Conspiracy against Philotas By Waldemar Heckel

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Re: Conspiracy against Philotas By Waldemar Heckel

Post by marcus »

Nicator wrote:A few years older and already working with his father and Philip. The interesting aspect of this conjecture is that Philotas would have had already some expertise and perhaps specialism in militaristic matters but without a formal education. Thus, groomed for military life solely and completely while Alexander was given more of a king's education.
And, although I don't think any specific mention is made of it, I have a feeling that Philotas was already commander of the hetairoi. That might not be the case; but he commanded them from the outset, and one assumes that he would only have been given the command if he already had a decent amount of experience (being Parmenion's son notwithstanding). It was only later that Alexander began promoting his particular friends to command positions.

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Re: Conspiracy against Philotas By Waldemar Heckel

Post by Nicator »

marcus wrote:
Nicator wrote:A few years older and already working with his father and Philip. The interesting aspect of this conjecture is that Philotas would have had already some expertise and perhaps specialism in militaristic matters but without a formal education. Thus, groomed for military life solely and completely while Alexander was given more of a king's education.
And, although I don't think any specific mention is made of it, I have a feeling that Philotas was already commander of the hetairoi. That might not be the case; but he commanded them from the outset, and one assumes that he would only have been given the command if he already had a decent amount of experience (being Parmenion's son notwithstanding). It was only later that Alexander began promoting his particular friends to command positions.

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This was also my impression. Though, in Alexander's defense, replacing Philotas with Cleitus the Black (Hep not withstanding) was still putting another member of the old guard back in charge of the Companions. One wonders just how greatly the whole program suffered strategically, tactically, and logistically as a result of this high level sack. Alexander's mettle and battle acumen would now have a chance to be proven without the ever present House of Parmenion. And the extremely tough times ahead for the king, his staff, and army et al, gave ample opportunity to show what they were made of.
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Re: Conspiracy against Philotas By Waldemar Heckel

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Nicator wrote:Though, in Alexander's defense, replacing Philotas with Cleitus the Black (Hep not withstanding) was still putting another member of the old guard back in charge of the Companions. One wonders just how greatly the whole program suffered strategically, tactically, and logistically as a result of this high level sack. Alexander's mettle and battle acumen would now have a chance to be proven without the ever present House of Parmenion. And the extremely tough times ahead for the king, his staff, and army et al, gave ample opportunity to show what they were made of.
That's true. I suppose Cleitus had, so far, proven to be fiercely loyal to Alexander, and as yet had not really been adequately rewarded for saving Alexander's life at the Granicus. Of course, later that was to rebound on them both rather badly; but reward was due ...
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Re: Conspiracy against Philotas By Waldemar Heckel

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It should also be remembered that Kleitos was the ilarch of the senior squadron, the ile basilike, making him next in rank to Philotas and his most likely successor; it is frequently said that his appointment was a sop to the Old Guard but it seems more likely that Hephaistion's was intended to mitigate the influence of that group and that Kleitos' advancement was almost inevitable.
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Re: Conspiracy against Philotas By Waldemar Heckel

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agesilaos wrote:It should also be remembered that Kleitos was the ilarch of the senior squadron, the ile basilike, making him next in rank to Philotas and his most likely successor; it is frequently said that his appointment was a sop to the Old Guard but it seems more likely that Hephaistion's was intended to mitigate the influence of that group and that Kleitos' advancement was almost inevitable.
That's a fair point! And Hephaistion did 'need' to be rewarded for his continued loyalty, unfettered as it was.
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Re: Conspiracy against Philotas By Waldemar Heckel

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marcus wrote:
agesilaos wrote:It should also be remembered that Kleitos was the ilarch of the senior squadron, the ile basilike, making him next in rank to Philotas and his most likely successor; it is frequently said that his appointment was a sop to the Old Guard but it seems more likely that Hephaistion's was intended to mitigate the influence of that group and that Kleitos' advancement was almost inevitable.
That's a fair point! And Hephaistion did 'need' to be rewarded for his continued loyalty, unfettered as it was.
Hmm, now that's an interesting snippet I'd not heard before. So much for loyalty I guess...
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Re: Conspiracy against Philotas By Waldemar Heckel

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Loyalty would still have counted, had he been disloyal, or even suspected, Kleitos could have gone the way of Parmenion and Philotas; though, just maybe the fact that he was Philotas' natural replacement ensured that he was of a totally different Court Faction, the Antipatrids' perhaps since his murder occaisioned no outrage in camp and Antipatros and his sons were far away in Macedon. Pure speculation, of course. :D
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Re: Conspiracy against Philotas By Waldemar Heckel

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agesilaos wrote:Loyalty would still have counted, had he been disloyal, or even suspected, Kleitos could have gone the way of Parmenion and Philotas; though, just maybe the fact that he was Philotas' natural replacement ensured that he was of a totally different Court Faction, the Antipatrids' perhaps since his murder occaisioned no outrage in camp and Antipatros and his sons were far away in Macedon. Pure speculation, of course. :D
We should also remember that Kleitos was the brother of Alexander's nurse, and so there was an extra dimension to their relationship.

