Posts Tagged With: Thais of Athens

Parmenion and Thaïs

My tea is cooking, I am drinking a rapidly cooling cup of coffee, but I cannot not write about Alexander.


Since Sunday, I have only had time to read Parmenion’s entry in The House of Parmenion, Part Two of Waldemar Heckel’s The Marshals of Alexander’s Empire. And I have to admit, I did not underline any of it with my green pen. Nothing stood out enough. I feel that I have done Parmenion a disservice.

Sadly for him, that’s nothing new. His execution, brought about by the execution (some might say judicial murder) of his son Philotas, in 330 B.C., was a terrific fall from grace for someone who had been such an important figure in the Macedonian court for many years. In the years following his death, his reputation was besmirched either by Callisthenes or others in Alexander’s court whose mission it was to justify his death. They couldn’t do it directly because he had done nothing wrong, so they told stories about him – that he was an incompetent soldier, that he gave bad advice etc.


I have a Second Achilles Tumblr page, which I confess I do not update nearly as often as I would like; I have, however, updated it twice today. If you would like to know what contemporary song Thaïs of Athens would like, click here; if learning a little about my Twitter Macedonians takes your fancy, click here.

I have to admit, though, I wrote both posts with a bit of trepidation. I mentioned Thaïs’ song on the Facebook page the other day and I am not used to effectively re-publishing posts. Will people feel short changed? On the other hand, perhaps not everyone who uses Tumblr uses Facebook or has Liked/Followed my page there.

In regards the Twitter Macedonians, I am always wary about talking about that side of my work because I often feel it will distract from the story that I am telling on Twitter. I don’t want people to read Alexander and co’s tweets and be thinking of me. But, you know, when I read The Lord of the Rings I don’t think about Tolkien so maybe I am overthinking the matter and worrying too much. If you have any thoughts about either matter, do let me know.

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Alexander’s Sexuality

The Bay Area Reporter of San Francisco has published an article titled Alexander the Great & Greek Love on its website. You can read it here.

By the standards of most on-line articles concerning Alexander, the article is a really good one; the writer has clearly looked more deeply into the topic than plenty of other journalists. Occasionally, however, he lets himself down.

Paragraph 1
This is an excellent introduction to Alexander. It’s the kind of passage that I wish I had written. I would dispute that Alexander ‘in the West, [is] probably the best-known ancient ruler’. In my opinion that honour belongs to Julius Caesar.

Paragraph 2
Another good paragraph. Unfortunately, it does contain one mistake: contrary to what the writer asserts, Philip II did not ‘subjugate’ Sparta. He threatened the Spartans but never invaded their country. Ultimately, he had no need to do so. On the positive side, the writer makes a nice point about Olympias, one that is always worth remembering: ‘Olympias must have been remarkable, or else little would be known about her’.

Paragraph 3
Again, a good paragraph. The line ‘Philip was assassinated, perhaps by a former male lover’ (my emphasis) stood out for me. Diodorus (XVI.93) says that that a man named Pausanias was ‘beloved by [Philip] because of his beauty’. In English, to be beloved of someone is not necessarily to be their lover, which is perhaps the reason for the writer’s caution in describing Pausanias. However, Diodorus goes on to describe how he – Pausanias – bad mouthed another man of the same name when he – Pausanias the assassin – ‘saw that the king was becoming enamoured’ of them. Pausanias accused his namesake ‘of being a hermaphrodite and prompt to accept the amorous advances of any who wished’. If Pausanias the assassin was not Philip’s lover I don’t think he would have had any reason to speak to the second Pausanias in that way.

Paragraph 4
This paragraph opens with some excellent questions regarding Alexander’s empire that we will debate until the end of time. The writer then states that Alexander ‘married an Afghanistani chieftain’s daughter’. Roxane, of course, was not from Afghanistan. The country did not exist then. She was Bactrian.

Paragraph 5
It’s hard to judge this paragraph one way or the other as the writer dives into history too early and late for me. However, I like very much that he recognises that it is anachronistic to talk of Alexander being homosexual on the grounds that ‘”homosexuality” and “heterosexuality” as social constructs didn’t exist before the 19th century’. For the record, I have no idea when homo- and hetero- sexuality were invented so I take him at his word that it was indeed in the nineteenth century.

Paragraph 6
The writer points out that ‘many writers’ believe Alexander and Hephaestion could not have had a sexual relationship as they ‘were the same age’ (Curtius III.12.16 says they were the same age) and points to evidence in James Davidson’s The Greeks and Greek Love to show that peers could be lovers. He cites Davidson’s example of Harmodius and Aristogeiton. They lived in the sixth century B.C. It would, I suppose, have been more helpful to use an example from Alexander’s own time as times do change but given how slowly this seems to have happened in the past I doubt much changed between the late sixth century and the middle of the fourth.

Paragraph 7
The following two quotations contain the whole of this paragraph. The writers states,

Most ancient sources agree that Alexander was attracted to young men.

This is more than I know. I know that he was certainly attracted to one young man – Bagoas; I am not aware of any others with whom he had an affair. It would be interesting to know who the writer’s source was, or who his sources were, for this statement.

According to Plutarch, Hephaestion was the man whom “Alexander loved most of all.”

