Hephaestion

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Alexias
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Re: Hephaestion

Post by Alexias » Mon Apr 02, 2018 7:43 pm

Stop it. Think for a minute about the stupid combat-primacy narrative that supports. He has to be a great military combat commander (never mind the evidence), or he's being dissed! Please. Alexander clearly didn't think so. That should be enough for us.
The problem is that logistics is a secondary activity. It is vital for many world changing events to happen, but it doesn't instigate them. Making sure there is something to eat for dinner isn't as glamorous or dangerous as going out and hunting and catching the meat. It's a wifely activity and it plays into the concept of Hephaestion as Alexander's 'wife', emotional prop and substitute parental figure (Renault), doormat (Stone), feminine (Jared Leto), and the modern desire to shoehorn Alexander and Hephaestion into a gay marriage.

Maybe we should play down the logistics bit. He probably wouldn't have seen that as his main function, but would have seen himself principally as a soldier and cavalry commander. He may well not have become the principle logistics officer until after Parmenion's death. But with the end of the Indian expedition and his elevation as chiliarch, he did acquire real power. He may have been appointed as chiliarch to give him the legal authority to deal with the accusations of corruption Alexander found on his return from Indian. This may have been why Apollodorus of Amphipolis wrote to his brother to take auguries because he feared the king and Hephaestion's investigations. This may also account for Eumenes' fear for his life after his quarrel with Hephaestion and not just because of Hephaestion's influence on Alexander, but because Hephaestion had the official capacity to overrule him and he had contested that authority.

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Re: Hephaestion

Post by Xenophon » Tue Apr 03, 2018 2:24 am

Jeanne wrote:
Too many people misinterpret and freak out over the fact Hephaistion was primarily a diplomatic & logistics officer. Those inclined to dismiss him, including a lot of my colleagues, see him as unimportant and incapable because these are his roles. .........

BUT, the flipside are those Hephaistion fans who confirm the negative view of logistics by being insulted that he's "just" a logistics officer and I (and whoever else) who argue that was his primary role are somehow "dissing" him. They want him to be a great combat leader, to counter Heckel's, et al., dismissal of him.

Alexias wrote:
The problem is that logistics is a secondary activity. It is vital for many world changing events to happen, but it doesn't instigate them. Making sure there is something to eat for dinner isn't as glamorous or dangerous as going out and hunting and catching the meat.........

Maybe we should play down the logistics bit. He probably wouldn't have seen that as his main function, but would have seen himself principally as a soldier and cavalry commander.
As anyone with military training will tell you, Logistics is far more important than Tactics or Strategy in warfare. Not only is it 'vital' as Alexias says, it is absolutely essential, and without it there would be no military campaigns. Diplomacy was also 'vital' - as Philip II understood. Diodorus [XVI.95] in his brief obituary wrote that Philip owed his success just as much to his diplomacy and geniality as to his bravery, and that he himself was prouder of his brains as a General, and his diplomatic skills, than of his valour in battle. Alexander too will have understood the importance of this, learning from his father. ( That Alexander fully appreciated this importance is recorded by Vitruvius)

For Alexander then, Hephaistion's role was far more important than that of any 'mere' General. Logistics requires multiple skills, encompassing as it does inter alia, complex planning skills,acquisition, storage, distribution, maintenance, and movement of essential supplies and materiel,troop movements,acquisition or construction, maintenance, operation, and disposition of facilities, such as camps, forts, supply bases, bridges, wagon roads, port facilities etc, acquisition or furnishing of services such as engineering, civilian sutlers etc, and medical and health service support, and a myriad other things, all needing meticulous attention on a daily basis.


Hephaistion certainly would have realised his importance as "Chief Logistics Officer", and treated this as his principal role - it would have taken up all his time and attention, with his military titles and role of secondary importance ( like the honorary Colonel of a Regiment today).

The word "logistics" itself is derived from the Greek adjective "logistikos" meaning "skilled in calculating". Alexander had many soldiers able to lead from the front in battle, but just as today, very few able to master the endless calculations in many fields necessary to make the whole Army function. Anyone underestimating the difficulties and complexities involved can get an idea from "Alexander the Great and the Logistics of the Macedonian Army" by Donald W. Engels, although a number of the underlying assumptions are doubtful so must be taken with a grain of salt.
Alexander was lucky to have someone with Hephaistion's skill-set, and must have known it.

