters break into Alexander’s bed chamber those supporting Roxane’s child are forced to flee. They leave Babylon and head ‘towards the Euphrates’. At this point, the Macedonian army seems cleanly divided between the infantry, who support Arrhidaeus, and the senior officers/cavalry, who support Roxane’s child.

Chapter Eight
Peace Brokered
Arrhidaeus asks Perdiccas to accept Meleager (leader of the infantry faction) ‘as a third general’*. Perdiccas does so and peace between the infantry and cavalry is restored.

* After Craterus and Perdiccas

Chapter Nine
Peace Broken
Perdiccas proposes a purification ceremony to heal the wounds caused by the recent violence. The ceremony involves ‘cutting a bitch in two and throwing down her entrails on the left and right at the far end of the plain into which the army was to be led’. He then uses the ceremony to extract and execute 300 of Meleager’s supporters.

Chapter Ten
Perdiccas Divides The Empire Among the Successors
As well as accounting for who-got-what*, Curtius notes the conspiracy theories surrounding the manner of Alexander’s death. The chapter, and book, then concludes with the removal of Alexander’s body from Babylon to Memphis by Ptolemy**. Later, Curtius says, it was transferred to Alexandria ‘where every mark of respect continues to be paid to his memory and his name.’

* For more about the Division of the Empire and Wars of Successors, see this series of posts

Curtius presents Ptolemy’s action as being normal. This despite the fact that in Chapter 5, he has Alexander ask for his body to be taken to ‘Hammon’ ( – Ammon i.e. Siwah?)

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Men on the Moon

This morning on Twitter I read the following tweet by historian Tom Holland.
imageYou can follow his link to The Sky at Night’s webpage here.
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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.
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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.
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Courtesy of Wikipedia, here is a list of people who have lunar craters named after them. It includes the following Greeks,

  • Agatharchides
  • Agrippa
  • Alexander the Great
  • Ammonius Saccas
  • Anaxagoras
  • Anaximander
  • Anaximenes of Miletus
  • Apollonius of Perga
  • Aratus
  • Archimedes
  • Archytas
  • Aristarchus of Samos
  • Aristillus
  • Aristotle
  • Autolycus of Pitane
  • Cleostratus
  • Euctemon
  • Harkhebi
  • Hipparchus
  • Philip III of Macedon
  • Bartholomaeus Pitiscus
  • Protagoras
  • Theaetetus
  • 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.
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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.
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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 🙂

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

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:
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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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