Alexander the Great...Good or Bad King, or neither? An Essay

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Re: Alexander the Great...Good or Bad King, or neither? An Essay

Postby Alexias » Wed Feb 15, 2017 1:45 pm

She refers to 328/327 because our years run January to December, whilst Greek calendars generally began in Autumn ( e.g. Macedonian began 1st Dios =1st October aprox - because it was lunar this would shift slightly year to year). The main exceptions were Boeotia, whose calendar began in mid-winter, and Athens, whose main calendar year (confusingly they used 3 calendars simultaneously, which I won't go into) began in mid-Summer ( 1st Hekatombeion =July/August aprox, again because it was lunar, beginning the first sighting of the new moon after the summer solstice.).


No I wasn't. What I was referring to what is usually given in text books and other sources. I am fully aware that ancient calendars did not coincide with modern ones, thank you. Are you saying that everyone's calculations except yours are wrong? This also means that calculations about Alexander's reign, based on his given age at Philip's death of about 20, are also incorrect. I think you need to be very sure of your ground before you start questioning the whole ancient calendar of generally accepted dates just to justify your claim that Heracles and Barsine were non-existent and/or imposters.

The whole thing is groundless anyway because Justin gives Heracles age as 15 (Justin, 15.2.3), an age which would actually make more sense for Heracles to be put forward as a potential rival to Cassander if he were just emerging from childhood, rather than at 17-18 when he should already have been a soldier if he was to be a potential king.

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Re: Alexander the Great...Good or Bad King, or neither? An Essay

Postby Paralus » Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:59 am

Xenophon wrote:You have rather overlooked the fact that despite 'rejection' as candidates to succeed to the throne, 'Heracles' and Alexander IV are still technically heirs by birth to AtG, and Arrhidaeus cannot be truthfully described as "sole heir" in Paralus' version.
But Arrhidaeus is said to be “solus heres”/sole heir, and again at [X.7.6], he is "the only one born to inherit/hic solus est”, and at [X.7.2] no-one but Arrhidaeus has a claim as "next in blood", ['Heracles', if he existed, was not only "next in blood", but a son to boot, and therefore also had a claim and was born to inherit] and that no-one but Arrhhidaeus could assume Alexander’s name, or the family name.[Heracles could not assume his father's name? Arrhidaeus ( who was just as 'illegitimate' in modern terms) did so, becoming Philip.][X.7.15]

All this denies the existence of Heracles, and strongly implies the speech attributed to Nearchus is an inserted later interpolation.



Herakles is angrily rejected outright by the rank and file ("Nobody liked Nearchus' suggestion. They repeatedly signaled their opposition in traditional fashion by beating their shields with their spears and, as Nearkhos pressed his idea with greater insistence, they came close to rioting"). Alexander IV is also rejected on the basis of being half Asian (as Ptolemy argues for both candidates at 10.6.13; cf Justin 13.2.9-11) as well as the fact that there was no Alexander IV to propose at the time; the infant as yet unborn as is argued. The only extant and available heir - of royal stock (Philip II) - is Arrhidaios who is clearly described and accepted as Alexander’s “brother”. It is clear the Macedonians did not accept Herakles as being a legitimate royal heir (hence the angry rejection - Nearkhos' self interest, too, will have played a part) and they then had to be convinced of the candidature of Alexander’s yet to be born child! Eventually they were so convinced and the only difference is that one is the child of a royal union; the other is clearly not.

Xenophon wrote:The short reference to Heracles is simply inconsistent and incompatible with the subsequent narrative text - the sign of a careless interpolator.

Also, Curtius brings back Perdiccas as a candidate [X.7.12], but the majority favour Arrhidaeus because he is "the Royal stock" ( and Heracles is not?) - but no mention of Heracles, who in Paralus' version, still exists.


I do not see how the references to Herakles are "inconsistent with the subsequent narrative text". The boy is presented as a candidate and is summarily rejected. Also, Curtius does not “bring back” Perdikkas as a candidate. Such a view can only arise from a “friendly” reading of what Curtius wrote (10.7.11-12):

No deep sea, no vast and stormy body of water produces waves as violent as the emotions of a mob, particularly in the first flush of a freedom that is to be short-lived. [12] A few wished to confer supreme command on Perdiccas, whom they had recently chosen, but more were for Philip whom they had overlooked. But neither their support nor their opposition in respect of anything could last long and. regretting their decision one moment, they regretted their regret the next.


This is the day following Perdikkas presenting himself as a candidate and the rejection of Herakles. Curtius is here presenting a summary of what has, to that point, transpired: Perdikkas, who killed his candidacy by feigning diffidence to it (10.6.18-19), still has a “few” supporters in his corner but the bulk of support was for Arrhidaios. This is not a reintroduction of Perdikkas’ candidacy just as it is no reintroduction of Arrhidaios’ candidature. Thus, it is no surprise that the already peremptorily rejected Herakles is not mentioned. The only “reintroduction” in Curtius’ narrative is that of the joint regency for Alexander IV (when born) as part of a compromise between the cavalry and infantry: “Arrhidaios sent the same men back to ask now that they accept Meleager as a third general…” (10.8.22) that is, as a third “tutore” as proposed by the principes at 10.7.8-9.

Xenophon wrote:Paralus' line of reasoning considers only part of the evidence, just as earlier when he claimed that the lack of mention of Heracles in the epitomised sources was because epitomators 'left things out' rather overlooks the obvious corollary that they don't mention Heracles because he wasn't mentioned in the original text in the first place.Since we can't know which, this no evidence at all.


Hardly. Again, the most probable result of abbreviation (and in this case, severe abbreviation) is the leaving out of material. As I’ve pointed out, Arrian knows nothing of the moves on Perdikkas’ life if we are to rely on Photios wretched summary. Nor, to use your words, does Hieronymus/Diodorus know anything about Perdikkas’ candidacy or the noble’s proposal of joint regents for Alexander’s unborn child or the fact that the infantry had acclaimed Arrhidaios king in his own right thus fomenting the near civil war. Instances of such summarising out in these brief epitomes are readily available. Photios (Arrian), for example, passes from the conference at Triparadeisos to Antipatros' departure for Macedonia never relating a word about the dilatory performance of the old General or how he was out-generaled by Eumenes. We know this was covered by Arrian in detail because of the fortuitous discovery of the Goteborg Palimpsest which relates part of it. Had this never been found would we then have to claim this was unknown to Arrian? Just as would be the information contained in the Vatican Palimpsest dealing with Perdikkas' activities in Kilikia on the way to Egypt. It becomes readily apparent just how much detail Photios has deleted in his severe abridgement. Yet we are told that we should prefer the silences of such emasculated originals over far fuller sources.

On the matter of Alexander’s supposed son by Roxanne who died in India, that’s an open question. Some scholars agree; others do not. One might observe that there is no mention of a son of Alexander by Roxanne, who died in India, in Arrian, Plutarch, Diodorus or Curtius. Such a son is apparently totally ignored by all of our major Alexander sources and it would then appear that Ptolemy/Aristobouls and Kleitarchos knew nothing of such a son.

Given that this son is real, that does not mean that Herakles claimed (or Antigonos claimed him) to be such. Lysimachos might well ask “where was I when this ‘Herakles’ was born to Roxanne in India?” Ptolemy, too, would have asked the question. The scenario supposes that Antigonos knew well the details of this child and its death. He was left in Phrygia early on in the anabasis and if he well knew, so did others.

On the matter of numbers and age, it is then passingly odd that Arrian can write that Alexander ascended the throne at the age of “about twenty years”. This is in the archonship of Pytholdelos (336/35). Plutarch tells us that Philip received the news of Alexander’s birth along with news of his victory in the Olympics (Alex.3.4). These Olympics were during the archonship of Elpines (356/55 – Diod. 16.15.1). Alexander is then born in July of 356 and ascends the throne in the summer or autumn of 336 (Diod.16.91.1). Arrian (or his source) has counted out twenty rather correctly. The same might be observed of Diodorus’ statement that Philip ruled for “twenty-four years”. Diodorus has Philip take the throne under the archonship of Kallimides (360/59) and was assassinated under the archoship of Pythodelos (336/35). Again, Diodorus numbers twenty-four correctly.

I am intending posting on the "Ear springtime" Chronology thread at some time but may have to rethink matters if this method of counting is to be accepted. Some of the key pieces of evidence will now undoubtedly support little but the "High" chronology: Diod. 18.28.2 ("Arrhidaios had spent nearly two years"); 18.36.7 ("Perdikkas, after he had ruled for three years..."); 19.11.5 (" [Philip] who had been king for six years and four months...") should we reduce all by one. Respectively, this method would seem to show Arrhidaios leaving Babylon in 322; Perdikkas dying in 321 and Philip Arrhidaios dying in 318.
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Re: Alexander the Great...Good or Bad King, or neither? An Essay

Postby Xenophon » Fri Feb 17, 2017 6:34 am

Alexias wrote:
She refers to 328/327 because our years run January to December, whilst Greek calendars generally began in Autumn ( e.g. Macedonian began 1st Dios =1st October aprox - because it was lunar this would shift slightly year to year). The main exceptions were Boeotia, whose calendar began in mid-winter, and Athens, whose main calendar year (confusingly they used 3 calendars simultaneously, which I won't go into) began in mid-Summer ( 1st Hekatombeion =July/August aprox, again because it was lunar, beginning the first sighting of the new moon after the summer solstice.).


