A Question about Memnon, Strategos of Thrace

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Nicator
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A Question about Memnon, Strategos of Thrace

Post by Nicator »

Was the Memnon, Strategos of Thrace, which Antipater had to deal with before tackling Agis, working for Macedon and bungling a Thracian campaign or was he a Thracian rebel leading a revolt against Macedon?
Later Nicator

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Alexander began, his grand plan, invoked...

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agesilaos
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Re: A Question about Memnon, Strategos of Thrace

Post by agesilaos »

All we have on Memnon are Diodoros XVII 62 iv ff
4 There was also an upheaval in Thrace at just this time which seemed to offer the Greeks an opportunity for freeing themselves. 5 Memnon, who had been designated governor-general there, had a military force p297and was a man of spirit. He stirred up the tribesmen, revolted against Alexander, quickly possessed a large army, and was openly bent upon war. 6 Antipater was forced to mobilize his entire army and to advance through Macedonia into Thrace to settle with him.100

While Antipater was occupied with this,101 the Lacedaemonians thought that the time had come to undertake a war and issued an appeal to the Greeks to unite in defence of their freedom. 7 The Athenians had been favoured beyond all the other Greeks by Alexander and did not move. Most of the Peloponnesians, however, and some of the northern Greeks reached an agreement and signed an undertaking to go to war. According to the capacity of the individual cities they enlisted the best of their youth and enrolled as soldiers not less than twenty thousand infantry and about two thousand cavalry. 8 The Lacedaemonians had the command and led out their entire levy for the decisive battle, their king Agis having the position of commander in chief.

63 1 When Antipater learned of this Greek mobilization, he ended the Thracian campaign on what terms he could and marched down into the Peloponnesus with his entire army.
[4] προεκαλέσατο δὲ πρὸς τὴν ἀπόστασιν τοὺς Ἕλληνας καὶ ὁ περὶ τὴν Θρᾴκην νεωτερισμὸς κατὰ τοὺς ὑποκειμένους καιροὺς γενόμενος: [5] Μέμνων γὰρ ὁ καθεσταμένος στρατηγὸς τῆς Θρᾴκης, ἔχων δύναμιν καὶ φρονήματος ὢν πλήρης, ἀνέσεισε μὲν τοὺς βαρβάρους, ἀποστάτης δὲ γενόμενος Ἀλεξάνδρου καὶ ταχὺ μεγάλης δυνάμεως κυριεύσας φανερῶς ἀπεκαλύψατο πρὸς τὸν πόλεμον. [6] διόπερ Ἀντίπατρος πᾶσαν ἀναλαβὼν τὴν δύναμιν προῆλθε διὰ Μακεδονίας εἰς Θρᾴκην καὶ διεπολέμει πρὸς τὸν Μέμνονα. τούτου δὲ περὶ ταῦτ᾽ ὄντος οἱ Λακεδαιμόνιοι καιρὸν ἔχειν ὑπολαβόντες τοῦ παρασκευάσασθαι τὰ πρὸς τὸν πόλεμον παρεκάλουν τοὺς Ἕλληνας συμφρονῆσαι περὶ τῆς ἐλευθερίας. [7] Ἀθηναῖοι μὲν οὖν, παρὰ πάντας τοὺς ἄλλους Ἕλληνας ὑπ᾽ Ἀλεξάνδρου προτιμώμενοι, τὴν ἡσυχίαν ἦγον: Πελοποννησίων δ᾽ οἱ πλείους καὶ τῶν ἄλλων τινὲς συμφρονήσαντες ἀπεγράψαντο πρὸς τὸν πόλεμον καὶ κατὰ δύναμιν τῶν πόλεων καταγράφοντες τῶν νέων τοὺς ἀρίστους κατέλεξαν στρατιώτας πεζοὺς μὲν οὐκ ἐλάττους τῶν δισμυρίων, ἱππεῖς δὲ περὶ δισχιλίους. [8] τὴν δ᾽ ἡγεμονίαν ἔχοντες Λακεδαιμόνιοι πανδημεὶ πρὸς τὸν ὑπὲρ τῶν ὅλων κίνδυνον ὥρμησαν, Ἄγιδος τοῦ βασιλέως τὴν πάντων ἔχοντος ἡγεμονίαν. 63. Ἀντίπατρος δὲ πυθόμενος τὴν τῶν Ἑλλήνων συνδρομὴν τὸν μὲν ἐν τῇ Θρᾴκῃ πόλεμον ὥς ποτ᾽ ἦν δυνατὸν κατέλυσεν, εἰς δὲ τὴν Πελοπόννησον ἧκε μετὰ πάσης τῆς δυνάμεως.
And Curtius IX 3 xx
Inter haecº Memnon ex Thracia in supplementum equitum V milia, praeter eos ab Harpalo peditum VII milia adduxerat armaque XXV milibusº auro et argento caelata pertulerat, quis distributis vetera cremari iussit.
While these things were happening Memnon brought re-inforcements from Thrace, 5,000 cavalry to which Harpalus added 7,000 foot and 25,000 sets of arms and armour chased with gold and silver, which having been distributed he[Alexander] ordered the old ones burned.
Since Curtius places the Zopyrion disaster at a time when Greece was in danger of being lost it would seem that this provided the trigger for Memnon's actions in Diodoros although Curtius, X 1 xliv ff, says that it was Seuthes the Odrysaian that rebelled and in Diodoros XVIII we find him opposing Lysimachos entry into his satrapy. It thus seems to me more likely that Diodoros' Memnon is Seuthes. That Zopyrion, Alexander's appointed strategos in Thrace, designated Seuthes/Memnon as a surrogate while he attacked the Getai and that following his defeat Seuthes/Memnon made a bid to cast off the Macedonian yoke. The Memnon who brings the troops in Curtius is a different character. Alexander was not known to be forgiving of rebels a fact that would be doubly pertinent were Memnon a Macedonian and not a Thracian prince. Also why would the Thracians support the rebel in such numbers as to make the revolt serious enough for there to be talk of losing Thrace, if all they were doing was swapping foreign rulers? Another point is that Antipatros conceded powers to this man which would make him a traitor too; granting enhanced local autonomy would make more sense and not attract much opprobrium; it is hard to think that had Antipatros got into bed with a real Macedonian traitor that the hostile tradition that accuses him of poisoning Alexander would have neglected to exagerate this. :D
When you think about, it free-choice is the only possible option.
Nicator
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Re: A Question about Memnon, Strategos of Thrace

