Robin Lane Fox lecture

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Hetairos (companion)
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Robin Lane Fox lecture

Post by Alexias »

The most interesting part of the Robin Lane Fox lecture ‘Alexander and the gods and the early successors’ at the Hellenic Society (here for anyone who hasn’t seen it) was the Egyptian inscription found in 1938 at the Bahariya oasis, east of Siwah in a small temple. The section starts at about 29 minutes.

The temple is dedicated to Ammon with a dedicatory inscription for Alexander with Pharaonic titles on a wall. As such dedications were never posthumous (RLF), the temple must date to Alexander’s reign. The stone, believed to reproduce the wall inscription which is no longer visible, is over a metre high and lay in storage at the Cairo museum until Francisco Bosch-Puche, an Oxford scholar (, studied it in 2008 for his doctoral thesis.

I managed to do a screen capture of RLF’s slide:
Pedastal -front.jpg
Pedastal -front.jpg (132.58 KiB) Viewed 2780 times
There are two columns of hieroglyphs the left of which commemorates Alexander and for the first time (RLF) gives evidence that he was accorded the full five Pharaonic titles (the Horus name, the Nebty name, the Golden Falcon name, Prenomen and Nomen). Prior to this he was only known to have been accorded three, as were his Persian predecessors. This, RLF says, indicates Alexander’s popularity in Egypt for ousting the Persians – or perhaps at least his popularity amongst the priesthood.
There are two cartouches visible (I think these are the nomen and prenomen) and contain alongside Alexander’s name the appellation ‘son of Ammon’ – as he was greeted at Siwah by the priests of Ammon – and this inclusion RLF says is highly unusual and indicates that Alexander was known to have a very special relationship with Ammon of Siwah. Quite separately and conventionally, Alexander is also described as ‘beloved of Ammon-Ra, chosen of Ammon, beloved of Ammon-Ra’. The five titles though, are not proof that Alexander was crowned Pharaoh at Memphis before heading to Siwah.

The right hand column of hieroglyphs commemorates Horhotep, a high-ranking prophet of Ammon-Ra who dedicated the monument.

On the right of the monument is a hitherto unnoticed Greek inscription:
Pedastal -left side.jpg
Pedastal -left side.jpg (103.34 KiB) Viewed 2780 times
RLF and FBP believe that this dates to the 4th century BC, is certainly not of the Roman period, and is carefully inscribed on a piece of very hard stone so is not a casual piece of graffiti. RLF believes it reflects a dedication by Alexander to Ammon in person on his way back to Memphis from Siwah (taking an easterly route through the Bahariya oasis rather than retracing his footsteps along the coast). The dedication was probably at a sanctuary which was made grander on Alexander’s instruction at his visit and this was done during his reign. The Greek text was for Greek visitors. RLF believes that it is not correct that Alexander was only styled ‘king’, ‘baseilios’ after Gaugamela as Philip is given the title on roof tiles found in the last two years at Herecleia (sorry, spelling’s wrong) in Upper Macedon which Philip founded, so that the inscription is likely to be contemporary with Alexander's visit.

Hiphys has wondered if this is the only Greek inscription which identifies Alexander as son of Ammon.

RLF’s conclusion to his lecture is that Alexander did not issue a decree ordering divine orders to be paid to him by the Greeks, but that he did decree heroic honours be paid to Hephaestion, and that this was the source of Athenian complaint*. Any cult honours paid by Greek cities to Alexander were made at their own instigation in the hope of favouritism from Alexander.

RLF's lecture style is a little difficult to get used to but it was a very informative lecture.

* If I understood this part of the lecture correctly, this would seem to finally scotch any possibility that Hephaestion was an honorary Athenian and that his father was the Amyntor son of Demetrios who, along with his descendants, was granted Athenian citizenship in 334 BC.
Strategos (general)
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Re: Robin Lane Fox lecture

Post by agesilaos »

A very interesting lecture. Nothing in it makes it impossible for Hephaistion to have been honoured by Athens before his death, these were political honours and the atmosphere of 322, the date of Hypereides Funerary Oration for Leosthenes and the Athenians who had died at Lamia whilst fighting Antipatros was a million stadia from that which obtained in 338 after Chaironaia; Fox's point is that there is no mention of forced divine honours for Alexander in this hostile and almost contemporary source, we should therefore discount the later stories of bon-mots or at least contextualise them within the framework of flattery from the Poleis rather than a decree from Alexander.
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Hetairos (companion)
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Re: Robin Lane Fox lecture

Post by system1988 »

Your gesture of explaining the speech was immensely helpful and to the point. All the inscriptions we find about Alexander are rare just by themselves Thank you for posting.
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