1 “Diadochs”: The word has ancient authority as a proper noun used to designate the group of men who competed for power after Alexander’s death; it appears once in Diodorus’ history.

2 valid evidence: The best recent review of the welter of chronological data for this period is Wheatley’s “Introduction” (in the bibliography under “Chronological Problems”).

3 recently proposed hybrid: Boiy’s chronology, which he claims is “between high and low,” is laid out in the book whose title begins with that phrase, listed under “Chronological Problems” in the bibliography.

4 perhaps even his kinsman: Eumenes’ father was also named Hieronymus, and since names in the Greek world tend to run in families, it has been thought that Eumenes and Hieronymus were somehow related.

5 Modern historians: See especially Bosworth, “History and Artifice” (in the bibliography under “Eumenes”).

Introduction: The Opening of the Tombs

1 “Be as calm as possible”: The quotation, and other details of the discovery of Tomb 2 at Vergina, are taken from Andronikos’ own description in “Regal Treasures.”

2 one leading theory: The attribution of the tomb to Philip III and his wife, rather than to Philip II and his wife, has been gaining support in recent years and was vigorously defended by a panel of experts at the January 2008 meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America. Eugene Borza and Olga Palagia, the leading proponents of the theory, have summarized their arguments in “Chronology of the Macedonian Royal Tombs at Vergina.” The attribution to Philip II, however, first asserted by Andronikos, is still supported by many Greek and some European and American scholars (most recently by Ian Worthington in Philip II of Macedonia, New Haven, 2009, app. 6). The bibliography on the subject is vast, and can best be accessed through the article by Borza and Palagia.

3 one expert judged: The paleoanthropologist Antonis Bartsiokas reported evidence of “dry” cremation in “The Eye Injury of King Philip II and the Skeletal Evidence from the Royal Tomb II at Vergina,” Science 228 (2000), pp. 511–14. His conclusions have been accepted by some scholars, but just as this book was nearing completion, a challenge was mounted by a team led by Jonathan Musgrave; their arguments appeared in the International Journal of Medical Sciences for 2010, The debate is likely to continue for some time, since it can be conducted only by experts in forensic pathology and these disagree among themselves.

Chapter 1: Bodyguards and Companions

1 their thoughts went back: The recollection is reported by Arrian (Anabasis 7.18.6).

2 an interloper never seen before: The episode of the stranger who took the throne is recounted in different versions by several ancient writers. Arrian (Anabasis 7.24.1–3) reports that the man was tortured by Alexander and claimed only to have acted on a whim. Diodorus (17.116) says that the man refused to explain his actions, while Plutarch (Alexander 73.6–74.1) says he attributed his act to the promptings of Serapis. Both Diodorus and Plutarch say Alexander had the man killed.

3 Belshazzar, his descendant: The feast of Belshazzar is described in the Old Testament book of Daniel 5.

4 The prophecy came to pass: According to a curious tale related by the Jewish historian Josephus, Alexander was shown the passage from the book of Daniel on the occasion of his visit to Jerusalem and interpreted it as referring to his own conquest of the Persian empire (Jewish Antiquities 11.8.5).

5 “To the strongest”: The word kratistos in the saying, as reported by Arrian (Anabasis 7.26.3) and Diodorus (17.117.4), is usually translated “strongest” but can also mean “best,” and indeed Diodorus elsewhere quotes the same saying with a different word, aristos, unambiguously meaning “best” (18.1.4). Quintus Curtius uses the Latin wordoptimus, “best,” in his version of the story (10.5.5).

6 the Babylonians welcomed him: Their exuberance at the arrival of Alexander is most fully described by Quintus Curtius 5.1.17–23. The Persian-appointed governor of the city, Mazaeus, took the lead in switching sides.

7 Perhaps he began to believe himself: Alexander’s own beliefs about his divine nature are probably unrecoverable, but we do know that his troops twitted him about his descent from Ammon (see Arrian’s Anabasis 7.8.3) and that, in the last year of his life, several Greek cities were debating a proposal to grant him the rites appropriate to a god (seethis page).

8 they reached their breaking point: I follow the traditional understanding of the events at the river Hyphasis. An alternate theory that the so-called mutiny was in fact a staged event designed to allow Alexander to reverse course without losing face has recently been advanced and is to my mind unconvincing.

9 Panic seized the army: The details that follow are taken from Arrian, Anabasis 6.12–13, where it is clear that Alexander needed to take extraordinary measures to calm his own troops. Quintus Curtius, by contrast, stresses his need to make a show of his strength to the surrounding hostile peoples (9.6.1).

10 On the seventeenth of the Macedonian month Daisios: The date is arrived at by starting from the date of Alexander’s death, generally agreed (on Plutarch’s testimony) to be Daisios 28, and counting backward by the days of illness Arrian records in Anabasis 7.25–26, apparently eleven (though the text is somewhat unclear). Plutarch, however, has a different count of sick days, and records the date of the first sign of illness as Daisios 18 rather than 17 (Alexander 76.1).

11 the first of June 323 B.C.: This date has been arrived at by another backward count, starting from the date of Alexander’s death, which has been fixed at June 11 by the use of a Babylonian astronomical text (see Depuydt, “Time of Death of Alexander the Great”), and again reckoning Arrian’s illness days at eleven. It is not possible to make hard-and-fast correlations between Greco-Macedonian dates like Daisios 18 and modern ones. Peter Green uses a different set of modern dates from mine in Alexander of Macedon, pp. 473–75, in part because at the time he wrote, the Babylonian text in question was thought to indicate a date of June 10; the interpretation has since changed.

12 their rock-solid loyalty to Alexander: In portraying the Bodyguards as a cadre loyal to Alexander, I am clearly rejecting the hypothesis that they collectively acted to bring about his death, either by poisoning him (asserted by Bosworth in “Death of Alexander”) or by denying him moral support or medical attention (Atkinson’s scenario in “Alexander’s Death”). The evidence supporting a broad conspiracy is very slim. Only one ancient document, the Last Days and Testament (preserved as part of the Liber de Morte), indicts a large number of insiders in a murder plot, but the testimony of such an otherwise unreliable text is nearly worthless. Conspiracy theories have always flourished after the sudden demise of a great leader. The question in Alexander’s case, to my mind, comes down to this: Would an aristocracy that had never known any system but hereditary monarchy, recognizing that its king had no viable heir, take a blind leap into the unknown by committing regicide? To answer yes, one could have to assume that Alexander had become so unstable as to make the status quo unbearable (a situation like that which prompted the Praetorian Guard at Rome to assassinate Caligula). I see no grounds for this assumption, even if Alexander was undeniably impetuous and prone to suspicions in his final year. The Bodyguards and other insiders could never have imagined that their fortunes would be improved by his death. There are better grounds for thinking that a small number of outsiders, Europe-based generals like Antipater and Cassander (always the ancient world’s prime suspects, as I discuss later), killed Alexander to prevent him from taking the Asianization of the empire any further, but even this hypothesis cannot be supported by evidence, despite the assertion by Adrienne Mayor (“Deadly Styx River”) that the river from which Antipater was said to have collected his poison may in fact have contained toxic bacteria.

13 a man perhaps a few years older: There is no firm evidence for the date of Ptolemy’s birth. It is often given as 367 B.C. on the basis of one very dubious ancient report (Pseudo-Lucian Macrobioi 12), but many historians feel that the relationship between Ptolemy and Alexander seems to be that of two men close in age. Helmut Berve dated Ptolemy’s birth not earlier than 360, making him no more than four years Alexander’s senior.

14 legend later reported: Diodorus 17.103 and Quintus Curtius 9.8.22–27.

15 Perdiccas was perhaps a few years older: There is no evidence at all on which to date Perdiccas’ birth, but it seems probable he was in his twenties, as Berve speculates, at the time of Philip’s assassination.