No I wasn't. What I was referring to what is usually given in text books and other sources. I am fully aware that ancient calendars did not coincide with modern ones, thank you.

Yes, that is obvious from the preceding line I quoted from you that you were referring to various texts, which you have left out:
“I think Heracles date of birth is usually calculated to be 328-327, rather than 326.”

....but the underlying reason for referring to a year in this way is that the Macedonian year began on 1 October/Dios, hence it consisted of Oct/Nov/Dec 328,and Jan to September inclusive of 327, which is therefore more accurate than the common and simplified notation “327 BC”.
It is equally obvious that you are aware ancient calendars do not coincide with modern ones, and I certainly wasn’t suggesting otherwise. I went to the trouble of explaining this, not for you, but rather for the readership generally, some of whom and maybe many would not be familiar with Greek and Macedonian calendars.

Are you saying that everyone's calculations except yours are wrong?


Please note too that these are not just my calculations, but those of many scholars. Nor is this inconsistent with calculations for Alexander’s reign, and I am certainly not questioning the whole ancient calendar generally – though I am sure that you are aware there is much debate about pretty well every ancient date, save those verifiable from astronomy.

This also means that calculations about Alexander's reign, based on his given age at Philip's death of about 20, are also incorrect. I think you need to be very sure of your ground before you start questioning the whole ancient calendar of generally accepted dates just to justify your claim that Heracles and Barsine were non-existent and/or imposters.


In the case of Alexander it is generally accepted he was born in July 356, probably around the 20th or 21st ( for an excellent discussion of the reasoning, see Christopher Bennett’s paper “Alexandria and the Moon Addenda et Corrigenda”, from page 3 ff), accessible here:

http://www.academia.edu/1134799/Alexand ... Corrigenda

Now using the Greek method of calculating age, Alexander was 20 in 337/336. He acceded to the throne as soon as Philip died, in the Spring of 336, probably May/June[Daisios], but his official ‘regnal years’ began on the Macedonian New Year, I Oct/Dios 336/335. The year of Philip’s death (337/336) was counted as the last year of his reign. See Bennett, referred to in :

http://www.tyndalehouse.com/egypt/ptole ... y_i_fr.htm

(DIGRESSION; Christopher Bennett was a fellow Australian and contemporary of mine. Anyone interested in dating in Alexander’s day and the Hellenistic dynasties should familiarise themselves with his wonderful work on chronology, expounded on the above website and papers on the Academia website also linked above. His interests were Egyptian, Ptolemaic, Roman and Indian chronology, and his work was well respected in the Academic world. He occasionally posted on Pothos. He suffered from ampullary cancer for many years, and knew he would not be able to complete his work. He intended to produce a definitive work on the Argead (original) Macedonian calendar and studied the subject for many years. Back in 2006 he posted this on Pothos:
Fri sept 2006 Ptolemy and Alexander brothers? Thread
There is actually very little evidence for the Macedonian calendar in Argead Macedon. Believe it or not, Dean quoted a large fraction of what there is. We have very good reason to believe that the calendar was originally lunar, and we know the names and the order of the months. We know something about the religious associations of some of the month names. We don't know how or how often intercalation was done, whether years started on 1 Dios or on the anniversary of the king's accession (both are argued), whether Alexander's insertion of an embolimos day at Tyre was an unusual event or common practice, and so on.

As I mentioned earlier, we have only one calendar synchronism from before Alexander's reign, and even that is generally considered to come from a forged document and to be unreliable. In fact, the date of Alexander's death is the earliest precisely fixed Macedonian date we have, although Grzybek developed an argument that we have an indirect Macedonian date for Gaugamela.”


He passed away on 10 Jan 2014.)

The question of regnal years has confused many scholars into thinking that Philip’s death, and Alexander’s accession occurred in October/Dios, which is why some argue incorrectly. ( For detailed discussion see “Lameness of Philip II thread “ from December posts, page 7 onward especially page 9, where Agesilaos played ‘Devil’s advocate’[ warning: long, complex chronological debate], though he took the opposite chronological viewpoint in the “Birth day/Death day” thread !)

Alexander would not turn 21 [Greek counting] until around 20 July, so was 20 when he acceded to the throne, consistent with sources:
Arrian I.1. i

IT is said that Philip died when Pythodelus was archon at Athens,[ from June 336, summer solstice Birth/death thread, though the solstice could vary from May to August - one would have to check astronomical data to obatain an accurate date in our terms.....] and that his son Alexander, being then about twenty years of age, marched into Peloponnesus as soon as he had secured the regal power.

....and also...

Arrian VII.28.1 where Arrian quotes Aristobulus as saying that Alexander acceded to the throne when he was twenty (32 years 8 months – 12 years 8 months)


Diod XVI. 91. i

When Pythodorus was archon at Athens, the Romans elected as consuls Quintus Publius and Tiberius Aemilius Mamercus, and the one hundred and eleventh celebration of the Olympic Games took place, in which Cleomantis of Cleitor won the foot-race. 2 In this year, King Philip, installed as leader by the Greeks, opened the war with Persia by sending into Asia as an advance party Attalus and Parmenion

.


Marmor Parium 101/2 (The Marble greek chronology found on the island of Paros)


1)_____________ [Philip died] and Ale[xander] is king, 72 years, when Pythodelus was archon at Athens.


Oxyrhynchos Chronographer (P.Oxy 12) Col III 18-27


In the archonship of Pythodelos (336-335) Philip king of Macedon was assassinated by Pausanias, one of his bodyguards (doryphoroi), and was succeeded by his son Alexander

And the Loeb translator’s (Welles) footnote:
“The date of Philip's death is discussed by K. J. Beloch, Griechische Geschichte2, 3.2 (1923), 59. The news had not yet reached Athens by the end of the civil year 337/6 B.C.;IG II2.1.240 in the tenth prytany does not know of it. On the other hand, the time must be early in the summer, for Philip was busy with preparations for an invasion of Asia Minor. A possible clue to the date is furnished by the statement of Plutarch, Alexander, 16.2, concerning the battle of the Granicus: this would have taken place in the month Daesius[May/June], but as that was unlucky, Alexander ordered the intercalation of a second Artemisius. Since there is some evidence that the intercalary month was the last month of the regnal year, this establishes a certain presumption that Philip died and Alexander came to the throne in Daesius; and this squares well enough with the evidence of the Attic inscription. Since Alexander died in Daesius, the Oxyrhynchus chronologist was correct in crediting him thirteen years of reign.”


The claim that the “Barsine” claimed to be the mother of Heracles cannot be real is not mine, but goes back to Tarn, and several scholars since. Nor is the claim that ‘Heracles was a ‘pretender’, which also goes back to Tarn and many scholars take this view, including Pearson, Jacoby, Berve, Beloch, Hamilton and many others. Only Brunt and Errington have argued that Heracles was really the son of Alexander.



The whole thing is groundless anyway because Justin gives Heracles age as 15 (Justin, 15.2.3), an age which would actually make more sense for Heracles to be put forward as a potential rival to Cassander if he were just emerging from childhood, rather than at 17-18 when he should already have been a soldier if he was to be a potential king.

That is not a terribly convincing argument. Justin is not the best source, for example he calls Heracles the son of Roxanne ( thus confusing him with Alexander IV ) [XIV.6], and it may be Roxanne’s son who was 14, nearly 15, when killed. Diodorus is clearly the better source here. [Digression; If Justin is correct, and is referring to Roxanne's son, that would mean Alexander IV died in the summer of 310 BC, confirming the most likely date]

Secondly, a child would not pose as great a threat as an adult. Moreover, while boys learnt athletics and how to use weapons at the Gymnasium as part of their education, at 14-15 they were still schoolboys ( e.g. Alexander was still a student of Aristotle at 14). They didn’t become soldiers until age 17 (Greek count). When the new year opened, all those who were entering their eighteenth year, thus entering manhood, became ‘ephebes’ and only then took up military training (i.e. the whole age-class, as alluded to earlier by Amyntoros), for two years before becoming fully fledged soldiers.
( e.g. at Athens, and seemingly introduced into Macedon by Philip II.Later, Philip V, in dire need of recruits, would conscript 16 year olds, but then had to train and drill them daily, for they had no military experience. [Livy XXXIII.3])

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Re: Alexander the Great...Good or Bad King, or neither? An Essay

Postby Paralus » Sat Feb 18, 2017 4:13 am

Xenophon wrote:Now using the Greek method of calculating age, Alexander was 20 in 337/336. He acceded to the throne as soon as Philip died, in the Spring of 336, probably May/June[Daisios], but his official ‘regnal years’ began on the Macedonian New Year, I Oct/Dios 336/335. The year of Philip’s death (337/336) was counted as the last year of his reign.


