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

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

Post by Alexias » Wed Dec 28, 2016 12:37 pm

I was thinking that we know Alexander campaigned in the hills around Tyre during the siege, and once he knew the region was secure, the Persian ladies may well have spent the duration of the siege at Damascus. Darius had left the harem there when he went on to Issus, so there would have been suitable quarters, and Parmenion could have been based there during the siege.

Hiphys, I was recently reading an old (2001), but interesting article by James Davidson (Greeks and Greek love/Fish cakes and Courtesans) here http://www.lrb.co.uk/v23/n21/james-davi ... about-boys that argues we should not place too much reliance on the 'good' sources, especially Arrian because of their own prejudices and pre-conceived notion of what Alexander should be. Mary Beard (2011) says the same thing here http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2011/10 ... how-great/, that many of the sources are too Roman in their perspective. Maybe Alexander was far more excessive, violent and unpredictable that we usually believe.

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

Post by Xenophon » Thu Dec 29, 2016 2:30 am

A most interesting post of 26 Dec, Alexias.
Xenophon wrote:One of my points is to show that we should not apply our own standards, but rather those of the time, to determine if Alexander was ‘good’ or ‘bad’, or neither.......”
Yet the whole point of your posts is that you are judging Alexander by modern standards.
I do not ‘judge’ Alexander at all, rather in my essay I simply opened the door to the subject. What I actually wrote was:
Alexander then, is an absolute ruler, and whilst ‘bad’ by modern standards – mass murderer, killer of even those closest to him through paranoia or genuine self-defence, rapist, pillager and thief on the grand scale, by the standards prevailing at the time, such behaviour may be regarded as normal.” - a minor sentence in a long essay.

I was suggesting that he should only be seen in the light of standards prevailing in his own time, and have repeated that as recently as my last post. It was ‘The Yearning of Atum’ who challenged the idea that today, Alexander would be considered a rapist, and sparked off this current discussion, which is a distraction from the subject of the thread, supported by Hiphys, and I was forced to defend what I had written, and explain why.
Ancient kingship had three main functions: defender, priest and judge. Alexander excelled as defender of his people, their land and provider of their wealth. He was also meticulous in his performance of his priestly duties, the people's intermediary with the gods and thus the provider of their luck. As Macedonian judge he had no codified set of laws to work from, he just had custom, the expectations of his subjects, the current circumstances and his own morals to rely on. Sometimes he erred on the side of harshness, sometimes leniency. But overall was he a bad king? I suspect the Macedonians would not have thought so.
I would certainly agree with you that the functions of a King of Macedon you refer to were very important, and I referred to those very things in my first post. Was Alexander a good defender of his people? Hardly! He took the best half or so of the army away permanently, leaving Antipater to be the Defender of Macedon, and even then drained away more troops as re-inforcements. Had, for example, the Thracians risen en masse, Antipater and Macedon might have been in real trouble....provider of their wealth? Not really. The treasures of the East were "spear won", hence belonged to Alexander alone. He did pay relatively generous stipends to retiring troops but very few returned to Macedon to enjoy their wealth. And of course Alexander did not, so far as we know, indulge in Land reforms or undertake projects to improve the land of Macedon.
I doubt that contemporary Makedones gave the subject of Alexander’s kingship much thought. After all he was an absentee King, away campaigning between ascending the throne in 336 BC, and departing for his invasion of Persia in 334 BC – never to return. The real de facto ruler of Macedon was Antipater. I doubt however whether Macedonian families were enamoured of the fact of their absent King’s constant drain of their manpower – most of whom were also destined never to return.

I think you need to look at the timeline in relation to Stateira.
You are quite right – I did get my chronology in a muddle! Can’t think why, and thank you for drawing my attention to it.
The pothos detailed time line gives the following:

333 BC
November - Battle of Issus: Alexander defeats Persian King Darius III; Alexander captures Persian Royal family
Autumn - Parmenion captures Damascus: capture of Barsine, widow of Memnon and future mistress of Alexander and possibly mother of his first child, Heracles
332 BC
January-July [August] - Siege of Tyre
Spring [Summer 331 BC] - Statira, wife of Darius III, dies in childbirth
331 BC
October 1 - Battle of Gaugamela (Arbela): final defeat of Persian King Darius III
December 15 - Alexander enters Susa
The first thing to notice is that the summer of 331 BC is also given for Stateira’s death in childbirth or miscarriage, which is undoubtedly the correct date. There is no evidence she died in 332 BC, nor do our sources suggest such a thing. That is just wishful thinking by those who over-idealise Alexander in an effort to make it possible for Darius to be the father. ( and there are many such here on Pothos! ) Berve refers to Arrian, Anab. 4.20, which is irrelevant to her death: at that point Stateira was alive, and the eunuch supposedly related that she was just as Darius had left her. Both this story and the story of a eunuch’s report after her death and burial are clearly fiction tailored to lead up to Darius’s extravagant praise of Alexander – in other words derived from Alexander’s propaganda.

But Stateira’s death is reported—by all the sources that mention it—in association with Darius’s third and final peace offer,( just before Gaugemala in October 331 BC i.e. roughly two years after her capture) and that unanimous testimony must be accepted. Stateira undoubtedly died in the spring or summer of 331, and upon learning of her death, Darius made his peace offer to Alexander ( as reported in Plut., Alex. 29.4-30.1; Justin, 11.12.6; Curt., 4.10-11). According to Plutarch, she died in childbirth; according to Justin, of a miscarriage.