16 Greeks were a kindred but foreign race: The question of the Greekness of the Macedonians is a vexed one, both in classical scholarship and in modern Balkan politics. I make no claims here that the Macedonians were, or were not, a branch of the Greek people, as I think the evidence is not decisive. But at many points in the ancient accounts of Alexander’s army, both before and after the king’s death, it is clear that Greeks were regarded by the Macedonians as a separate race. Many Greeks believed the same about the Macedonians, though there were also some, like Isocrates the Athenian, who endorsed the Greekness of the Macedonian royal house—not the entire people—in order to advance a political agenda.

17 then took his hand, shedding tears of relief: Recounted by Arrian in his chronicle of Nearchus’ voyage, Indica, chap. 35.

18 Philip had simply liked the look of the boy: Perhaps this is only a legend contrived to highlight Eumenes’ humble origins, like the even more dubious report that Eumenes’ father was a wagon driver or a funeral musician (both found in Plutarch Eumenes 1). Anson, in Eumenes of Cardia, assumes that Eumenes could only have found his way into Philip’s employ had he belonged to a noble and well-connected family.

19 In India, Eumenes received: The episode is recounted by Plutarch Eumenes 2, and possibly referred to by Arrian, Anabasis 7.13.

20 appointing Eumenes as commander: Plutarch Eumenes 1.5. The appointment is not discussed in any of the Alexander histories, and nothing they tell us adequately accounts for it.

21 In the royal pavilion he set up in Persis: Described by Ephippus of Olynthus, as quoted by Athenaeus 12.53.

22 probably to the little Summer Palace: The movements of Alexander through Babylon in June 323, and later the location of his corpse, though reported only vaguely by Arrian and Plutarch, have been reconstructed in detail by Schachermeyr in the first four chapters of Alexander in Babylon.

23 Rumors circulating at the time of Alexander’s death: The evidence for these is discussed in Chapter 7, section 5.

24 Eumenes himself might have tampered with it: This is the hypothesis of Bosworth in “Alexander’s Death.”

25 Rauxsnaka: The spelling used by Holt in “Alexander the Great’s Little Star,” p. 32. “Roshanak” is often given as the Persian version of her name.

26 Rhoxane had become pregnant: The first child born to Alexander by Rhoxane is known to us only from an obscure source, the Metz Epitome, chap. 70.

27 no doubt fictionalized: Already in the second century A.D., Arrian mocked the story as an invention (Anabasis 7.27.3).

28 learning high classical Greek: Diodorus 17.67.1.

29 Craterus was not happy: As related on this page, Craterus later detached himself from Amastris and married instead a daughter of Antipater’s. It seems that in Macedonian society only the king was allowed the privilege of polygamy (see Ogden, Polygamy, Prostitutes and Death).

30 Craterus revered his king: At some point during the Asian campaign Craterus evidently aided Alexander during a lion hunt, and Plutarch says (Alexander 40) that he dedicated a sculpture at Delphi commemorating this moment of shared peril. The dedicatory inscription of the monument shows that it was in fact set up by Craterus’ son after Craterus’ death. The mosaic seen at Pella today of two men hunting a lion is often thought to represent Alexander and Craterus but probably does not.

31 The stalwart Craterus: Craterus’ exclusion from the award ceremony is an extrapolation from Arrian Anabasis 7.5.4–6, where the recipients of crowns are carefully listed, but Craterus’ name does not appear.

32 who carried lighter gear: The weapons and armor of the Hypaspists cannot be deduced from either literary or archaeological evidence. Most scholars infer from their movements in battle that these soldiers were more lightly armed than the phalanx troops.

33 the Silver Shields: It is not certain whether this name, Argyraspides in Greek, arose in Alexander’s lifetime or only afterward, but Arrian suggests it was in use before 324 (Anabasis 7.11.3). It is fairly certain that it applies to what was once the corps called Shield Bearers; see Anson, “Alexander’s Hypaspists and the Argyraspids,” and Heckel, “Career of Antigenes.”

34 Among them were the Silver Shields: The departure from Opis of this elite unit can be inferred from their later presence in Perdiccas’ army in Egypt; see Heckel, “Career of Antigenes,” and Hammond, “Alexander’s Veterans After His Death.”

35 many years’ pay: Information about what Macedonian recruits were paid is scarce. It appears that Shield Bearers received thirty drachmas per month and “double-pay men” sixty. At that rate a “double-pay man” would earn a talent in about eight and a half years.

36 had their salary increased: At 7.23.3 of the Anabasis, Arrian speaks of “ten-stater men” in the new Macedonian phalanx, and some historians think he refers to gold staters rather than silver, putting the pay rate of such troops at two hundred drachmas per month—more than a fivefold increase over their probable starting rates. Arrian also appears to report at 7.8.1 that Alexander explicitly promised to reward the troops who stayed with him in Babylon, though most editors delete a word from the Greek text here so that the reward instead goes to those leaving.

37 probably few of them did: It is often asserted that Alexander’s men longed to return to Europe, but there is little evidence that this was so. In the mutiny at the Hyphasis, in Arrian’s account, the mutineer Coenus described the troops as yearning for families and homelands (Anabasis 5.26.6), but this speech is generally acknowledged to be a fabrication playing on popular rhetorical themes. At Opis, the troops rejected the plan to send many of them home, and after Alexander’s death, as will be seen throughout this book, few Macedonians returned to Europe; those who did often set off again for Asia.

38 Alternatively, he might have realized: There seems no good grounds on which to choose between these nearly opposite interpretations (Schachermeyr, Alexander in Babylon, p. 70).

39 Argaeus was warned: The story is related by Justin (7.2), who adds that the Macedonians later believed that Alexander’s burial outside Aegae had violated this injunction.

40 Argaeus’ father had been an exile: The flight from Argos of Perdiccas I and his brothers, and their seizure of the Macedonian throne, are related by Herodotus 8.137–39.

41 regard it as propaganda: Gene Borza summarizes the consensus of recent opinion in “Greek and Macedonian Ethnicity,”pp. 333–6 of The Landmark Arrian (ed. J. Romm, NY, 2010): “Like other ancient peoples, the Macedonians (or their ruling house) created a foundation mythology designed to suit contemporary needs—in this case, to forge closer political and cultural links with the Greeks.”

42 In some of his last instructions: The burial request is reported by Quintus Curtius (10.5.4) and Diodorus (18.3.5). Their version of Alexander’s death is obviously out of harmony with that of Arrian and Plutarch, who say the king had by this time lost the power of speech. There is no clear way to resolve such divergences, but Curtius’ report gains in credibility when one considers that no one in the post-Alexander world had a motive to invent it. A full discussion can be found in the first section of Badian’s “King’s Notebooks.”

Chapter 2: The Testing of Perdiccas

1 he passed to his senior Bodyguard: The story is related by the three so-called vulgate sources, Diodorus (17.117.3), Quintus Curtius (10.5.4), and Justin (12.15.12), but not by Arrian or Plutarch, and hence some suspect its authenticity; see Badian’s discussion in “The Ring and the Book,” for example.

2 the post of chiliarch: I refer here to the office sometimes called the equestrian chiliarchy and not to the court chiliarchy, the Macedonian equivalent of the Persian post of vizier, a separate office (see Andrew Collins, “The Office of Chiliarch Under Alexander and the Successors,” Phoenix 55 [2001], pp. 259–83). The overlap of the names, and the fact that Hephaestion apparently held both offices at once, has created much confusion, and I have tried to reduce this by not using the term “chiliarch” to refer to the vizier or court chiliarch, the administrative head of the empire. It is possible that by handing his ring to Perdiccas, Alexander meant to appoint his equestrian chiliarch to the court chiliarchy, again making one man the holder of both offices as Hephaestion had been.