I therefore agree with Jeanne, and disagree with Alexias. Rather than "play down the logistics bit", we should recognise how all-important Hephaistion's Logistic and Diplomatic roles were in Alexander's success, which he fully appreciated.

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Re: Hephaestion

Post by Alexias » Tue Apr 03, 2018 10:26 pm

The point I was trying to make was that logistics wasn't all Hephaestion was doing. His activities, particularly in India, were far broader than that and included commanding armed forces, quelling dissident locals, building and fortifying cities. His duties were often to provide a secure base while Alexander spearheaded points of resistance (eg the Mallian expedition and at the Indus delta), but that didn't mean that all he was doing was gathering supplies and forwarding them on to Alexander. Other officers, and also Alexander, were also acting as supply officers too. The army couldn't survive without this being a daily occupation for any contingent of the army. Here are some extracts from Arrian:
CHAPTER XXI. ADVANCE BEYOND THE HYDRAOTES.

AFTER crossing the river, he left Coenus with his own brigade there upon the bank, with instructions to superintend the passage of the part of the army which had been left behind for the purpose of collecting corn and other supplies from the country of the Indians which was already subject to him.
He traversed the whole country as far as the Hydraotes, leaving garrisons in the most suitable places, in order that Craterus and Coenus might advance with safety, scouring most of the land for forage. Then he dispatched Hephaestion into the land of the Porus who had revolted, giving him a part of the army, comprising two brigades of infantry, his own regiment of cavalry with that of Demetrius and half of the archers, with instructions to hand the country over to the other Porus, to win over any independent tribes of Indians which dwelt near the banks of the river Hydraotes, and to give them also into the hands of Porus to rule.
After adding the country as far as the river Hyphasis to the dominion of Porus, he marched back to the Hydraotes. Having crossed this river, he continued his return march to the Acesines, where he found the city which Hephaestion had been ordered to fortify, quite built.
He sent Nearchus with the fleet with orders to set sail three days before the army started. He divided the rest of his army into three parts, and ordered Hephaestion to go five days in advance, so that if any should flee before the men under his own command and go rapidly forward they might fall in with Hephaestion’s brigade and thus be captured. He also gave a part of the army to Ptolemy, son of Lagus, with orders to follow him after the lapse of three days, so that all those who fled from him and turned back again might fall in with Ptolemy’s brigade.
To Craterus he also gave the duty of leading the elephants;but the rest of the army, except the part of it which was sailing with himself down to the sea, he put under the command of Hephaestion. He transported Peithon with the horse-javelin-men and Agrianians to the opposite bank of the Indus, not the one along which Hephaestion was about to lead the army. Peithon was ordered to collect men to colonize the cities which had just been fortified, and to form a junction with the king at Patala, after having settled the affairs of the Indians of that region, if they attempted any revolutionary proceedings.
RETURNING to Patala, he found that the citadel had been fortified and that Peithon had arrived with his army, having accomplished everything for which he was despatched. He ordered Hephaestion to prepare what was needful for the fortification of a naval station and the construction of dock. yards
Then ordering the infantry to follow him in regular line, he took the cavalry with him, dividing it into squadrons, that it might occupy.a very large part of the plain, and thus marched into the land of the Oritians. All those who turned to defend themselves were cut to pieces by the cavalry, and many of the others were taken prisoners. He then encamped near a small piece of water; but when Hephaestion formed a junction with him, he advanced farther. Arriving at the largest village of the tribe of the Oritians, which was called Rhambacia,’ he commended the place and thought that if he colonized a city there it would become great and prosperous. He therefore left Hephaestion behind to carry out this project.
This is soldiering, not just acting as a quarter-master. :)

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Re: Hephaestion

Post by Susa the Great » Wed Apr 04, 2018 12:55 am

Nice thread!
Wasn't Hephaistion an accomplished young man? God bless him!

There is one more thing about him that have turned up for me in my researches on the Pharos building...

