Olympias and the Katsas Tomb at Amphipolis

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agesilaos
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Re: Olympias and the Katsas Tomb at Amphipolis

Post by agesilaos »

The question is sometimes asked: why do the north winds which we call
the Etesiae blow continuously after the summer solstice, when there
are no corresponding south winds after the winter solstice? The facts
are reasonable enough: for the so-called 'white south winds' do blow
at the corresponding season, though they are not equally continuous
and so escape observation and give rise to this inquiry. The reason
for this is that the north wind I from the arctic regions which are
full of water and snow. The sun thaws them and so the Etesiae blow:
after rather than at the summer solstice. (For the greatest heat is
developed not when the sun is nearest to the north, but when its heat
has been felt for a considerable period and it has not yet receded
far. The 'bird winds' blow in the same way after the winter solstice.
They, too, are weak Etesiae, but they blow less and later than the
Etesiae. They begin to blow only on the seventieth day because the
sun is distant and therefore weaker. They do not blow so continuously
because only things on the surface of the earth and offering little
resistance evaporate then, the thoroughly frozen parts requiring greater
heat to melt them. So they blow intermittently till the true Etesiae
come on again at the summer solstice: for from that time onwards the
wind tends to blow continuously.) But the south wind blows from the
tropic of Cancer and not from the antarctic region.

Lips is a wind from Libya , the meaning of the name (it is not the English’ Lips’ but a Greek adjective meaning Libyan.). So there are no southern gales according to Aristotle, ‘Meteorologika’ available here http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/meteorology.mb.txt , Book II part 5. Nor is he suggesting that the Libyan reaches Macedonia.

Personally I have never found accuracy trivial. :lol:

Codicil:
Also

Thuc. 3 vi
[6] Meanwhile Cleon, after placing a garrison in Torone, weighed anchor and sailed round Athos on his way toAmphipolis.
V 11 iii
[3] After taking up their dead the Athenians sailed off home, while Clearidas and his troops remained to arrange matters at Amphipolis.
V12 ii
[2] While they delayed there, this battle took place and so the summer ended.
So Aristotle says that the southerly winds were weak and infrequent, so much so that they were generally thought not to exist and Kleon sails against the Etesians round Athos to Eion and then his defeated force sail back. It would seem that rumours of storms in the Strymonic Gulf have been greatly exaggerated. :D

There is an account of a ship thwarted by contrary winds about the beginning of spring in the Thermaic Gulf in Livy XL 4
This brutality, hideous as it was, was rendered still more so by the sufferings of one particular family. [2] Herodicus, a leading man in Thessaly, had been put to death by Philip many years ago; afterwards he put his sons-in-law to death and his two widowed daughters, Theoxena and Archo, were left each with one little son. [3] Theoxena had several offers of marriage but declined them all. [4] Archo married a man called Poris who held quite the first place among the Aenianes. She bore him several children but died whilst they were still small. [5] In order that her sister's children might be brought up under her own care, Theoxena married Poris and took as much care of her sister's sons as she did of her own. [6] When she heard of the king's edict about arresting the children of those whom he had put to death, she felt sure that the boys would fall victims to the king's lust and even to the passions of his guards. She formed a terrible design and dared to say that she would rather kill them with her own hand than let them fall into Philip's power. [7] Poris was horrified at the mere mention of such a deed, and said that he would send [8??] them away to some trustworthy friends in Athens and that he would accompany them in their flight. They went from Thessalonica to Aenia. [9] A festival was being held there at the time, which was celebrated with great pomp every four years in honour of Aeneas, the founder of the city. [10] After spending the day in the customary feasting they waited till the third watch, when all were asleep, and went on board a ship which Poris had in readiness, ostensibly to return to Thessalonica, but really to sail across to Euboea. [11] While, however, they were vainly trying to make headway against a contrary wind, they were surprised by daylight not far from land, and the king's troops who were on guard at the harbour sent an armed boat to seize the ship, with strict orders not to return without her. [12] Poris, meanwhile, was doing his utmost to urge on the rowers and sailors, lifting up his hands from time to time to heaven and imploring the gods to help him. His wife, a woman of indomitable spirit, fell back on the purpose she had long ago formed, and mixing some poison, placed the cup where it could be seen, together with some naked swords. [13] "Death," she said, "alone can free us. Here are two ways of meeting it, choose each of you which you will, as the escape from the king's tyranny. [14] Come, my boys, you who are the older be the first to grasp the sword, or if you would have a more lingering death, drink off the poison." On the one hand were the enemy close to them, on the other the insistent mother urging them to die. Some chose the one death, some the other, and whilst still half-alive they were thrown from the ship. [15] Then the mother herself, flinging her arms round her husband, sprang with him into the sea. The king's troops took possession of a deserted ship.
Presumably from Polybios ultimately.

edited to add codicil.
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Re: Olympias and the Katsas Tomb at Amphipolis

Post by Paralus »

Xenophon wrote:As I said, it is hard to understand all this source analysis, unless as a purely academic exercise…
Which is, of course, the nature of much discussion on this site. Presently that discussion revolves around Olympias’ support, Kassandros’ view of that and the timing of his actions. The sources are, in large part, the basis of what we know. Also, such ‘analysis’ is necessary when one retails – and repeats – the claims that Justin was simply drawing on Diodorus or “was aware” of Diodorus (and thus, presumably, corrected or coloured by him). As I have shown, the testimony of Trogus/Justin here cannot simply be dismissed on the basis that the galdius was not invented in 317/16. As ever, rather than work to reject a source that doesn’t fit a view, all information should be considered together. And so the latest in this effort is:
Xenophon wrote:It is only in Justin’s account that Cassander orders ‘others’ to kill her when the soldiers balk…
To which it might equally be claimed it is only in Pausanias that Kassandros kills Olympias by stoning. Again, the two narrative sources of information need to be considered as a whole. I’ve already pointed out that is “is only in Justin’s account” that Polyperchon returns to Macedonia after the debacle of Megalopolis. This makes sense of Diodorus who notes a confrontation between Kassandros and Polyperchon in 318/17 in which the latter lost numbers of his elephants (Diod.18.75.1; 19.35.7). Similarly we are told – only in Justin – what we must infer elsewhere that the Argyraspides were the cause of the dissent at Triparadeisos (14.4.11). Of course, as it is “only in Justin’s account”, should we then dismiss it?

Both these writers are summarising and often (as here) quite severely. We’ve no information on the confrontation mentioned above other than allusions. Both Trogus and Diodorus have, at times, worked from a shared source and both have summarised that source independently of each other. Thus Diodorus reduces Perdikkas’ winter synhedrion (18.25.6) to a notice that all favoured attacking Ptolemy. It is Trogus/Justin that provides some of the discussion noting the view that Macedonia should be first (13.6.10-13 – about which, more below). Trogus/Justin also notes Eumenes’ promotion and the satrapies put under his control (13.6.14). Something that Diodorus did not bother with, seemingly more interested in moving on to the catafalque and events involving Egypt. And so to here: Trogus/Justin tells us that Kassandros orders the second group to kill the Queen and Diodorus tells us that this group was the relatives who did so to curry Kassandros’ favour. As I’ve said, carrying out such a directive is clearly consistent with currying favour.