3 One ancient source: The unnamed authors cited by Arrian at Anabasis 6.11.1, the only report we have of this version of events. Plutarch, in the second of his two essays titled “On the Fortune or Virtue of Alexander,” gives a detailed account of the efforts to aid the wounded Alexander, but the essay ends abruptly, seemingly broken off, before naming the man who extracted the arrowhead.

4 flipping it back: Attested by Suidas’ Greek lexicon, in the entry on Leonnatus (information thought to be derived from Arrian’s Events After Alexander and therefore included in Roos’ edition of that work).

5 had kept them in a careful equipoise: The point is made forcefully by Heckel in “Politics of Distrust.” Alexander was wary throughout his campaign of challenges from within his ranks, but especially after 330, when a high-ranking officer named Philotas appeared to have conspired against his life.

6 “They were so equal”: The passage is at 13.1.10. It is unclear whether the sentiment comes from Justin or from the author whose text he is summarizing, Pompeius Trogus.

7 Alexander had been dragged: The description that follows is taken principally from Plutarch’s second essay titled “On the Fortune or Virtue of Alexander” (Moralia 345). It does not entirely cohere with other accounts, including that of Plutarch himself in the Life of Alexander.

8 could be killed: Plutarch reports that Alexander killed Glaucias, the doctor who was attending Hephaestion at the time of his death.

9 a Roman statesman: I assume, along with most scholars, that the Quintus Curtius who wrote History of Alexander the Great is the same person as the senator and consul Curtius Rufus discussed by Tacitus (Annals 1.20.3–21.3).

10 to see Roman patterns: At 10.9.1–6, Curtius explicitly contrasts the experience of the Macedonians, whose empire was wrecked by lack of leadership, with that of the Romans in the era of the principate. Paul McKechnie has documented the case against Curtius in “Manipulation of Themes in Quintus Curtius Rufus Book 10,” Historia 48 (1999), pp. 44–60, arguing against the position of Errington in “From Babylon to Triparadeisos.” Elizabeth Baynham has also done much to reveal Curtius’ shortcomings in Alexander the Great: The Unique History of Quintus Curtius (Ann Arbor, Mich., 1998).

11 Alexander’s top naval officer, spoke next: The order of speakers and the content of their speeches are reported differently by Justin and Quintus Curtius. I have here followed the very convincing amalgam of the two made by Bosworth in the first chapter of Legacy of Alexander.

12 accompanying the army: There is no evidence of Arrhidaeus’ activities during the Asian campaign until this moment, but presumably he had stayed in Alexander’s entourage throughout. Alexander would not have left his half brother at home in Macedonia, where he might serve as a rallying point for his rivals.

13 this seems a Roman fantasy: Curtius had lived through the succession dramas at Rome following the deaths of Augustus and Caligula, and the memories of these seem to have influenced his account of the Babylon crisis. The urgency with which Alexander’s generals would later seek a royal bride shows that the throne was off-limits to any who were not part of the Argead house.

14 a task that by custom: The role of the assembled army in the selection of monarchs is a matter of dispute among scholars, and unfortunately most of the evidence comes from the post-Alexander era. Most agree that even before this point the Macedonians summoned an army assembly to acclaim a new monarch, at the least; some would give the assembly greater powers.

15 on several occasions: As mentioned by Plutarch at Eumenes 6.3, though unfortunately without elaboration.

16 Years before, in India: The episode is described by Curtius (8.12.17–18) and also referred to obliquely by Plutarch (Alexander 59.5).

17 A full-scale battle loomed: Curtius (10.7.18) even reports that javelins were hurled within the throne room and wounds were incurred, though this is not confirmed by other sources.

18 Meleager explained to King Philip: This exchange, and the details of the arrest attempt and its aftermath, are described by Curtius (10.8.1–7).

19 like a hollow sham: The atmosphere among the mutineers is vividly described by Curtius 10.8.8–9.

20 an impassioned speech: The content of the address is preserved by Justin 13.3.9–10.

21 a paralytic state: The grim suggestion was first made, to my knowledge, by N. G. L. Hammond in Alexander the Great: King, Commander, and Statesman, 2nd ed. (London, 1989), p. 305 n. 174. Dr. David W. Oldach of the University of Maryland School of Medicine gave “ascending paralysis” as part of his diagnosis of Alexander’s death, largely on the basis of the report of non-putrefaction (“A Mysterious Death,” New England Journal of Medicine 338, no. 24 [June 11, 1998], p. 1766).

22 a further stratagem: This episode and the lustration that follows are described by Curtius 10.9.7–19.

23 thirty staunchest supporters: The manuscripts of Curtius actually give the number three hundred, but this is often changed to the more plausible thirty by editors of the Latin text. In the Greek texts on which Curtius was relying, the difference of a decimal place would be indicated by a single small slash, easily misread or miswritten by scribes.

24 one, more likely both: Plutarch says the victims were Stateira and “the sister,” which if correct would mean Stateira and Drypetis, Hephaestion’s widow. But he may have gotten his genealogy confused and referred to Parysatis, Stateira’s cousin and close friend, as her sister. That at least is the view of Carney in Women and Monarchy.

25 History knows the pair: The custom of assigning Roman numerals to kings who bear the same name arose in medieval England. The ancient world distinguished such kings by the use of patronymics, for example, “Alexander son of Philip.”

26 It was resolved: There is no clear information as to how the idea of the satrapal division arose. Diodorus (18.2.4) indicates it came from the general will of the army; Curtius (10.10.1) says that a meeting of the leadership, convened by Perdiccas, resolved on this step, and also notes that some of his sources claimed that the dead Alexander had called for it in his will (10.10.5). It is also unclear whether the Bodyguards wanted to leave Babylon to become satraps or were coerced into doing so; I have assumed the former, in contrast to Bosworth (Legacy of Alexander, pp. 57–58).

27 Ptolemy wanted Egypt: Again, my assumption is that the distribution of the satrapies was desired by the Bodyguards, not forced on them (see previous note), but this cannot be proved. Under this scenario, Ptolemy, as most powerful Bodyguard after Perdiccas, would have demanded the best satrapy, which was undoubtedly Egypt. Another view, however, regards Ptolemy’s appointment to Egypt as a kind of banishment inflicted by Perdiccas.

28 some modern scholars: The debate over the authenticity of the last plans can best be followed in the discussion by Brian Bosworth, in chapter 8 of From Arrian to Alexander: Studies in Historical Interpretation (Oxford, 1988). Bosworth himself believes the plans are genuine.

29 wanted these plans quashed: The intention of Perdiccas to void the plans, and his fear of arbitrarily contravening the wishes of Alexander, are both reported by Diodorus (18.4.2–3). The plans themselves are reported by Diodorus at 18.4.4–5, our only source for them.

30 Most were never contemplated again: I say “most” because of the possibility that the Great Tumulus at Aegae, a vast mound of earth covering tombs that may well include that of Alexander’s father, was built as a fulfillment of the king’s last plan to memorialize Philip with a tomb greater than the pyramids. The excavator of the mound,Manolis Andronikos, made this suggestion in his book Vergina (p. 229).

Chapter 3: The Athenians’ Last Stand (I)

1 had defined themselves: Some scholars reject the idea that Athenian politicians in the age of Alexander were defined primarily as “pro-” or “anti-Macedonian,” or even the idea that political parties in the modern sense existed in Athens (see especially Hansen, Athenian Democracy, chap. 11). I do not mean to reduce Athenian politics to a two-party system, but I think it is beyond question that policy toward Macedon was the central issue of the day and that positions of political leaders were defined by the two poles of opposition and collaboration.

2 would have been first: Plutarch relates that Demosthenes came forward to speak in the Assembly when none else would, in the dreadful moment in 339 when the city first realized it faced attack by Philip (Demosthenes 18.1–2).

3 green Athenian recruits: Though Lycurgus had instituted an obligatory two-year training for military-age Athenian youths, and a whole generation had been through that training by 323 B.C., there had been no land warfare during that time in which the army could gain experience of battle. Philip seems to have played on their inexperience at Chaeronea, feigning a retreat that drew them into a disorderly advance, then suddenly reversing course and attacking.