Something about inscribing Hep's name on business contracts (many commerce people in and out the Alexandria bay, I suppose).
Surely it is somehow linked to his logistics skills, as commerce & logistics flock together: the mind who deals with logistics (and diplomacy is a surplus here, is it not) will know about commerce, and vice-versa *grin*

So this may give one the idea of how important Hephaistion's habillities in logistics were for the whole Asia campaign. So much so that Alex, God bless him too, must have thought that up for keeping his duty with his friend after he's gone, even if that meant Hep's name pronounced/written during commerce transactions.
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Re: Hephaestion

Post by Susa the Great » Wed Apr 04, 2018 2:50 am

Jeanne Reames wrote:
Sun Apr 01, 2018 6:30 am
Jared Leto in eyeliner is about as far from my view of Hephaistion as possible.
(....)
Stone owed too much to Renault, who essentially wrote Hephaistion as a cypher. He had no personality. He can be written better, imo.
Dr. Reames, but surely you will agree that Renault didn't thought Hephaistion up as an eunuch-looking, panda-eyed, soft young man? Luckly that role she handed to Bagoas :D
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Re: Hephaestion

Post by Xenophon » Sun Apr 08, 2018 3:22 am

Alexias wrote:
This is soldiering, not just acting as a quarter-master.
I fear you are falling into the trap described by Dr Reames, of treating his role as a lesser one -a quartermaster is generally a relatively senior soldier who merely supervises stores and distributes supplies and provisions. I was at pains to point out that Hephaistion was much more than that.Nor did I suggest that he did not hold military commands, rather that these were of lesser importance than his eventual primary function as "Chief Logistics Officer".
We first hear of him in a diplomatic role, sorting out the affairs of Sidon. His next task was to transport the siege train to Gaza, using a motley collection of foreign, and formerly enemy ships, - which called for both logistic and diplomatic skills and so forth.Like all healthy 'Makedones', he took part in battle, and at Gaugemala he was wounded fighting amidst the close bodyguard( 'somataphylakes')around Alexander.[Diodorus XVII.61.3]. His career accelerated after the death of Philotas and Parmenion, with the joint command of the Companion cavalry with Cleitus, though he does not seem to have led them in battle. At Hydaspes he served as a 'somatophylax', along with Ptolemy and Perdiccas, guarding Alexander [Curtius VIII.14.15].

All in all,hardly a glittering military career as a combat soldier.

On occasions when he was in command of some portion of the army, it was in a logistic capacity, moving them from 'A' to 'B' rather than fighting.Let us consider your list of quotations. I'll treat them as numbered from top to bottom:
1. Logistic function - gathering supplies
2. Diplomatic function establishing Porus as King ( in place of the other Porus who had rebelled)
3.City building engineering and logistic function.
4. Acting as the 'net' in rounding up fleeing foes - logistic task
5. Transporting troops from 'A' to 'B' -logistic task .
6. Fortifying a place - logistic task.
7. Moving troops from 'A' to 'B', establishing a colony - logistic tasks.

All of it is 'soldiering', just not combat functions.
For some reason, probably his invaluable contribution as "Chief Logistic Officer", Hephaistion was largely kept away from combat commands......

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Re: Hephaestion

Post by Susa the Great » Mon Apr 09, 2018 2:13 pm

Have you guys ever heard of the dual kingship in Sparta? It is known as diarchy, and it would comprise a divine king, and a human king. Of course the divinity of the one is mythical (let's suppose it anyways). But the human nature of the other one is, well, much more plausible :)

What does it remind you of? Ammon and blah blah blah. :o :)

"The two kings are sometimes different and complementary in function; or else they are in-alike, sharing the same powers. Let us call the first a complementary or asymmetrical diarchy, referring in this way to the organic division of the sovereign powers, as between a war-king and a
sacerdotal or peace-king.
"

So, really, it doesn't matter if Hephaistion was into military commands or engeneering/logistics/diplomacy. The real point is that he was Alex's complementary in the toil of leading that enormous army through Asia. The idea of the duality as per the "war-king" and the "peace-king" is very very handy if one wants to actually see through all the mists surrounding the actual relationship between both guys. That relationship was one of a complex nature, and the writers -- at least the modern historians -- did make a confusion when they brought forward to the readers interested in Alexander their own personal leading interpretations of the facts which have come to them from the ancient writers who wrote about Alex's moves -- what, two centuries after? All personal interpretations with minds full of prejudices and squared into their respective ages' mores. Too bad, too bad. I still don't know why citing those modern writers... Can't people just think by themselves?