It is also claimed that “We do not know the extent of Olympias’ support in Macedonia, save that we can deduce it was modest”. Proof of this deduction is the assertion that “her hold must have been tenuous, for she murders the King and Queen promptly, along with Cassander’s brother and over 100 of his adherents – an atrocity normally indulged in to commit one’s own forces and terrorise opposition”. Olympias, matriarch of the royal house, actually enjoyed a marked level of prestige and thus support, among the Macedonians. Aside from the instance under discussion see for example: Just. 14.6.10; Plut. Eum. 12.1-4; Diod. 18.62.2. As Alexander Meeus (‘Alexander’s Image in the Age of the Successors’, in Heckel & Trittle [2009]) rightly says:
Olympias was held in high esteem because she was the wife of Philip and the mother of Alexander. Both kings are often mentioned when our sources explain the respect for Olympias.
In the passage involving Perdikkas’ synhedrion discussed above, one faction advised the regent in the following terms (Just.13.6.11-12):
Some were of opinion that it [the war] should be transferred to Macedonia, to the very head and metropolis of the kingdom, where Olympias, the mother of Alexander, was, who would be no small support to their party, while the good will of their countrymen would be with them, from respect to the names of Alexander and Philippus.
This is a theme repeated by both Diodorus and Trogus/Justin and obviously goes back to a source which both share. What it shows is that Olympias and the royal family – which she represented – had wide support among ‘the Macedonians’. Polyperchon, for all his faults, knew this hence his requests that Olympias return to Macedonia and strengthen his own position. That the Macedonians (with Eurydike) went over to the matriarch, due to her ἀξίωμα and memories of Philip and Alexander III, confirms it – no matter their number (clearly enough for Eurydike to contemplate meeting her in battle). To claim Olympias’ support and prestige among the Macedonians was “tenuous”, one would be reduced to rejecting these consistent source attestations otherwise and describing them as “fiction”.

That Olympias’ subsequent murder of the royal couple and 100 of Kassandros’ supoorters is some indication of her “tenuous” support misreads the situation. What is being reported here is a confrontation to decide a dynastic struggle between two branches of the Argeads: Eurydike (and her husband) and Olympias and the royal family. Olympias had real fears for the survival of her grandson and his chances of ever ruling in his own right (cf Diod. 18.58.2-4). With Kassandros’ appointment as regent and current absence, now was the time to return for Olympias is not certain to be alive when her grandson reaches his majority. The elimination of the royal couple proclaims Alexander IV the only king and the removal of the 100 is a political purge, undermining Kassandros’ political base. It is hardly worse than (if as bad as) Perdikkas’ elimination of Meleaghros’ supporters six years earlier. In this Olympias is little different to any of the Successors. It was hardly the first time Macedonia had seen the murder of a king, a political purge or a confrontation between branches of the royal family. What will have cost some support was the maltreatment of the king and his remains.


While the murders and maltreatment will have contributed to Olympias’ downfall, they were not the cause of it. Diodorus’ description of events shows it is the failure of Olympias to back up her takeover with military success that saw her defeated. It is because of this that her support began to waver. Indeed, Diodorus is specific in this regard noting that after Olympias failed to block the passes into Macedonia (Diod.19.35.3) and the final straw of Aiakides’ failure, those in Macedonia who refused to support Kassandros “abandoned the fortunes of Olympias in despair” (19.35.5). Polyperchon, her regent, was despised after Megalopolis and was completely outgeneralled by Kassandros. Both Polyperchon and Olympias were caught completely unprepared for the swift reaction of Kassandros. The only forward thinking move was to block Thermopylae. By the time Kassandros had by-passed this, Polyperchon was in no position to counter him. Retreating to Pydna – far from being part of some strategy or plan – was hardly a matter of choice for Olympias as is plain by those that are noted holing up with her and Diodorus’ note that there was not enough food in store (19.35.5).

All of which is not to say that support was not still there for Olympias. It clearly was as Diodorus and Justin state and it is why Kassandros sends the ‘defectors’ throughout Macedonia so the cities would know how weak her position was and the Macedonians “would despair of her cause” (19.50.2). What is clear is that Kassandros put together a ‘trial’ in which Olympias was absent (19.51.1-2). It is here – without any defense allowed at all – he gets a ‘conviction’. Olympias is then described as wishing to be judged before “all the Macedonians” (51.4). This Kassandros will not allow because he fears the Macedonians will change their minds once reminded of her ἀξίωμα and the benefactions conferred by her family. That change of mind is hardly to give her life in prison; it will be acquittal of whatever charges had been pressed. Before this can possibly happen Kassandros contrives to kill her. Kassandros plainly believes there are a significant number of Macedonians who still have a strong regard for both her and the royal family. Those who left her cause in despair - both at the failure of Polyperchon and Aiakides and those now being induced to by the deserters - will number among these.

The chronological matters and how the above plays into same can await another 'essay'.
Last edited by Paralus on Sun Jul 26, 2015 10:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Olympias and the Katsas Tomb at Amphipolis

Post by agesilaos »

Would you consider making a new thread of it? Shame to bury things in here.
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Re: Olympias and the Katsas Tomb at Amphipolis

Post by Paralus »

Possibly, though it would leave this without an epilogue. Perhaps a good time to do so (pardon the pun "chum").
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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: Olympias and the Katsas Tomb at Amphipolis

Post by agesilaos »

I am sure Amyntoros will be able to start the new thread with the post of your choice, this is where we got up to in the last chronological post so it seems better to start with your exegesis rather than have much of it repeated; maybe I 'm just being lazy ! :roll:
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Re: Olympias and the Katsas Tomb at Amphipolis

Post by amyntoros »

Can certainly split the thread. Just confirm if and where you would like the split. :)
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Re: Olympias and the Katsas Tomb at Amphipolis

Post by Xenophon »

Paralus wrote Sun July 19:
Xenophon wrote:Quite why we need this lengthy ‘quellenforschung’ I am not sure. We debated the details of the accounts of Olympias’ death on pp 4-5 in depth. A ‘second bite at the cherry’ doesn’t seem to add anything…
It is no "second bite" at any "cherry"; more a firm rebuttal of your more than strained rejection of Justin based on an erroneous view that as the gladius didn't exist in 316, Justin was engaging in "fiction". And given claims that Justin was simply working from Diodorus, it appeared somewhat more than necessary.
To start with, I never said Justin was simply working from Diodorus. I wrote: “It is quite conceivable that Justin is simply drawing on Diodorus here. [ or the same source].” – and you agree they likely drew on a common source, which you suggest was Hieronymous of Cardia. My point was that Justin adds nothing to the account of Olympias' death other than fictional embellishments - which you agree! :)

It was you that proposed that Justin had in mind the Roman style cut-and-thrust gladius, and that Olympias could have been executed by sword-thrusts rather than cuts:
“Justin writes confoderent which the translator here has rendered as blows. Justin is speaking of sword inflicted wounds and the natural meaning of "to strike down by stabbing, to pierce, stab, transfix" is here indicated.”

I was simply pointing out that if Justin had in mind the Roman cut-and-thrust sword of his own day in referring to thrusts, then he was guilty of an anachronism for this type of sword didn’t exist prior to the second Punic War, and this detail would be a fictional embellishment, like others Justin/Trogus inserts into his account.