Yet all sources, which you yourself have quoted, clearly place Philip’s death in the archon year of Pythodelos (336/35). Diodorus baldly places Philip’s death in 336/5 and the Marmour Parium agrees. Aristoboulos (Arr.7.28.1) explicitly places Alexander on the throne in 336/5 (October 336, as the annotation for the passage in the Landmark states). Diodorus gives him a reign of twelve years and seven months and Plutarch (Alex. 74.5) states he dies in the eighth Macedonian month of the year.

The Loeb editor proceeds from his view that Philip’s death must have taken place early in the summer (May/early June) for he was busy with preparations to invade Asia. This also informs his rationalisation of Alexander’s reign and assumption of the throne at Diodorus 17.117.5. Arrian writes that when he succeeded to the throne Alexander went to the Peloponnese to enforce his hold over the ‘League of Corinth’ after which he returned to Macedonia and “prepared for his campaign into Asia” (1.1.1-3). There is no campaigning until the following spring (1.1.4) when the Asian expedition is suspended to deal with unrest. This would be because of the funeral arrangements for Philip, etc which Diodorus notes (17.2.1-6). While it is true that Diodorus places this under the archon year of 335/4, this is because of his expressed decision to close Book 16 with Philip’s death and deal with Alexander in his own book. There either was no unrest for Alexander to deal with in summer / autumn 336 and Alexander spent it doing not much at all or Alexander ascended the throne in October just as Aristoboulos explicitly states and time existed only to secure the allegiance of the Greeks before the winter. The latter is a far simpler than attempting to explain just how IG II2.1.240 (which honours a courtier of Philip – a son of Andromenes) knows nothing of his death. The least inventive explanation is that it had not occurred! Athens – which clearly had representatives in attendance – will have known of the hated Philip’s murder fairly damned swiftly.

Xenophon wrote:The claim that the “Barsine” claimed to be the mother of Heracles cannot be real is not mine, but goes back to Tarn, and several scholars since. Nor is the claim that ‘Heracles was a ‘pretender’, which also goes back to Tarn and many scholars take this view, including Pearson, Jacoby, Berve, Beloch, Hamilton and many others. Only Brunt and Errington have argued that Heracles was really the son of Alexander.


Of course it does. Tarn’s respectable “philosopher-in-arms” out to produce a “brotherhood of man” could not possibly offend his fine early 20th century gentlemanly sensibilities by fathering bastards. Barsine does not exist just as Bagoas must be excised from Tarn’s viewpoint. Tarn's view of Curtius is little better than Polybios' view of Callisthenes.

As for the reference to authorities, your list is a little short. Just from memory I might add Heckel, Bosworth, Errington and Meeus. There will, of course, be more but who’s counting??

Xenophon wrote:The whole story of Barsine, supposedly captured after Issus, is possibly confused with that of Barsine/Stateira, daughter of Darius whom Alexander would marry, which would explain her total disappearance after Issus.


Arrian (7.4.6) explicitly tells us that Nearkhos married the daughter of Barsine and Mentor in the Susa weddings – neatly explaining his obvious interest in promoting Herakles at Babylon. Presumably this daughter also did not exist and this is some later interpolation to facilitate Nearkhos’ clear self interest in promoting his mother in law’s non-existent son at Babylon? If so, how to explain Ptolemy and Eumenes marrying the sisters of this non-existent Barsine (Plut. Eum. 1.7)? If this is confusion with Barsine / Statiera, Nearkhos has married Statiera's daughter while Ptolemy and Eumenes have married her sisters. As far as we know she had only one sister, Drypetis, and she married Hephaistion.

Xenophon wrote:Justin is not the best source, for example he calls Heracles the son of Roxanne ( thus confusing him with Alexander IV ) [XIV.6], and it may be Roxanne’s son who was 14, nearly 15, when killed. Diodorus is clearly the better source here. [Digression; If Justin is correct, and is referring to Roxanne's son, that would mean Alexander IV died in the summer of 310 BC, confirming the most likely date]


Could have sworn there was a reference to Justin not mentioning Polyperchon in this post when I first read it, though it seems no longer to be there. Perhaps I mis-remember. The old Plod is, in fact, excised out in Justin’s often capricious summarising as we would expect in such epitomes - something I have been at pains to get across. Justin does indeed confuse Herakles with Alexander IV (14.6.2). This, for Justin, is nothing out of the ordinary – business as usual in fact - just as he has Neoptolemos flee to Antipatros and Polyperchon (13.8.2) and Meleaghros propose both Herakles and Arrhidaios under discussion here as just two of many examples.

In any case, the point is that we are to hold to the silences of the most exiguous of epitomes over Curtius and Justin in the case of Herakles at Babylon. As the dropping of Polyperchon above illustrates, buiding an argument on such is building on sand. The rationale is that the notice of Herakles as a candidate in Babylon is the work of a later interpolator – and a very poor one at that because his interpolation (in both sources!) “is simply inconsistent and incompatible with the subsequent narrative text”. If Plutarch was well aware of Herakles, then so, too, was Trogus / Justin for it is not only at the Babylon Settlement that his existence is recorded he is recorded at Alexander’s death (12.15.9):

Such was his nobleness of spirit, that though he left a son named Hercules, a brother called Aridaeus, and his wife Roxane with child, yet, forgetting his relations, he named only "the most worthy" as his successor.


But, of course, this may be the work of the late interpolator attempting to support the speech of Nearkhos he inserted to support the notion of Herakles' claim seventeen years hence. If this is so, this interpolator – far from being a poor one – is extremely thorough. Not only does he insert Nearkhos’ fictional speech and the notice of Alexander having a son called Herakles at 12.15.9, he also goes all the way back to Book 11 (10.1-3) to insert the following:

As he afterwards contemplated the wealth and display of Darius, he was seized with admiration of such magnificence. Hence it was that he first began to indulge in luxurious and splendid banquets, and fell in love with his captive Barsine for her beauty, by whom he had afterwards a son that he called Hercules.


For a “careless interpolator” he showed a rather sedulous dedication in setting up a fictitious back story for the non-existent Herakles!
Last edited by Paralus on Mon Feb 20, 2017 12:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.

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Re: Alexander the Great...Good or Bad King, or neither? An Essay

Postby Xenophon » Tue Feb 21, 2017 7:05 am

Paralus wrote:

Xenophon wrote:You have rather overlooked the fact that despite 'rejection' as candidates to succeed to the throne, 'Heracles' and Alexander IV are still technically heirs by birth to AtG, and Arrhidaeus cannot be truthfully described as "sole heir" in Paralus' version.
But Arrhidaeus is said to be “solus heres”/sole heir, and again at [X.7.6], he is "the only one born to inherit/hic solus est”, and at [X.7.2] no-one but Arrhidaeus has a claim as "next in blood", ['Heracles', if he existed, was not only "next in blood", but a son to boot, and therefore also had a claim and was born to inherit] and that no-one but Arrhhidaeus could assume Alexander’s name, or the family name.[Heracles could not assume his father's name? Arrhidaeus ( who was just as 'illegitimate' in modern terms) did so, becoming Philip.][X.7.15]

All this denies the existence of Heracles, and strongly implies the speech attributed to Nearchus is an inserted later interpolation.




Herakles is angrily rejected outright by the rank and file ("Nobody liked Nearchus' suggestion. They repeatedly signaled their opposition in traditional fashion by beating their shields with their spears and, as Nearkhos pressed his idea with greater insistence, they came close to rioting"). Alexander IV is also rejected on the basis of being half Asian (as Ptolemy argues for both candidates at 10.6.13; cf Justin 13.2.9-11) as well as the fact that there was no Alexander IV to propose at the time; the infant as yet unborn as is argued. The only extant and available heir - of royal stock (Philip II) - is Arrhidaios who is clearly described and accepted as Alexander’s “brother”. It is clear the Macedonians did not accept Herakles as being a legitimate royal heir (hence the angry rejection - Nearkhos' self interest, too, will have played a part) and they then had to be convinced of the candidature of Alexander’s yet to be born child! Eventually they were so convinced and the only difference is that one is the child of a royal union; the other is clearly not.


I believe your reasoning is flawed. Is it really credible that within 3 days or so of filing past the dying Alexander, the troops would angrily and aggressively reject his only living son?
Something is very wrong with this narrative, and it is most likely because it is an interpolation.
Next, this was not Victorian England, and “illegitimacy” carried no shame or stigma in ancient Macedon, as I have already referred to. In an age when polygamous marriage of Royalty was the norm, how could it? Nor was it a reason to reject anyone. ( see also Hiphys’ post Jan 31 on p.3 and subsequent – with which you agreed ! )Witness the fact that the ‘illegitimate’ Arrhidaeus could become King a little later. Nor would ‘illegitimate’ daughters be undesirable brides. The only thing that counted in reality was ‘blood relationship’, as I recounted earlier ( see e.g. the false ‘Testament of Alexander’, a near contemporary document from somewhere around 319 BC, and which does NOT mention any Heracles, nor does any other source written before 309 ).
And in fact ‘Heracles’ was NOT rejected for that reason. He and Roxane’s child are supposedly rejected because of their Persian mothers [Curtius X.6.13] which looks like an obvious ‘doublet’. But we are going round in circles, and your assertions are repetitive. I summarised the situation back on page 3, post Jan 26.........