People say that Hephaistion was never alone in his military assignments when those came to happen. What if the others were the ones to never be left alone in a military assignment? Have you ever seen that in such a perspective?

The hazarapati^s thing is, I insist, a persian court title, not a sign of power for whom really mattered: the macedonians. If Hephaistion only got to be the second in command after getting the hazarapati^s title, well, then how to explain his getting the hazarapati^s title anyway? A prize for "outstanding service to the crown"? How to explain the hazarapati^s (damn this ^ icon that doesnt go to the 's') title? Well, I'd venture the diarchy thing, the complementary diarchy I mentioned above. That explains lots of things, specially Hephaistion's mourning rites in Ekbatana and Babylon, rites for a dead king.
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Re: Hephaestion

Post by system1988 » Mon Apr 09, 2018 3:27 pm

That's a bold hypothesis, dear susa....i mean about the double ki g ship of sparta..well i remember the two divine brothers castor and polytheukis ....One god the other human.. i am far from athens these days and I can scarcely write ...but I am not sure it is right for the spartan kings.which are your Sources? And how this thesis is fit for alexander and hephaestion? Any way the last were Never? Worshipped together as other pair of gods
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Re: Hephaestion

Post by Susa the Great » Mon Apr 09, 2018 8:47 pm

system1988 wrote:
Mon Apr 09, 2018 3:27 pm
That's a bold hypothesis, dear susa....i mean about the double ki g ship of sparta..well i remember the two divine brothers castor and polytheukis ....One god the other human.. i am far from athens these days and I can scarcely write ...but I am not sure it is right for the spartan kings.which are your Sources? And how this thesis is fit for alexander and hephaestion? Any way the last were Never? Worshipped together as other pair of gods
Hi system:

Yea, I know that's a bold idea. But then fortune favours the bold.

My sources are the old sources, and also I make as my "special hidden sources" those things which we read but which can't fit anywhere. I mean, so many empty spaces, and so many hypotheses for explaining apparently simple things: What is it all about Hephaistion who hardly appears, and, when he does, it is most of the time a meaningful appearence as per Alexander's scheme of things?

What I think is that we are addicted to what the modern writers think themselves. They sort of repeat one same formula, and nobody dares to step out of the focus these writers throw on a particular object. Like a conditioning, you see?

I think I have also been reading things on internet sites, and well those are so irritatingly repetitive and sometimes quite careless...

I found out about the twin kings looking for Hadrian's idea of addopting two generations of emperors ahead of him. And, the last generation was a co-regency - Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus. I sort of went researching about it, and found out about the Sparta thing.

I have had always this idea as per Hephaistion and his Yin nature combined with Alex's Yang nature, just like Achilles and Patroklos, you know? Opposites which are complementary to each other? So. When I read that thing about the dual kings and the "complementary or asymmetrical diarchy, referring in this way to the organic division of the sovereign powers, as between a war-king and a sacerdotal or peace-king", it really got me thinking.

The idea of a dual regency is an old idea, you see, and it repeats throughout History -- the triumvirate, the Bizantine dual kingships and so on. The idea of combining skills is, well, very handy. But why would Alexander put up with one guy beside the throne? The reason could be the yin/yang thing: I can't do this job, but I know someone who can. See how Patroklos is depicted? The one who takes care of the horses, the one who serves at the table. And Hep? The one to whom you go to for sweet-talking Alexander, or the one who goes 5 days ahead to oversee stuff. And Alex is, you know, the one whom you divert your course from. I see the idea of complementary skills with a very loving eye...

And, apart from these things, which well, will sound like wishful thinking, there is one problem which hasn't been adequately dealt with: the mourning rites for Hephaistion. They were rites for a king. See how Alexander sent out word all around Persia for temples and things to put out the sacred fires, worrying the priests so much because that just sounded as if the great king himself was dead, sources say. Isn't it just so odd? You know, I have even read that that was an "overwhelming way to depart from a lover" or "emulation of Achilles mourning". What.The.Hell. And much more, like justifying the royal rites saying that that was fit for the hazarapatiš (I am happyyy now that I found the right symbol!), or blah blah blah ad nauseam. Noone that I know of, until now, managed to explain why Alex gave Hep a royal mourning rite. This is where it fits for both Alex and Hep: it is hard to explain some things about Hephaistion if we think he was Alex's best friend, side-kick, lover even. They just don't fit all slots, and these slots have turned out to be very conspicuous, I think.