This quotation doesn’t appear in my Penguin Classics (2011) edition of Plutarch’s Life of Alexander but I think it comes from Chapter 47. In my edition, the text there reads ‘In general [Alexander] showed most affection for Hephaestion’.

Their relationship was all-encompassing. They drank, hunted, and campaigned together. Hephaestion acted as Alexander’s Chief of Staff. It was most likely sexual. 

Really? It is equally likely that they were simply very close friends. In terms of how the writer sees Alexander’s and Hephaestion’s relationship, I am on his side, but here I think the last sentence is an example of his wish for the two to have been lovers rather than because the facts he mentions prove it to have been so.

Paragraphs 8 – 9
Here, the writer turns to the best ‘evidence’ to my mind for Alexander and Hephaestion being lovers: their imitation of Achilles and Patroclus (Arrian I.12 cf. Plutarch Life 15)who in their day were believed to be lovers. As a side note, I like that the writer acknowledges that Homer doesn’t call Achilles and Patroclus lovers. It’s this attention to detail which really sets the article above any other I have read on Alexander.

Paragraph 10
The writer now turns to the famous moment when Sisygambis mistook Hephaestion for Alexander (Arrian II.13, Curtius III.12.16-17) only for the king to reply “This one, too, is Alexander.” in support of his case that they were lovers. When considering this passage, I feel that I am at the limit of my understanding of what Alexander meant with those words. Was he implying that the two were one as lovers are or was he referring to a very deep and platonic friendship?

Paragraph 11
The writer refers to Bagoas as Darius III’s ‘boyfriend’ which is a wholly inaccurate and misleading way to describe him. Bagoas was a eunuch, a slave. There was no equality between Darius and Bagoas, such as exists between lovers of the same or opposite sex. The writer goes on to say that Bagoas ‘soon found his way into Alexander’s bed’ as if he managed to inveigle his way there. Far more likely that Alexander told or asked him to come to him. Finally, he writes ‘Bagoas’ presence doesn’t rule out physical intimacy between Alexander and Hephaestion. In any case, they remained inseparable.’ Both these statements are surely and certainly true.

Paragraph 12 – 13
This paragraph begins ‘Nothing demonstrates Alexander’s passion for Hephaestion more than his reaction to his death.’ I could not agree more. The writer goes on to give an account of Alexander’s response to Hephaestion’s death, to which I can only say that even if they did not share a bed, if there is an ounce of truth in account, it is proof positive that Alexander loved Hephaestion very deeply indeed.

Paragraph 14
This paragraph begins with the admission that ‘Unless new evidence is uncovered, the exact nature of Alexander’s sexual orientation (to use an anachronistic term) will never be known.’ It concludes,

Nonetheless, a reasonable interpretation of extant sources, studied within the context of the sexual mores of Classical and Hellenistic Greek societies, leads to the conclusion that his erotic feelings were primarily directed at males.

This I disagree with. Alexander had three wives – Roxane, Stateira II and Parysatis. But these were dynastic marriages, one may say; this is true, but what of his mistresses: Barsine, Pancaste/Callixeina, Thalestris, Cleophis and perhaps Thais, later Ptolemy I’s lover? Some of these relationships may be legendary (e.g. Thalestris) but all? I doubt it. My conclusion to all that I have read is that Alexander was sexually attracted to both men and women, and of them both he liked Hephaestion most.

Categories: Of The Moment, On Alexander | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Thaïs’ Torch Song

I know a girl, a girl called Party, Party girl

We all know what happened at Persepolis: Alexander got drunk and allowed Thaïs of Athens to persuade him to burn the royal palace down in revenge for the destruction wrought by the Persians when they invaded Greece 150 years earlier.

Diodorus adds a few details to this outline. The party was part of a celebration, which included ‘costly sacrifices to the gods’ and games ‘in honour of his victories’.

He says that when Thaïs rose to speak, ‘the drinking was far advanced’. I take this to mean that it had been going on for a long time rather than that Alexander, for example, was blind drunk, otherwise I doubt he would have been physically able to lead the ‘triumphal procession’ that ended with the palace being torched.

Either way, the only other details that he gives us are that the feast was a rich one and that female musicians were present. For when Alexander led the guests out of the palace, they followed, singing and playing flutes and pipes.


As we have discovered over the last couple of days, Arrian is not your go-to man for anything involving fun. His account of the nine-day festival at Dium was perfunctory and he simply ignored the jauntier side of the Macedonian’s one month stay in Babylon.

Things do not improve here in Persepolis. Arrian says nothing at all about the Macedonian celebrations and implies that Alexander alone was responsible for the decision to burn the royal palace.

The reason for these omissions, and – by-the-way, the absence of Thaïs’ name – may stem from the fact that Arrian took his account of what happened in Persepolis from Ptolemy Lagides, her lover, who would obviously have had no interest in reminding anyone of her part in the affair.

Having said that, Ptolemy was not Arrian’s only source, and I very much doubt that Aristobulos – who treats Alexander so favourably – would have identified his king as being solely responsible for the debacle.

But even if he had (and he is supposed to have lived in Alexandria in later years so maybe had to think about keeping Ptolemy sweet) what of other writers? The only explanation I can offer is that Arrian did indeed know about Thaïs’ involvement but simply decided to trust Ptolemy’s account. King’s don’t lie, after all.


