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Discuss Alexander's generals, wives, lovers, family and enemies

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Ngs
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Forum seems dead, but what the heck...

Post by Ngs »

Who were the generals who were okay with Alexander's persianization. I mean, I know Hephaistion was. But who else? For example, since Seleucus seems to have had a happy marriage, did he communicate in Persian with his Persian wife!?
Alexias
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Post by Alexias »

Basically it was the younger generals such as Perdiccas, Peucestas, maybe Ptolemy. Peucestas was the only Macedonian of high rank that we know of who learnt Persian, and that was very unpopular with the army. It is highly unlikely that Selecus spoke to his wife in Persian. We know that Alexander had Darius's daughters taught Greek, so it may be that other high-ranking women intended for the Susa mass weddings were also taught Greek.
Forum seems dead, but what the heck...
, we can but hope for a couple of people willing to start a conversation.
Ngs
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Post by Ngs »

But it seems impractical for Seleucus to have ruled Persia without knowing the language at some point?
Also, what was his relationship like with the king like? It surprises me that he isn't mentioned as a close companion even though he was a fabulous general and also conformed to Alexander's Persianisation.
Alexias
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Post by Alexias »

There would have been plenty of Greek/Persian translators about, especially after Alexander's invasion, and there had been Greeks acting as mercenaries in Persia for at least a couple of hundred years. Doubtless Seleucus did pick up some Persian, but he would have thought it beneath him to speak the language of the conquered. A bit like the French aristocrats in England after the Norman conquest perhaps.

Seleucus isn't mentioned a lot in the sources so it is difficult to know about his relationship with Alexander. He doesn't appear to have been one of the innermost of the king's friends like Craterus, Hephaestion and Perdiccas, but he was one of his companions and appears to have risen in importance in the later part of Alexander's reign, perhaps because of his willingness to adapt and because he was one of the new, younger men rising to power. He was perhaps a couple of years older than Alexander.
Ngs
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Post by Ngs »

Thanks for taking the time to reply.

Um, another little query...
On the flip side, did some Persians know Greek? Any exples? Would there be Greek tutors or something like that in Darius's courts?
Alexias
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Post by Alexias »

I don't know for certain. The same would probably have held true in that the Persian aristocracy in the Persia court of the Great King would have thought it beneath them to speak Greek, but there would always have been traders, scribes etc for whom it was profitable to be bi-lingual.

However, Artabasuz, Barsine's father was an exile at Philip's court so presumably he spoke Greek and he and his sons became quite influential in Alexander's court. Barsine was chosen as Alexander's mistress because she spoke Greek and (I think) had received a Greek education (in music, literature presumably), and her first two husbands were Greek mercenary commanders. These were Persians who ruled the Greek cities in what is now western Turkey so they would have been well acquainted with the Greeks and their culture. From memory, I think Mazaeus, the commander at Babylon had been a satrap in this area and he and his sons may well have spoken Greek too.
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Jeanne Reames
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Post by Jeanne Reames »

Daniel Ogden has a very useful book on Seleukos, called The Legend of Seleucus: Kingship, Narrative, and Mythmaking in the Ancient World. Daniel is an impeccable scholar, and the book examines the creation of his own legend both during his lifetime, and by his descendants later.
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Ngs
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Re: Forum seems dead, but what the heck...

Post by Ngs »

Thank you for the book suggestion
I like Seleucus as he seems to me to have been the kind of person, ruler and administrator I wish Alexander was.
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