Justin differs from Diodorus, who has the execution carried out by the grieving relatives after Kassander’s soldiers refuse. Justin says Kassander sent “others” – presumably other soldiers to do the job, and therefore assumes military swords were used. Swords were often used in this way for executions or assasssinations in the Roman Imperial era, but there are no records of Macedonian executions by sword in this fashion. We are often not told the means ( hence the reader is left to assume ‘the usual method’ ) and when we are it is invariably stoning. (with spearing mentioned as an alternative in the case of Philotas). Hence it is highly probable the “swords” are another of Justin’s fictional embellishments.

Xenophon wrote:It is only in Justin’s account that Cassander orders ‘others’ to kill her when the soldiers balk. Diodorus has the distressed relatives carry it out of their own volition “wishing to curry favour with Cassander as well as to avenge their dead, murdered the queen, who uttered no ignoble or womanish plea” although they are clearly aware of Cassander’s wishes in the matter.

Diodorus does nothing of the sort. The Sicilian simply notes that the relatives carried out the murder to curry favour with Kassandros after the soldiers could not. Again, it is inconceivable that the relatives acted without Kassandros’ fiat for he was demonstrably concerned over the Macedonians’ reaction. The relatives do not have to do this “of their own volition” to curry favour (which is your clear implication). They curry just as much favour by carrying out Kassandros’ instructions where soldiers could not. Justin, who cannot be dismissed as “fiction” (as I’ve demonstrated) – no matter how much you’d like it to be so – reports that the second group (the relatives which we know from your "preferred" source) acted under Kassandros’ fiat.
That is an unlikely proposition. Diodorus wrote ; “But the relatives of her victims, wishing to curry favour with Cassander as well as avenge their dead, murdered the queen who uttered no ignoble or womanish plea.”
One does not “curry favour” by simply obeying orders one has been given, for that is expected. On this point, Diodorus and Justin do not ‘cohere’ for Diodorus has the relatives murder her out of revenge, and secondarily because they know it will please Cassander, not because they are ordered to, unlike the soldiers sent whom Diodorus specifically says are acting under orders, unlike the relatives; while Justin simply has Cassander order another execution squad [“others”] to despatch her:
“The executioners, on beholding her, struck with the recollection of her former royal dignity, and with the names of so many of their kings, that occurred to their memory in connection with her, stood still, until others were sent by Cassander to despatch her;” No mention of vengeful relatives in Justin’s account. Since he envisages them as sword armed, presumably Justin has more soldiers in mind, as I referred to above.



Paralus wrote:
Xenophon wrote:I think that is somewhat inaccurate. Diodorus has been demonstrated to have composed his work between 65 BC and 35 BC – 30 BC at the latest. Trogus wrote later during the reign of Augustus, who did not acquire power until after 30 BC. Trogus undoubtedly wrote after Diodorus, so my quoted statements above are correct. ( indeed you also state below that the two likely shared a common source)
Which statements might they be? “That Justin is simply drawing on Diodorus here” or that as Justin “was probably familiar with Diodorus’ account, it is hardly surprising it ‘coheres’” with that of Diodorus? If either one, then I’d suggest a re-reading of the 1,300 word essay. If Trogus was well aware of the work of another writer, that writer was Livy. In part, this is why Trogus produced a universal history whose focus was not Rome. But that is another subject.

I fail to see what Trogus and Diodorus sharing a source (Hieronymus or an intermediary based on him) in their writings has to do with Justin using Diodorus.
Naughty! You have distorted what I said, which was “It is quite conceivable that Justin is simply drawing on Diodorus here. [ or the same source].” – not that Justin was necessarily drawing on Diodorus. And I have demonstrated that you were wrong about dating, and that since Trogus wrote after Diodorus, there is no reason he could not have read his work, or the work of his source – as you acknowledge.



Xenophon wrote:Given that Diodorus does not specify the means, this suggests that he is following his (common?) source more closely than Justin, since the exact means probably was not specified originally. Diodorus’ account is therefore to be preferred.
Merely claiming so does not make it so. It is far more likely that for what must have been a dramatic story at the time, the means was mentioned by primary sources.
The reason I don’t think the means was referred to is because this is the case in the majority of references to Macedonian executions [ as I have explained previously], together with the fact that Diodorus does not specify means.

I’d like to see the argument for why not mentioning a method here indicates Diodorus is more closely following a source.
See above, the original source more likely than not did not specify means, as in the majority of references to Macedonian executions, which Diodorus evidently followed. Hence it is more likely that Justin is adding yet another embellishment – see reasons given ante, than that Diodorus left out an unusual ( in fact unique) reference to swords as an execution weapon, which is also not consistent with the executioners being grieving relatives.
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Re: Olympias and the Katsas Tomb at Amphipolis

Post by Xenophon »

Agesilaos wrote Sun july 19:
Agesilaos wrote:
So , between spring ‘coming on and the surrender, there is time for deserters to be treated well and get home, and the cities drop their allegiance and Olympias to discover this. For her to attempt a ship bourne escape which she must have judged viable. Then for difficult negotiations before the surrender. Then there are the columns sent to Pella and Amphipolis, report of the resistance of Amphipolis and a return letter from Pydna. The show trial has to be arranged and then the offer of escape from Kassandros. This will all occupy some time, though I expect you will claim it could be accomplished in a trice, that will have to remain a matter of choice. It will take even more time if the relatives of all Olympias’ victims are to be gathered to form the mob you , but no source, keep mentioning. I would think a much smaller group sufficient, a score or less would suffice to sway the already biased trial and kill an old woman by whatever means. The season was more advanced than you posit.
....this is another matter which is unknowable, and upon which one can only speculate, of course. Which we have done before, IIRC. Most of Macedon, and certainly its major cities, were within 40 miles or so of Pydna at most – a couple of days journey. News could easily have reached Olympias within a week or so that it was all up for her. Her desperate attempt to escape by ship never got off the ground. There were no “difficult negotiations”. Cassander demanded, and got, virtually unconditional surrender ( the only caveat being Olympias’ life). Two weeks would be a generous time for this to take place, and perhaps another week to arrange the surrender and occupation of Amphipolis and Pella. The trial arrangements and the relatives gathering at Pydna would be happening simultaneously. Let’s throw in another week for luck, and we still have Olympias probably tried and condemned within a month of Spring “coming on” i.e. sometime in March, or early April latest. Like I said May would be an unlikely stretch.

But let me emphasise yet again, we are not told the chronology of these events.

The number of relatives attending is another unknowable – it could have been as few as your ‘score’ ( though I doubt this, considering there were over 100 victims of Olympias), or as many as several hundred. I have never tried to specify numbers. There would certainly be a number present in Cassander’s army. “Mob” doesn’t denote any particular number and could be as few as a score, if you like.
Clearly from general reading and your own experience; Olympias, the replica trieres, sails happily in 20 knt winds (Beaufort 5) and had a run at 25knts but takes water at 22knt winds Beaufort 6. Morrison, Coates and Rankov, ‘The Athenin Triereme’Cambridge University Press, 2nd edition, 2000, p261 ff.
(sigh! )The jibe is totally unwarranted. Wind speed ‘per se’ is not the governing factor of ‘seaworthiness’. The sea conditions are, if anything, more important. When sailors are looking to set speed records, they pick somewhere with high winds but sheltered flat waters . The fact that “Olympias” was able to sail in winds of 20-25 knots on the flat, calm and sheltered waters of Poros bay, which is almost landlocked, is no indicator of a trireme’s performance at sea.[All “Olympias” trials from 1987 to 1994 were apparently carried out at Poros]. The “happily” is your word, and not strictly true. In fact, “Olympias” was obliged to ‘reef’ her sail in anything over 14 knots, even in the sheltered harbour.

