Alexander's childhood?

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Nicator
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Alexander's childhood?

Post by Nicator »

My boss pointed out the other day that Alexander was removed from his mother at an early age...this did not occur to me, as I alway assumed that although he was from the age of 7 being tutored by his uncle Leonidas, he was still around his mom...can anybody help me out on this one?
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Re: Alexander's childhood?

Post by marcus »

I would say yes and no - it is quite likely that Olympias would not have suckled him as a baby (his 'nurse', Lanike, would have been a wet nurse); but it is also pretty clear that Olympias took a deal of interest in his early upbringing at least - hardly surprising, considering that she was one of a number of wives and she needed to look out for her son to ensure that he was top of the pack. After a certain age Alexander will have passed out of the 'woman's quarters', when his tutoring in weapons, hunting etc. started - perhaps at aged 8.
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sandra

Re: Alexander's childhood?

Post by sandra »

As I have read, Philotas mother was Alexander's wet nurse...
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Re: Alexander's childhood?

Post by marcus »

Ah, you have got that wrong, I'm afraid. Cleitus the Black was the brother of Alexander's wetnurse. Cleitus saved Alexander's life at the Granicus, by lopping off the arm of a Persian who was about to make the king shorter by a head (literally). Cleitus was later (in 328) to be made satrap of Bactria, but Alexander killed him before he had a chance to take up his new appointment.
Philotas was the eldest son of Parmenio, the foremost general (after Alexander himself). He was executed in 330, as was his father, both his brothers having died elsewhere in the campaign (Herakles in Egypt and Nicanor in Areia).
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Sikander

Re: Alexander's childhood?

Post by Sikander »

Yes. But it is also important to remember that this would not preclude
Alexander having daily contact with his mother. So it is fair to say he
was removed from the women's rooms but was not removed from his
mother's sphere of influence or contact. Both parents were determined
to have a hand in his upbringing, one way or another, and Makedonian
women were not the pale copies found in Athens.
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Re: Alexander's childhood?

Post by marcus »

Sikander,
You are right - I sort of meant that, but I obviously didn't communicate it very well. I think your point is best demonstrated by the support Alexander gave his mother when she was 'ousted' by Eurydice - the fact that Olympias was a large enough threat that Philip married Cleopatra to Alexander of Epirus is also pertinant.
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Re: Alexander's childhood?

Post by Kit »

The fact that Leonidas had to check Alexander's belongings for 'sweatmeats' from his mother would also indicate that relations were still quite frequent.
Under Aristotle's tutorage at the Gardens of Midas it seems likely that contact between mother and son(in person) would have been more infrequent. Still Alexander would not have been considered 'young' by that time.
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Re: Alexander's childhood?

Post by Nicator »

...aahhhh, very good point Kit! So it is with relative certainty (I say relative, because there is nothing about this genre which can be said to be certain) safe to say that Alexander was still in frequent contact with Olympias...perhaps still living in the same residence well through adolescence, and up to Aristotle's arrival...hhmmmm,
Was his tutelage with Aristotle close to home, or some significant distance removed?
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Re: Alexander's childhood?

Post by marcus »

Mieza has been identified as being some way south of Aegae, which was on the western side of the gulf (I can't remember what the gulf is called). Pella was on the north-east side of the gulf. I can't remember th distances involved, but Mieza would certainly have been a couple of days' journey from Pella (if not more) and a good day from Aegae.
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