Alexander did not enter Susa until two years after capturing the Persian Royal family. Sisygambis and the children of Darius cannot therefore have been 'left behind' at Susa while Statira accompanied Alexander. They were left behind at Susa because Darius was dead [corrected by Alexias to read defeated. Darius was not killed until much later, around July 330 BC] and Alexander had no further use for them as a bargaining tool.
You are quite right – this is where I got my chronology in a muddle. In fact, Alexander brought the whole family of Royal hostages with him on campaign, and Stateira is not mentioned at Susa because she had died several months previously. Mea Culpa!
By the above chronology, it is possible that Statira was pregnant with Darius's child, and much of her pregnancy would have been spent stationery at Tyre. If the army moved on when she was about to give birth, she may well have died in childbirth, or as a result of travelling too soon after giving birth. Ancient wagons, no matter the number of cushions, would have been bumpy as they were unsprung, and a litter might have been impractical.
Where is there any evidence for this unlikely tale? And if at all possibly true, why would a litter have been “impractical”? Only Curtius [IV.10.19] gives the cause of death as being “worn out by the constant toil of marching.” which doesn’t fit your speculation at all. It should be pointed out that Curtius’ story in itself is highly improbable, for why should a healthy adult be ‘worn out’ when an aged Sisygambis and the young children were not? Moreover the family were certainly inured to travel, having come thousands of miles across the whole width of the Persian Empire, to arrive at Issus in the first place!
As far as Barsine is concerned, she would not have had any choice in the matter of her first two husbands, Mentor and his brother Memnon either. Marriage for love is largely a modern concept. And she would surely have counted herself fortunate to have become Alexander's property, rather than having been passed to the army who would have had little tolerance for a Greek mercenary's widow. This is unlikely though given her high status, but Alexander's treatment of Barsine cannot have been below the standards of his own time, or her father Artabazos and her brothers would not have surrendered to Alexander in 330 BC and then been given a position of trust if their loyalty was in doubt. That Heracles was not born until a couple of years after this might even be used to argue that Alexander did not sleep with her until after he had obtained her father's permission.
I would largely agree with what you say about Barsine. However as the Bio here on Pothos points out, Barsine probably was taken as his mistress by Alexander shortly after her capture at Damascus by Parmenion. ( Incidently another example of rape by modern definition, as I referred to earlier - she would hardly consent to sleep with her deceased husband's deadliest enemy )
Certainly, by the standards of the time, she could expect to become the property of someone. Whether Barsine gave birth to a son is highly debatable – she apparently had only one child, a daughter by Mentor, who ended up married to Nearchus at Susa – and Heracles was more likely a pretender claiming to be a son of Alexander and Barsine, as argued convincingly by Mary Renault.

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

Post by hiphys » Tue Jan 03, 2017 11:24 am

Xenophon, I think we cannot mark as propaganda the stories we don't believe were true according to our own standards. We have to demostrate it , or leave for good to study ancient history

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

Post by Xenophon » Wed Jan 04, 2017 6:44 am

hiphys wrote:Xenophon, I think we cannot mark as propaganda the stories we don't believe were true according to our own standards. We have to demostrate it , or leave for good to study ancient history
Hiphys, no good historian accepts source material uncritically - one must carefully examine such that has come down to us, knowing we are only getting part of the picture, which may be distorted or corrupted.

For example there are many versions of the supposed History of Alexander generally referred to as "The Romance of Alexander", often ascribed to a pseudo-Kallisthenes, which are largely fable and myth, with tales of fabulous monsters and doings that are clearly mythical. Alexander even appears in the Qu'ran as "The horned one"[ Dhul Qarnayn - probably derived from Alexander 's portrait on coins showing him with the ram's horns of Ammon]. How much of those do you accept as true?

Alexander took Kallisthenes along with him solely to write an 'official' history, and it contained obvious flattery, untruths and what we now call 'spin', and legendary material.For example, the real Kallisthenes described the sea in Cilicia as drawing back from him in proskynesis. Writing after Alexander's death, another participant, Onesicritus, invented a tryst between Alexander and Thalestris, queen of the mythical Amazons. (According to Plutarch XLVI, when Onesicritus read this passage to his patron Lysimachus, one of Alexander's generals who later became a king himself, Lysimachus quipped "I wonder where I was at the time.")

Even Arrian our most reliable source,and something of a skeptic himself includes obvious 'propaganda'.
Ptolemy and Aristobulus, also contemporaries of Alexander, tell these tales regarding Alexander's journey to Siwa to learn of his 'divinity', obviously propaganda intended to persuade the credulous :

"[3.3.5] Ptolemy son of Lagus relates that two speaking snakes preceded the army and Alexander ordered the guides to follow them and trust in the divinity; the snakes then led the way to the oracle and back again.

[3.3.6] But Aristobulus says (and most writers agree with him) that two crows flew in front of the army and served as guides to Alexander. I can assert that there must have been some divine intervention to help Alexander, because this is what seems probable.
"

I could give many more examples from our accepted source material, and the stories of anonymous eunuchs apparently escaping from Alexander's camp to bring news to Darius that Alexander has respected his wife's chastity, and later of the honours Alexander paid at her funeral, and Darius' consequent lavish praise of Alexander [Curtius IV.10.34] are obviously untrue, hence must also derive from Alexander's propaganda, just as I said and demonstrated, not least because Stateira died of pregnancy complications, in 331 BC, when Alexander is the only candidate for fatherhood.
This whole yarn, then, is untrue and and demonstrably so, as I have shown in previous posts. The facts speak for themselves. [see Plutarch, Alex. 29.4-30.1; Justin, 11.12.6; Curtius, 4.10-11 referred to above]

The supposed various correspondence between Alexander and Darius is another example of propaganda, and indeed our sources tell us that Alexander was not above forging it.

Generally, despite what I have written earlier in this post, we should accept our source material unless we can prove otherwise. It is those who cannot accept source materials (because it does not fit their perceptions of Alexander), and have no evidence or good reason not to, who should "leave for good to study ancient history"[sic]

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

Post by Paralus » Sat Jan 14, 2017 2:17 am

Xenophon wrote:Whether Barsine gave birth to a son is highly debatable – she apparently had only one child, a daughter by Mentor, who ended up married to Nearchus at Susa – and Heracles was more likely a pretender claiming to be a son of Alexander and Barsine, as argued convincingly by Mary Renault.
That would seem to make dills of Nearkhos and Ptolemy not to mention the other Macedonians present during the Babylonian crisis. Nearkhos argues strongly for the son already alive - Herakles - and Ptolemy argues just as strongly against. Surely those close enough to the dead king would well have known if this child was Alexander's or some "pretender claiming to a son of Alexander". If pretender he was, there was no point in even suggesting him! This is not dissimilar to those who argue that Ptolemy was Alexander's "loving half brother". Ptolemy is never once presented as raising such credentials at Babylon, a time and place where such surely counted? No other is presented as suggesting this half brother either. I find little reason to doubt Herakles' parentage. Kassandros found no reason not to treat him like other surviving Argeads.
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Re: Alexander the Great...Good or Bad King, or neither? An Essay

Post by derek » Mon Jan 16, 2017 8:25 pm

All,

I’m a bit late getting into this discussion and it’s moved on a bit, but to address the original question: was Alexander a good king?