Post by Nicator »

This is excellent commentary which led me to a few areas I had not been aware of. Heckel's prosopography indicates that Memnon was a Macedonian who conducted a rebellion against his own country (Macedon) in Thrace. And that he was succeeded by the Macedonian Zopyrion who was defeated by a combination of bad weather and the enemy against the Getae. But a rebellion, led by a Macedonian(?), doesn't make sense. It's hard to imagine how it could make sense. Did Memnon come to appreciate his Thracian underlings and culture and come to a sense of empathy to the point of acceptance of their cause? Not impossible...just unlikely. Perhaps, Memnon was too weak and the Thracians revolted against his ineffective authority. Zopyrion was tapped to replace him but, eager to prove his perceived power and to intimidate all of Odrysia, overreached himself against the Getae. This would make sense and provide clarity as to why no punishments were administered (or recorded) by either Antipater or Alexander. And it would also clear the way for this same Memnon to be used later to provide arms and levies to Alexander in India. Or, and this is the storyline I like most, Memnon, perhaps another Attalus type - Macedonian blueblood with wishful thinking and grandiosity on his mind, was a true rebel. And this rebel was quietly handed over by Seuthes, executed by Antipater (or Seuthes to save himself) and replaced by Zopyrion...Who knows. The rule is to keep the storyline, with room for interpretation and obvious extrapolation, as close to the known facts as possible.

This further led me to an interesting and detailed white paper which related that Memnon held the province for (4) four years after Alexandros of Lyncestis was reassigned to the Thessalian cavalry. The paper states clearly that Zopyrion was the last Strategos appointed by Alexander. Indicating that they Macedon had lost political control in totality in 325 against the Getae until Lysimachus reasserted Macedonian suzerainty after Alexander's death.

It makes you wonder what sort of terms Antipater agreed to, as he is further reimbursed with levies 'from the north' after his settlement. Zopyrion probably held the province from his appointment in 330 until his death in 325. Certainly, the area was left without a new Strategos after Zopyrion's disaster against the Getae. Bequeathing Thrace et al to their king was equivalent to giving up the territory altogether. But by 325 with the main Macedonian army having taken so many human resources and Alexander thousands of miles away, perhaps he didn't have much choice in the matter. The white paper does mention that Thrace, under Philip II, was a closely held vassalage (meaning...tribute was owed to Macedon). And that Alexander's punitive campaign upon his ascension was either conducted to re-establish the tribute or to prevent their attack upon Macedon after Philip's death. With the Odrysian cavalry units comprising as many as 7,000 given to the Asian campaign of Alexander, their very presence weighed large in his overall scheme of battle. He also cites Philip II's diplomatic pinache in dealing with Odrysia et al. This setting the precedent which allowed Antipater to negotiate terms and set them 'relatively' free while he marched south on Agis in the Peloponnese.