Even in 328BC, at Marakanda, it could be argued that the only disloyalty on Kleitos' part was imagined by an increasingly paranoid and autocratic (and very un-Macedonian, primus inter pares type of kingship) Alexander. Kleitos' only 'crime' was to object to the vilification of slaughtered officers and the belittling of Philip ...
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Re: Conspiracy against Philotas By Waldemar Heckel

Post by Nicator »

marcus wrote:
agesilaos wrote:Loyalty would still have counted, had he been disloyal, or even suspected, Kleitos could have gone the way of Parmenion and Philotas; though, just maybe the fact that he was Philotas' natural replacement ensured that he was of a totally different Court Faction, the Antipatrids' perhaps since his murder occaisioned no outrage in camp and Antipatros and his sons were far away in Macedon. Pure speculation, of course. :D
We should also remember that Kleitos was the brother of Alexander's nurse, and so there was an extra dimension to their relationship.

Even in 328BC, at Marakanda, it could be argued that the only disloyalty on Kleitos' part was imagined by an increasingly paranoid and autocratic (and very un-Macedonian, primus inter pares type of kingship) Alexander. Kleitos' only 'crime' was to object to the vilification of slaughtered officers and the belittling of Philip ...
Cleitus sort of went a little further than you'd suggest with that extended hand and the comments about Alexander's pretense toward being deemed a god.

But the belittling of Philip was perhaps one of the more interesting bits that came out here. And that this strange condescension against his own father is telling, not just about Alexander's need to feel superior, but also his favorite commanders and friends need to feed that ego.
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Re: Conspiracy against Philotas By Waldemar Heckel

Post by agesilaos »

Once again, I would just inject a note of caution; this is a further incident that the Court tradition skims over, which means the details of the various speeches are more likely the invention of their authors'; the basic bone of contention, viz the demeaning of Philip and the mockery of the fallen of the Polytimetos may be taken as the general spark but extrapolation from the speeches and dramatic action should be hedged with ifs and perhapses.
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Re: Conspiracy against Philotas By Waldemar Heckel

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Nicator wrote:Cleitus sort of went a little further than you'd suggest with that extended hand and the comments about Alexander's pretense toward being deemed a god.

But the belittling of Philip was perhaps one of the more interesting bits that came out here. And that this strange condescension against his own father is telling, not just about Alexander's need to feel superior, but also his favorite commanders and friends need to feed that ego.
Notwithstanding Agesilaos' comment about this, one could argue about whether comments about Alexander's divine pretensions count as 'disloyalty'. (I mean, obviously they did to Alexander, which was the problem ...) :)

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Re: Conspiracy against Philotas By Waldemar Heckel

Post by agesilaos »

There is some doubt as to just how much of that anti-deification has been grafted onto the narrative and represents the later intellectual point of view rather than that of the contemporary Macedonian grunts and their seigneurs,that Greek sypathies were against it sees clear, but the Macedonians? I suspect that had Sokrates been active in Pella he would have asked one too many questions very quickly and ended up having some 'common sense' beaten into him in short order. :twisted:
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Re: Conspiracy against Philotas By Waldemar Heckel

Post by Nicator »

marcus wrote:
Nicator wrote:Cleitus sort of went a little further than you'd suggest with that extended hand and the comments about Alexander's pretense toward being deemed a god.

But the belittling of Philip was perhaps one of the more interesting bits that came out here. And that this strange condescension against his own father is telling, not just about Alexander's need to feel superior, but also his favorite commanders and friends need to feed that ego.
Notwithstanding Agesilaos' comment about this, one could argue about whether comments about Alexander's divine pretensions count as 'disloyalty'. (I mean, obviously they did to Alexander, which was the problem ...) :)

ATB
I just have to 'go there...' the behavior of the men here harkens back to the issue of Philotas. For above it was argued that Alexander's 'more friendly to himself' commanders had perhaps just as much to do with the decision to take Philotas down. And, if any of the rhetoric is true, it lends credence to the possibility.
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Re: Conspiracy against Philotas By Waldemar Heckel

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I was reading this thread, as this issue has always fascinated me. In the end, histories, theories aside Alexander ran an army. That required rules and the application of discipline else, well, we all know what happens when insubordination occurs... Philotas, a very highly ranked officer, a general with a long record of service in that army had the duty to report, as one would in any army, but especially when it involves so serious an issue as a possible conspiracy, i.e., mutiny, etc. re high up's in the command. If in fact, the account about Philotas already knowing of the possible conspiracy against Alexander, yet not reporting such to him or anyone else of equal command, esp. security officers, would be a serious breach of military protocol. If anyone has ever served in the military they will know this. History books, discussion on websites among scholars, etc., is one thing, the reality of command with a real time military in the field in an active arena is another.

This could also be applied to that other infamous, at least that's how I see it, issue between Krateros and Hephaistion where they draw upon one another and Alexander came along and pretty much chews them out. Alexander had every right to reprimand Hephaistion in whatever manner he chose. Hephaistion, being of high rank, would have known and expected as such. Same would have applied to Krateros. They committed a serious act of insubordination! Had they been lessor ranked they could have been executed immediately or at least cashiered out, etc. No doubt they would have done the same to thsose of lessor rank who failed to follow the rules. Their special companionship with Alexander may have been what saved them. That is unless such behavior was accepted in Alexander's army, which I would find impossible to believe.