One real limitation is the angle of heel ( which is dependent on wind direction more than wind speed, and “Olympias” was limited to about 10-12 degrees – a relatively slight heel.) Further, you’ll note I referred to wave height rather than wind speed, because it is more important, and this too will vary with conditions and wind direction. I referred to a limit of about 1 metre, and in fact in the book you referred to, at page 274, you’ll see that 'Olympias' "survived" in waves of 0.75 metres. Since waves of approximately this size [1m aprox] generally occur in open waters in about Force 4, what I said: “Beaufort force 4 would produce waves of this order of magnitude, and hence would represent maximum conditions for galleys.” is perfectly correct and borne out by 'Olympias' trials. [ see also “The ancient sailing season” James Beresford for further confirmation, since you disbelieve anything I may say as a matter of course]
“Much error stems from what people ‘understand’, again no reference to the sources of this understanding. Here is the evidence;........ You will note that there is no indication of the month in Polybios or Livy so no guarantee Hesychios has not deduced it . None say when in the month it came, although the full moon would be a reasonable guess (this is also the vernal equinox). The evidence is pretty thin for a regular lustration and may only be an Antigonid institution.”
I’m perfectly aware of the references, thank you ( and other relevant passages). In actual fact whilst most Antigonid mobilisations seem to have been in Spring; others in early or late summer, and even Winter are known, and Cassander’s army was of course kept mobilised through Winter besieging Pydna. Philip II was also known to have had forces mobilised all year round.
“The trouble with a full muster in March/early April is that the grain will not be ripe until May, which will put enormous strain on winter stocks if this is an annual event.”
This is neither logical nor true – we have only to look at the enormous strategic stocks of grain the late Antigonids kept stockpiled, many years supply. What is more, those men are still going to eat regardless of whether they are at home, or gathered for mobilisation. ‘Daesius’/May-June, being harvest month was customarily set aside from waging war, for obvious reasons.[ i.e. mobilisations taking place at Harvest time]
“In any case if you want Kassandros to have celebrated this festival Olympias cannot be dead before April 316 or mid-March 315. Later, if you want him to have raced off with an army that had just finished a hard winter’s campaigning. Agreed, Kassandros favoured rapid action, but he also knew the limitations of his men, nor would it be sound policy to abandon Macedonia until he was certain about events in Asia. Alexander was no great problem, it may be that the timing of Kassandros move to the Peloponnese coincides with news from Asia.”
....possibly, possibly not. This is just your speculation. I would not call a ‘sitzkrieg’ camped outside Pydna enforcing a blockade “hard campaigning”, though camping outdoors in winter might be a tad uncomfortable. While the climate is humid sub-tropical, temperatures can fall as low as 6 degrees c. in January. One imagines that having sat around essentially doing nothing for months, the men would be eager to be on the move.

As I said earlier, and keep saying :

“We simply can't tell, because we don't know exactly when Pydna fell, or when Olympias' execution took place. There is no definitive evidence.”
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Re: Olympias and the Katsas Tomb at Amphipolis

Post by Xenophon »

Agesilaos wrote:
Aristotle wrote:“The question is sometimes asked: why do the north winds which we call the Etesiae blow continuously after the summer solstice, when there are no corresponding south winds after the winter solstice? The facts are reasonable enough: for the so-called 'white south winds' do blow at the corresponding season, though they are not equally continuous and so escape observation and give rise to this inquiry. The reason for this is that the north wind I from the arctic regions which are full of water and snow. The sun thaws them and so the Etesiae blow: after rather than at the summer solstice. (For the greatest heat is developed not when the sun is nearest to the north, but when its heat has been felt for a considerable period and it has not yet receded far. The 'bird winds' blow in the same way after the winter solstice. They, too, are weak Etesiae, but they blow less and later than the Etesiae. They begin to blow only on the seventieth day because the sun is distant and therefore weaker. They do not blow so continuously because only things on the surface of the earth and offering little resistance evaporate then, the thoroughly frozen parts requiring greater heat to melt them. So they blow intermittently till the true Etesiae come on again at the summer solstice: for from that time onwards the wind tends to blow continuously.) But the south wind blows from the tropic of Cancer and not from the antarctic region.”
Lips is a wind from Libya , the meaning of the name (it is not the English’ Lips’ but a Greek adjective meaning Libyan.). So there are no southern gales according to Aristotle, ‘Meteorologika’ available here http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/meteorology.mb.txt , Book II part 5. Nor is he suggesting that the Libyan reaches Macedonia.

Personally I have never found accuracy trivial.
Nor I ! :wink: .....We are both pedantic on frequent occasions. Unfortunately what you say here is inaccurate. The ‘Libyan winds/Lips’ that blow from Africa is the modern ‘Scirrocco’( although the Greeks called all winter southerly winds by this name), and the ‘Scirrocco’ certainly does reach Macedonia and beyond into Europe. Aristotle is NOT saying that there are no southern gales at all. To assert, as you seem to do mistakenly on this basis, that there are no winter Mediterranean southerly gales is frankly bizarre. (Here is Michael Fish commenting on winter holiday destinations in ‘The Guardian’ : “The Mediterranean is notorious for winter gales, too. Early October is probably OK, but the change to the winter regime is often abrupt and normally sweeps through the area during the month.” ...and... “Clearly, winter in the Mediterranean can whip up violent storms that extend from the European to African coast; create very rough seas, gale force winds, thunder, and rain that last for days. To be out in such conditions will also expose anyone to windchill which, when you’re wet, becomes potentially fatal.” Al Jazeera weather. That these conditions were also true in Greek/Hellenistic times can be demonstrated by an extant Athenian naval list from 323 BC which includes inter alia a list of ships damaged by winter storms. Or consider that in "Ships and Fleets of the Ancient Mediterranean", J. Rouge summarized the problem of winter navigation as follows:
Owing to the general climatic conditions in the Mediterranean, there are two long seasons: what the Greeks called cheimon on the one hand, and theros on the other, the 'bad season' and the 'good season', each implying more than 'winter' and 'summer' respectively. Furthermore, the ends of these seasons did not coincide precisely with the ends of the four seasons as determined by astronomy. Cheimon was characterized by unstable weather, making the prediction of storms or their degree of violence impossible. During this period, sailing on the open seas was not possible; only coastal sailing could be undertaken, and even so, large-scale, commercial shipping was avoided. It was the time the Romans quite typically called the mare clausum, the sea is closed — and some texts add, 'to regular sailing'.

Whilst this is a simplification, it makes the general point......)