4 the League: Often called the League of Corinth by modern historians (but not by ancient sources), after the place where its regular meetings were held. Macedonia in theory only enforced League decisions, but in practice controlled them, largely by the installation of pro-Macedonian regimes in the cities that made up the League.

5 who had often agitated: In the aftermath of Philip’s victory at Chaeronea in 338, when the Macedonians were in fact showing no signs of planning to invade Attica, Hyperides embarrassed himself by proposing measures in the Assembly for full-scale siege preparations.

6 Demosthenes regarded: The efforts of Demosthenes to de-Hellenize the Macedonian kings are evident in many of his speeches (the quotation here is from the Third Philippic). Some Athenians, however, including the political essayist Isocrates, defended the claim to Greekness of the Argead royal house. The debate goes back long before Alexander: around 500 B.C., a Macedonian king tried to win entry into the Olympic Games, an exclusively Hellenic institution, based on his family’s alleged origins in the Greek city of Argos; he was initially rejected by a board of Greek judges, but the decision was later overturned (Herodotus 5.22).

7 the four letters: There are actually six extant letters attributed to Demosthenes, and the question of their authenticity has occasioned much debate. I accept the view of Goldstein (Letters of Demosthenes) that they may all be genuine, but the first four of the six, dealing with the events during Demosthenes’ exile, almost certainly are.

8 “If the people ever”: The quip is reported by Plutarch, Phocion 9.

9 The Assembly pulled back: There is uncertainty on this point, and some historians assume Athens did in fact send troops but the forces did not arrive in time. Diodorus (17.8.5–6) indicates the Athenians prepared troops for combat but then did not commit them.

10 he let loose: Alexander’s responsibility for the destruction of Thebes is assessed differently by the various sources. According to Arrian, Alexander only stepped back and let Thebes’ Greek enemies exact vengeance on the city, whereas Diodorus and others portray him orchestrating the violence.

11 perhaps paid off: Plutarch (Demosthenes 23) reports Demades received five talents for his services.

12 Demosthenes stayed silent: To the extent he did make his views known, Demosthenes opposed Athenian support of the Spartan revolt (Aeschines 3.165), but he seems to have said as little as possible, as documented by Worthington in “Demosthenes’ (In)activity.”

13 Quite possibly he colluded: There is no evidence that Aristotle aided Philip in his plans to invade Asia, but some scholars have assumed a collaboration. Anton-Hermann Chroust, who in many writings has stressed the political undertones of Aristotle’s career, has even conjectured that Aristotle first went to Atarneus on Philip’s instructions (“Aristotle and the Foreign Policy of Macedonia,” Review of Politics 34 [1972], pp. 373–76). Though extreme, Chroust’s views have recently received a partial endorsement from Peter Green in “Politics, Philosophy and Propaganda: Hermias of Atarneus and his Friendship with Aristotle” (pp. 29–46, Crossroads of History: The Age of Alexander, eds. Waldemar Heckel and Lawrence A. Tritle [Claremont, Calif. 2003]).

14 an invaluable chronological resource: Ancient historians had no way to establish the dates of events other than by correlating them with the names of victors in the Olympic or Pythian games, or with the names of officials elected at Athens. The accuracy of lists of such names was therefore crucial to historical record keeping of all kinds.

15 Himeraeus: He was later put to death by Antipater (Plutarch Demosthenes 28). The report of the dedicatory stone and its destruction by Himeraeus is related in the twelfth-century Life of Aristotle by Usaibia (17–21), an Arabic text based on lost Greek materials.

16 a die-hard foe: Leosthenes’ antipathy to Alexander, attested by Diodorus (17.111), is surprising in that Leosthenes had almost certainly fought under Alexander in Asia (see L. Tritle, “Alexander and the Greeks,” pp. 129–30). Perhaps Leosthenes had witnessed the massacre of Greek mercenaries ordered by Alexander after the battle of the Granicus in 334.

17 (almost certainly) Aristotle’s nephew: He is identified by Diodorus as “Nicanor of Stagira,” and we know that Aristotle’s sister, a Stagirite, had a son named Nicanor. Aristotle gives directives to his “son” Nicanor in his will, assuming the document recorded by Diogenes Laertius is authentic.

18 “King Alexander”: Exact wording of the decree is preserved by Diodorus 18.8.4.

19 Some sort of trade-off: The negotiations between Demosthenes and the Macedonians can only be guessed at on the basis of the later actions of both parties. There is much uncertainty about Demosthenes’ goals and policies during this confused period, but I have inclined toward the view of Badian and Worthington, that Demosthenes was in essence agreeing to abandon his opposition to Alexander in exchange for a chance to win back Samos. Like many politicians, he appears to have started out his career in a radical posture but grew more pragmatic with age.

20 sore throat: The anecdote is related by Plutarch, Demosthenes 25.5. Plutarch gives an amusing but exaggerated account of Demosthenes’ susceptibility to bribes.

21 had been bribed: The motives for Demosthenes’ indictment may have had little to do with his guilt or innocence; there were complex maneuverings at work, only dimly understood today. Nonetheless, the fact that Demosthenes had a reputation for venality, as Plutarch’s life makes clear, made his political lynching easier to accomplish.

22 partly recovered: Hyperides has been the greatest beneficiary of any classical author of chance textual recoveries. His speeches were totally unknown to the modern world until the mid-nineteenth century; since then, several have been found in papyrus scrolls (most likely unearthed from tombs by plunderers), and in the last few years two more have turned up in recoverable form in the so-called Archimedes palimpsest (

23 Alexander had rejected: Plutarch (Alexander 28) preserves a snippet of a letter of Alexander’s, believed by some to be genuine, explaining to the Athenians his reasons for denying their request.

24 Those with money: Diodorus (18.10.1) attests to the class divisions in the attitudes toward the war, and his testimony is affirmed by Green (“Occupation and Co-existence,” pp. 4–5).

25 under, or against: Alexander took into his own employ many Greek mercenaries who had formerly fought on the Persian side and opposed him in battle.

26 Some citizens: Plutarch Phocion 23.

27 A cruel parodist: The text of this mock epitaph, and of the hymn to Hermias described in the following paragraph, is found in the life of Aristotle by Diogenes Laertius, chaps. 7–8.

28 would escape calumnies: Theophrastus was in fact indicted for impiety not long after Aristotle’s departure, but made a successful defense. Some fifteen years later he was forced into a brief exile by a political faction at Athens that sought to ban all philosophers but soon returned to the city and lived out the remainder of his life there.

29 “the Hellenic War”: It was also sometimes referred to as “the war against Antipater.” It was rechristened the Lamian War later in antiquity and is so termed by Diodorus, as well as by most modern historians, after the place where much of the action was centered. Ashton has traced the history of the nomenclature in “Lamian War: Stat magni nominis umbra.” I have preferred to use the original name.

30 Antipater tried a ruse: Described by Polyaenus, the Greek military writer, in his collection of tricks and subterfuges, Stratagems of War 4.4.3. The other movements in the opening phase of the war are found in Diodorus 18.12–13.

31 with weary irony: The tone of the comment is hard to discern from Plutarch’s account of it (Phocion 23.4). Read differently, the remark could be a straightforward expression of doubt as to the long-term prospects of Leosthenes’ efforts.

32 a total restoration: The details of Demosthenes’ return to Athens are found in Plutarch, Demosthenes 27.6–8.

Chapter 4: Resistance, Rebellion, Reconquest

1 communications lines: Hilltop criers are described by Diodorus 19.17.7; astandai by Herodotus 7.98 and Xenophon Education of Cyrus 8.6.17–18; fire signals by Aeschylus Persians 249–56, Herodotus 9.3, and Aristotle De mundo 398b30–35. Evidence also survives in Persian sources; see Briant’s From Cyrus to Alexander, 369–71. The use of moving poles for coded fire-beacon messages is known from Judaic sources.