Xenophon wrote:The short reference to Heracles is simply inconsistent and incompatible with the subsequent narrative text - the sign of a careless interpolator.

Also, Curtius brings back Perdiccas as a candidate [X.7.12], but the majority favour Arrhidaeus because he is "the Royal stock" ( and Heracles is not?) - but no mention of Heracles, who in Paralus' version, still exists.


I do not see how the references to Herakles are "inconsistent with the subsequent narrative text".


As an example, Curtius has Perdiccas pray that Roxanne bears a son, forgetting they have just been (supposedly) discussing ‘Heracles’, son of Alexander – who is not rejected for illegitimacy but ostensibly because, like Roxanne, his mother is Persian ( probably a ‘doublet’, added in by the interpolator). In fact the speeches Curtius gives the Generals, clearly indicate that Roxanne’s unborn child is Alexander’s only progeny. Curtius ( or his sources) evidently don’t believe ‘Heracles’ existed, aside from the likely interpolation at X.6.10-11 – the 100 words, which is the only reference to Heracles.

Also, have you forgotten my post of Jan 26? One could be forgiven for thinking you were displaying early symptoms of “old-timers disease!

In that post I wrote about the obvious contradictions, which I’ll repeat for your benefit:

“Let us consider Curtius, whose 100 words or so, though they tell us little,are the strongest evidence for Heracles being around in 323. A careful reading reveals that on at least three occasions, Curtius’ sources know nothing of Heracles. At VIII.4.23 ff, the courtship of Roxane, Alexander has apparently had no previous association with a Persian woman, for here occurs the first dissent at such a link. At X.7.2 – the very paragraph that refers to Heracles, in another speech Arrhidaeus is said to be “solus heres”/sole heir and again at X.7.6, he is the only one born to inherit/”hic solus est”, and at X.7.15 no-one but Arrhidaeus has a claim as a blood relation, and that no-one but he could assume Alexander’s name. All this denies the existence of Heracles, and strongly implies the speech attributed to Nearchus is an inserted interpolation.On the other hand we have no less than five references in Hieronymous/Diodorus to the fact that Alexander died childless, and without heirs. In Curtius too, despite the speech he gives Nearchus, there are several references to Arrhidaeus being the sole heir and blood relation (at least until the birth of Roxanne’s child), implying the Nearchus speech is an interpolation. There is also the list of Alexander’s blood relatives in the ‘Testament’.”[ no Heracles]

The boy is presented as a candidate and is summarily rejected. Also, Curtius does not “bring back” Perdikkas as a candidate. Such a view can only arise from a “friendly” reading of what Curtius wrote (10.7.11-12):


"No deep sea, no vast and stormy body of water produces waves as violent as the emotions of a mob, particularly in the first flush of a freedom that is to be short-lived. [12] A few wished to confer supreme command on Perdiccas, whom they had recently chosen, but more were for Philip whom they had overlooked. But neither their support nor their opposition in respect of anything could last long and. regretting their decision one moment, they regretted their regret the next."


This is the day following Perdikkas presenting himself as a candidate and the rejection of Herakles. Curtius is here presenting a summary of what has, to that point, transpired: Perdikkas, who killed his candidacy by feigning diffidence to it (10.6.18-19), still has a “few” supporters in his corner but the bulk of support was for Arrhidaios. This is not a reintroduction of Perdikkas’ candidacy just as it is no reintroduction of Arrhidaios’ candidature. Thus, it is no surprise that the already peremptorily rejected Herakles is not mentioned. The only “reintroduction” in Curtius’ narrative is that of the joint regency for Alexander IV (when born) as part of a compromise between the cavalry and infantry: “Arrhidaios sent the same men back to ask now that they accept Meleager as a third general…” (10.8.22) that is, as a third “tutore” as proposed by the principes at 10.7.8-9.


Well, I won’t quibble as to whether Perdiccas was ‘re-introduced’ as a candidate, or was still one. The point as the quotation makes clear is that Perdiccas was still in the game as a candidate.

Moreover, why on earth, as I said earlier, would Perdiccas take a 50-50 bet on Roxanne’s unborn child to further his ambitions as Regent, when if Heracles existed he was ‘a dead cert’?

But there is also [X.7.9] “Then an oath was exacted of each man that they would submit to a king begotten of Alexander.” The implication here being Roxanne’s unborn child, if it were a boy.
But if Heracles existed, wasn’t he ‘begotten of Alexander’?
The oath should have been worded differently if it were to exclude Heracles, but instead it implies, like so much else, that there was no Heracles.


Xenophon wrote:Paralus' line of reasoning considers only part of the evidence, just as earlier when he claimed that the lack of mention of Heracles in the epitomised sources was because epitomators 'left things out' rather overlooks the obvious corollary that they don't mention Heracles because he wasn't mentioned in the original text in the first place. Since we can't know which, this no evidence at all.


Hardly. Again, the most probable result of abbreviation (and in this case, severe abbreviation) is the leaving out of material. As I’ve pointed out, Arrian knows nothing of the moves on Perdikkas’ life if we are to rely on Photios wretched summary. Nor, to use your words, does Hieronymus/Diodorus know anything about Perdikkas’ candidacy or the noble’s proposal of joint regents for Alexander’s unborn child or the fact that the infantry had acclaimed Arrhidaios king in his own right thus fomenting the near civil war. Instances of such summarising out in these brief epitomes are readily available. Photios (Arrian), for example, passes from the conference at Triparadeisos to Antipatros' departure for Macedonia never relating a word about the dilatory performance of the old General or how he was out-generaled by Eumenes. We know this was covered by Arrian in detail because of the fortuitous discovery of the Goteborg Palimpsest which relates part of it. Had this never been found would we then have to claim this was unknown to Arrian? Just as would be the information contained in the Vatican Palimpsest dealing with Perdikkas' activities in Kilikia on the way to Egypt. It becomes readily apparent just how much detail Photios has deleted in his severe abridgement. Yet we are told that we should prefer the silences of such emasculated originals over far fuller sources.


I have never asserted that. If ‘Heracles’ played such a prominent part initially at Babylon, it is strange that our major sources don’t mention it – but that is merely one factor for concluding the ‘Heracles’ of 310-309 is an imposter/pretender. See my Jan 26 post page 3. This is just more repetitious assertions by you. And it doesn’t alter the fact that we can’t know if that was because it was left out, or was never there in the first place. As I said, you can’t imply or surmise that ‘Heracles’ was, or might have been mentioned in them somewhere. That isn’t evidence.

On the matter of Alexander’s supposed son by Roxanne who died in India, that’s an open question. Some scholars agree; others do not. One might observe that there is no mention of a son of Alexander by Roxanne, who died in India, in Arrian, Plutarch, Diodorus or Curtius. Such a son is apparently totally ignored by all of our major Alexander sources and it would then appear that Ptolemy/Aristobouls and Kleitarchos knew nothing of such a son.


So far as I am aware, most accept the child who died in infancy as fact. As Hiphys pointed out earlier, there’s no logical reason to invent such a story, for which we have two sources. Nor is it surprising that the major sources ignore such a trivial matter. As Alexias pointed out earlier, still-born or children dying in infancy was extremely common then, too common to be generally mentioned.

Given that this son is real, that does not mean that Herakles claimed (or Antigonos claimed him) to be such. Lysimachos might well ask “where was I when this ‘Herakles’ was born to Roxanne in India?” Ptolemy, too, would have asked the question. The scenario supposes that Antigonos knew well the details of this child and its death. He was left in Phrygia early on in the anabasis and if he well knew, so did others.

IF Lysimachus or Ptolemy or others could be certain that ‘Heracles’ was not the child born in India ( and how could they be?), they may have had their own reasons for not ‘going public’. Besides, he wasn’t around for long. This is pure surmise by you again.
A more pertinent question is his whereabouts between 326 and 323, and whose control he was supposed to be in, and his whereabouts between 323 and 310, and why, if he existed, he was totally ignored by all during the Diadoch wars? No-one thought to make use of Alexander’s eldest son? Incredible, literally!

On the matter of numbers and age...... Alexander is then born in July of 356 and ascends the throne in the summer or autumn of 336 (Diod.16.91.1). Arrian (or his source) has counted out twenty rather correctly. The same might be observed of Diodorus’ statement that Philip ruled for “twenty-four years”. Diodorus has Philip take the throne under the archonship of Kallimides (360/59) and was assassinated under the archonship of Pythodelos (336/35). Again, Diodorus numbers twenty-four correctly.