(Life 38)
Plutarch builds upon Diodorus’ picture of what happened. He explains that Alexander ‘happened to get involved in a rowdy drinking party with his companions’. I have to trust that the translation is accurate but with the best will in the world, I really can’t imagine Alexander just ‘happening’ to join a party.

Anyway, ‘[s]ome women’ were present. They ‘had come in a drunken revel to see their lovers’. As we’ll see in the long quote from Curtius, below, he is talking here about the courtesans who lived with some of Alexander’s generals.

Rather than talk further about Thaïs, here is a link to my post on this chapter of Plutarch’s Life, which I wrote for my Tumblr blog. I’ll now move on to Cutius as the rest of Chapter 38 is taken up with Thaïs’ speech and its consequences.


Yesterday, we saw Curtius write like an ‘outraged’ tabloid journalist with his hyperbolic description of Babylon’s sexual depravity*. Today, we do not find him any less annoyed.

He admits that ‘Alexander had some great natural gifts’ but snaps that ‘all these were marred by his inexcusable fondness for drink.’

At the very time that his enemy and rival for imperial power was preparing to resume hostilities, and when the conquered nations, only recently subdued, still had scant respect for his authority, he was attending day-time drinking parties at which women were present – not, indeed, such women as it was a crime to violate, but courtesans who had been leading disreputable lives with the soldiers.

And that’s how we know that Curtius was the Roman equivalent of a tabloid journalist. He liked being outraged and considered that it was acceptable to ‘violate’ some women**.

As Curtius’ blood pressure rises, he refers to Thaïs as ‘the drunken whore’. Now, drunk she may have been, but a whore she was not; at least, not in the commonly understood sense. Whores, by which I mean common prostitutes, offered sex. They trod the streets with messages like ‘follow me’ cut into their shoes and that was that. You got no more than their bodies from them.

Courtesans, by contrast, were well educated women who may have slept with their clients but were hired also – or principally – for their companionship, their intellectual and artistic skills. Now, I don’t know what word Curtius used to describe Thaïs but if he used the Latin for ‘[common] prostitute’ he was either ignorant of her true profession or purposefully ignoring it in order to put her down. Given his low of view of women as described above, I suspect the later is the case.

Curtius goes on to say that the Macedonians were ashamed of what Alexander (and presumably, Thaïs) did and that the king, after sleeping off his drunkenness also regretted his actions. This is in accord with what Plutarch says.

* I am aware that Babylon had a very bad reputation in terms of the sexual conduct of its people but Curtius could always have used more sober or neutral language. He is a historian not a moralist

** Here I have to recognise that Curtius may simply be referring to the fact – if so it was – that courtesans had no protection from rape under the law. Such would appear to be the case in respect of prostitutes according to this Wikipedia article. But even if there is only stating a legal fact we may still question the overall tone of his writing which is negative

Persepolis in Short
Reason Celebrate Alexander’s war victories
Duration Short – perhaps one night?
Outstanding Features Ended with one less royal palace in the world
Result Ptolemy sitting at his desk many years later, thinking “… no, I really can’t put that in. Is there any party that is safe to mention??”

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Decay Sets In

Justin’s Alexander
Book XI Chapters 10-15
Part Three
Other posts in this series

For this post I am using this translation of Justin’s Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus

Chapter Ten
We ended the last post on a high, with Alexander showing his respect for the Persian royal women.

Unfortunately, we begin this post on a low as Justin pinpoints the aftermath of the Battle of Issus as the moment when Alexander first allowed himself to be seduced by Eastern riches and beauty. The Macedonian king was ‘seized with admiration’ of Darius’ ‘wealth and display’. As a result ‘… he… began to indulge in luxurious and splendid banquets’.

Justin also says that it was at this time that Alexander ‘fell in love with his captive Barsine* for her beauty’. In 327/6 she would give him a son, Hercules. If this sounds very romantic, Justin’s reference to Barsine indicates that he considered Alexander’s love for her to be part of his degeneration.

Justin gives a more positive view of Alexander when he describes how the latter appointed Abdolonymus as king of Sidon. He says that Alexander put Abdolonymus, rather than a Sidonian nobleman, on the throne ‘lest they should regard his favour as shown to their birth, and not as proceeding from the kindness of the giver’.

* Daughter of Artabazus

Chapter Eleven
We can’t have too much of a good thing, though, and it is Alexander the manipulator who now returns. In some style, too. Justin relates how his mother, Olympias, ‘confessed to her husband Philip, that “she had conceived Alexander, not by him, but by a serpent of extraordinary size” and that, in consequence of this, Philip had disowned Alexander and divorced her. Alexander visited Siwah, therefore, ‘anxious to obtain the honour of divine paternity, and to clear his mother from infamy’.

To make sure both his wishes were satisfied, the king sent messengers ahead of him to tell the priests ‘what answers he wished to receive’. Upon his arrival, they duly hailed Alexander as the son of Ammon and, for good measure, told his friends ‘that “they should reverence [him] as a god, and not as a king.”‘

Justin says that the announcement of his divinity increased Alexander’s ‘haughtiness’ and brought about ‘a strange arrogance… in his mind, the agreeableness of demeanour, which he had contracted from the philosophy of the Greeks and the habits of the Macedonians, being entirely laid aside.’