Clearly, we don't quite know for sure who Memnon was or what happened there. For the sake of putting something in place within the storyline, I'm going to relate the revolt of Memnon as having been put down by Antipater, his subsequent replacement with Zopyrion, and the Zopyrion disaster / Seuthes revolt later in the epic with a footnote to the discrepancy and provide your thesis that the Memnon related by Diodorus IS Seuthes III.

Thanks again Agesilaos ;)
Later Nicator

Thus, rain sodden and soaked, under darkness cloaked,
Alexander began, his grand plan, invoked...

The Epic of Alexander
agesilaos
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Re: A Question about Memnon, Strategos of Thrace

Post by agesilaos »

Zopyrion cannot have been appointed in 330; Justin makes his death contemporary to that of Alexander of Epirus which was reported to AtG at Gaugamela, thus he did not see the year 331 out. Thus it is more likely that his expedition preceded the rising of Memnon making the Getic expedition's failure a cause of the rebellion with the garrison of Thrace (Justin calls it Scythia XII 1 and then Pontus!) reduced by 30,000 the opportunity was to good to miss.
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Nicator
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Re: A Question about Memnon, Strategos of Thrace

Post by Nicator »

The white paper, authored by Ionnis K. Xydopoulos, cites Diodorus, Justin, and Curitus. Heckel also cites Diodorus, Justin, and Curtius. Neither author aligns the date to the incident precisely. But both seem to claim 325 from either Curtius or Berve.

Being that Berve is not considered a primary source, your alignment of the deaths of both Alexander of Epirus and Zopyrion after Guagamela seems appropriate enough.
Later Nicator

Thus, rain sodden and soaked, under darkness cloaked,
Alexander began, his grand plan, invoked...

The Epic of Alexander
agesilaos
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Re: A Question about Memnon, Strategos of Thrace

Post by agesilaos »

The error is easily explained; in Curtius X 1 xliii
43 Isdem fere diebus litteras [a Coeno]º accepit de rebus in Europa et Asia gestis, dum ipse Indiam subigit.º 44 Zopyrio, Thraciae praepositus, cum expeditionem in Getas faceret, tempestatibus procellisque subito coortis cum toto exercitu oppressus erat. 45 Qua cognita clade Seuthes Odrysas, populares suos, ad defectionem conpulerat. Amissa propemodum Thracia ne Graecia quidem....[lacuna]
At the same time letters were brought and delivered [to Coenus] concerning what had happened in Europe and Asia, whilst he was conquering India. 44.Zopyrion, the appointed leader of Thrace, made an expedition against the Getae had been destroyed, with the whole army, by a sudden storm and hurricane. 45. When Seuthes of the Odrysae learned of the disaster he drove his people to rebellion. Thrace and, indeed Greece, were nearly lost......
As the letters are received in 325 Berve et al have assumed the matters there related belong in that year, but there was no rebellion in Greece between the defeat of Agis and the Lamian war. Thus Curtius is recapitulating before going onto relate matter he has excluded while concentrating on Alexander and Zopyrion's loss was the spark for Seuthes/Memnon's Thracian rising which in turn encouraged Agis to go to war (although he is often said to be rebelling, Sparta was not a member of the League of Korinth). There is even a clue in the Latin to why Antipatros found it easy to reach an accomodation with Seuthes; 'conpulerat' implies that the Odrysae themselves were not as ready to break with Macedon as their king, lacking strong backing Seuthes would have bitten Antipatros' hand off when concessions were offered and one may suppose that they need only have touched Seuthes' own status; Zopyrion had met his fate at the hands of the weather, there was no popular uprising involving the massacre of garissons and such (at least none are reported and the reluctance of the people does not betoken revolutionary fervour). This would make a swift peace possible and acceptable.

So Zopyrion, and Alexander of Epeiros must have pre-deceased the battle of Gaugamela probably by six months or so at the start of the campaigning season c. April.
When you think about, it free-choice is the only possible option.
Nicator
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Re: A Question about Memnon, Strategos of Thrace

Post by Nicator »

Ok then, that about settles it and my curiosity has been appeased. I'll put the whole thing back to where I had it originally (between Siwa and Guagamela).

What did you think of Justin's comments regarding Alexander's 'not caring about the loss of the 30,000 men as much as being happy that Alexander of Epirus was gone' statement? This sounds like the psychological (psycho) quilt of a power crazed Roman Emperor being stitched onto Alexander.
Later Nicator

Thus, rain sodden and soaked, under darkness cloaked,
Alexander began, his grand plan, invoked...

The Epic of Alexander
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