Cheers, and enjoy trip.
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Re: Hephaestion

Post by Paralus » Mon Apr 16, 2018 11:40 am

I do not believe Alexander ever envisioned Hephaistion and himself as anything approaching a "dual regency" and I do not believe there is any cogent evidence for such. Alexander was the Macedonian king. Macedonian kings did not share power and Alexander was certainly no exception. His rule, by its end, was autocratic - far more than Macedonians had come to accept as "normal". As well, he was now the king of Asia and had taken pains to present himself as the legitimate successor to the Achaemenids. In doing so he adopted much Achaemenid court regalia and structures. Part of this was the position of chiliarch - the most senior position below the king. In this position, Hephaistion commanded the cavalry and was, in effect, second in command to Alexander. A position Perdikkas was advanced (προῆλθε) to and Seleukos after him (in the Babylonian Settlement). Perdikkas was already a very senior marshal at the time of Hephaistion's death and Seleukos had commanded hypaspists. In Alexander's view, this was a very senior position but it was no dual kingship.

On the point that the title of chiliarch "not a sign of power for whom really mattered: the macedonians" is true, but that was a view which grew as a result of the politics of power after Alexander's death. The chiliarchy mattered for Perdikkas in the shadows of Hephaistion's death. It was not, however, what Perdikkas wanted from the Babylonian conclave and he set about ditching his confirmation in that position (in the second stage) as soon as he was confirmed in it. What Perdikkas wanted was the regency (and, later, the kingship). Kassandros would reject it in favour of a tilt at the lot. Seleukos, like Ptolemy, came to realise that a satrapal base was a better path to power. The royal army and its mobile court was a poisoned chalice.
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Re: Hephaestion

Post by Jeanne Reames » Sat Sep 01, 2018 4:05 am

I don't think there's any evidence for any sort of "dual kingship," plus that's not really a proper understanding of Spartan kingship. (The latter is quite problematic, given our sources, but that's somewhat off topic for here.)

I just want to second what Xenophon said about falling into traps about what matters. Remember, Napoleon famously said that an army marches on its stomach. ;)

I reckon I'm just fed up with people dismissing Hephaistion's logistical talents chasing a need to make him a combat commander.

As noted, he fought at Gaugamela "foremost" among the Bodyguard (almost certainly the Hypaspists, not Somatophylakes who didn't fight together--here I think Waldemar is exactly right). The personal guard unit of the Hypaspists was one of the two most important units in the army (the other being ATG's agema of Companions) He was also wounded there.

Another point: being a good combat commander *does not* mean one is necessarily the best *fighter*. These are different skills. So Hephaistion may have been a great fighter, just not a particularly exceptional combat commander. He certainly had a brain. But we all have unique skills, and H. should be allowed to have his. :-)
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Re: Hephaestion

Post by Paralus » Sat Sep 01, 2018 4:29 am

I agree: Heckel is on the money with Gaugamela. Hephaistion commanded the personal foot guard of the hypaspists and these will have been in the foremost of those phalanx troops forming Alexander's "wedge". Hardly surprising he was wounded and no minor command.

I think Xenophon has nailed the crucial role of logistics in any campaign. Going on what the Macedonian army accomplished during the anabasis and the sheer distances and varied terrains traversed, the logistics involved was no small feat. Quite the contrary and it didn't happen on its own.
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Re: Hephaestion

Post by dean » Sat Sep 01, 2018 4:26 pm

Hi,

This thread reminds me of the moment Sisygambis awkwardly mistakes Hephaestion for Alexander and Alexander tells her not to worry that he too is Alexander almost as if he is saying that Hephaestion is figuratively speaking an alter ego of kinds. Wasn't really quite sure how to interpret this phrase to begin with. :roll:

Also as mentioned, Alexander's high esteem of Hephaestion is never seen so clearly as when he dies- completely losing the plot, requesting divine status(something Renault implies was a sign of Alexander's impending loss of sanity), razing a shrine in Ecbatana to the ground and cutting short his hair in mourning as Achilles had done for Patroclus to name but a few....

Just my fifty cents. :D
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