2 particularly kind: The details that follow are from Quintus Curtius 5.2.16–22, 10.5.19–25.

3 purges within her own family: Quintus Curtius (10.5.23) reports that eighty of Sisygambis’ brothers were murdered in a single day by the notoriously cruel Artaxerxes III, head of a different line of the royal family, and that she had lost six of her seven sons.

4 at some point: There is no evidence to indicate how or when this change of destination was decided. The sources agree that Alexander wished to be buried at the temple of Ammon (Diodorus 18.3.5; Curtius 10.5.4; Justin 12.15.7), but Pausanias says that when the cortege left Babylon, it was headed for Aegae (1.6.3). Discussion by Badian in the first segment of “King’s Notebooks.”

5 no one yet imagined: Among the greatest mysteries to historians of the post-Alexander era is the scale of Antigonus’ ambitions. He was to be the first of the generals to crown himself king, in 306, but at what point he set his sights on royalty, or on domination of the whole of Alexander’s empire, is very difficult to determine. Almost certainly, though, these did not become his goals until several years after Alexander’s death.

6 Antigonus had always liked Eumenes: Their friendship is attested by Plutarch, Eumenes 10.6.

7 giving satrapies to Greeks: The only previous satrapal assignments given to Greeks were in the farthest regions of the empire, Aria, Bactria, and Sogdiana. These undesirable locations were meager spoils compared with the Cappadocian post given to Eumenes.

8 while helping Philip: The anecdote, related by Plutarch in Alexander 70.4, actually refers to a man named Antigenes, but this is often regarded as an error for Antigonus.

9 only surviving son: Antigonus had once had a second son, Philip, who died in youth.

10 staggeringly handsome: Demetrius’ good looks are attested by Plutarch (Demetrius 2) and by the (admittedly idealized) portraits on coins. In later life Demetrius was to build political power on his looks and his reputation for sexual charisma, something in the manner of a modern-day Kennedy.

11 two years earlier: Accounts of the first Greek exodus from Bactria are given by Quintus Curtius (9.7.1–11) and Diodorus (17.99.5–6). Diodorus says the three thousand escapees were slaughtered by the Macedonians, but he seems to have confused this group with the second wave of Greek deserters; Curtius reports the three thousand made it home safe.

12 largely as hostages: The ancient world had fewer qualms about hostage taking than the modern one. It was common practice for subject peoples to give hostages to their conquerors as a guarantee of compliance. The troop contributions required of the Greeks by their settlement with the Macedonians, following the battle of Chaeronea in 338, were understood to be pledges of good behavior.

13 a rapturous pair of speeches: Their title is usually translated “On the Fortune or Virtue of Alexander,” parts 1 and 2. The two orations ostensibly argue different sides of the question of whether Alexander’s success was due to good luck or to innate talents, though in both admiration for Alexander’s achievements is the dominant idea. They are presumed to have been written by Plutarch in youth, since the view of Alexander is more naively positive than in the Life of Alexander.

14 several times told him so: As attested by Plutarch, at Eumenes 6.2, who unfortunately does not give examples. Few traces of these episodes can be found in the ancient Alexander histories, but the tendency to idealize Alexander must have largely effaced such a high-level challenge to his goals.

15 out of dislike: The promotion of officers in Alexander’s army in the king’s last years largely depended on their attitudes toward his fusion plans. It has already been seen that Meleager, an opponent of those plans, was kept in the infantry ranks long after his fellow platoon leaders had been elevated to the cavalry (this page).

16 the renowned Phila: The sketch of her character that follows is based on a tribute found in Diodorus 19.59.3–5. Phila would later show unflagging devotion in her long marriage to the scoundrel Demetrius.

17 Phila was in Cilicia: Her presence there is not directly attested, but has been inferred as likely by Heckel on the basis of ingenious prosopographical arguments (see “A Grandson” and “Nicanor Son of Balacrus”). Even Badian, who disputes Heckel’s findings, concedes that Phila may well have been in Cilicia for part of Balacrus’ tenure as satrap there, presumably the last part (“Two Postscripts,” p. 117).

18 second Perdiccas’ proposals: Quintus Curtius gives him a crucial role at the council session of June 12, backing Perdiccas at a moment when he was under challenge from Meleager (10.7.8). Justin, however, does not confirm the report.

19 the man he had just appointed: There is much left unclear by Diodorus’ account of Perdiccas’ maneuvers at 18.7.3–5, not least the fact that he depicts Perdiccas appointing the very man whose power he then tried to circumscribe. However, just the same paradox can be observed in some of his other appointments: Meleager as negotiator to the rebellious infantrymen in Babylon, and Antigonus as backup to Eumenes in Cappadocia. Perdiccas seems to have had either a shortage of trustworthy subordinates or an unfortunate tendency to test those he deemed dubious by giving them crucial assignments.

20 None of over twenty thousand: The staggering scale of the ordered slaughter, coupled with the potential for loss of control of the upper satrapies, has caused some scholars to doubt the reliability of Diodorus’ report; see Holt, Alexander the Great and Bactria, p. 89, and Sidky, Greek Kingdom of Bactria, p. 99. However, since it is the only report we have, it seems unwise to call it into question based on judgments about the strategy involved (a point made by Bosworth in his review of Holt’s book, JHS 110 [1990], p. 257).

21 once a Persian king: The story of Cambyses’ rash attack on the Apis is told by Herodotus 3.27–29.

22 the epithet Soter: The name was not bestowed on Ptolemy until 304, after he defended the island of Rhodes against an assault by Antigonus, but it no doubt arose from aspects of his character that had been talked of long before then.

23 A record survives: The pseudo-Aristotelian treatise titled Economics 1352a–b.

24 the king bought a favor: The story and the quotation are from Arrian Anabasis 7.23. Arrian makes clear that Alexander had deliberately divided rule over Egypt among several men, so as to prevent it from breaking away from the empire (3.5.7). Cleomenes had been given jurisdiction only over finance, but had quickly made himself satrap, or the closest thing to it.

25 by killing Harpalus: This is the account of Diodorus (18.19.2); Pausanias (2.33.4) says rather that Harpalus’ own servants killed him or possibly a Macedonian named Pausanias. Heckel (Who’s Who) reconciles the two accounts by supposing that Pausanias was an agent employed by Thibron.

26 this ingenious icon: I am not concerned here with the question of whether the Mir Zakah coin recently uncovered in Afghanistan, seemingly containing the forerunner of Ptolemy’s elephant-scalp image, is genuine or not, a question that has yet to be resolved. Perhaps Ptolemy did not invent the image, but he certainly recognized its power and made full use of it in a way the issuers of the Mir Zakah coin never did.

27 Justin: The relevant text is 15.4.16, where the name “Alexandrum” found in the manuscripts has been replaced by “Nandrum” in modern editions. The original reading, certainly erroneous, had the young Chandragupta escaping from Alexander.

28 in fact dates from later centuries: As established on linguistic evidence by Trautmann, Kautilya and the Arthasastra.

29 the brief record Plutarch made: Alexander 62.9.

30 they had already: It is generally assumed that Chandragupta’s attack on the Nandas preceded his reconquest of the Indus valley from the Macedonians, though almost no hard evidence exists. The flight of Eudamus, Alexander’s last remaining appointee, from the region, presumably as a result of Chandragupta’s advances, occurred in 318.

31 Some have guessed: The suggestion was first made by the great nineteenth-century British expert on the Greek experience in India, John Watson McCrindle, in his commentary on the Justin text (The Invasion of India by Alexander the Great [1893; reprinted numerous times]). McCrindle noted that the Sanskrit epics use a term roughly equivalent to “outlaw” in referring to the non-monarchic Malli and Oxydracae, but as he provided no citation, I am unable to confirm this intriguing verbal overlap. Vincent A. Smith endorses the idea that the takeover of the Indus valley by Chandragupta was in essence a “rising” of subject peoples or a “revolt” (Early History, pp. 122–23).