Aristotle is contrasting the Etesian winds in summer which blow ‘continuously’ i.e every day at the same time, from the same direction, and generally building to Force 5 Beaufort scale; with the more fitful southerly winds which might blow from southeast, southwest, or south and generally less forcefully, and Aristotle attempts to rationalise an explanation for this.
Do you realise that virtually everything you have said in this thread about winds/weather/sailing has been mistaken or incorrect ?? Enough, please.......
Codicil:
Also

Thuc. 3 vi

[6] Meanwhile Cleon, after placing a garrison in Torone, weighed anchor and sailed round Athos on his way toAmphipolis.
V 11 iii
[3] After taking up their dead the Athenians sailed off home, while Clearidas and his troops remained to arrange matters at Amphipolis.
V12 ii
[2] While they delayed there, this battle took place and so the summer ended.


So Aristotle says that the southerly winds were weak and infrequent, so much so that they were generally thought not to exist and Kleon sails against the Etesians round Athos to Eion and then his defeated force sail back. It would seem that rumours of storms in the Strymonic Gulf have been greatly exaggerated.
You evidently completely misunderstand what Aristotle is saying; not that southerlies were “weak and infrequent”, rather not ‘continuous’ in the way the Etesians (modern meltemi) were, day after day, and didn’t blow as hard as the Etesians. However, it would only take a moderate southerly headwind ( and accompanying wave conditions) to prevent a galley putting to sea in its teeth from Eion, and still less in a gale or stormy conditions. And he is saying there is no southerly equivalent to the Etesians, not that they don’t exist. It is the prevailing winds, not the unpredictable storms which inhibit sailing south from Eion. Furthermore, please tell me you are not trying to extrapolate general sailing conditions from a single anecdote? It is merely but one example, and clearly weathar conditions off Cape Athos that particular day were favourable. ( If the Etesians were in effect, then it was probably achieved under oar, in the morning, before the Etesians arise )
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Re: Olympias and the Katsas Tomb at Amphipolis

Post by Paralus »

Xenophon wrote:
To start with, I never said Justin was simply working from Diodorus. I wrote: “It is quite conceivable that Justin is simply drawing on Diodorus here. [ or the same source].” – and you agree they likely drew on a common source, which you suggest was Hieronymous of Cardia. My point was that Justin adds nothing to the account of Olympias' death other than fictional embellishments - which you agree! :)

Naughty! You have distorted what I said, which was “It is quite conceivable that Justin is simply drawing on Diodorus here. [ or the same source].” – not that Justin was necessarily drawing on Diodorus.
I have “distorted” nothing but it is difficult to ascertain your position which seems one of some fluidity. “It is quite conceivable that Justin was simply drawing on Diodorus here” now becomes “not that Justin was necessarily drawing on Diodorus”. Which might it be? Is Justin “drawing on” Diodorus here or is he not? Surely, unless we are having the proverbial ‘bet each way’ you believe it is one or the other or are “all things possible” here? As I’ve clearly pointed out, Justin had no need of “drawing on” (“obtain something from a particular source”) Diodorus’ work to produce his collection of “little flowers” from the work of Trogus.
Xenophon wrote:And I have demonstrated that you were wrong about dating, and that since Trogus wrote after Diodorus, there is no reason he could not have read his work, or the work of his source – as you acknowledge.
Nothing indicates that Trogus ustisied Diodorus in his “Philipic History”. The last date that can be confidently attributed to Trogus’ composition is 20 BC (return of the standards). You continue to conflate the use of Diodorus and the use of a common source (“there is no reason he could not have read his work, or the work of his source”). The two are very different things and continually bracketing both together with “as you acknowledge” is misleading. The passages under discussion here, far from indicating that Trogus “read” and thus somehow used Diodorus, point to the use of a common source. For example, Diodorus and Trogus/Justin both report the esteem in which the Macedonians held Olympias and the royal family but they do not always do so in congruent passages (see Perdikkas’ synhedrion). This is the result of the summary methods of both Diodorus and Trogus/Justin in epitomising a common source in which this was a repeated theme – as I’ve been a pains to point out and it is by no means the only indicator.
Xenophon wrote:It was you that proposed that Justin had in mind the Roman style cut-and-thrust gladius, and that Olympias could have been executed by sword-thrusts rather than cuts […] I was simply pointing out that if Justin had in mind the Roman cut-and-thrust sword of his own day in referring to thrusts, then he was guilty of an anachronism for this type of sword didn’t exist prior to the second Punic War, and this detail would be a fictional embellishment, like others Justin/Trogus inserts into his account […] Hence it is highly probable the “swords” are another of Justin’s fictional embellishments.
Yes: it is the rendering of “gladius” for the Greek word indicating ‘sword’ in his source by Trogus/ Justin. As you’ve agreed that Trogus using “gladius” here in a generic sense is likely, I fail to understand the repeated claims of Justin engaging in “fictional embellishment”. Perhaps a bet each way again.
Xenophon wrote:We are often not told the means ( hence the reader is left to assume ‘the usual method’ ) and when we are it is invariably stoning. (with spearing mentioned as an alternative in the case of Philotas
You have adduced no evidence at all to support the speculation that the means of Olympias’ execution was not reported in Diodorus’ source. We have three sources: Diodorus, Trogus/Justin and Pausanias. The first omits the method and the latter two differ. You seem unable to see that Diodorus is eminently capable of leaving out particulars for reasons known only to himself. As I’ve illustrated, he leaves out the detail of Perdikkas’ synhedrion which Trogus/Justin, working from a shared source, leaves in as well as not bothering with details for Antigonos’ array at Gabiene. Indeed, Didodorus leaves out Eumenes’ remonstrations with his “Macedonians” limiting himself to Eumenes arguing the infantry had won the day and the battle should be resumed. Trogus/Justin reports the same information (Just. 14.3.5) but goes on to report details Diodorus does not. Presumably Diodorus was more closely following the source here? As well, Diodorus clearly decided that Antigonos leaving Alketas’ body unburied worthy of his attention as well as the burning of Antigenes alive. Yet of one of his major subject across books 18-19, Eumenes, not a word. These are only a few such examples and are obviously not exhaustive. What this makes abundantly clear is that simply because Diodorus does not mention the means of Olympias’ death does not mean that his source did not do so. That source clearly did so for Arrhidaios and Eurydike and Diodorus chose to include it; Trogus/Justin did not. Perhaps Trogus/Justin is here more closely following the source? That we decide what may have been in a primary source based on what a later epitomater does not record of that source is rather a new and surprising development in quellenforschung.
Xenophon wrote:That is an unlikely proposition. Diodorus wrote ; “But the relatives of her victims, wishing to curry favour with Cassander as well as avenge their dead, murdered the queen who uttered no ignoble or womanish plea.”
One does not “curry favour” by simply obeying orders one has been given, for that is expected. On this point, Diodorus and Justin do not ‘cohere’ for Diodorus has the relatives murder her out of revenge, and secondarily because they know it will please Cassander, not because they are ordered to, unlike the soldiers sent whom Diodorus specifically says are acting under orders, unlike the relatives; while Justin simply has Cassander order another execution squad [“others”] to despatch her…
The soldiers who refused clearly curried no favour. Again, Diodorus describes the “others” of Trogus/Justin as the relatives; the latter simply refers to others – soldiers are not specifically indicated. Of course one curries favour if one carries out that which the soldiers did not just as these relatives gained his favour by accusing her in mourning garb as asked. Then again, perhaps the source here did not specify the identity of the second group and Trogus/Justin is more closely following that source?
Last edited by Paralus on Sun Aug 02, 2015 6:37 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Olympias and the Katsas Tomb at Amphipolis