However I look at it, it staggers me that he failed to leave a viable heir. Parmenion and Antipatros both advised him to delay the invasion of the Troad until he had a son, but he made no plans for marriage before leaving Greece and when he eventually married it was almost on a whim. He was in battle the whole time he was campaigning so knew he could be killed at any time, and knew that young sons would be liable to be usurped. It was his duty to have an heir old enough to have a chance of inheriting, but he failed to do so.

He must have known his early death would leave his empire up for grabs, and would almost certainly lead to the death of his children and therefore his legacy. So on those grounds, he was a bit of a failure.

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

Post by Xenophon » Tue Jan 17, 2017 2:49 am

Paralus wrote:
Xenophon wrote:Whether Barsine gave birth to a son is highly debatable – she apparently had only one child, a daughter by Mentor, who ended up married to Nearchus at Susa – and Heracles was more likely a pretender claiming to be a son of Alexander and Barsine, as argued convincingly by Mary Renault.
That would seem to make dills of Nearkhos and Ptolemy not to mention the other Macedonians present during the Babylonian crisis. Nearkhos argues strongly for the son already alive - Herakles - and Ptolemy argues just as strongly against. Surely those close enough to the dead king would well have known if this child was Alexander's or some "pretender claiming to a son of Alexander". If pretender he was, there was no point in even suggesting him! This is not dissimilar to those who argue that Ptolemy was Alexander's "loving half brother". Ptolemy is never once presented as raising such credentials at Babylon, a time and place where such surely counted? No other is presented as suggesting this half brother either. I find little reason to doubt Herakles' parentage. Kassandros found no reason not to treat him like other surviving Argeads.
As I said, a subject which is debateable and has long been debated.
Mary Renault says:
"No record at all exists of such a woman [Barsine- who is only referred to as becoming A.'s mistress by Plutarch, IIRC] accompanying his march; nor of any claim by her, or her powerful kin, that she had borne him offspring. Yet twelve years after his [Alexander’s] death a boy was produced, seventeen years old, born therefore five years after Damascus, [Where Alexander and Barsine reportedly first met] her alleged son, ‘brought up in Pergamon’; a claimant and shortlived pawn in the succession wars, chosen probably for a physical resemblance to Alexander. That he actually did marry another Barsine [Stateira, often referred to in Greek sources as Barsine] must have helped both launch and preserve the story; but no source reports any notice whatever taken by him [Alexander] of a child who, Roxane's being posthumous, would have been during his lifetime his only son, by a near-royal mother. In a man who named cities after his horse and dog, this strains credulity......"

A. apparently made no acknowledgement of Heracles existence, no provision for him nor mention of him on his deathbed, which would be surprising if Heracles was genuine.......
Curiously too, Heracles is not mentioned by most of our sources in connection with the Babylonian crisis - only briefly by Curtius [X.6.10] and the late author Justin[XIII.2], who may well have got the anecdote from Curtius, or else both found it in a Hellenistic source.
Even if the anecdote is true, the army would not even consider Nearchus' proposal [Curtius X.6.12 "His speech was approved by no-one" which is astonishing; and only Roxane's unborn child, should it prove a boy, and Perdiccas were considered, later joined by the mentally handicapped Arrhidaeus. That argues that everyone knew there was something amiss with Heracles' candidature.
Nor did Nearchos or Ptolemy have any way of knowing whether the child was A.'s other than the word of Barsine -no DNA tests back then!

Again, assuming the anecdote of Heracles' existence to be true, it is no surprise that Nearchus, son-in-law of Barsine, should advocate him. After all, Nearchus would then wield considerable power and influence. In the words of Mandy Rice-Davies giving evidence at the infamous Profumo spy trial "Well, he would say that wouldn't he."

As for Cassander, he would not care whether Heracles was genuine or not, his treatment of the boy would have been the same.

So there you have it, no mention of Heracles being a candidate to succeed A. at Babylon in Arrian, Plutarch, or Diodorus, only Curtius ( and later, Justin), and some very odd aspects to Curtius' story on the one hand, or accepting his account on the other. Readers must make up their own minds......

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

Post by Paralus » Wed Jan 18, 2017 12:40 pm

Xenophon wrote:So there you have it, no mention of Heracles being a candidate to succeed A. at Babylon in Arrian, Plutarch, or Diodorus, only Curtius ( and later, Justin), and some very odd aspects to Curtius' story on the one hand, or accepting his account on the other. Readers must make up their own minds......
Indeed readers might well make up their own mind, but not on that summation nor the 'evidence' presented. It really doesn't do to compare apples and oranges and then declare that because they're not the same decide that apples (or oranges) are somehow suspect - you know, three out of five ain't bad, just the other two!! The nub of this 'argument' is that Curtius and ("the later") Justin are suspect because neither Diodorus, Arrian or Plutarch mention Herakles in what has become known as the "Babylonian Settlement". This is a settlement that is universally recognised as having three distinct stages (the most recent treatments being Errington's From Babylon to Triparadeisos [1976]; Bosworth "The Babylonian Settlement" in Legacy of Alexander [2002] and Meeus The Power Struggle of the Diodochi in Babylon 323 [2008]). The most fulsome sources on this central episode of post Alexander politics are Curtius Rufus and Justin's abridgement of Trogus. Of this there can be no doubt and all modern treatments acknowledge such.

Xenophon would have it that there are, in fact, five sources on the Babylonian Settlement. He states there is no mention of Herakles as a candidate for succession in Arrian, Plutarch or Diodorus - "only briefly by Curtius [X.6.10] and the late author Justin[XIII.2]". The implication is, as noted above, that these are all are somehow comparable on this episode and so three out of five seemingly outweighs the two. But is this so? We can dismiss Plutarch immediately: he does not even consider or relate the Babylonian Settlement and so is irrelevant. Of the others (excluding the satrapal distribution) Arrian, via Photios' wretched dot point summary, expends 237 words in the English translation. Diodorus, expansively, gives us 246. Justin, summarising another epitomater, Trogus, gives us 949 words. Finally Curtius furnishes 3,715 words on the Settlement. As can easily be seen, all are hardly apples or oranges alike. Photios is abridging Arrian to PowerPoint dot points. Diodorus is no better. Justin, although abridging another epitomater, provides three times more words and Curtius, a veritable book.

