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The death of Alexander #1 The Book of Alexander the Great

Posted: Tue Jun 01, 2021 8:51 pm
by Alexias
June is the month to which Alexander's death has been assigned, so it might be interesting to compare some different versions. The Phyllada is a descendant of the Greek Alexander Romance dating back to the third century BC. There are nuggets of the accepted version of Alexander's death within it, so it is difficult to entirely dismiss it as fiction.
'The Book of Alexander - A life of the Conqueror' translated by Richard Stoneman ©2012 Published by I. B. Tauris & Co Ltd

208. Alexander is poisoned
One day two brothers came to Alexander, one of them named Leukodouses and the other Bryonouses, and asked him to give them leave to go and visit their mother. Alexander was very fond of them, because he had known them from childhood and had brought them up, and never let them out of his sight. It was many years since they had seen their mother, and she had often sent word asking them to visit her; but because Alexander would not let them leave, they had been unable to go.
[When their mother saw that Alexander, because of his love for them, would not let them go, she thought up a wicked plan and devised a foul and inhuman deed. The accursed woman made up a poisoned sweetmeat, placed in a vessel, and sent it to her sons with a letter….
Leukadouses was stablemaster of Alexander's horses, and Byronouses was his wine butler, who mixed Alexander's drinks. As soon as Byronouses received the letter from his mother, in which she begged him to come for a visit with his brother, the wicked Devil entered into him, and he decided to make this an occasion to poison the king; another reason for this was that not long before, Alexander had beaten him over the head with a log because he had broken a valuable cup while he was stirring it. There was also another man with a grievance against Alexander named Medes, and the two of them plotted together to poison him. Then a number of their friends among the commanders joined them, and they all made an agreement, swearing a terrible oath, not to deflect from their declared purpose. Only five were left out of the conspiracy: Perdiccas, Ptolemy, Olbios, Lysimachus and Philones. They could not win them over because of their loyalty to Alexander.
One day Alexander had a big party and invited all his friends and commanders, the masters of horse, the chiefs of the army and his bravest soldiers. When they had all assembled and sat at the table, they started to be very lively and to enjoy themselves, singing songs and praising Alexander. Alexander was equally merry, … he retired, went to his room and sat on his bed, considering in what way he could honour his friends even more than usual. Then those cursed ones, one after another, saw an opportunity to poison him. They told Bryonouses to prepare the poison,… and they sent Medes to ask Alexander to come out of his room. Alexander came at once and too his place at table … Then his corrupt friends invited him to take a drink, giving the nod to Byronouses to tip in the poison….

209. Alexander is in pain from the poison
When Alexander had drunk the poison, some time went by before it took effect. He got up and went all round the table, …encouraging them to enjoy themselves. As he stood there, pain began to envelop his heart, and he cried out … He went to his room and called for his doctor, Philip. The latter immediately realised that Alexander had been poisoned, and gave him a herb to make him vomit. He … said, 'Your majesty, I can do nothing to help you. .. The only thing I can do is to keep you alive for three days, so that you can put your kingdom in order and write your will.'…

211. The Macedonians mourn
When tha Macedonians heard Alexander's words, they wept copiously, and there was a great commotion throughout the army … When they saw him, their weeping and sighing and groaning became even more violent. Then Philip the doctor hustled Alexander inside to put his kingdom in order …

213. Alexander's lament
When Alexander saw that he was on the point of death, he called all his chiefs and the commanders of the army. He kissed them one by one and bade them farewell … 'Please now bring my horse Bucephalus so that I may say farewell to him.'
They brought him straightaway, and when he saw his master Alexander on the point of death, he began to weep like a human being, … Alexander stroked his ear and spoke softly to him …

214. The death of Alexander's murderer
Byronouses the murderer was standing nearby in chains. Alexander addressed him: 'Do you not remember how I raised you up, did good things for you and paid you honours? So why did you give me that fatal poison?...' When Bucephalus realised that Byronouses was the murderer, he leapt upon him, seized him in his teeth by the throat, trampled him with his hooves and tore him to pieces. The Ptolemy gave the order for the dogs to be set to devour his corpse. Meanwhile they brought the horse back to his stable. At that moment they all saw a star descend from the sky and plunge into the depths of the sea, accompanies by an eagle. When the star reached the sea, the brave and just Alexander breathed his last. There was great lamentation that day, and the whole army was in tears, because there had never been another man like him in the world.

215. The death of Bucephalus
… The horse … whinnied and then roared like a lion, and died on the spot in his stable.

216. Roxandra's lament
Alexandra's wife Roxandra remained standing by the corpse of her beloved husband, tearing her precious clothes and her trailing hair; she wept bitterly and addressed him as if he were still alive…

217. Roxandra dies of grief
Roxandra turned to the lords and said 'My lords, please withdraw for a time; I fear my heart is going to break.' The lords withdrew. When Roxandra was left alone, she kissed Alexander three times and said, 'I can no longer endure your death, my beloved Alexander … ' Then she drew his dagger from his belt and plunged it into her heart; she died instantly.

218. The burial of Alexander and Roxandra
When the lords came back in and found the bleeding body of Roxandra, they grieved for her. Then Ptolemy and Philon gave orders to prepare two golden chests, they placed the bodies in them and brought them to Alexandria, the city that Alexander had founded. They built two tall columns and placed the golden coffins on top of them. The lords bade them farewell with weeping and wailing; then they separated, and each one in turn went to the kingdom that Alexander had allotted to him in his will. Alexander died at the age of 33 years, and had been king for only 18 years. He was blessed with every good quality - courage, beauty, wisdom, mercy, justice and gentleness.