It is my belief that Philip died, and Alexander ascended the throne in the Spring or early summer of 336, along with many other scholars. The reasons for this have been expounded elsewhere. I have also stated elsewhere my dislike of chronological debates, because other than dates which can be confirmed from astronomy nothing can be certain, especially with ‘ad hoc’ lunar calendars such as the Graeco/Macedonian ones, or Roman ones. This is because their leaders did not regard a calendar as ‘fixed’, as we do, but felt free to ‘adjust’ them by adding or subtracting days, weeks and even months whenever they chose ( intercalation and embolic months). Our sources merely say ( see my post of Feb 17) that Philip died and Alexander ascended during the archonship of Pythodelus/Pythodorus. Theoretically that should have begun toward the end of June 336, approximately June 23 modern ( when Alexander was indeed 20 years old, as I have pointed out previously), but could have been as early as May. Astronomical data can give us a closer approximation of this theoretical date, but that doesn’t help much, because we have no idea of how intercalations and other political interference altered the Athenian calendar at the time. We know that the Arhenian calendar was a month or two 'out' at various times ( by way of example, when Julius Caesar reformed the similar Roman lunar calendar in 45 BC, instituting the solar Julian calendar, the old calendar was more than 3 months ‘out’!! This in turn was replaced by the slightly more accurate Gregorian calendar, which we use today, in 1582).

As for the length of Philip’s reign in Diodorus, I’m afraid you have miscounted. Philip came to the throne sometime in 359 BC (modern), and his official reign began in October of that year ( see Bennett) and ended in October 336 BC. Counting the Greek way ( i.e. inclusive) Diodorus is quite right in saying he reigned 24 years!

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Paralus wrote Sat 18/2:

Xenophon wrote:Now using the Greek method of calculating age, Alexander was 20 in 337/336. He acceded to the throne as soon as Philip died, in the Spring of 336, probably May/June[Daisios], but his official ‘regnal years’ began on the Macedonian New Year, I Oct/Dios 336/335. The year of Philip’s death (337/336) was counted as the last year of his reign.


Yet all sources, which you yourself have quoted, clearly place Philip’s death in the archon year of Pythodelos (336/35). Diodorus baldly places Philip’s death in 336/5 and the Marmour Parium agrees. Aristoboulos (Arr.7.28.1) explicitly places Alexander on the throne in 336/5 (October 336, as the annotation for the passage in the Landmark states). Diodorus gives him a reign of twelve years and seven months and Plutarch (Alex. 74.5) states he dies in the eighth Macedonian month of the year.


More repetition! See above.

The Loeb editor proceeds from his view that Philip’s death must have taken place early in the summer (May/early June) for he was busy with preparations to invade Asia. This also informs his rationalisation of Alexander’s reign and assumption of the throne at Diodorus 17.117.5. Arrian writes that when he succeeded to the throne Alexander went to the Peloponnese to enforce his hold over the ‘League of Corinth’ after which he returned to Macedonia and “prepared for his campaign into Asia” (1.1.1-3). There is no campaigning until the following spring (1.1.4) when the Asian expedition is suspended to deal with unrest. This would be because of the funeral arrangements for Philip, etc which Diodorus notes (17.2.1-6).

There is no reason the army and its Greek allies should not have continued training simultaneously. As well, provisions, the manufacture of spare weapons, the gathering and training of cavalry mounts and baggage animals, and a myriad other things would all have to be undertaken.

While it is true that Diodorus places this under the archon year of 335/6, this is because of his expressed decision to close Book 16 with Philip’s death and deal with Alexander in his own book. There either was no unrest for Alexander to deal with in summer / autumn 336 and Alexander spent it doing not much at all or Alexander ascended the throne in October just as Aristoboulos explicitly states and time existed only to secure the allegiance of the Greeks before the winter. The latter is a far simpler than attempting to explain just how IG II2.1.240 (which honours a courtier of Philip – a son of Andromenes) knows nothing of his death. The least inventive explanation is that it had not occurred! Athens – which clearly had representatives in attendance – will have known of the hated Philip’s murder fairly damned swiftly.


This is all incorrect conjecture on your part. There will have been a myriad of things for a newly crowned King to do, including the inevitable unrest. The allegiance of the Greeks could not have been secured between October and the onset of winter because there simply wasn’t enough time. The aprox 500-550 mile trip to the Peloponnese alone would have taken 3-4 weeks, plus probably a couple of weeks for the Peloponnesian leaders to gather ( not to mention time taken by the conference itself which is unknown), then another 3-4 weeks for the return journey i.e. a total time of about 2.5-3 months!

IG II2.1.240 ( or should that be IG 113.1.322) again ? For a full quote, see Agesilaos post in “Lameness of King Philip II” thread, Dec 23 2015, last post on page 6, and subsequently page 7. The tenth prytanny is the last of the year 337/336 i.e. theoretically Skirophorion, around May/June 336 (Agesilaos wrongly suggested July), but again we cannot know for certain, since Athenian calendars are known to have been up to a month or two ‘out’ at times. Since it would take 14-16 days to cover the 330 mile journey to Athens, news of Philip’s death would not reach Athens until then. Paralus’ pure supposition that Athens would learn of Philip’s death “damned swiftly” would not appear to be founded in fact, for example Demosthenes learned of it privately before the news was officially known.
From all this it becomes obvious that the inscription was probably made around the time Philip died, weeks before it could be known in Athens......



Xenophon wrote:The claim that the “Barsine” claimed to be the mother of Heracles cannot be real is not mine, but goes back to Tarn, and several scholars since. Nor is the claim that ‘Heracles was a ‘pretender’, which also goes back to Tarn and many scholars take this view, including Pearson, Jacoby, Berve, Beloch, Hamilton and many others. Only Brunt and Errington have argued that Heracles was really the son of Alexander.



Of course it does. Tarn’s respectable “philosopher-in-arms” out to produce a “brotherhood of man” could not possibly offend his fine early 20th century gentlemanly sensibilities by fathering bastards. Barsine does does not exist just as Bagoas must be excised from Tarn’s viewpoint.


Whatever Tarn’s “sensibilities” or thoughts were, which you cannot possibly know, his case makes a good deal of sense.[see below]


Xenophon wrote:The whole story of Barsine, supposedly captured after Issus, is possibly confused with that of Barsine/Stateira, daughter of Darius whom Alexander would marry, which would explain her total disappearance after Issus.



Arrian (7.4.6) explicitly tells us that Nearkhos married the daughter of Barsine and Mentor in the Susa weddings – neatly explaining his obvious interest in promoting Herakles at Babylon. Presumably this daughter also did not exist and this is some later interpolation to facilitate Nearkhos’ clear self interest in promoting his mother in law’s non-existent son at Babylon? If so, how to explain Ptolemy and Eumenes marrying the sisters of this non-existent Barsine (Plut. Eum. 1.7)? If this is confusion with Barsine / Statiera, Nearkhos has married Statiera's daughter while Ptolemy and Eumenes have married her sisters. As far as we know she had only one sister, Drypetis, and she married Hephaistion.


What an incredible muddle! While ‘Barsine’ is a common name in Persia in that era, only two women of that name are referred to in our sources prior to 309, namely Barsine/Stateira, daughter of Darius whom Alexander married, and Barsine the wife of Mentor. Tarn points out that the latter is far too old to have been a mistress for Alexander, for Mentor was of Philip’s generation, and an adult son of theirs, Thymondas, commanded the mercenaries at Issus, and himself had a grown-up son in 327/6, (I.G. ii2. 356) which makes this Barsine a grandmother! Cleitarchus, via Curtius, reports three of Mentor’s daughters captured at Damascus; Mentor and Barsine's daughter married Nearchus in 324 (Ptolemy via Arrian VII.4.6) – you at least got that correct.
As for Memnon's widow, she is known only from Cleitarchus via Diodorus (Diod. XVII, 23, 5; Curt. III.13.14). She was captured after Issus, at Damascus; but neither her name nor any information about her is given. Like his brother Mentor, Memnon belonged to an older generation (he was in his late forties); he had grown-up sons who fought beside their father at Granicus (Arr.I.15.2). Presumably his widow was not young; but we are told nothing about her. That she was Mentor's wife, married by Memnon after his brother's death, is a purely unfounded conjecture of modern writers, copied by one from another till it has become accepted through repetition.

As for Plutarch, Tarn says :
“Next, Plutarch's ‘Barsine’. She is not Mentor's wife,[ a real Barsine] quite apart from the question of age; for she is haughty and arrogant, and Mentor's wife was the reverse. She is identified by Plutarch (or rather by his source) with the 'Memnon's widow' of Cleitarchus .[Plut.Alexander 21]; but as Cleitarchus probably knew nothing of any Barsine who was Alexander's mistress after Issus, the identification must be later than Cleitarchus, i.e. not earlier than about the middle of the third century. Plutarch then stands thus: the Aristobulus-Parmenion part of his story is impossible; his Barsine is not Mentor's wife; and her identification with Memnon's widow is far later than the vulgate (I come to Artabazus' daughter later). The residue, which must belong to the vulgate, is this: Alexander after Issus took a captive as his mistress.”

Xenophon wrote:Justin is not the best source, for example he calls Heracles the son of Roxanne ( thus confusing him with Alexander IV ) [XIV.6], and it may be Roxanne’s son who was 14, nearly 15, when killed. Diodorus is clearly the better source here. [Digression; If Justin is correct, and is referring to Roxanne's son, that would mean Alexander IV died in the summer of 310 BC, confirming the most likely date]


Could have sworn there was a reference to Justin not mentioning Polyperchon in this post when I first read it, though it seems no longer to be there. Perhaps I mis-remember.