32 after killing the raja Porus: Attested by Diodorus (19.14.8) but without elaboration. We may guess that Eudamus was motivated primarily by the desire for elephants. The confused situation in India during and after Alexander’s invasion has been analyzed in great detail by Bosworth in the three works cited under “Chandragupta and India” in the bibliography.

33 Letodorus: His name is given as Lipodorus or Leipodorus in the manuscripts but has been changed by some modern editors.

Chapter 5: The Athenians’ Last Stand (II)

1 such pleasures: For Hyperides’ fish-shopping habits, see Athenaeus 8.27; for his assortment of courtesans, 13.58. Besides the three mentioned here, Hyperides also had the famously beautiful Phryne as a lover. When defending her on a capital charge in court, he reportedly exposed her naked to the jurors and thereby won her acquittal (the subject of a dramatic nineteenth-century painting by Jean-Léon Gérôme).

2 when Hyperides was ill: The anecdote is related in a brief biography of Hyperides included in the pseudo-Plutarchan Lives of the Ten Orators (Moralia 849).

3 their confidence was shaken: The demoralizing effect of Leosthenes’ death is attested by Pausanias 1.25.5.

4 a devious tactic: Related by Plutarch, Phocion 24.1–2.

5 He even proposed: As attested in the pseudo-Plutarchan biography, Moralia 849f.

6 (among other names): There is some confusion in the sources as to which names Olympias held and when; Myrtale and Stratonice are also reported. According to Carney (Olympias, p. 16), “It seems likely that [Olympias] had different names or epithets at different periods and that the changes came at significant moments in her life.”

7 Other rumors: Plutarch (Alexander 10.8) reports the suspicions surrounding Olympias after Philip’s murder, and Justin (9.7.1–2) accuses her more directly of complicity, but the other Alexander sources say nothing of her involvement. Modern scholarly opinion is divided.

8 arranged the killing: Plutarch Alexander 10.8, with lurid details filled in by Pausanias 8.7.7.

9 Mother and daughter: Only Cleopatra is attested by the sources as having sent the letter, but it is highly unlikely she did so without her mother’s participation.

10 Hecataeus found Leonnatus: The details of the complex scene that follows are taken from Plutarch Eumenes 3.3–7. I have somewhat expanded on Plutarch’s inferences about the thoughts of Leonnatus and Eumenes.

11 fondness for wrestling: Attested by Plutarch, Alexander 40.1, with the outlandish detail that Leonnatus had the sand used for his wrestling practice imported from Egypt by camel train.

12 When Leonnatus woke: A biography of Eumenes by the Roman Nepos, differing in some places from that of Plutarch, claims that Leonnatus sought Eumenes’ life after he realized the Greek meant to betray his plans, and that Eumenes’ nighttime departure was actually an escape (Eumenes 2.4–5).

13 “Of the words”: I have based my translation on Worthington’s text of the speech (Greek Orators II). Because the speech is known through only one tattered copy, many of the readings remain uncertain or rely on editorial insertions. I was not able to make use of the new edition by Judson Herrman, Hyperides: Funeral Oration (Oxford, 2009).

14 King Xerxes: The Hellespont bridge built by the Persians in 480 B.C. is described in detail by Herodotus 7.33–36. The key to its construction was the immensely strong cables, made of papyrus and white flax (7.25), that were stretched across the decks of the ships to bind them together.

15 many shirked it: The earliest preserved political speech of Demosthenes, “On the Naval Boards,” presents a plan for reforming the system for financing the navy. Demosthenes himself had served on the boards and witnessed many abuses.

16 were hard to come by: Bosworth, in “Why Did Athens Lose the Lamian War?” (p. 15), cites evidence that Athens had only forty ships at sea during the two summers preceding the war. That meant only eight hundred rowers had gained precious experience of naval service.

17 110 warships: Attested by Diodorus 18.12.2, who explains them as a treasure convoy but without specifying what the money they carried was to be used for. The assumption of most historians is that Alexander was already anticipating war with Athens before he died.

18 details of these battles: Because Diodorus almost totally neglects the war at sea in his narrative of the Hellenic War, much uncertainty about it cannot be resolved. Ashton (“Naumachia”) and Bosworth (“Why Did Athens Lose the Lamian War?”) have both made brave efforts at a reconstruction.

19 a peculiar denouement: The strange story is told by Plutarch, Demetrius 11.

20 sat idle: Evidence assembled by Green, “Occupation and Co-existence,” and Bosworth, “Why Did Athens Lose the Lamian War?”

21 He had brought Phila: Not attested by the sources but conjectured by Heckel and others on the grounds that Phila was in Cilicia at the start of the war (see note 17). Craterus’ remarkable reassignment of his existing bride, Amastris, to Dionysius of Heracleia is recounted by Strabo (12.3.10) and Memnon (4.4).

22 usually reckoned: Because of the vagaries of the Athenian calendar, it is not possible to give exact Gregorian correlates for the ancient dates Plutarch and other sources supply.

23 The negotiations: Details of the two scenes that follow are taken from Plutarch, Phocion 26.3–28.

24 a winking acknowledgment: This is my understanding of a remark that, like many pithy replies quoted by Plutarch, is open to more than one interpretation.

25 had largely opposed: See this page and note 24.

26 for a long time: According to the Lives of the Ten Orators (846), Antipater began to demand the surrender of Demosthenes after he besieged the Thessalian town of Pharsalus, soon after the battle of Crannon.

27 could find safety there: For example, Themistocles, the great Athenian leader and hero of the Persian Wars, forced from Athens and threatened with arrest and trial after his political enemies gained ascendancy, ended his life as a satrap in the Persian empire.

28 Arrian: The brief reference to Archias’ downfall is in chapter 13 of Photius’ summary. The wording indicates Arrian made it a major episode, but Photius gives us only this tantalizing bit of information.

29 Hyperides apologized: Lives of the Ten Orators 849.

30 was cut out: An alternative account holds that Hyperides bit his own tongue off to avoid giving incriminating information (Lives of the Ten Orators 849).

31 Demosthenes awakened: Details taken from Plutarch, Demosthenes 29. Plutarch gives no guidance as to the dream’s meaning or importance.

Chapter 6: A Death on the Nile

1 coffin of hammered gold: Diodorus 18.26.3.

2 usually after cremation: The question has been raised as to whether the remains in Tomb 1 at Vergina, which may be those of Philip II and his wife (see next note), were cremated before burial or simply inhumed. Both cremation and inhumation were practiced by the Macedonians, but in the period of Alexander they favored cremation, as attested by the written sources.

3 Tomb 1 or Tomb 2: Proponents of the theory that Tomb 2 contains the remains of Philip III, a.k.a. Arrhidaeus, generally believe that Tomb 1 contained Philip II, his wife Cleopatra, and their infant child. The remains of three people, roughly corresponding in age to these three royals, were scattered on the floor of the tomb by ancient robbers.

4 Archias the Exile-chaser: I have assumed that the Archias mentioned by Arrian (Events After Alexander) is the same person as the bounty hunter encountered in Chapter 5.

5 Alcetas argued: The reasoning attributed to Alcetas here is not directly attested but inferred on the basis of Justin 13.6.5. Arrian (Events After Alexander 21) says only that Alcetas pushed Perdiccas toward Nicaea.

6 impaled Ariarathes: Diodorus 18.16.3, but contradicted by a fragment of book 31 of the same historian, which claims Ariarathes died in battle.

7 left there by Craterus: The presence of the Silver Shields in Cilicia after Craterus’ departure must be inferred from their later movements; see this page and note 34.

8 Perdiccas married: The term “married” is used loosely since it is not clear whether an actual marriage ceremony took place before the later rupture.