Summarisers will, by nature of their method, leave matters out. It is not at all surprising that neither Photios (Arrian) nor Diodorus mention Herakles. They simply get to the main act. Justin, to his credit, rises above himself here and gives a far more lucid and fuller version of his original. Curtius gives us the fullest description of events. Both of these record Nearkhos' proposal and its rejection. Curtius also noted the rejection of Roxanne's possible son on the same lines: half barbarian. In the end the compromise saw both that son and Arrhidaios as joint kings. That Herakles, as a "bastard" son of a "mistress", was sidelined is not at all surprising. To suggest that the king's closest companions and his adjutants (the somatophyhlakes whose duty was to guard him) would be completely unaware of whether the king had a son by this mistress is more than odd.

Your logic, as Spock's father, Sarek, would intone, is "uncertain" at best.
Last edited by Paralus on Fri Jan 20, 2017 1:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Alexander the Great...Good or Bad King, or neither? An Essay

Post by Xenophon » Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:49 pm

As I said, the question of whether Herakles was a genuine son of Alexander or not is one frequently debated......

Paralus wrote:
The nub of this 'argument' is that Curtius and ("the later") Justin are suspect because neither Diodorus, Arrian or Plutarch mention Herakles in what has become known as the "Babylonian Settlement". This is a settlement that is universally recognised as having three distinct stages (the most recent treatments being Errington's From Babylon to Triparadeisos [1976]; Bosworth "The Babylonian Settlement" in Legacy of Alexander [2002] and Meeus The Power Struggle of the Diodochi in Babylon 323 [2008]). The most fulsome sources on this central episode of post Alexander politics are Curtius Rufus and Justin's abridgement of Trogus. Of this there can be no doubt and all modern treatments acknowledge such.
Oh dear! I detect a whiff of a digression coming on regarding the whole settlement at Triparadeisos thing ! For the moment let us stick to the subject of Herakles.
Xenophon would have it that there are, in fact, five sources on the Babylonian Settlement. He states there is no mention of Herakles as a candidate for succession in Arrian, Plutarch or Diodorus - "only briefly by Curtius [X.6.10] and the late author Justin[XIII.2]". The implication is, as noted above, that these are all comparable and somehow to be treated as equal and so three out of five outweighs the two.
Not at all. All five make reference to the Babylonian settlement, albeit in some cases very briefly, and the point is that the only living son of Alexander – an obvious successor one might think, is apparently totally ignored by three of our major sources.
But is this so? We can dismiss Plutarch immediately: he does not even consider or relate the Babylonian Settlement and so is irrelevant.
Not quite. Plutarch knows of Heracles existence, as one would expect of a writer having the benefit of several hundred years hindsight. He says [Eumenes 1] “For Barsiné the daughter of Artabazus, the first woman whom Alexander knew in Asia, and by whom he had a son, Heracles, had two sisters....”
...but, like Sherlock Holmes dog that did not bark in the night, he never mentions Heracles being a candidate, merely briefly explaining of the Babylon settlement that Roxanne was pregnant and that Perdiccas came to power “using Arrhidaeus as a figurehead” in less than 160 words [Alexander 77]. Either his sources did not mention Heracles candidature, or else Plutarch did not believe it.
Of the others Arrian, via Photios' wretched dot point summary, expends 237 words in the English translation. Diodorus, expansively, gives us 246. Justin, summarising another epitomater, Trogus, gives us 949 words. Finally Curtius furnishes 3,715 words on the Settlement. As can easily be seen, all are hardly apples or oranges alike. Photios is abridging Arrian to PowerPoint dot points. Diodorus is no better. Justin, although abridging another epitomater, provides three times more words and Curtius, a veritable book.
Trying to make a case by word count? What an odd proposition! It is a legal maxim that ‘evidence is weighed, not counted.’ We do not judge the veracity of our sources by how loquacious they are! Still, in any event, we are not concerned with descriptions of the whole goings-on at Babylon, only the fact that Heracles – the only living son of Alexander, supposedly, is not mentioned as a candidate by three of our sources, and is instantly dismissed by the two who do mention him!

In any case we are not looking at the word-count for the whole three stage Triparadeisos process - that would be illogical, but only Heracles alleged part in it. Curtius[X.10] uses less than 100 words ( of the 3,715 Paralus refers to) to dismiss Heracles. Justin[XIII.2] has Meleager propose Heracles rather than Nearchus, and dismisses Heracles in around 20 of Paralus’ 949 words!

Many eminent scholars interpret these two passages as fictional interpolations. ( e.g. Meeus gives Hammond and Boerma as prominent examples). They seem to be inserted merely to ‘clear’ the claim of an alleged son who would in reality not pop up for another dozen years, as Mary Renault said.

Curtius also noted the rejection of Roxanne's possible son on the same lines: half barbarian.
Yet if that objection was ultimately waived, why did the same not apply to Heracles, assuming he really was around? Perdiccas supposedly championed Roxanne's unborn child ( who might be a girl! ), so that, as Regent he might hold power ( after his own claim to Kingship was rejected). Would it not have been more logical to champion Heracles, had he been around? There were no uncertainties about gender with the supposed 4 or 5 year old son of Alexander, and Perdiccas would have been his Regent. The fact that the wily Perdiccas did not even consider this possibility argues strongly that Heracles did not exist then.
In the end the compromise saw both that son and Arrhidaios as joint kings. That Herakles, as a "bastard" son of a "mistress", was sidelined is not at all surprising.
Justin [XIII.2] has Ptolemy object to Arrhidaeus’ candidature as a “bastard”, and a low-born one at that, as well as his mental incapacity. If Heracles was really around at the time, he was at least a “Royal” bastard, and of sound mind. Wouldn’t Arrhidaeus be more likely to be ‘sidelined’? Your logic is flawed here.
Yet To suggest that the king's closest companions and his adjutants (the somatophyhlakes whose duty was to guard him) would be completely unaware of whether the king had a son by this mistress is more than odd.
Why, since Barsine was supposedly sent to obscure Pergamum to have her baby and bring him up? At best they might hear rumours. No one could say for certain if Barsine had a child, let alone that it was Alexander's. Like I said, no DNA tests back then.
Far more odd is that Alexander apparently never acknowledged the existence of this son, not even on his death-bed.
The problem is that we have no real direct evidence of Heracles until 12 years after A.’s death, when he is 17 and briefly becomes a claimant, and we must rely on circumstantial evidence of his existence prior to that, as related by sources applying hindsight, which must of necessity be suspect.
Your logic, as Spock's father, Sarek, would intone, is "uncertain" at best.
I will go one further. Your case, relying heavily on an (incorrect) word count is, in the words of Spock, “Illogical, Captain.” :lol:

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

Post by Alexias » Fri Jan 20, 2017 11:02 am

A question: if Heracles was in Pergamon at the time of Alexander's death, why didn't Antigonus or Antipater nab him as a figure head?