Chapter Twelve
In the period that followed, Darius tried to buy Alexander off by offering him money, territory and ‘one of his daughters” (perhaps Stateira II as she was the oldest of the two) hand in marriage. Alexander rejected these overtures. He didn’t want money, he wanted the whole Persian empire. And it was no use offering part of the empire and Stateira II to him as he already possessed both. Alexander told Darius ‘”to come to him as a suppliant, and to leave the disposal of his kingdom to his conqueror.”’

Clearly, Alexander had no time for Darius. I would hesitate to say that this was due to his post-Siwah haughtiness, however; he would certainly have given the same reply at any other point of his life – but this did not influence his treatment of Darius’ family. Thus, when the Great King was informed (by an escaped eunuch) that ‘“his wife [Stateira I] had died of a miscarriage’ he was also told ‘that Alexander had mourned for her death, and attended her funeral’. Importantly, given who Stateira I was, the eunuch gave Alexander’s motive for his behaviour as ‘kindness of feeling’ rather than love, for ‘Darius’s wife had been visited by him but once, though he had often gone to console his mother and her little daughters’.

Following the events of Siwah, this is a very welcome return to nobility for Alexander. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long. When Darius thanked him for his kindness towards Stateira I, and made an offer of more money, land and a daughter’s hand in marriage in order to end hostilities between them, Alexander rather proudly – as it seems to me – replied that he had no need of the Great King’s thanks. Nothing,

“had been done by him to flatter Darius, or to gain the means of mollifying him, with a view either to the doubtful results of war, or to conditions of peace; but that he had acted from a certain greatness of mind, by which he had learned to fight against the forces of his enemies, not to take advantage of their misfortunes…”

I find it impossible to read ‘from a certain greatness of mind’ without imagining Alexander looking down his nose at Darius.

Chapter Thirteen
As the Macedonian and Persian armies lined up to fight the Battle of Gaugamela, Alexander gave his men another inspirational speech. Unsurprisingly, and wisely, he met the issue of superior Persian numbers head-on. Don’t be alarmed that the Persian army is greater in size than our own, he told them, Darius is only fighting with more human beings. We are fighting with more men. If nothing else, that is a neat turn of phrase.

Chapter Fourteen
This chapter covers the Battle of Gaugamela, its aftermath and Alexander’s subsequent march to Susa and Persepolis. Justin’s treatment of the new Great King is limited to a comment about how bravely he fought at Gaugamela,

Alexander… made the most hazardous efforts; where he saw the enemy thickest, and fighting most desperately, there he always threw himself, desiring that the peril should be his, and not his soldiers’.

and an acknowledgement of his kindness towards the mutilated Greeks to whom he gave permission to return home from their Persian exile.

Chapter Fifteen
Alexander comes to the fore in an indirect manner here. Justin recounts how Darius was found mortally wounded after being attacked by ‘his relatives*’. Before dying, he commended Alexander once again for his kindness to his ‘mother and children’. He had proved himself ‘a prince, not… a foe’.

Upon reaching Darius’ body, Alexander,

… contemplated with tears a death so unsuitable to his dignity. He also directed his corpse to be buried as that of a king, and his relics to be conveyed to the sepulchres of his ancestors.

So, after the blows done to Alexander’s reputation during the course of these chapters – specifically, the beginning of his medising after Issus and the arrogance that came from being declared son of Ammon – we are able to end on a positive note, one which reminds us of what we have known since the first post in this series – Alexander’s respect for history, and adds something new – his respect for Persian religious practices and fallen enemies.

* i.e. Bessus

The clouds are definitely gathering around Justin’s Alexander. If it doesn’t seem like it that is only because Justin prioritises telling Alexander’s story rather than dwelling on the on-going impact of the latter’s decision to adopt a Persian lifestyle. It is interesting, though, that Justin still finds time to give an account of some of Alexander’s more positive actions – it would have been very easy for him to exclude them – think of the way Ptolemy is supposed to have suppressed the role of Thaïs’, his mistress, in the destruction of the royal palace at Persepolis – but no, there they are for us to see and appreciate. Can we say that this is proof that Justin was not wholly antagonistic towards Alexander?

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Fire and Ice

The Nature of Curtius
Book Five Chapters 6-13
For other posts in the series click here

Chapter Six
Persepolis and Beyond
Upon their arrival in Persepolis, the Macedonians tore the city apart in their desire for loot. Many Persians were killed while others chose to kill themselves and their families before the invaders could get them.

The violence got so out of hand that Alexander had to issue an order to his men ‘to keep their hands off the women and their dress’. He didn’t order an end to the murder and plunder, though, that was legitimate retribution to ‘appease the spirits of their forefathers’.

Alexander arrived in Persepolis in January. In April, ‘at the time of the Pleiades’, he set out to subdue the Persian interior. Along ‘with 1,000 cavalry and a detachment of light-armed infantry’, Alexander marched through heavy rains towards his targets.

The Macedonians must have been high up because their road was ‘covered with permanent snow’. The soldiers trudged through it loyally but the ‘desolation of the terrain and the trackless wilderness terrified’ them. They thought they had reached the end of the world.

Curtius says that the soldiers ‘clamoured to go back before daylight and sky also came to an end’. But Alexander did not give in. And neither did he criticise his men. Instead, he dismounted his horse and continued on foot. Where the ice blocked his way, he simply smashed it apart with an axe.