Post by Xenophon »

Postby Paralus » Sun Jul 26, 2015 10:27 am
Xenophon wrote:As I said, it is hard to understand all this source analysis, unless as a purely academic exercise…

Paralus wrote:
Which is, of course, the nature of much discussion on this site. Presently that discussion revolves around Olympias’ support, Kassandros’ view of that and the timing of his actions.
Err...rr.. no. This discussion is supposed to be about the possibility of the skeleton at Katsas being that of Olympias. As Agesilaos points out, your digression into your favourite subject of Diadochi politics should really be the subject of a separate thread......
The sources are, in large part, the basis of what we know. Also, such ‘analysis’ is necessary when one retails – and repeats – the claims that Justin was simply drawing on Diodorus or “was aware” of Diodorus (and thus, presumably, corrected or coloured by him). As I have shown, the testimony of Trogus/Justin here cannot simply be dismissed on the basis that the galdius was not invented in 317/16. As ever, rather than work to reject a source that doesn’t fit a view, all information should be considered together.
This sort of deliberate distortion and misrepresentation of what I said, purely to be confrontational and polemical, is annoying and uncalled for. It was you that raised the suggestion that Olympias might have been killed solely by thrusts from a Roman style gladius type of weapon. I did not say that Justin “was simply drawing on Diodorus” – see my previous posts, and there is every reason to think, contra your incorrect dating of the writers, that Trogus could have read or been aware of Diodorus. The matter is irrelevant anyway, since we agree that it is likely they had a common source. Nor do I “dismiss” Justin/Trogus, merely point out that when stripped of likely fictional embellishments ( including the 'swords' - see reasons ante), his narrative adds nothing to the story. And I do consider all the information, pointing out that even if Justin is right ( unlikely for reasons I have previously set out) and swords were used, the surviving parts of the Kastas skeleton, were it Olympias, would show such damage, as well as the damage due to scavengers. Since it doesn’t, the osteological evidence demonstrates this is not Olympias since it is inconsistent with all other evidence – which is the point of this thread.
And so the latest in this effort is:
Xenophon wrote:It is only in Justin’s account that Cassander orders ‘others’ to kill her when the soldiers balk…
To which it might equally be claimed it is only in Pausanias that Kassandros kills Olympias by stoning. Again, the two narrative sources of information need to be considered as a whole.
You misunderstand – I am simply saying that Diodorus does not refer to ‘others’, a second execution squad, but to the relatives. Here is where the narratives do not ‘cohere’. As to Pausanias, I suspect that he simply supposes that relatives probably including women and children, would execute by the usual common method – stoning. I rather think that Diodorus, in not reporting the means, more accurately reflects the original source for reasons I’ve given.
It is also claimed that “We do not know the extent of Olympias’ support in Macedonia, save that we can deduce it was modest”. Proof of this deduction is the assertion that “her hold must have been tenuous, for she murders the King and Queen promptly, along with Cassander’s brother and over 100 of his adherents – an atrocity normally indulged in to commit one’s own forces and terrorise opposition”. Olympias, matriarch of the royal house, actually enjoyed a marked level of prestige and thus support, among the Macedonians. Aside from the instance under discussion see for example: Just. 14.6.10; Plut. Eum. 12.1-4; Diod. 18.62.2. As Alexander Meeus (‘Alexander’s Image in the Age of the Successors’, in Heckel & Trittle [2009]) rightly says:
Olympias was held in high esteem because she was the wife of Philip and the mother of Alexander. Both kings are often mentioned when our sources explain the respect for Olympias.

In the passage involving Perdikkas’ synhedrion discussed above, one faction advised the regent in the following terms (Just.13.6.11-12):

Some were of opinion that it [the war] should be transferred to Macedonia, to the very head and metropolis of the kingdom, where Olympias, the mother of Alexander, was, who would be no small support to their party, while the good will of their countrymen would be with them, from respect to the names of Alexander and Philippus.


While the murders and maltreatment will have contributed to Olympias’ downfall, they were not the cause of it. Diodorus’ description of events shows it is the failure of Olympias to back up her takeover with military success that saw her defeated. It is because of this that her support began to waver.
.....And that is my point when I say that Olympias’ support was tenuous. I mean her military support. [ Her general popularity is an unknowable in the absence of ancient news polls!!]. That she had prestige – what the Romans called ‘gravitas’ is a given, and I agree with the above, but that is all she could bring to the table. Women could not be military commanders in ancient Macedon. It did not take Polyperchon long to gather his forces to attack Adea Eurydice in Macedon, with Olympias on-side as guardian of rival King Alexander IV, of an army that consisted largely of troops lent by the Molossian king. With Cassander tied up in the south, Adea came out to meet them at the head of her troops. Her bid for power came to an abrupt end when she was deserted by her men, who had no desire to fight where command lay in reality with a woman. So they deserted to Polyperchon. They had to choose between two Argead kings, and the presence of Olympias and her prestige may have tipped the scales away from poor Philip Arrhidaeus. Besides, Philip had not and was presumably not likely to father any heirs.( whereas in due course Alexander IV presumably would, ensuring continuity of the royal line, an important factor.)
All of which is not to say that support was not still there for Olympias. It clearly was as Diodorus and Justin state and it is why Kassandros sends the ‘defectors’ throughout Macedonia so the cities would know how weak her position was and the Macedonians “would despair of her cause” (19.50.2). What is clear is that Kassandros put together a ‘trial’ in which Olympias was absent (19.51.1-2). It is here – without any defense allowed at all – he gets a ‘conviction’. Olympias is then described as wishing to be judged before “all the Macedonians” (51.4). This Kassandros will not allow because he fears the Macedonians will change their minds once reminded of her ἀξίωμα and the benefactions conferred by her family. That change of mind is hardly to give her life in prison; it will be acquittal of whatever charges had been pressed. Before this can possibly happen Kassandros contrives to kill her. Kassandros plainly believes there are a significant number of Macedonians who still have a strong regard for both her and the royal family. Those who left her cause in despair - both at the failure of Polyperchon and Aiakides and those now being induced to by the deserters - will number among these.
Sending the defectors out was simply a common sense precaution to quell any potential disquiet and tells us nothing about the level of support for Olympias - which Kassander had no way of knowing. Arguably, Olympias was simply a prop for Polyperchon’s power faction – for we don’t see a single successful female leader of a diadochi faction. That Kassander ruthlessly arranged matters so that Olympias had no chance at all was only to be expected. She could not hope for acquittal, even before a general assembly – there were too many murders and atrocities of which she was undoubtedly guilty,and too many witnesses prestige or not; but Kassander was not even going to allow her that terribly slender chance ( if he had, and by some miracle she was acquitted, she would still not have survived his vengeance long). I really don’t think Kassander had any serious fears – he held all the cards. He was just being thorough.
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Re: Olympias and the Katsas Tomb at Amphipolis

Post by Paralus »

Xenophon wrote:Err...rr.. no. This discussion is supposed to be about the possibility of the skeleton at Katsas being that of Olympias. As Agesilaos points out, your digression into your favourite subject of Diadochi politics should really be the subject of a separate thread......
No. The discussion - presently - in this thread centred on Olympias' murder, Kassandros' activities as well as the reasons for same and timing thereof. Olympias' and the royal family's standing in Macedonia is crucial to that. There is no "digression" into my "favourite subject" of Successor Politics only discussion of the actions of Kassandros and matters which inform them. If you consider these "digressions" then perhaps not engaging with them might be better than doing so and then suggesting that subsequent responses addressing same are an "epistle" or "essay" whose relevance is to be constantly wondered at.