Derek, even if Alexander had had a son before he left for Asia, at most he would have been about 14. A moot point, but how long would he have lasted?

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

Post by Xenophon » Sat Jan 21, 2017 12:24 am

Alexias wrote:A question: if Heracles was in Pergamon at the time of Alexander's death, why didn't Antigonus or Antipater nab him as a figure head?
A very good point, Alexias. Perdiccas would not have been the only one to appreciate the advantages of controlling a 'Royal heir', or even a potential one. If Heracles had been around, we might expect that either or both of them would have taken him into custody 'for his own protection', but there's no hint of anything like this.

Moreover, Roxanne, who ruthlessly eliminated potential threats, apparently did nothing about the supposed Heracles, who if he existed must have represented the clearest threat to her own son's position as Alexander's son and heir

Indeed, Diodorus, makes statements which deny Heracles’ existence. In particular, he states that Alexander was “childless” at his death [Diod XVIII.2], that “he left no sons as successors to the kingdom” [XVIII.9] and that Cassander believed there would be no successor to the kingdom if he killed Alexander IV. [Diod.XIX.52 and 105]. For Diodorus then, the Heracles of [XX.20] must have been a pretender.

Another piece of circumstantial evidence is that by 310, Arrhidaeus is dead, and so is his killer Olympias. Cassander decided to poison the young prince Alexander IV and his mother Roxane, thus eliminating the last Argead. The whole oikoumene would have been shocked.

When this news reached the other Diadochi, Cassander’s enemies reacted with considerable concern, especially Polyperchon who ruled the Peloponnesus and Antigonus who ruled Anatolia.
Rather conveniently, just then a claimant emerges in the form of Heracles to announce that the Argeads are not extinct after all! Pergamon was part of Antigonus’ empire, and Polyperchon who tried to rival Cassander in Macedon conceived all sorts of tricks to achieve his goal. Diodorus [XX.20] mentions that Polyperchon sent letters to all his friends and to Cassander’s enemies, pleading to restore the now approximately seventeen years old Heracles on the throne of his "forefathers". Antigonus (probably) sent the hapless boy to Polyperchon. At all events he was with Polyperchon's army at Stymphaea, in the border country between Epirus and Macedon, possibly Polyperchon's ancestral homeland.

Unfortunately, Cassander, alarmed by Heracles' popularity, successfully bribed Polyperchon to do away with him, and that was that.......[Diod.XX.28]

If Heracles had really been living quietly in Pergamon for a dozen years, it seems incredible that no-one thought to 'secure' him in all those turbulent times.......and one can only speculate what Antipater or Antigonus might have achieved using him.

More evidence, then, that he only emerged as a 'pretender', probably at the instigation of Polyperchon and Antigonus as a foil to Cassander, who will have thought himself secure with the death of Alexander 'the last Argead'.........

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

Post by Paralus » Sat Jan 21, 2017 7:43 am

Xenophon wrote:Oh dear! I detect a whiff of a digression coming on regarding the whole settlement at Triparadeisos thing ! For the moment let us stick to the subject of Herakles.
This little pre-emptive poke is totally unnecessary for, as I wrote, the Babylonian Settlement is a key piece of the puzzle. Why? Because it is here that the subject of Herakles, as a candidate for king, is first mentioned. It clearly relates to the “subject of Herakles”.
Xenophon wrote:Not at all. All five make reference to the Babylonian settlement, albeit in some cases very briefly, and the point is that the only living son of Alexander – an obvious successor one might think, is apparently totally ignored by three of our major sources.
There is a disconnect here. It is a matter of whether an author actually relates the Babylonian Settlement and, if he does, in what amount of detail, if any. Xenophon disparages this an "argument from words"; it is, in fact, an argument from detail. The rude fact is that Diodorus and Photios have reduced a serious affair which covered near a week (possibly more) to little more than a paragraph. Photios has produced no more than a collection of headlines and Diodorus is just as bad. Curtius has treated it fully and even Justin does it justice. The amount of material available to each of the former (particularly Photios) was far, far more as Curtius shows - whether or not he (they including Justin!) found it in some conveniently conjectured "Hellenistic source" (just which source is this?). Arrian covered 323- 319 in ten books: far more detail than his Anabasis Alexandrou. One can only imagine the extent of his treatment of this episode. This has been cut to ribbons by Photios. As I've said, summarising, by definition, leaves matters out - here whole tranches clearly. Ditto for Diodorus as Bosworth observes(Legacy of Alexander, p 34):
Most of the sources are the briefest of epitomes. Photius' excerpts of Arrian and Dexippus are dominated by the catalogue of satrapal appointments; they are practically uninformative about the events which led to the settlement. The same can be said of Diodorus, who is at his most laconic when describing the political conflict at Babylon...
Indeed they are practically uninformative as they leave much out; most in fact. Plutarch, as I’ve been at pains to point out, does not deal with it at all and claiming that he does not mention Herakles as a candidate in a process he nowhere ventures to describe is completely moot. He also doesn’t know of the battle of Paraitekene but no one suggests it didn’t happen. Xenophon would argue for the silence of two exceptionally severe summaries and Plutarch, who does not report on the Settlement at all, in preference to our two most fulsome sources on the matter.
Xenophon wrote:Not quite. Plutarch knows of Heracles existence, as one would expect of a writer having the benefit of several hundred years hindsight. He says [Eumenes 1] “For Barsiné the daughter of Artabazus, the first woman whom Alexander knew in Asia, and by whom he had a son, Heracles, had two sisters....”
...but, like Sherlock Holmes dog that did not bark in the night, he never mentions Heracles being a candidate, merely briefly explaining of the Babylon settlement that Roxanne was pregnant and that Perdiccas came to power “using Arrhidaeus as a figurehead” in less than 160 words [Alexander 77]. Either his sources did not mention Heracles candidature, or else Plutarch did not believe it.
Quite indeed. Plutarch does not mention Herakles as a candidate for the kingship because, as I've been at pains to relate, Plutarch nowhere relates the Babylonian Settlement at all no matter how he might wish to argue such. The passage to which Xenophon refers does not deal with the Settlement at all but merely reports that Roxanne murdered Stateira with Perdikkas’ approval after he had gained power. This is all post the machinations in Babylon which saw Herakles promoted as a possible heir, not a part of it. His only allusion to it is Eumenes, 3.1, where the point is to showcase Eumenes’sedulous support of Perdikkas. Plutarch does not bother to describe the process and the various propositions at all, anywhere. To claim Plutarch as a source for the Babylonian Settlement stretches credulity: there is no dog either Holmes’ or Plutarch’s.
Xenophon wrote:It is a legal maxim that ‘evidence is weighed, not counted.’ We do not judge the veracity of our sources by how loquacious they are!
No, but we do judge our sources, or weigh our evidence, on the detail it contains. On that account both Photios and Diodorus are seriously lacking on any measure. Even that of Xenophon's perennial legal maxims.
Xenophon wrote:Many eminent scholars interpret these two passages as fictional interpolations. ( e.g. Meeus gives Hammond and Boerma as prominent examples). They seem to be inserted merely to ‘clear’ the claim of an alleged son who would in reality not pop up for another dozen years, as Mary Renault said.