It’s impossible to imagine how scared the Macedonian soldiers must have been – here they were at the end of the world and still yet the king went on! There was no question of a mutiny, though. The men were inspired by their king’s example to pull out their axes and follow after him.

Presently, signs of civilisation were spotted. There were ‘flocks of animals wandering here and there’ and ‘scattered huts’. On seeing the Macedonians, the natives killed their weak and infirm and fled to the mountains. Before long, however, Alexander managed to persuade them to return to their homes.

He was less clement to other natives and spent some time ‘ravaging’ their territory. Finally, Alexander met to ‘a bellicose people’ called the Mardians who lived in mountainside caves. Curtius makes them sound like cavemen. The tribe lived off the meat ‘of domesticated or wild animals’ and their women had shaggy, unkempt hair. The hemline of their clothes ended above the knee and they wore a sling around their heads that served as both ‘a head-dress and a weapon’.

The Mardians were used to a rough life and liked fighting but they were soon subdued by Alexander’s men. One month after leaving Persepolis, the king returned there in triumph.

Chapter Seven
The Royal Palace is Torched
We now come to Curtius’ account of the burning of the royal palace at Persepolis. Like Diodorus*, he places the blame for its destruction on the shoulders of Ptolemy’s mistress, Thaïs. It was Alexander, however, who threw the first torch. ‘Large sections of the palace had been made of cedar’ so the fire quickly took hold and spread.

The Macedonians in their camp outside the city saw the blaze and thought an accident had occurred. They rushed into Persepolis carrying pails of water. Seeing their king throw wood onto the blaze, however, they realised what was happening and joined in.

That was the end of the royal palace. The birthplace of kings and laws, of military strategy and terror; from it came armies that bridged the Hellespont (Xerxes I in 480 B.C.), and dug tunnels through mountains**. No more, though. Future kings would build their palaces elsewhere. For Curtius, Persepolis would be lost – not even ‘marked by the Araxes’ – which flowed past rather than through it.

* See this post for Diodorus’ account of the burning of the royal palace

** I’ve not been able to find out what Curtius is referring to although I think it might be another Herodotus reference? If you know, please leave a comment below!

Chapter Eight – Thirteen
These chapters focus on Darius’ last days. At the start of Chapter Eight we find him in Ecbatana. From then on, Curtius has very little to say about the Great King’s surroundings. The following, however, is of note –

Chapter Eight

  • (Darius’ rallying speech to his men)

Chapter Nine

  • Nabarzanes urges Darius to temporarily abdicate in order to allow a new king to make a fresh start in the fight against Alexander. He says that victory is possible as the east – Bactria and India are mentioned as well as the Sacae – is still under his control

Chapter Ten

  • Bessus and Nabarzanes decide to assassinate Darius. They are confident they can replace him as their territory (which amounts to a third of Asia) contains its best fighting men

Chapter Eleven

  • (Patron* warns Darius that Bessus and Nabarzanes are plotting against him)

* Leader of the Greek mercenaries

Chapter Twelve

  • When the Persians set up camp, the men put down their weapons and head off in groups to nearby villages to collect supplies. Curtius describes this as being their ‘usual practice’, though I doubt a larger army would do this!

Chapter Thirteen

  • Alexander chases Darius across country, being guided along the way by deserters
  • Reaching the Persian convoy, he has trouble finding Darius who has been hidden in a covered wagon
  • A Macedonian named Polystratus goes to a spring to quench his thirst. While drinking from it, he notices the wounded animals who had been pulling Darius’ wagon.
  • Polystratus wonders why the animals had been wounded rather than just driven off when he hears cries from within the wagon…

There is a lacuna in the text and Book 5 ends here

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Daily Diodorus
Vol. VIII. Book XVII Ch. 70-72 (Loeb Classical Library)
Read the other posts in this series here

The Headlines
Persepolis Looted
Macedonians Turn On Each Other During Gold Rush
Alexander Secures Citadel Treasury
Courtesan Incites Destruction of Royal Palace

The Story

Chapter 70
Persepolis was the capital of Persia and Alexander described it to his men, perhaps for that reason, ‘as the most hateful of the cities of Asia’ before handing it to them to plunder.

For a day, the Macedonian soldiery ran riot through the city, stripping every home of its riches. By Alexander’s command, only the royal palaces were exempt from looting. The native men were slaughtered and women taken as slaves.

The Macedonians’ avarice was so great that they turned on each other in order to gain more wealth. Fights broke out, Macedonians were killed; some had their hands cut off as they grasped for the gold and silver before them, others cut valuables in half rather than give them all up to a rival. Diodorus describes a people ‘driven mad by their passions’.

Chapter 71
While his men devastated Persepolis, Alexander went to its citadel to take ‘possession of the treasure there’. Two hundred years of treasure was stored inside. Its total value was 120,000 talents. Alexander kept some of the money ‘to meet the costs of the war’, and had the rest sent back to Susa.

For the rest of this chapter, Diodorus tells us about the royal palace precinct.