Arguing all these theories is great, but the cold reality is Alexander ran an army, Philotas, Krateros, Hephaistion and the rest of the Companions were members in that military organization. Military life has very different rules than civilian, no doubt even back in Alexander's day. If Philotas failed to report a possible conspiracy against Alexander's life, he blew it big time. He, having been an officer in Philip's army prior to Alexander's he would have been well versed with military regulations and known what was expected of him. His father, Parmenion, as brilliant as they come, and most likely very loyal and straight military all the way was no fool! I find it hard to believe he would have allowed Philotas to grow up in a military environment as such, where he would spend the largest portion of his life and remain ignorant of how things worked.

If there really was a conspiracy, and Philotas failed to report it knowing it's importance, he got what he deserved. Parmenion... now that's another issue.

And, for all those fans of Hephaistion who think Alexander was so cruel to him calling him out before the army for the stupidity and part in the insubordinate act he took part in with Krateros, get real! Hephaistion was no idiot, a man does not rise to such rank as he, no not even as a favorite of Alexander's and not expect if he screwed up to get away unscathed.

I just don't believe Alexander was so enthralled by Hephaistion's whatever, thighs, face, eyes, that he would have given him the rank and duties he did, if Hephaistion had not been so talented or deserving. Alexander was shrewd militarily and never did anything without knowing what he was doing, (well, most of the time, I hope). He proved time and again to be a good judge of men militarily. If he raised Hephaistion as high as he did in rank there must have been a damn good reason for it, and I doubt it had anything to do with his looks and past possible sexual relationships.

What I find interesting about these two issues is not the interpretion of the how's, why's or who did what to whom, etc., but what propelled them in the first place and why. What was it that was happending at the time these situations occured in Alexander's army that propelled them into reality in the first place? With the Philotas' conspiracy, as I refer to it, it is obviously clearer, a conspiracy that had, at least in the histories that have come down to us, a basis in some disatisfaction with changes in Alexander's goals, etc. I wish were truly knew more.

As for as the insubordination of Krateros and Hephaistion, what I'd like to know is what was going on that caused these two men to slip there normally restrained military boundaries and act as they did. They would have known, if this action, did indeed ever occur, they were risking their lives and incurring not only the anger of Alexander, but they would also have known how their actions would have been perceived by him, their Companions and families. Krateros and Hephaistion were among his most valued generals, and possilby even closest companions. I cannot for a moment think, if this situation did occurr, it must have been the result of something that had by the time it had come to this point been long simmering in the army itself, and Alexander would have had to have been much more clearly aware of it. The greater question is then, what could have been so severely disruptive to two high ranking officers to cause them such great risk by their actions? For me, at least, that is the question I entertain.

There two issues irk me, and I get fed up with fantasy surrounding them most of the time. Alexander may have had many other faults, but he knew his stuff when it came to his military, which was his lifeblood, and he knew how to get what he wanted and who to use to get it. He also honored men who were as himself, excelling in their duties to him, their rank, their families...expecting perfection, yes, undoubtedly even the ability to be ruthless to get the job done. They were not Oliver Stone's Hollywood, pretty boy version. (I recall an interview of Colin Farrell's after the movie, where he said pretty much summed it up with something like "Alexander and his army were animals".) Maybe not so bad, I reserve the animal description for the Nazi's, but yes, they were cold blooded, calculating and ruthless, all of them, yes, that would have included Hephaistion, most probably, next to Krateros and after Alexander, among the worst. They had a job to do, they did it. That is the military reality they lived in.

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Re: Conspiracy against Philotas By Waldemar Heckel

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lysis56 wrote:I was reading this thread, as this issue has always fascinated me. In the end, histories, theories aside Alexander ran an army. That required rules and the application of discipline else, well, we all know what happens when insubordination occurs... Philotas, a very highly ranked officer, a general with a long record of service in that army had the duty to report, as one would in any army, but especially when it involves so serious an issue as a possible conspiracy, i.e., mutiny, etc. re high up's in the command. If in fact, the account about Philotas already knowing of the possible conspiracy against Alexander, yet not reporting such to him or anyone else of equal command, esp. security officers, would be a serious breach of military protocol. If anyone has ever served in the military they will know this. History books, discussion on websites among scholars, etc., is one thing, the reality of command with a real time military in the field in an active arena is another.
If you have not yet read it, you may enjoy John Lee's book on the Ten Thousand, which explores how Greek armies functioned without many of the things which modern soldiers expect such as a dense chain of command, a formal system of regulations and punishments, and so on. Even under the Amphipolis Code, the Macedonian army was rather loosely regulated. On the other hand, monarchies tend to insist that any threat against the king be taken seriously.

One area where modern armies might provide insight is that when a system of punishments is harsh and inflexible, but people are expected to use judgement in what to report to it and what to handle informally, they often make mistakes. I don't think that Philotas was the only Macedonian who heard loose talk about killing the king and decided to show the culprits mercy.
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