Meeus (The power struggle of the Diadochoi in Babylon, 323 BC, Ancient Society 38 [2008], 39-82), in fact, says nothing of the sort. He actually writes (p 42) that some scholars believe the “contents of the debates in the first meeting after Alexander’s death” are “largely fictitious”. The whole debates not simply the notices about Herakles. The reason, for both Hammond and Boerma (see n 16, p42), is that they reflect Roman prejudices, not Macedonian. Very little to do with two particular notices being inserted to “clear the claim of an alleged son”. Boerma felt that Nearkhos could not be present at such a meeting but, as Alexander’s boyhood friend and one of his most senior commanders (of his fleet) that is unpersuasive as Meeus notes saying that “to propose making a son – albeit a bastard – king immediately after the idea to appoint an unborn son was brought forward, is logic in itself” (47-48).
Xenophon wrote:Yet if that objection was ultimately waived, why did the same not apply to Heracles, assuming he really was around? Perdiccas supposedly championed Roxanne's unborn child ( who might be a girl! ), so that, as Regent he might hold power ( after his own claim to Kingship was rejected). Would it not have been more logical to champion Heracles, had he been around?
Perdikkas wanted the kingship but he baulked at the precipice. The next best option was regent for an unborn child of Alexander for this will unarguably be the legitimate offspring of the dead king. Herakles gives Perdikkas some 11-12 years; Roxanne’s offspring 17 or so. If the conclave agreed with this Perdikkas is king in all but name and even more so, as Bosworth observes (Legacy of Alexander. p 45), were that child a girl. It was for this very reason that he was so vehemently opposed by the conclave.
Xenophon wrote:Justin [XIII.2] has Ptolemy object to Arrhidaeus’ candidature as a “bastard”, and a low-born one at that, as well as his mental incapacity. If Heracles was really around at the time, he was at least a “Royal” bastard, and of sound mind. Wouldn’t Arrhidaeus be more likely to be ‘sidelined’? Your logic is flawed here.
Justin does no such thing. He has Ptolemy object on the grounds that Arrhidaios is mentally unfit and Philip’s son by a lowly woman (a ‘prostitute’ – scorto) so as to press his own solution. He nowhere claims him a bastard and it is unlikely in the extreme that Philip II would be likely to conciliate Thessaly by marrying a prostitute (see Anthenaeus 13.557). The Macedonians clearly considered him a legitimate son of Philip and a brother to Alexander.

Herakles, on the other hand, is the offspring of no such marriage. Although Barsine was of noble blood – her father, Artabazos, being the grandson of Artaxerxes II – she was not ever Alexander’s wife, only a concubine or mistress (who had more than one child prior to her relationship with Alexander contra Xenophon's view – see Curtius 3.13.14). Thus Perdikkas’ preference for Alexander’s offspring and the troops’ preference for Philip’s other son.
Xenophon wrote:
Paralus wrote:To suggest that the king's closest companions and his adjutants (the somatophyhlakes whose duty was to guard him) would be completely unaware of whether the king had a son by this mistress is more than odd.
Why, since Barsine was supposedly sent to obscure Pergamum to have her baby and bring him up? At best they might hear rumours. No one could say for certain if Barsine had a child, let alone that it was Alexander's. Like I said, no DNA tests back then.
The DNA thing is nothing more than a distraction. Barsine was likely with Alexander at the very least until such time as he’d defeated Dareios and conciliated her important father, Artabazos. This happened in Hyrcania in 330 (Arr. 23.7). Alexander appointed him satrap of Bactria after he’d operated against Satibarzanes on Alexander’s behalf. Barsine, as a mistress, was as least as political as she was a “love” interest. Alexander’s closest confidants will have well known of the relationship – Parmenion suggested it - and the fact of Barsine’s pregnancy and its result. One would hardly suggest that others were fathering children on the king’s mistress.

Barsine became less important – and with her any child she may have or be carrying of Alexander’s – once Alexander married Roxanne in 327. If Curtius’ date is right, Barsine gave birth to Herakles in the same year Alexander married and Artabazos, after one year or so as satrap, decided, at the same time, to retire likely as a consequence.

Nothing suggests Barsine went to Pergamon at this stage, though that is a possibility. We only know that is where she was at the time of the Babylonian Settlement. In fact, Eumenes and Ptolemy are given Barsine’s sisters as wives at the mass weddings (Plut. Eum. 1.3) suggesting that Barsine was with the royal retinue. At these weddings, Alexander finally married directly into the Persian royal family thus not only relegating Roxanne but also further ‘demoting’ Barsine. It is likely now that retirement to Pergamon took place. It should be remembered that Artabazos had been satrap of Hellespontine Phrygia and in command of the entire seaboard in Philip’s time. That he may have had holdings at Pergamon should not be surprise. Roxanne had little to fear from Barsine and her child. Once she became pregnant to Alexander and he married Statiera, she most certainly had much to concern her and it was not Barsine or Herakles. Hence the murder.
Xenophon wrote: The problem is that we have no real direct evidence of Heracles until 12 years after A.’s death, when he is 17 and briefly becomes a claimant, and we must rely on circumstantial evidence of his existence prior to that, as related by sources applying hindsight, which must of necessity be suspect.
Sources applying hindsight? The two most fulsome sources dealing with the Babylonian Settlement clearly and unambiguously have Herakles as a claimant in those proceedings. To suggest that both Curtius and Trogus (via Justin) invented these notices as some way of legitimising or explaining a “pretender” twelve years later is no more convincing than Xenophon's repeated “three of five sources” mantra. Even Plutarch, in a passage showcasing the Kardian’s close relationship to Alexander (Eum. 1.3), states that Alexander had a son, Herakles, by Barsine whose sister he married to Eumenes. The point Plutarch is making here is that Eumenes is considered close enough to the king to be honoured by marrying the sister of a woman who was held in esteem by the king and was the mother of his (illegitimate) child.
Xenophon wrote:A very good point, Alexias. Perdiccas would not have been the only one to appreciate the advantages of controlling a 'Royal heir', or even a potential one. If Heracles had been around, we might expect that either or both of them would have taken him into custody 'for his own protection', but there's no hint of anything like this….
If Heracles had really been living quietly in Pergamon for a dozen years, it seems incredible that no-one thought to 'secure' him in all those turbulent times.......and one can only speculate what Antipater or Antigonus might have achieved using him.
Antigonos was in no position to be taking anyone into custody to further his own ambitions. The royal army and its high command, along with Alexander’s somatophylakes, were in Babylon and this was where the power resided (aside from Kratros’ veterans in Kilikia). Taking the boy into custody would gain Antigonos nothing other than the enmity of those in Babylon. Antigonos needed to bide his time – as he did.