The citadel

  • ‘[S]urrounded by a triple wall’
  • Outer (?) wall – 16 cubits high, ‘topped by battlements’
  • Middle wall – 32 cubits high
  • Inner (?) wall – Rectangular & made of stone; 60 cubits high
  • Bronze doors in each wall
  • Bronze poles stand next to each door; 20 cubits high

Citadel Terrace

  • To the East on ‘the so-called royal hill’ are the royal tombs
  • ‘Scattered About’ the terrace – royal quarters, homes of nobility, guard houses

Chapter 72
In the days following his arrival in Persepolis, Alexander ‘held games in honour of his victories’ and ‘performed costly sacrifices to the gods’. He entertained his friends with lavish feasts where copious amounts of alcohol as well as food were consumed.

One night, when the festivities were well advanced, ‘a madness took possession of the minds of the intoxicated guests’. A woman stood up and declared that ‘it would be the finest of all [Alexander’s] feats in Asia’ if he were to set the royal palace ablaze and permit her to share in the destruction of ‘the famed accomplishments of the Persians’.

The woman was Thaïs of Athens and had she no special connection to the king he might just have laughed off her request. But Thaïs – who was a courtesan – had once been his close companion, possibly even his lover, and now lived with Alexander’s friend, Ptolemy Lagides. Her voice carried weight.

It also captured the vengeful mood of the Macedonians that night, a mood that was, it seems, as yet unsated by the day-long plundering of the city; for no sooner had Thaïs spoken than her call was taken up by the other guests.

The Loeb translation says that Alexander ‘caught fire at their words’. I can’t decide if this is a singularly appropriate or inappropriate metaphor to use given the circumstances. Anyway, Alexander leapt to his feet. A ‘victory procession in honour of Dionysus’ was formed and torches lit. Female musicians provided the soundtrack to this momentous moment. Alexander threw his torch into the palace first. Thaïs was permitted to do so second. Everyone else followed thereafter.

The fire took hold and the royal palace went up in flames. Athens was finally avenged; how remarkable, says Diodorus, ‘that the impious act of Xerxes… against the acropolis at Athens should have been repaid in kind… by one woman, a citizen of the land which suffered it, and in sport’.

Alexander’s expedition was – at least ostensibly – carried out to avenge the Persian invasion of Greece in 480 B.C. so the destruction of the Persepolis, the capital of Persia, marks its natural conclusion. I guess that is why Alexander went to the effort of calling the city the most hated in Asia, which he did not do – for example – in the imperial capital of Babylon.

Further to this, Diodorus is also at pains to personalise Alexander’s hatred towards Persepoleans. ‘He felt bitter enmity to the inhabitants. He did not trust them, and he meant to destroy Persepolis utterly’. Actually, thinking about it, I would suggest that Alexander saw the Persepoleans as icons of the hated empire rather than truly as individuals.

Diodorus paints a lurid picture of Macedonian avarice. There was an ‘orgy of plunder’, ‘boundless greed’, and ‘exceeding lust’. The funny thing is, though (funny peculiar, that is), so far as I can tell, the Macedonians  were acting within accepted boundaries. The only thing that they did differently was go after the valuables before killing/enslaving the native population because Persepolis was such a rich place.

By the way, the reason I have put question marks next to the inner and outer wall bullet points is that it isn’t clear to me which Diodorus is describing. I might have it the wrong way round.

In describing the events leading to the destruction of the royal palaces, I have missed out one occurrence. Some of the guests who urged Alexander to set fire to the palaces, said that to do so would be ‘a deed worthy of [him] alone’.

imagine the guests were thinking in terms of Alexander’s leadership of the Hellenic League. However, so far Thaïs is concerned, their words do seem to have a slight hint of rebuke about them – either a personal one, or one that is founded on the fact that she was an Athenian not Macedonian.

We don’t know enough about Thaïs to know whether or not she was a popular person within Alexander’s court (practically speaking it didn’t matter on account of her past and present patrons) but we do know from the unhappy example of Eumenes in the successor period that Macedonians did not take to other Greeks very well. I would be very surprised if prejudice wasn’t somewhere in the drunken guests’ minds.

If there was hostility to Thaïs in the court, it is interesting that Alexander permitted her to throw her torch into the palace after him. If nothing else, it shows that he appreciated the symbolism of their act.

One final point about Thaïs – I am sure her motive to burn the royal palaces was to avenge her home city but I can’t help but note that Diodorus represents her as only wanting to destroy the Persians ‘famed accomplishments’. His Thaïs is rather a nihilist. The issue of vengeance is raised by an unknown person a moment later.

Dragon’s Den
Coming Soon to an amphitheatre near you. Watch contestants try to persuade Thaïs that their home, palace or city should not be destroyed. The winners get to live. The loser will hear the immortal words – “You’re fired”.

Categories: Diodorus Siculus | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Ptolemy in Jerusalem and other works of art

This painting is a mediaeval representation of Ptolemy I Soter taking Jerusalem in 320 B.C. It is by French artist Jean Fouquet (1420-82). I’m not aware that Ptolemy ever entered Jerusalem; still, it’s nice to see him portrayed here – looking very splendid in his gold armour and fine beard.

In this picture we see Thaïs of Athens stand proudly in front of Alexander as she is given the torch that she will use to burn the royal palace in Persepolis. In a very short time the party that is raging all around her and Alexander will be replaced by fire – the scorch marks of which I believe are still visible today. I first saw this picture a few weeks ago; unfortunately, I can’t remember where or, for that matter, who the artist is. I found the picture again today on a blog titled The Honest Courtesan.