Yes you do, slightly! See my post of 15 Feb, foot of page 4. ( more old-timers disease? :lol: :lol: )

The old Plod is, in fact, excised out in Justin’s often capricious summarising as we would expect in such epitomes - something I have been at pains to get across. Justin does indeed confuse Herakles with Alexander IV (14.6.2).


....And more than once! He has ‘Heracles’ born around 323, when Alexander IV was born, and it seems likely he confusedly thought ‘Heracles’ was the child of Alexander and his wife Barsine/Stateira.

In any case, the point is that we are to hold to the silences of the briefest of epitomes over Curtius and Justin in the case of Herakles at Babylon. As the dropping of Polyperchon above illustrates, building an argument on such is building on sand. The rationale is that the notice of Herakles as a candidate in Babylon is the work of a later interpolator – and a very poor one at that because his interpolation (in both sources!) “is simply inconsistent and incompatible with the subsequent narrative text”. If Plutarch was well aware of Herakles, then so, too, was Trogus / Justin for it is not only at Babylon that his existence is recorded he is recorded at Alexander’s death (Justin 12.15.9):


Such was his nobleness of spirit, that though he left a son named Hercules, a brother called Aridaeus, and his wife Roxane with child, yet, forgetting his relations, he named only "the most worthy" as his successor.


But, of course, this may be the work of the late interpolator attempting to support the speech of Nearkhos he inserted to support the notion of Herakles' claim seventeen years hence. If this is so, this interpolator – far from being a poor one – is extremely thorough. Not only does he insert Nearkhos’ fictional speech and the notice of Alexander having a son called Herakles at 12.15.9, he also goes all the way back to Book 11 (10.1-3) to insert the following:


As he afterwards contemplated the wealth and display of Darius, he was seized with admiration of such magnificence. Hence it was that he first began to indulge in luxurious and splendid banquets, and fell in love with his captive Barsine for her beauty, by whom he had afterwards a son that he called Hercules.


For a “careless interpolator” he showed a rather sedulous dedication in setting up a fictitious back story for the non-existent Herakles!



The explanation is quite simple. And I trust you are not deliberately muddying the waters, for I made it quite clear that I believe the interpolation was made in Curtius, writing in the 1st century, not Justin writing in the 3rd. It is well known that Justin permitted himself considerable freedom of digression by producing an idiosyncratic anthology rather than a proper epitome, frequently inserting his own words [hence the many errors]. He most likely was familiar with Curtius, and this is where he got the references to Heracles. Consequently everything you say above is not relevant.

Please forgive the length of this post, necessitated by Paralus’ verbosity. :oops:

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Re: Alexander the Great...Good or Bad King, or neither? An Essay

Postby Paralus » Tue Feb 21, 2017 12:54 pm

Xenophon wrote:Please forgive the length of this post, necessitated by Paralus’ verbosity. :oops:


Dear me! Good thing it is late and I'm tired - it will help me keep this far, far less "verbose"!!

Xenophon wrote:I believe your reasoning is flawed. Is it really credible that within 3 days or so of filing past the dying Alexander, the troops would angrily and aggressively reject his only living son?
Something is very wrong with this narrative, and it is most likely because it is an interpolation.


I think not. The Macedonians rejected Herakles and the yet to be born child of Alexander. They were then persuaded to accept the latter. The reason would appear obvious as stated.

Xenophon wrote:Next, this was not Victorian England, and “illegitimacy” carried no shame or stigma in ancient Macedon, as I have already referred to. In an age when polygamous marriage of Royalty was the norm, how could it? Nor was it a reason to reject anyone. ( see also Hiphys’ post Jan 31 on p.3 and subsequent – with which you agreed ! )Witness the fact that the ‘illegitimate’ Arrhidaeus could become King a little later.


As stated, Arrhidaios is consistently referred to as Philip's son and Alexander's brother no matter what you might think of the status of his mother. They did not feel similarly towards Barsine's son.

Xenophon wrote:And in fact ‘Heracles’ was NOT rejected for that reason. He and Roxane’s child are supposedly rejected because of their Persian mothers [Curtius X.6.13] which looks like an obvious ‘doublet’.


Inconvenient evidence is first rejected as a 'late interpolator' and now we have "obvious doubelt". A doublet would be two separate stories relating the same information in the one source. There are no two separate notices here, no repetiton; both are rejected in the one single, solitary notice.

Xenophon wrote:As an example, Curtius has Perdiccas pray that Roxanne bears a son, forgetting they have just been (supposedly) discussing ‘Heracles’, son of Alexander – who is not rejected for illegitimacy but ostensibly because, like Roxanne, his mother is Persian ( probably a ‘doublet’, added in by the interpolator).


That is simply incorrect. Perdikkas proposes Alexander's unborn child and himself, obviously, as his regent. The unborn Alexander IV is rejected - along with Barsine's son. The suggestion of Arrhidaios who, as Philip's son and Alexander's brother, was then immediately acceptable to the rank and file. Perdikkas then presses the case of Alexander IV later in the process. Perdikkas, as a somatophylax and Alexander's chiliarch would be well aware that Alexander had sent this boy and his mother from court (see below on your "hear nothing, see nothing" view of these close confidants of the king), thus not according him royal status . Your persistent insistence of "doublet" shows only that you do not understand it.

Xenophon wrote:Well, I won’t quibble as to whether Perdiccas was ‘re-introduced’ as a candidate, or was still one. The point as the quotation makes clear is that Perdiccas was still in the game as a candidate.


Indeed: in the game hanging by a thread. Hardly "re-introduced".

Xenophon wrote:Moreover, why on earth, as I said earlier, would Perdiccas take a 50-50 bet on Roxanne’s unborn child to further his ambitions as Regent, when if Heracles existed he was ‘a dead cert’?


For the bleedin' obvious reasons already stated. The principes got behind this as the way forward (despite their clear reticence regarding Perdikkas). It was the way to keep power from 'lower' individuals such as Meleaghros. As things turned out, Perdikkas had plans to remove competitors (as Meleaghros found out to his cost). He had some months to consolidate his position (which, during the final stage or immediately after, he commenced by firing off a proposal for conciliating Antipatros - marriage). Were the child a girl (and so ineligible), he'd already be regent and in control as Bosworth has pointed out. As it turned out, he had to live with both kings.

Xenophon wrote:But there is also [X.7.9] “Then an oath was exacted of each man that they would submit to a king begotten of Alexander.” The implication here being Roxanne’s unborn child, if it were a boy.
But if Heracles existed, wasn’t he ‘begotten of Alexander’?


Please, the son of Barsine had already been roundly rejected. This oath was to bind the principes to Perdikkas and his way forward. That really should be clear to anyone reading the texts.

Xenophon wrote:
Paralus wrote:Hardly. Again, the most probable result of abbreviation (and in this case, severe abbreviation) is the leaving out of material. As I’ve pointed out, Arrian knows nothing of the moves on Perdikkas’ life if we are to rely on Photios wretched summary. Nor, to use your words, does Hieronymus/Diodorus know anything about Perdikkas’ candidacy or the noble’s proposal of joint regents for Alexander’s unborn child or the fact that the infantry had acclaimed Arrhidaios king in his own right thus fomenting the near civil war. Instances of such summarising out in these brief epitomes are readily available. Photios (Arrian), for example, passes from the conference at Triparadeisos to Antipatros' departure for Macedonia never relating a word about the dilatory performance of the old General or how he was out-generaled by Eumenes. We know this was covered by Arrian in detail because of the fortuitous discovery of the Goteborg Palimpsest which relates part of it. Had this never been found would we then have to claim this was unknown to Arrian? Just as would be the information contained in the Vatican Palimpsest dealing with Perdikkas' activities in Kilikia on the way to Egypt. It becomes readily apparent just how much detail Photios has deleted in his severe abridgement. Yet we are told that we should prefer the silences of such emasculated originals over far fuller sources.


I have never asserted that. If ‘Heracles’ played such a prominent part initially at Babylon, it is strange that our major sources don’t mention it – but that is merely one factor for concluding the ‘Heracles’ of 310-309 is an imposter/pretender. See my Jan 26 post page 3. This is just more repetitious assertions by you. And it doesn’t alter the fact that we can’t know if that was because it was left out, or was never there in the first place. As I said, you can’t imply or surmise that ‘Heracles’ was, or might have been mentioned in them somewhere. That isn’t evidence.


If that denial relates to the last line of my paragraph, I believe you need to re-read what you've written. More than once you have claimed that "our major sources" know nothing of Herakles and his candidature. Thus Curtius and Justin / Trogus are not among these "major sources" else the distinction is entirely redundant. What you continually and single mindedly fail to realise is that Curtius and Justin are, in fact, "our major sources" for this episode. Photios / Arrian and Diodorus are not. And that is, to most of us - including any scholar who has written on the Babylonian Settlement - very obvious.

Xenophon wrote:IF Lysimachus or Ptolemy or others could be certain that ‘Heracles’ was not the child born in India ( and how could they be?), they may have had their own reasons for not ‘going public’. Besides, he wasn’t around for long. This is pure surmise by you again.
A more pertinent question is his whereabouts between 326 and 323, and whose control he was supposed to be in, and his whereabouts between 323 and 310, and why, if he existed, he was totally ignored by all during the Diadoch wars? No-one thought to make use of Alexander’s eldest son? Incredible, literally!