Matters of chronology will have their own thread eventually.

Xenophon wrote:This sort of deliberate distortion and misrepresentation of what I said, purely to be confrontational and polemical, is annoying and uncalled for.
There is no "distortion" or "misrepresentation", deliberate or otherwise. You decided that the evidence of Trogus/Justin was to be dismissed and have maintained an argument for that. Indeed your summation, before illustrative discussion otherwise, was that Justin's account was "demonstrably fictional" and to be given "short shrift". Dismissal in any language. If to propose a counter argument to same is to be purely "confrontational and polemical" then we should all give up.

Xenophon wrote:.....And that is my point when I say that Olympias’ support was tenuous. I mean her military support. [ Her general popularity is an unknowable in the absence of ancient news polls!!].
That is certainly not how your previous arguments read. You wrote that at the time of Euia - when Eurydike's troops desert her - that Olympias' support was "tenuous" adducing the "small number" of troops with Eurydike which deserted and the subsequent murders of Philip, his wife and 100 of Kassandros' supporters. Note this is not later at the time of Pydna but in the wake of Olympias' "victory" at Euia. At this time her military situation is fine - it is only later after Polyperchon's utter failure(s) and that of Aiakides that this military support bleeds away.

Her general popularity (and that of the royal family) have been amply demonstrated in other "digressions".
Xenophon wrote:Sending the defectors out was simply a common sense precaution to quell any potential disquiet and tells us nothing about the level of support for Olympias - which Kassander had no way of knowing. Arguably, Olympias was simply a prop for Polyperchon’s power faction – for we don’t see a single successful female leader of a diadochi faction.
Except that Diodorus is absolutely explicit in the reasons for which Kassandros sent these men and what he hoped to achieve by doing so. At 19.50. 2-3 Kassandros:
sent them to the various cities; for he hoped that when the Macedonians learned from them how weak Olympias was, they would despair of her cause. And he was not mistaken in his surmise about what would happen: those who had resolved to fight on on the side of the besieged forces changed their minds and went over to Kassandros.
The passage quite plainly tells us that there was still significant support for the besieged forces within Macedonia and, further, that Kassandros was only too well aware of it. To counter it Kassandros takes the measures Diodorus notes above. To argue otherwise would necessitate rejecting this explicit testimony to the contrary.
Last edited by Paralus on Sun Aug 02, 2015 11:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Olympias and the Katsas Tomb at Amphipolis

Post by amyntoros »

Paralus wrote:
Xenophon wrote:This sort of deliberate distortion and misrepresentation of what I said, purely to be confrontational and polemical, is annoying and uncalled for.
There is no "distortion" or "misrepresentation", deliberate or otherwise. You decided that the evidence of Trogus/Justin was to be dismissed and have maintained an argument for that. Indeed your summation, before illustrative discussion otherwise, was that Justin's account was "demonstrably fictional" to be given "short shrift". Dismissal in any language. If to propose a counter argument to same is to be purely "confrontational and polemical" then we should all give up.
Debate: a formal discussion on a particular topic in which opposing arguments are put forward.
Synonyms: discuss, talk over/through, talk about, thrash out, hash out, argue, dispute.

Lest there be no doubt; Pothos is a place for debate. Sometimes, unfortunately, I cannot get to a post because of the time difference (I do need to sleep sometimes) and responses are made to something I would have deleted. This is one such instance. I would have removed the following words as they (a) represent the (opinion of) the manner of the debate, not the subject; (b) they are confrontational in themselves, and (c) yes, they are dismissive of an argument and imply an attempt to discourage response.

Polemic: a strong verbal or written attack on someone or something.
Synonyms: diatribe, invective, rant, tirade, broadside, attack, harangue, condemnation, criticism, stricture, admonition, rebuke.

Confrontational: tending to deal with situations in an aggressive way; hostile or argumentative.

I'm sure I don't need to define "annoying and uncalled for". Unfortunately, this has again changed the manner of the debate which was, for a brief while, actually interesting when the focus was on the subject matter.

Any problems with this? Lets "hash it out" right here on the forum so that hopefully we can return Pothos to, if not a "friendly place", then a a place where all people can post without fear of themselves becoming the focus of the debate rather than Alexander and related matters.

Enough said.
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Re: Olympias and the Katsas Tomb at Amphipolis

Post by Xenophon »

Paralus wrote:
Xenophon wrote:Err...rr.. no. This discussion is supposed to be about the possibility of the skeleton at Katsas being that of Olympias. As Agesilaos points out, your digression into your favourite subject of Diadochi politics should really be the subject of a separate thread......
No. The discussion - presently - in this thread centred on Olympias' murder, Kassandros' activities as well as the reasons for same and timing thereof. Olympias' and the royal family's standing in Macedonia is crucial to that. There is no "digression" into my "favourite subject" of Successor Politics only discussion of the actions of Kassandros and matters which inform them. If you consider these "digressions" then perhaps not engaging with them might be better than doing so and then suggesting that subsequent responses addressing same are an "epistle" or "essay" whose relevance is to be constantly wondered at.

Matters of chronology will have their own thread eventually.
Whatever. I think that where you have led discussion is a long way from the thread’s intended subject matter, but no doubt that will be deemed OK since apparently Pothos takes pride in its many digressions, and digressions on digressions, and it seems attempts to guide the discussion back to the subject will be futile – though it is my view that shorter threads that deal largely with just their subject are to be preferred to interminable ones that venture over a myriad of subjects, if only because the former are easier to read, and easier for the reader to find the subject matter in.
Xenophon wrote:This sort of deliberate distortion and misrepresentation of what I said, purely to be confrontational and polemical, is annoying and uncalled for.
There is no "distortion" or "misrepresentation", deliberate or otherwise. You decided that the evidence of Trogus/Justin was to be dismissed and have maintained an argument for that. Indeed your summation, before illustrative discussion otherwise, was that Justin's account was "demonstrably fictional" and to be given "short shrift". Dismissal in any language. If to propose a counter argument to same is to be purely "confrontational and polemical" then we should all give up.
For the “nth” time, I do not “dismiss” Justin, that is a falsehood. “Demonstrably fictional” alludes to Justin’s embellishments – what you yourself call “over the top additions” and “dramatic embellishments” - as I have repeatedly explained now. And by "short shrift", I mean that I think Diodorus' account is to be preferred because of those "dramatic embellishments, and because his account seems the more probable of the two.Why do you keep repeating this false accusation ?
Xenophon wrote:.....And that is my point when I say that Olympias’ support was tenuous. I mean her military support. [ Her general popularity is an unknowable in the absence of ancient news polls!!].
That is certainly not how your previous arguments read. You wrote that at the time of Euia - when Eurydike's troops desert her - that Olympias' support was "tenuous" adducing the "small number" of troops with Eurydike which deserted and the subsequent murders of Philip, his wife and 100 of Kassandros' supporters. Note this is not later at the time of Pydna but in the wake of Olympias' "victory" at Euia. At this time her military situation is fine - it is only later after Polyperchon's utter failure(s) and that of Aiakides that this military support bleeds away.