The above link takes you to a potted biography of Thaïs by The Honest Courtesan‘s writer, Maggie McNeill. As with all historical studies there are points one can dispute but it is a good précis. One thing it doesn’t mention, which I certainly would have, is Ptolemy’s discretion towards Thaïs, which is indicated by Arrian’s omission of her name in his account of the fire. Having said that, McNeill’s closing paragraph is excellently written and, interestingly, echoes the Venerable Bede’s statement about the bird who lies through the mead hall.
This painting, by Sebastian Conca (16680-1764), is titled Alexander the Great in the Temple of Jerusalem. Ever since I saw it over at Alexander’s Army a while ago I’ve been meaning to write a post about it but couldn’t because I could find nothing out about Conca. As I look at the painting now I am just as struck as I was a few months ago by the twisting pillars. They remind me very much of the pillars in St Peter’s basilica that hold up the baldacchino.

Note also St Peter’s arches which reappear in Conca’s painting. To the best of my knowledge, Alexander never visited Jerusalem or had any contact with the Jews. Why might Conca have decided to paint a fictional scene, then? To find the answer to that we would have to know for whom he painted this piece. Whoever it was, I wonder if he was not creating an allegorical scene – Alexander being his patron; the Temple the Catholic Church; Conca is directing his patron to God and obedience to the Church.

St Peter’s baldacchino was designed by Bernini. This painting, below, appears on Tumblr where I have seen it described as being a self-portrait of Bernini as Alexander the Great. I have looked around on other websites to see if I can find any proof that Bernini did indeed paint this work but without success. Do you know anything about it?


Categories: Art | Tags: , , , , | 8 Comments

Plutarch’s Women: The Persian Royal Family, Barbarian Women, the Amazonian Queen, General Ref. & Roxane (Chapts. 43, 44, 46 & 47)

For the other posts in this series, click here

The Persian Royal Family
We pick up the story of Plutarch’s women in Chapter 43 of his Life of Alexander. In July 330 BC Alexander finally caught up with Darius III. The Great King had been on the run since losing the Battle of Gaugamela the previous October.
Plutarch tells us that Alexander ‘burst into’ Darius’ camp. He met no opposition there, however, only ‘great heaps of gold and silver vessels’ and ‘wagons full of women and children that were moving aimlessly about’.
How empty these remnants of his riches must have seemed to Darius; how broken his people.
Today, however, the Great King wasn’t in the camp but further up the road. He was found by a Macedonian named Polystratus, lying in a wagon, ‘riddled with javelins’. At Darius’ request, Polystratus gave him some water to drink.
By-the-bye, could we compare this incident to the moment, during his pursuit of the Great King when Alexander refused water because there was not enough for his men? If so, perhaps Darius’ request could be said to demonstrate his weakness in comparison to Alexander.
Sipping the water, Darius regretted that he would not be able to repay Polystratus’ act of kindness. ‘[b]ut,’ he said to the Macedonian, ‘Alexander will reward you… and the gods will repay him for his courtesy towards my mother, and my wife and my children.’ Darius then placed his hand in Polystratus’ and died. Afterwards, Alexander sent his body to Sisygambis, Darius’ mother, ‘to be laid out in royal state’.
It might be stretching things to say that Darius died happy but it does seem to me that we can’t overestimate how important it was to him that his family were treated with ‘courtesy’. As to weather this was because of their political value or because he genuinely loved them, I cannot say. I imagine it was a combination of the two.
Barbarian Women
In Chapter 44, Plutarch tells how Hyrcanian tribesmen kidnapped Bucephalas. Could you imagine a worse thing for anyone to do? No wonder, then, that Alexander warned the tribe that if Bucephalas was not returned, ‘he would exterminate the whole tribe, together with their women and children.’ Naturally, Bucephalas was returned – unharmed.
This episode has an ending that is typical of Alexander. Once Bucephalas had been returned, the king gave a ransom (Plutarch calls it that) to his kidnappers. Perhaps the king was just relieved to have his beloved horse again, but when I think of people like Porus, Oxyartes and Artabazus, to name but three, I feel I could write a book titled

Resist Then Submit
A Guide to Surviving being Alexander the Great’s Enemy

The next reference to a woman comes in Chapter 46; and what a reference it is, for it is here that Plutarch tells us that, while in Parthia, Alexander met the queen of the legendary Amazons.
Well, kind of.
Firstly, Plutarch acknowledges that while several historians provide an account of this meeting, others – including Ptolemy – ‘maintain that [it] is a fiction’.
Secondly, he records a letter sent by Alexander to Antipater in which Alexander describes the occasion when he is supposed to have met the Amazonian queen. He does not mention her at all – only that a Scythian king had offered him his daughter in marriage.
Finally, he also relates how, years later, Lysimachus smiled at Onesicritus’ account of the incident and said, ‘I wonder where I was then.’