As for Perdikkas (or any other marshal) taking Herakles into custody, the king’s death took everyone by surprise as the sources make plain. There was no precedent whatsoever for what was now to occur. Indeed, they asked Alexander, before his death, whether he would name a successor to no avail. This was a “developing situation” not a planned one. In any case, after matters had settled and Antigonos emerged as ruler of Asia, Barsine and Herakles were as much under Antigonos’ control as was Kleopatra.
Xenophon wrote:Indeed, Diodorus, makes statements which deny Heracles’ existence. In particular, he states that Alexander was “childless” at his death [Diod XVIII.2], that “he left no sons as successors to the kingdom” [XVIII.9] and that Cassander believed there would be no successor to the kingdom if he killed Alexander IV. [Diod.XIX.52 and 105]. For Diodorus then, the Heracles of [XX.20] must have been a pretender.
Not at all. These statements only state the obvious: that Alexander had no successor for he had no legitimate issue when he died. It is something more than a stretch to claim that this then means that his illegitimate issue did not exist. Even more of a stretch is claiming that Diodorus thought him a pretender. Had that been so he might just as well have said so at 20.20.1 and 28.1. He did not. As for Kassandros, he would be well aware that Herakles was dismissed as a candidate at Babylon and could expect that attitudes hadn’t altered. He was wrong.
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Re: Alexander the Great...Good or Bad King, or neither? An Essay

Post by Xenophon » Mon Jan 23, 2017 1:58 am

Astounding! Curtius and Justin combined expend just 120 words on the subject of Heracles supposed candidature by either Nearchos or Meleager (and the fact that there are two different proposers is suggestive that it is a fictitious interpolation), and yet Paralus' last post alone is some 2,368 words!
I'm not going to refute it in detail, for I think enough has been said. There are only those 120 words to support a contention that Heracles existed in 323, and once you reference them, that's it, you've shot your bolt. Anything after that goes beyond the statements, and is mere paralogism and sophistry. I will confine myself to pointing out some of the worst 'spin' in putting the case for Heracles early existence.

-There is no need to elaborate the whole Babylonian settlement thing, contra Paralus, for the mention of Heracles looks like an 'add-on' and is quickly dismissed by both authors. It is not a "key piece of the puzzle" at all, it is mere background.

- "Roxanne murdered Stateira with Perdikkas’ approval after he had gained power." is a false distinction, for Plutarch also reports that Perdiccas came to power "using Arrhidaeus as a figurehead" - which was the outcome of the conclave, so does refer to the Babylonian settlement.

- "The next best option was regent for an unborn child of Alexander for this will unarguably be the legitimate offspring of the dead king. Herakles gives Perdikkas some 11-12 years; Roxanne’s offspring 17 or so." is specious reasoning at it's worst. The theoretical length of the regency is not a factor, because Macedonian Regents had a habit of putting aside heirs and becoming Kings outright - think Philip II for a start. "....even more so were that child a girl." is untrue. No females could be considered. Were that not the case, then Alexander's full sister Cleopatra would have been a candidate - certainly a better one than Arrhidaeus. Perdiccas had to cross his fingers that Roxanne's child would be a boy, or as Curtius has him say [X.6.9] "we pray that she may bear a son who shall rule over us with the gods' approval when he comes of age." Justin has him say : “....and that, if she brought forth a boy, he should be appointed his father’s successor.” Clearly females didn't count and need not apply. If Heracles existed then, he was a sure thing, rather than a 50-50 bet on Roxanne, and logically Perdiccas would have supported Heracles candidature.....

- "Justin does no such thing. He has Ptolemy object on the grounds that Arrhidaios is mentally unfit and Philip’s son by a lowly woman (a ‘prostitute’ – scorto) so as to press his own solution. He nowhere claims him a bastard." Not sure what the point of this is, other than being purely argumentative. A child born of an unmarried woman is the very definition of "bastard". Athenaeus, based on Satyrus our only source for a complete list of Philip’s wives, says: “..he had children by two Thessalian women; one of whom was Nicesipolis of Pherae who brought him a daughter named Thessalonike[and died shortly after childbirth]; and the other was Philina of Larissa, by whom he had Arrhidaeus.” Athenaeus in this passage states so whenever Philip married, but significantly does not say Philip married either of these Thessalian women, so there may have been something in Ptolemy’s accusation. And let us recall the wedding of Philip and Eurydice/Cleopatra, when Attalus could even call Alexander a “bastard”. Perhaps noble Macedonians regarded the offspring of 'foreign/barbarian' wives as illegitimate.

- “Roxanne had little to fear from Barsine and her child. Once she became pregnant to Alexander and he married Statiera, she most certainly had much to concern her and it was not Barsine or Herakles. Hence the murder”
She murders Stateira, just in case she produces a son in the future, but does nothing whatever about an actual existing older half-brother? That seems unlikely in the extreme, and is not logical.