9 Just after the arrival: Arrian’s Events After Alexander claims that only a few days separated the episode of Cleopatra from that involving Cynnane.

10 In her teens: Much of what follows, including the details of the confrontation between Cynnane and Alcetas, is taken from Polyaenus 8.60.

11 (almost certainly): There is little evidence for Alcetas’ early life, but his brother Perdiccas grew up at court as one of Philip’s page boys, and there is every reason to think Alcetas did so as well.

12 on instructions: This second alternative is assumed by Bosworth (Legacy of Alexander, pp. 11–12), as well as several contemporary observers, but there is no evidence.

13 a name with good Argead pedigree: Not only Philip II’s mother bore the name Eurydice; it seems to have been adopted as well by two of Philip’s wives (see Ogden, Polygamy, Prostitutes and Death, pp. 22–24).

14 Somehow, Antigonus had learned: Perhaps his friend and ally Menander, satrap of Lydia, had observed the comings and goings at Sardis of Eumenes, Perdiccas’ emissary to Cleopatra, and had asked questions about the goal of his missions (this at least was what occurred later).

15 The hearse was built: The description is taken from Diodorus 18.26–27. Various points are unclear in both the Greek text of the description and its interpretation. The most consequential is at 18.27.2, where the change by a nineteenth-century editor of a single letter gives a description of a sculpted-gold olive wreath, rather than a picture of one done in gold on a purple cloth. Detailed discussion by Stewart, Faces of Power, pp. 215–21.

16 no doubt coordinated: No evidence directly suggests a conspiracy between Arrhidaeus and Ptolemy, but most scholars assume that one existed, if only because the body snatching would have been difficult without one. It bears noting also that Ptolemy later put forward Arrhidaeus for the vacant post of guardian of the kings (see Chapter 7, section 1). Aelian, in Historical Miscellanies (12.64), tells a wonderful but likely spurious story in which Ptolemy constructs a decoy body and coffin, then switches these for the real ones. Aspects of the hearse and its journey are discussed by Erskine (“Life After Death”) and Badian (“A King’s Notebooks”).

17 A legend was fabricated: The legend is found in a work dating from much later, the Alexander Romance (3.32), but its early provenance is assured by the fact that only under Ptolemy Soter did Alexander’s body reside in Memphis. Pausanias (1.7.1) informs us that Ptolemy II brought the body from Memphis to Alexandria, though many scholars believe that Ptolemy I must have moved the body himself when he changed royal residences.

18 fiercely devoted: An inference from the later willingness of the Shields to follow the orders of Polyperchon, guardian of the kings, even when these were contravened by four other generals (Chapter 9).

19 Perdiccas was enraged: Attested by information recovered from one of two pages of a manuscript of Arrian’s Events After Alexander that was broken up and overwritten, the so-called Vatican palimpsest (F 24.1 in the Roos edition of Arrian).

20 still residing in Sardis: Apparently, Perdiccas had made Cleopatra satrap of Lydia, demoting the former satrap, Menander, to the post of garrison commander. The extraordinary appointment of a woman as satrap is attested only by the Vatican palimpsest containing one leaf of Arrian’s Events After Alexander (F 25.2).

21 Eumenes almost got caught: The story was recovered from the Vatican palimpsest (F 25.3–8), and is otherwise unknown; even Polyaenus, a collector of such deceptions, fails to mention it in Stratagems of War.

22 Alcetas refused: Details of the diplomatic maneuvers that follow are taken primarily from Plutarch Eumenes 5–6.2.

23 a curious dream: Plutarch Eumenes 6.3–6. Information of this kind can only have come to Plutarch from the history written by Hieronymus of Cardia, a close companion and confidant of Eumenes’ throughout the post-Alexander years.

24 Muttering curses: An unusually piquant detail even for Plutarch, found at Eumenes 7.2.

25 an intense single combat: Plutarch’s description at Eumenes 7.4–7 and the closely matching one by Diodorus at 18.31 have here been accepted as authentic though doubted by some scholars as deriving from Hieronymus’ efforts to heroize Eumenes.

26 He may even have had: Plutarch says that Eumenes found Craterus still alive and conscious and mourned him while clasping his hand, but this seems too operatic to be credible. In the version of Diodorus, Craterus dies before Eumenes has engaged Neoptolemus. Nepos (Eumenes 4.4), relying on a different source from either of these, reports that Eumenes made a vain effort to save Craterus’ life.

27 Eumenes sent a Macedonian: The episode recounted here, described in a papyrus fragment of Arrian’s Events After Alexander (known by its catalog number, PSI 1284), has caused much debate among scholars. The coercion of an enemy phalanx might have occurred either after the battle against Neoptolemus or after that against Craterus and Neoptolemus, and the papyrus gives no clues as to which is its proper context. Cogent reasons have been advanced on either side, and the issue is still unresolved. I have preferred to locate the episode here, based on the arguments of Thompson (“PSI 1284”) against those of Bosworth (“Eumenes, Neoptolemus”).

28 The humility of the gesture: I am guessing that Eumenes’ humility is the point of Antipater’s laughter. In Plutarch’s account (Eumenes 8.3), Antipater utters a jest that explained what was so funny, but I find the remark impenetrably obscure. Brian Bosworth, in a private communication, has offered an elaborate interpretation of the joke but has also acknowledged its obscurity. Humorous or pithy remarks recorded by ancient writers often pose some of the gravest problems for modern interpreters.

29 Ptolemy’s defense: Probably not delivered by Ptolemy in person, though the source, Events After Alexander 1.28, leaves open that possibility.

30 to draw off water: The stratagem is mentioned only by Diodorus (18.33.2) in terms that are somewhat obscure. It appears Perdiccas attempted to open an old, disused canal, but a sudden incursion of water destroyed his engineering works.

31 At first light: The details of Perdiccas’ disastrous Egyptian campaign are taken from Diodorus (18.33–36.5), by far our most complete source for the episode.

32 Had this victory been known: The hypothesis is not my own but that recorded by Diodorus (18.37.1), probably based on the original judgment of Hieronymus.

Chapter 7: The Fortunes of Eumenes

1 Whether such contacts preceded: There is no evidence in the sources of collusion between Peithon and Ptolemy in Perdiccas’ murder, but scholars often assume it took place, based on the political skills of Ptolemy. There were enough defectors and spies passing back and forth that it would have been easy for the two to stay in contact.

2 before the assembled army: Such is the version of Diodorus (18.36.6); Arrian, by contrast, seems to have described a smaller meeting, between Ptolemy and the army leadership (Events After Alexander 1.28).

3 he took the liberty of commandeering: An inference based on the fact that Ptolemy later had Indian war elephants in his possession, and this seems to have been his best opportunity to get hold of them. African elephants, though freely available in Egypt, were not trained for use in war until after Ptolemy’s death.

4 Alexander had promised one: The evidence is ambiguous because of the uncertainties over the Greek text in a crucial passage of Arrian’s Anabasis. At 7.8.1 of that work, where Alexander is dispatching the veterans from Opis, our manuscripts also have him promising to give rewards to those staying (with him). However, some modern editors delete the word that translates “those staying” on the assumption that Alexander wanted to reward those leaving his service, not those remaining in Asia. The demands made by his veterans after his death, however, argue in favor of the manuscript text.

5 (Perdiccas’ brother-in-law Attalus): Attested by Arrian, Events After Alexander 1.33. Some scholars believe this was a different Attalus from the officer in Perdiccas’ regime, who had been condemned to death by the royal army and therefore would not be quick to show himself among them. I have followed Heckel (Who’s Who) and others in assuming this was indeed the Attalus who had served under Perdiccas.

6 the rescue effort: Details of the scene that follows are taken from Polyaenus 4.6.4, supplemented by Arrian, Events After Alexander 1.33.