For Plutarch’s sake, it is probably just as well that Alexander never met the queen of the Amazons. He has already undermined his view that Alexander was chaste once (read here – Who was the father of Stateira’s baby?); goodness knows how he would deal with a woman who is supposed to have kept Alexander in bed for two weeks in order to make her pregnant.
General Reference
To tell another man that he is doing X ‘like a woman’ is an age old insult. In Chapter 47 we see that it goes back to at least 330 BC. In Hyrcania, Alexander became ‘anxious’ – for reasons not precisely explained – that his men would refuse to follow him any further. Standing before the Macedonian army, he explained to them that,

… up to now the barbarians had watched them as if they were in a dream, but that if they merely threw the whole country into disorder, and then retired, the Persians would fall upon them as if they were so many women.

Presumably, the Persians had never fought the Amazonians.
As for the toughness of women – Olympias was already showing that she was no feeble female, Thaïs had shown her credentials in Persepolis, and in a few years time, Adea Euridike would give an equally good account of herself.
To end this post, we stay in a Chapter 47 for a quick reference to Roxane. Plutarch says the Alexander fell in love with her after seeing her dance. He admits, though, that the marriage was politically convenient. Despite Stateira I’s pregnancy, he persists with the idea that Alexander was wholly chaste. He records that,

… the barbarians were encouraged by the feeling of partnership which [the] marriage created, and they were completely won over by Alexander’s moderation and courtesy and by the fact that without the sanction of marriage he would not approach the only woman who had ever conquered him.

It is interesting that Plutarch speaks of the barbarians as seeing the marriage in terms of being a ‘partnership’ whereas for him it was a victory for Roxanne. It seems to suggest that the barbarians were reconciled to Alexander’s kingship. As for Plutarch, I suppose it is in the nature of those who have, or in Plutarch’s case, take the side of those in power, to always fear its loss.

Categories: Plutarch's Women | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Plutarch’s women: Thaïs of Athens, Olympias and Telesippa (Chapts. 38, 39 and 41)

For previous posts in this series click here

This post continues directly on from the last one. I divided them as the number of women I wanted to talk about made the title too long! Anyway, here we are, so let’s proceed to –

Thaïs of Athens
In Chapter 38 Plutarch narrates one of the most memorable and infamous moments of Alexander’s career – the burning of the Royal Palace at Persepolis. According to him, a courtesan named Thaïs incited Alexander to set the palace ablaze, saying that, while it had been a joy to revel in the palace of the Persians, it would be an even ‘sweeter pleasure’ to set fire to ‘the palace of Xerxes, who had laid Athens to ashes’.
As Plutarch admits, there are differing views on how the palace came to be burnt down. Some say it was done on impulse, others that it was a matter of policy. Thaïs’ role, however, is almost uniformly agreed upon (see here for more on what the sources say). Almost. Arrian omits any mention of her. Given, however, that his main source is her lover, Ptolemy, perhaps that is not surprising. Going back to Plutarch, though, the fire seemed to have sobered Alexander up. For he ‘quickly repented and gave orders for the fire to be put out. Whether Thaïs ever repented is not recorded.
We continue with a letter written by Olympias to her son. In Chapter 39 Plutarch tells us about Alexander’s generosity to his friends. We learn of Ariston, to whom he not only gave a gold cup but drank to his honour with it, and the mule driver who shouldered the king’s gold after his mule became too exhausted to carry it any further. Unfortunately, Alexander’s benefactions caused his friends and bodyguards to ‘put on airs’. This displeased Olympias. She wrote,

I wish you would find other ways of rewarding those you love and honour: as it is, you are making them all the equals of kings and enabling them to make plenty of friends, but leaving yourself without any.

I have to admit, I can see the sense in what Olympias wrote. Generosity is not bad but by giving away so much, Alexander was not only creating (metaphoric) equals but – more dangerously – giving potential usurpers the means to challenge his authority with their new friends.
Plutarch says that Alexander bore his mother’s scoldings ‘with great tolerance’ and when Antipater wrote to him complaining about her behaviour again he said that the vice-regent ‘did not understand that one tear shed by his mother would wipe out 10,000 letters’ from him.
I end this post with what I think is a rather lovely story, which is told in Chapter 41. On an unspecified occasion, Alexander was sending home ‘invalid and superannuated soldiers’ when it was discovered that one of those on the list did not qualify for retirement. His name was Eurylochus of Aegae. Under questioning, Eurylochus confessed to the truth. He said he was,

… in love with a with a girl named Telesippa and… planned to travel with her on her journey to the coast.

Alexander duly made enquiries regarding who Telesippa was and discovered that she was a ‘free-born Greek courtesan’ (much like Thaïs, mentioned above). This, it seems, was to Alexander’s satisfaction, for he agreed to help Eurylochus woo her. But not on any terms.

“… since she is a free woman [Alexander said] you must see whether we can win Telesippa either by presents or courtship, but not use other means.”

It seems to me that the implication of Alexander’s words are that had Telesippa been a servant or slave then it would have been alright for Eurylochus to force her to join him, which is an unpleasant thought, even if socially acceptable in those days (?). If we may gloss over that, however, I really do like the fact that Alexander insisted upon things being done properly. It is moments like this which (after all had no practical benefit for Alexander and every inconvenience) persuade me that he genuinely respected women rather than simply affected his respect in order to show how great he was.
Whatever the reason for Telesippa’s journey to the coast, I hope Eurylochus met her in time to walk with her on the way and that they had a long and happy life together.

Categories: Plutarch's Women | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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

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