Both, as somatophylakes, would be well aware of the birth and the death of such a son. If the boy was born and died, both will have known Herakles was not that child. You presume an enormous amount of ignorance on the part of the king's closest confidantes and bed chamber guards. They see nothing nor do they hear anything it seems. As to anyone using him, Herakles, like Kleopatra, was Antigonos' possession. A rejected one at that. Thirteen or so years later he seems to have been useful in a Macedonia sans Argeads.

Xenophon wrote: I have also stated elsewhere my dislike of chronological debates, because other than dates which can be confirmed from astronomy nothing can be certain, especially with ‘ad hoc’ lunar calendars such as the Graeco/Macedonian ones, or Roman ones. This is because their leaders did not regard a calendar as ‘fixed’, as we do, but felt free to ‘adjust’ them by adding or subtracting days, weeks and even months whenever they chose ( intercalation and embolic months). Our sources merely say ( see my post of Feb 17) that Philip died and Alexander ascended during the archonship of Pythodelus/Pythodorus. Theoretically that should have begun toward the end of June 336, approximately June 23 modern ( when Alexander was indeed 20 years old, as I have pointed out previously), but could have been as early as May.


I didn't raise it and you appear to handle this dislike with some ease. Are you suggesting that these "leaders" adjusted the summer solstice? The archon year began about the time of the new moon following that solstice. Intercalary year or not, that is an "astronomical date".

Xenophon wrote:As for the length of Philip’s reign in Diodorus, I’m afraid you have miscounted. Philip came to the throne sometime in 359 BC (modern), and his official reign began in October of that year ( see Bennett) and ended in October 336 BC. Counting the Greek way ( i.e. inclusive) Diodorus is quite right in saying he reigned 24 years!


Book 16 is not based on a Macedonian source. Diodorus is clearly calculating in the chronological terms he frames his work in: archon years. Just as he counts three years for Perdikkas' rule (323/21 - 321/20) regardless of source - something I note you chose not to respond to. Ditto the rule of Arrhidaios which he puts at 6 years and 4 months - something which is claimed to come from Hieronymus who, if anyone, would be conversant with Macedonian reckoning. Given that this takes Arrhidaios' death to October of 317 why did this source not state that Arrhidaios ruled for seven years according to your Macedonian 'regnal years'?

Given that this is already likely too "verbose", I shall cease at the dotted lines and remove myself to my 'virtuous couch'...
Paralus
Ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας, ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοὺς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τὰ ὅλα κατειργασμένους;
Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.

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Re: Alexander the Great...Good or Bad King, or neither? An Essay

Postby Xenophon » Fri Feb 24, 2017 2:03 am

Everything you say is predicated on the assumption that the small paragraph in Curtius and even less in Justin regarding ‘Heracles’ is literally true, but that isn’t necessarily the case at all. You have completely failed to address the matters raised in my post of Jan 26, in particular that Curtius/Justin’s assertions are directly contradicted in Diodorus /Hieronymus many times; the fact that that there is no mention of his birth in any of our sources; that he is not mentioned among Alexander’s ‘blood relatives’ in the Testament; the fact that Cassander consistently acts as if ‘Heracles’ doesn’t exist until his sudden appearance in 310 etc.

Instead, you opted to ‘rest your case’ rather than address those matters. Since then you merely repeat what is said in those two short excerpts in isolation, ignoring the context and the fact that Curtius’ (apparent) excerpt is contradicted in the very same passage by Curtius himself! (At X.7.2 Arrhidaeus is said to be “solus heres”/sole heir; at X.7.6, he is the only one born to inherit/“hic solus est”; at X.7.15 no-one but Arrhidaeus has a claim as a ‘blood relation’, and that no-one but he could assume Alexander’s name.)

All this denies the very existence of Heracles, and strongly implies the speech attributed to Nearchus is an inserted interpolation, as I have written previously. You are not the only one who can be repetitious, though it shouldn’t be necessary!!

Xenophon wrote:I believe your reasoning is flawed. Is it really credible that within 3 days or so of the emotional filing past the dying Alexander, the troops would angrily and aggressively reject his only living son?
Something is very wrong with this narrative, and it is most likely because it is an interpolation.



I think not. The Macedonians rejected Herakles and the yet to be born child of Alexander. They were then persuaded to accept the latter. The reason would appear obvious as stated.


Only if you believe this ‘yarn’, and the overwhelming probability is that he didn’t exist at this time, as demonstrated by the evidence.


Xenophon wrote: Next, this was not Victorian England, and “illegitimacy” carried no shame or stigma in ancient Macedon, as I have already referred to. In an age when polygamous marriage of Royalty was the norm, how could it? Nor was it a reason to reject anyone. ( see also Hiphys’ post Jan 31 on p.3 and subsequent – with which you agreed ! )Witness the fact that the ‘illegitimate’ Arrhidaeus could become King a little later.



As stated, Arrhidaios is consistently referred to as Philip's son and Alexander's brother no matter what you might think of the status of his mother. They did not feel similarly towards Barsine's son.


Only if you accept the story as 'gospel' and ignore all the evidence both internal in Curtius and also in other sources (See above), the evidence suggests that Alexander’s nameless captive mistress was not called ‘Barsine’, and there’s no evidence that there was a son – on the contrary we are told Alexander died without issue. There is only the tale spread by Polyperchon in 310 that Alexander had a son called ‘Heracles’.
My point was that illegitimacy didn’t matter. Arrhideus was indeed Philip’s son, and half-brother of Alexander. Moreover Curtius tells us he was ‘sole heir’ etc – see above. The ‘Heracles’ tale is almost certainly an interpolation.


Xenophon wrote:And in fact ‘Heracles’ was NOT rejected for that reason. He and Roxane’s child are supposedly rejected because of their Persian mothers [Curtius X.6.13] which looks like an obvious ‘doublet’.


Inconvenient evidence is first rejected as a 'late interpolator' and now we have "obvious doubelt". A doublet would be two separate stories relating the same information in the one source. There are no two separate notices here, no repetiton; both are rejected in the one single, solitary notice.


The ‘doublet’ refers to the reason, not the notice. The reason – having Persian mothers – is the same for both (i.e. a doublet), but that reason was ultimately rejected in the case of Roxanne, then why not ‘Barsine’ too?
And at that time, it was supposedly certain that Heracles was a living breathing son, about 4 years old. The only reason that explains why everyone apparently ignores ‘Heracles’ can only realistically be that he didn’t exist


Xenophon wrote:As an example, Curtius has Perdiccas pray that Roxanne bears a son, forgetting they have just been (supposedly) discussing ‘Heracles’, son of Alexander – who is not rejected for illegitimacy but ostensibly because, like Roxanne, his mother is Persian ( probably a ‘doublet’, added in by the interpolator).


That is simply incorrect. Perdikkas proposes Alexander's unborn child and himself, obviously, as his regent. The unborn Alexander IV is rejected - along with Barsine's son. The suggestion of Arrhidaios who, as Philip's son and Alexander's brother, was then immediately acceptable to the rank and file. Perdikkas then presses the case of Alexander IV later in the process. Perdikkas, as a somatophylax and Alexander's chiliarch would be well aware that Alexander had sent this boy and his mother from court (see below on your "hear nothing, see nothing" view of these close confidants of the king), thus not according him royal status . Your persistent insistence of "doublet" shows only that you do not understand it.


It is NOT incorrect, but what Curtius explicitly writes at [X.6.9], and Perdiccas has apparently ‘forgotten’ the existence of Heracles, nor does Perdiccas suggest himself as Regent at this time instead saying “Determine by what men you wish to be ruled in the meantime.” Nearchus or Meleager ( depending on the version of the tale) then proposes ‘Heracles’, and Ptolemy argues that because Roxanne and ‘Barsine’ are Persian, their progeny shouldn’t count. I’d bet the original, before the interpolation, only mentioned Roxanne.
Aristonus then proposes Perdiccas, because Alexander gave him his ring. Meleager and others don’t like this, and an anonymous soldier suggests Arrhidaeus, Alexander’s “sole heir” and “next in blood” and one born to be King( Wot, no Heracles?). Arrhidaeus is then acclaimed King......ultimately a compromise is reached whereby Arrhidaeus is King, to be joined (or to give way to) Roxanne’s child should it prove to be a boy. There is much confusion over the status of the two Kings. [ see Diodorus and Photios/Arrian ]



Xenophon wrote:Moreover, why on earth, as I said earlier, would Perdiccas take a 50-50 bet on Roxanne’s unborn child to further his ambitions as Regent, when if Heracles existed he was ‘a dead cert’?


For the bleedin' obvious reasons already stated. The principes got behind this as the way forward (despite their clear reticence regarding Perdikkas). It was the way to keep power from 'lower' individuals such as Meleaghros. As things turned out, Perdikkas had plans to remove competitors (as Meleaghros found out to his cost). He had some months to consolidate his position (which, during the final stage or immediately after, he commenced by firing off a proposal for conciliating Antipatros - marriage). Were the child a girl (and so ineligible), he'd already be regent and in control as Bosworth has pointed out. As it turned out, he had to live with both kings.