-“ Sources applying hindsight?” Yes, they know the subsequent history of Polyperchon’s failed bid for power using Heracles, and so could insert “ corroborative detail, intended to give artistic verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative.”( W.S Gilbert: The Mikado) The need here is to offer an explanation of why the supposed Heracles didn't enter the equation at Babylon.
- “Antigonos was in no position to be taking anyone into custody to further his own ambitions. The royal army and its high command, along with Alexander’s somatophylakes, were in Babylon and this was where the power resided (aside from Kratros’ veterans in Kilikia)......etc” To use Paralus’ expression, that’s something of a stretch! Antigonus and Antipater were in a position to challenge the clique in Babylon – fear was what motivated the Babylon conclave to leave them be, rather than try to replace them. All the more so if Heracles really existed in Pergamum at the time to be used as a figurehead, as the 17 year-old Heracles was.
-“ Not at all. These statements only state the obvious: that Alexander had no successor for he had no legitimate issue when he died. It is something more than a stretch to claim that this then means that his illegitimate issue did not exist......etc"
A subtle change of what Diodorus says!! He does NOT say “legitimate issue”. He uses the word ‘apaidos’/childless, having no heir by virtue of being childless, at XVIII.2, says he had no successors/’diadochi’ at XVIII.9 and XIX.52 and at XIX.105 says: “..When Glaucias had carried out the instructions[to murder Alexander IV and Roxane], Cassander, Lysimachus, and Ptolemy, and Antigonus as well, were relieved of their anticipated danger from the king; for henceforth, there being no longer anyone to inherit the realm, each of those who had rule over nations or cities entertained hopes of royal power and held the territory that had been placed under his authority as if it were a kingdom won by the spear.
( Had they all forgotten Heracles, who had supposedly been considered as an heir at Babylon?)
Of course, Diodorus says nothing of Heracles being considered at Babylon.

-" As for Kassandros, he would be well aware that Herakles was dismissed as a candidate at Babylon and could expect that attitudes hadn’t altered."
Another specious argument! If Cassander was aware that Heracles had been dismissed at Babylon, he certainly could not ignore him later, any more than Richard the Third could ignore the Princes in the tower, his nephews, despite making them legally illegitimate. This was especially so when the situation had completely altered, with Heracles now being the obvious 'last Argead'. But Cassander acts as if Alexander IV is the last Argead, and Heracles doesn't exist - which he probably didn't until Antigonus/Polyperchon manufactured a 'pretender'.

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

Post by Paralus » Mon Jan 23, 2017 5:02 am

Xenophon wrote:Astounding! Curtius and Justin combined expend just 120 words on the subject of Heracles supposed candidature by either Nearchos or Meleager (and the fact that there are two different proposers is suggestive that it is a fictitious interpolation), and yet Paralus' last post alone is some 2,368 words!
The predictable whine over words. Let’s address Xenophon’s failure to comprehend the point. Which point is not words but detail. Here, again, we have an attempt to minimise the clear attestation that Herakles was proposed by comparing the supposed number of words expended noting such in the sources with those in my post. A meaningless exercise and one can only wonder at the reason for such.

Of course Xenophon is not going to refute anything in detail: detail, it seems, matters not; spurious word comparisons do. The fact of the matter here is that we are dealing with four sources: Photios (Arrian); Diodorus; Trogus (via Justin) and Curtius. The latter is – lacunae aside – a “full history” while the preceding three are eptiomes of other sources. Of those epitomes, Justin’s is by far the fullest. At the risk of repeating what has been written more than once, an epitomator summarises his source and, by the very nature of his method, leaves matters out. Justin – never good with names – has done exactly this when he combines the proposals of Meleaghros and Nearkhos into the one.

The entire argument here is that Diodorus and Photios do not mention Herakles as a candidate. Neither source mentions Perdikkas as a candidate in his own right either so this must also be a “later interpolation”. Neither Diodorus nor Photios mention the abortive attack on Perdikkas by the infantry so this too must never have happened. For Diodorus, the philoi and the somatophylakes had no candidate; only opposition to Arrhidaios. If we base our arguments on the silence of the most abridged of summaries in preference to far fuller sources, much of what we accept as having happened never happened. What next – accepting the silence of Diodorus on a point over the works of Thukydides or Xenophon? This is the world upside down.
Xenophon wrote:There is no need to elaborate the whole Babylonian settlement thing, contra Paralus, for the mention of Heracles looks like an 'add-on' and is quickly dismissed by both authors. It is not a "key piece of the puzzle" at all, it is mere background.
No one is elaborating the “whole Babylonian Settlement thing”. Herakles is not an “add-on” and nor is it quickly dismissed by both authors. Nowhere does either author dismiss the notice. Herakles, in the conclave, is dismissed by the Macedonians – as is Roxanne’s unborn child. It is, indeed, a clear part of the puzzle of Herakles.
Xenophon wrote:- "Roxanne murdered Stateira with Perdikkas’ approval after he had gained power." is a false distinction, for Plutarch also reports that Perdiccas came to power "using Arrhidaeus as a figurehead" - which was the outcome of the conclave, so does refer to the Babylonian settlement.
This is no "false distinction" at all and the rest, I’m afraid, is a nonsense. This is all post the settlement as is clear to anyone reading it. As well, the words Xenophon uses are his own – not Plutarch’s. Plutarch actual words are (Alex. 77.5):
For it was he [Perdikkas] who was at once in the greatest authority, dragging Arrhidaeus around after him to safe-guard, as it were, the royal power.
Royal power Perdikkas already has. It is clear that Perdikkas is the regent when this murder is committed. This has nothing whatsoever to do with the Babylonian Settlement itself but rather events after Perdikkas is secure in his position as is immediately plain. Secure enough to participate in the murder of the dead king’s wife. Constantly rewording this so as to make it look like Plutarch is commenting the method Perdikkas used to gain ascendancy at Babylon is, at best, mischeivious.
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Re: Alexander the Great...Good or Bad King, or neither? An Essay

Post by derek » Mon Jan 23, 2017 4:57 pm

Alexias wrote: Derek, even if Alexander had had a son before he left for Asia, at most he would have been about 14. A moot point, but how long would he have lasted?
Hello Alexias,

There were so many strong generals and it was such a large empire, yes, I agree Alexander's sons wouldn't have had much chance whatever their age. But 14 was classed as a man in Macedonia and, for a prince, was only a few years from commanding regiments in the field and gaining respect, so a young adult would have had a lot better chance than a toddler.

I think my point is that Alexander made no plans for his succession. He was a "here and now" kind of person, and seems to have had no long term plan other than to keep conquering and acquiring glory. And if he really did say, "To the Strongest," on his deathbed - wow!

Derek

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