Her general popularity (and that of the royal family) have been amply demonstrated in other "digressions".
On what basis do you say “her military situation is fine”? Her army at Euia was largely Molossian rather than Macedonian. She obtained Philip/Eurydike’s Macedonians when they deserted, but her subsequent savagery swiftly lost her Macedonian support [Diod XIX.11]:
After these two [Philip and Eurydike]had been made away with, Olympias killed Nicanor, Cassander's brother, and overturned the tomb of Iollas, avenging, as she said, the death of Alexander. She also selected the hundred most prominent Macedonians from among the friends of Cassander and slaughtered them all. But by glutting her rage with such atrocities, she soon caused many of the Macedonians to hate her ruthlessness; for all of them remembered the words of Antipater, who, as if uttering a prophecy on his death bed, advised them never to permit a woman to hold first place in the kingdom.
This situation, then, in the internal affairs of Macedonia gave clear indication of the impending revolution.”


She and Polyperchon “took over the country without a fight”. She never seems to have been able to raise a large number of Macedonian troops. And as Diodorus says, she alienated the Macedonians by her atrocities. She had no army when she retired to Pydna – only some Ambracian/Epirot cavalry and her court guards – and this is before Polyperchon’s men [clearly not a large army]desert to Cassander. Even Epirot support for her was luke warm. When Attarhias (Cassander’s general) blocked the passes into Macedon, The Epirot King Aeacides/Aiakides army mutinied, deserted and ultimately rebelled [Diod XIX.36]. Moreover, when she retired into Pydna it was because she distrusted the Macedonians [Justin XIV.6] – evidently with good reason, since they failed to support her.
Cassander on the other hand gained support whenever he set foot in Macedon, such as his first campaign “where he found many of the inhabitants coming over to him.”[Diod XVIII.75]. Later, of course, even those who still supported Olympias “abandoned the fortunes of Olympias in despair and joined themselves to Cassander.”[Diod XIX.36] – and this was before Polyperchon’s troops deserted. The speed with which Olympias’ power collapsed indicates that her hold on Macedon, and the Macedonians, was indeed tenuous, as I said.
Whilst Macedonians held their Royal family in respect – and were duly horrified by Royal murders – I don’t think one could ever say that Olympias was “generally popular” ; she was a ‘foreigner’ after all.
One suspects that as in most similar situations of power struggles and civil war, most held aloof, sitting on the fence until it became clear which way the wind was blowing, which was in Cassander’s favour.
Xenophon wrote:Sending the defectors out was simply a common sense precaution to quell any potential disquiet and tells us nothing about the level of support for Olympias - which Kassander had no way of knowing. Arguably, Olympias was simply a prop for Polyperchon’s power faction – for we don’t see a single successful female leader of a diadochi faction.
Except that Diodorus is absolutely explicit in the reasons for which Kassandros sent these men and what he hoped to achieve by doing so. At 19.50. 2-3 Kassandros:
sent them to the various cities; for he hoped that when the Macedonians learned from them how weak Olympias was, they would despair of her cause. And he was not mistaken in his surmise about what would happen: those who had resolved to fight on on the side of the besieged forces changed their minds and went over to Kassandros.

The passage quite plainly tells us that there was still significant support for the besieged forces within Macedonia and, further, that Kassandros was only too well aware of it. To counter it Kassandros takes the measures Diodorus notes above. To argue otherwise would necessitate rejecting this explicit testimony to the contrary.
Where do you get “significant support” from ? There is no evidence for this speculation. The number of deserters who spread the news was small – the Ambraciots will have returned to Epirus – leaving only a smallish number of guardsmen. Though Cassander could have no idea of the support level for Olympias, he could deduce that there would be some, and spreading the news that Pydna was about to fall and Olympias was in a hopeless position was an obvious precaution to nip any futile revolts in the bud.
Last edited by Xenophon on Tue Aug 04, 2015 5:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Olympias and the Katsas Tomb at Amphipolis

Post by Xenophon »

Amyntoros wrote:
Lest there be no doubt; Pothos is a place for debate. Sometimes, unfortunately, I cannot get to a post because of the time difference (I do need to sleep sometimes) and responses are made to something I would have deleted. This is one such instance. I would have removed the following words as they (a) represent the (opinion of) the manner of the debate, not the subject; (b) they are confrontational in themselves, and (c) yes, they are dismissive of an argument and imply an attempt to discourage response.
"Et tu Brute?" You object to two perfectly reasonable words of mine which truthfully describe the situation, yet not a word about Paralus' obvious overly aggressive and overly argumentative approach, with argument just for its own sake !! Hardly impartial?

Nor is this the first time I have complained of this manner of debate - distorting what is said, arguing with everything, even when ( as here) Paralus does NOT support the view he argues so vociferously (that the Kastas skeleton could be Olympias). I, like you, have advocated friendlier debate rather than aggressiveness, name-calling and other unpleasantries which don't make for happy reading.
I agree your point (a) - it is indeed the manner of the debate that I am objecting to, and I am quite entitled to say so - repeating a false accusation that I have already responded to, and continuing to distort what I actually said is something I think anyone would find annoying, and this type of behaviour won't cease unless one draws attention to it.

as to your point (b) pointing out that something is confrontational is not the same as actually being so. This, on the other hand......
Paralus wrote 2 Aug: Which might it be? Is Justin “drawing on” Diodorus here or is he not? Surely, unless we are having the proverbial ‘bet each way’ you believe it is one or the other or are “all things possible” here?
....is certainly confrontational, and a text-book example of a harangue to boot, hence polemical. The more so since I had already explained myself.

As to point (c), it is simply incorrect, I didn't dismiss any of Paralus' (repetitive! ) arguments, nor is anything I say likely to "discourage response", as you can see already. I should simply like to see the 'tone' of the discussion change - as you do.
Polemic: a strong verbal or written attack on someone or something.
Synonyms: diatribe, invective, rant, tirade, broadside, attack, harangue, condemnation, criticism, stricture, admonition, rebuke.

Confrontational: tending to deal with situations in an aggressive way; hostile or argumentative.

I'm sure I don't need to define "annoying and uncalled for". Unfortunately, this has again changed the manner of the debate which was, for a brief while, actually interesting when the focus was on the subject matter.
Any problems with this? Lets "hash it out" right here on the forum so that hopefully we can return Pothos to, if not a "friendly place", then a a place where all people can post without fear of themselves becoming the focus of the debate rather than Alexander and related matters.

Enough said.
I agree !! :D Let us hope that the parties take note, adopt a better tone and a friendlier manner of debate, as a proper academic debate should be.
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