This version of events makes no sense at all. Philip/Arrhidaeus was officially King, and if a girl was born to Roxanne, Perdiccas would not be Regent at all, but would have to rely on his ‘influence’ over Philip to retain power and control, and of course Philip might start listening to others, and Perdiccas would be helpless. Why would he allow that 'bleedin obvious' possibility when all he had to do was propose the supposed 'Heracles', who could become King at once with himself as immediate Regent, with no waiting to see the outcome of Roxanne's pregnancy, which might not produce any living child ? Why bother with earnest prayers that Roxanne produce a male heir, if one already existed?

Xenophon wrote:But there is also [X.7.9] “Then an oath was exacted of each man that they would submit to a king begotten of Alexander.” The implication here being Roxanne’s unborn child, if it were a boy.
But if Heracles existed, wasn’t he ‘begotten of Alexander’?



Please, the son of Barsine had already been roundly rejected. This oath was to bind the principes to Perdikkas and his way forward. That really should be clear to anyone reading the texts.


‘Rejected’ in this unlikely version of events, but he was also supposedly Alexander’s only living son ! And he fitted the terms of this oath ( assuming he existed). An oath in this form was a sure-fire recipe for potential disaster if there had really been a living son of Alexander. No-one would frame such an oath in this form if 'Heracles' really did exist. It assumes the existence of only Roxanne's child as 'begotten of Alexander'.


Paralus wrote:Hardly. Again, the most probable result of abbreviation (and in this case, severe abbreviation) is the leaving out of material. As I’ve pointed out, Arrian knows nothing of the moves on Perdikkas’ life if we are to rely on Photios wretched summary...... ..... Just as would be the information contained in the Vatican Palimpsest dealing with Perdikkas' activities in Kilikia on the way to Egypt. It becomes readily apparent just how much detail Photios has deleted in his severe abridgement. Yet we are told that we should prefer the silences of such emasculated originals over far fuller sources.


Xenophon wrote: I have never asserted that. If ‘Heracles’ played such a prominent part initially at Babylon, it is strange that our major sources don’t mention it – but that is merely one factor for concluding the ‘Heracles’ of 310-309 is an imposter/pretender. See my Jan 26 post page 3. This is just more repetitious assertions by you. And it doesn’t alter the fact that we can’t know if that was because it was left out, or was never there in the first place. As I said, you can’t imply or surmise that ‘Heracles’ was, or might have been mentioned in them somewhere. That isn’t evidence.



If that denial relates to the last line of my paragraph, I believe you need to re-read what you've written. More than once you have claimed that "our major sources" know nothing of Herakles and his candidature. Thus Curtius and Justin / Trogus are not among these "major sources" else the distinction is entirely redundant. What you continually and single mindedly fail to realise is that Curtius and Justin are, in fact, "our major sources" for this episode. Photios / Arrian and Diodorus are not. And that is, to most of us - including any scholar who has written on the Babylonian Settlement - very obvious.


What tosh! It is clear what I mean. Curtius and Justin, perhaps following him, are the only sources who refer to a ‘Heracles’ before 310. The other sources do not, and Diodorus in particular emphatically contradicts the probable interpolation – as does Curtius himself.Also, contra your earlier disparagement of Photius/Arrian, he very noticeably supplies more detail in parts regarding events around this time than Curtius, and more credible detail at that. Curtius and Justin might be "major sources" - indeed sole sources, with one drawing on the other for the Heracles episode. Nor can one fail to notice that Curtius' information for this whole section on the Babylon settlement is given in the form of rhetorical speeches, which of course are not 'real', but composed entirely by Curtius - therefore strictly speaking, 'historical fiction.'


Xenophon wrote:IF Lysimachus or Ptolemy or others could be certain that ‘Heracles’ was not the child born in India ( and how could they be?), they may have had their own reasons for not ‘going public’. Besides, he wasn’t around for long. This is pure surmise by you again.
A more pertinent question is his whereabouts between 326 and 323, and whose control he was supposed to be in, and his whereabouts between 323 and 310, and why, if he existed, he was totally ignored by all during the Diadoch wars? No-one thought to make use of Alexander’s eldest son? Incredible, literally!


Both, as somatophylakes, would be well aware of the birth and the death of such a son. If the boy was born and died, both will have known Herakles was not that child. You presume an enormous amount of ignorance on the part of the king's closest confidantes and bed chamber guards. They see nothing nor do they hear anything it seems. As to anyone using him, Herakles, like Kleopatra, was Antigonos' possession. A rejected one at that. Thirteen or so years later he seems to have been useful in a Macedonia sans Argeads.


If ‘Heracles’ existed before 310 and really was a son of Alexander, then he WAS an Argead, every bit as much as Alexander IV. Why was he not acclaimed by anyone important other than Polyperchon if he was genuine?

Xenophon wrote:I have also stated elsewhere my dislike of chronological debates, because other than dates which can be confirmed from astronomy nothing can be certain, especially with ‘ad hoc’ lunar calendars such as the Graeco/Macedonian ones, or Roman ones. This is because their leaders did not regard a calendar as ‘fixed’, as we do, but felt free to ‘adjust’ them by adding or subtracting days, weeks and even months whenever they chose ( intercalation and embolic months). Our sources merely say ( see my post of Feb 17) that Philip died and Alexander ascended during the archonship of Pythodelus/Pythodorus. Theoretically that should have begun toward the end of June 336, approximately June 23 modern ( when Alexander was indeed 20 years old, as I have pointed out previously), but could have been as early as May.



I didn't raise it and you appear to handle this dislike with some ease. Are you suggesting that these "leaders" adjusted the summer solstice? The archon year began about the time of the new moon following that solstice. Intercalary year or not, that is an "astronomical date".


You assume that leaders measured the year from observation, but that was frequently not the case, otherwise calendars would ‘self correct’ annually, and we know that lunar calendars (e.g. the Roman one) could be up to 3 months ‘out’ for years at a time, because the calendar was measured from ‘predicted’ events such as the summer solstice i.e. the 'adjusted' calendar, rather than actual observation.


Xenophon wrote:As for the length of Philip’s reign in Diodorus, I’m afraid you have miscounted. Philip came to the throne sometime in 359 BC (modern), and his official reign began in October of that year ( see Bennett) and ended in October 336 BC. Counting the Greek way ( i.e. inclusive) Diodorus is quite right in saying he reigned 24 years! (though IIRC, there is another, perhaps less reliable source that says 22 years)


Book 16 is not based on a Macedonian source. Diodorus is clearly calculating in the chronological terms he frames his work in: archon years. Just as he counts three years for Perdikkas' rule (323/21 - 321/20) regardless of source - something I note you chose not to respond to. Ditto the rule of Arrhidaios which he puts at 6 years and 4 months - something which is claimed to come from Hieronymus who, if anyone, would be conversant with Macedonian reckoning. Given that this takes Arrhidaios' death to October of 317 why did this source not state that Arrhidaios ruled for seven years according to your Macedonian 'regnal years'?

Given that this is already likely too "verbose", I shall cease at the dotted lines and remove myself to my 'virtuous couch'...


Well, Diodorus’ sources are problematic and still debated over, not least because he generally does not transcribe them verbatim, but usually rewrites his material in his own style. It is generally considered that the main sources for Book 16 are the Greek historians Theopompus, Diyllus and Ephorus and possibly Timaeus but certainty is quite impossible.( see e.g. The Loeb translator's introduction to Book VIII , and Hammond)

To suggest Diodorus is using Athenian archon years for his chronology is far too simplistic. A moment’s thought would tell you that whilst Diodorus might begin each section with Athenian archons and Roman consuls ( which from time to time he gets wrong), he is dependent for chronology on that which HIS sources used. For instance M.J. Fontana [Kokalos, 1956], referred to by T.E. Page in the introduction in the Loeb, demonstrated convincingly that Diodorus’ Alexander story was dated by Macedonian years ( which it will be recalled began around October) even though he identified the year by the names of Archons and Consuls who took up office eight or nine months later ( contra your assertion above).

Did I mention I don’t like chronology matters, which are generally quite impossible to unravel?

If I didn’t respond to your earlier reference to Perdikkas et al, it was because I took it you were musing on your future posts, thinking ‘out loud’ as it were, and no response was called for. Anyway, that’s a bit rich coming from someone who consistently ignores ‘inconvenient truths.’

One of these is that Greeks and Romans didn’t have a ‘zero’, and thus counted starting from one, i.e. inclusively. Anyone who fails to take this into account is decidedly ‘arithmetically challenged’.
Maybe if some of those who wrangle interminably about such things as ‘High’ and ‘Low’ chronologies over many years factored this into their calculations, some of the problems might disappear, though of course ‘counting’ is just one factor........What was I saying about chronology matters ? :wink:

Perhaps we can move on, and simply agree to differ as to whether there was a real son of Alexander named 'Heracles', or only a 'pretender' ? After all, those who want to believe such a notion will do so anyway, regardless of the evidence.......


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