7 ten or more Nicanors: Heckel in Who’s Who lists twelve but with notes in the biographies of several that indicate they may be identical with others already listed. The effort to disentangle people who share common names is one of the most challenging forms of historical research; Bosworth’s “New Macedonian Prince” is a brilliant example, involving the disambiguation of two other important Nicanors.

8 his father twitted him: Such a delightful story can have come only from Plutarch (Demetrius 14).

9 as champion of that cause: My views of the motives of Perdiccas, and especially of Eumenes, are more generous than those of many historians. It is possible to see both men as acting solely out of self-interest and desire for power, but it is also possible that the safety and authority of Alexander’s heirs, especially the king’s son by Rhoxane, were their primary motive. Certainly Eumenes was portrayed by the ancient sources as gravely concerned for the young Alexander, and we cannot, I think, ascribe all such depictions to the favoritism of Hieronymus, the historian on whom these sources drew. Significant new evidence has emerged from the Göteborg palimpsest, showing that Eumenes, in his proposal to his former colleagues in the Perdiccas regime—to whom he had no reason to dissemble—sought a restoration of the Babylon accords, the only legitimate plan for the organization of the empire, rather than a more ambitious goal (see this page).

10 Eumenes called them together: As reported by Justin 14.1.

11 Whatever its purposes: Bosworth has made an ingenious, but to my mind unconvincing, argument (“Ptolemy and the Will of Alexander”) that the Last Days is the work of Ptolemy and his supporters and dates to around 308 B.C. Heckel has advanced a very different theory in his book Last Days and Testament of Alexander.

12 Perhaps Antipater himself: Bosworth has most recently suggested, to my mind unconvincingly, that Eumenes had the Journals published (perhaps in a doctored version) to clear himself of poisoning charges (“Alexander’s Death,” p. 409).

13 In all likelihood, Perdiccas was dead: There is no agreement among scholars about the date at which Ptolemy wrote his memoir of the Asian campaign, but it was almost certainly later than 321. Some would argue that Ptolemy wrote it late in life, in the 290s or 280s, but evidence is lacking.

14 This was an awkward development: The reasons for Cleopatra’s discomfort and reluctance in dealing with Eumenes are supplied by Arrian Events After Alexander 1.40.

15 and now accused him: The summary of Arrian’s Events After Alexander speaks of unspecified indictments that Cleopatra leveled against Antipater (1.40); presumably, the poisoning of Alexander was principal among these.

16 even, perhaps, entered: Josephus has an account, unknown from other sources, of Alexander’s negotiations with the high priests during a visit to Jerusalem (Jewish Antiquities 11.8).

17 no Greek writer: Herodotus is a possible exception, since he discusses a race of “Palestinian Syrians” who practice circumcision (2.104). But the fact that such a well-traveled and inquisitive Greek did not know this race by a more specific name is nonetheless significant. On Theophrastus’ very limited knowledge of the Jews, see chapter 1 of Bezalel Bar-Kochva, The Image of the Jews in Greek Literature: The Hellenistic Period (Berkeley, Calif., 2009).

18 Ptolemy, however, knew a lot: The story is related by Josephus Jewish Antiquities 12.1. It is usually correlated with Ptolemy’s first invasion of Phoenicia and “Hollow” Syria (there were others), mentioned by Diodorus at 18.43 and dated to 319 B.C.

19 There is a legend: The most complete version is found in Augustine’s City of God (4.4), though the story was already circulating well before Augustine’s time; Cicero refers to it in his Republic (3.14.24).

20 somehow their stash: The profligacy of the Macedonian rank and file might be the cause of this insatiable need for pay. Arrian relates in the Anabasis (7.5) that in 324, even after despoiling much of Asia and the richest cities of the Persian empire, thousands of Alexander’s troops were deep in debt.

21 One day Eumenes returned: The story is told most fully by Justin (14.1), but is also mentioned by Plutarch (Eumenes 8.6).

22 The erased passage: Details of the recovery of the palimpsest by digital imaging, and a preliminary version of the text, can be found in Dreyer’s “Arrian Parchment” (under “Fragmentary Sources and Commentaries” in the bibliography).

23 Eumenes reached out: It is not clear whether Eumenes held a summit meeting with the other former officers of Perdiccas’ regime or carried on negotiations by letter. Pisidia was a few days’ travel from Celaenae.

24 the five-way parley broke up: Sadly, I have been unable to deduce the meaning of a remark Plutarch assigns to Eumenes here, “It’s just like the old saying, olethrou oudeis logos.” There is no other instance in Greek of this “old saying,” nor is its sense—literally, “of destruction [there is] no account”—at all clear from this context. Plutarch evidently regarded this as a very memorable remark, but its point is lost on me and on others I have consulted.

25 He sent out a high officer: The story is found in Polyaenus 4.6.6. It is significant that Antigonus’ list of stratagems is far longer in Polyaenus’ catalog than that of any other Macedonian general (King Alexander’s of course is longer).

26 one last indignity: Arrian, Events After Alexander 1.44–45.

27 who chose it as the end point: Scholars often maintain that the portion of Events After Alexander summarized by Photius does not represent the entirety of the original work, but I see no grounds for this assumption. The great problem for a historian of the post-Alexander period is where to conclude, and Antipater’s crossing of the Hellespont makes a reasonably good end point.

28 a demoralizing trick: The source is of course Polyaenus 4.6.19.

29 a fortress called Nora: The fort was atop the ten-thousand-foot Mount Hasan, near a site known today by the Turkish name of Viransehir. The ruins shown to tourists there are Roman and medieval, not those of Eumenes’ times, which as far as I know are no longer in evidence.

Chapter 8: The War Comes Home

1 Loss of the right: It was unclear whether the poor were stripped of their voting rights de facto or de jure; see discussion by Hughes in chapter 4 of “After the Democracy.”

2 manning the oars of its warships: Because the Athenians were required to supply their own gear for military service, the armed forces were highly stratified according to wealth. Those who could not afford hoplite armor—the breastplate, helmet, and spear that were standard middle-class possessions—were relegated to the navy, which paradoxically was the strongest arm of Athens’ war machine. Thus the poor bore an outsize share of the glory the city had won in battle.

3 Convicted five years earlier: See this page. It is unclear whether his penalty was imposed for conviction in the bribery scandal, for support of the measure making Alexander a god (see this page), or for a host of different violations (Diodorus 18.18.2 mentions three unspecified convictions and Plutarch no fewer than seven).

4 subsidize all his pleasures: The story that follows comes from Plutarch, Phocion 30.3.

5 to stop him from deporting: Plutarch, Phocion 29.3. The Ceraunian Mountains were considered the limits of European Greece to the north; Taenaron, to the south, formed a similar limit and is also mentioned by Plutarch as the place beyond which Antipater banished his enemies.

6 Phocus: Anecdotes about this colorful man are related by Plutarch at Phocion 20, 30, and 38.2. At 38.1, Plutarch tells us that Phocus ultimately hunted down and took vengeance on those who had brought down his father.

7 According to Plutarch: The episode of Demades’ brutal execution by Cassander was compelling enough to Plutarch that he narrated it twice, Phocion 30.8–9 and Demosthenes 31.4–6. Diodorus, by contrast, leaves Cassander out of the story and instead has Antipater handing the two Athenians over for execution in a dispassionate manner (18.48.3–4).

8 probably not Aristotle’s adopted son: See Bosworth, “A New Macedonian Prince” (in the bibliography under “Leosthenes and the Lamian War”).

9 the countryside: The highlands surrounding central Macedonia had always been uneasy with the authority exerted from Pella.

10 The first warning: As described by Polyaenus 4.6.7. It is impossible that Antigonus traveled with slow-moving elephants on his forced march from Nora, even if Diodorus’ estimate of his speed (18.44.2) is exaggerated. Presumably, he had been keeping the beasts stabled somewhere near Pisidia or had sent them on ahead to await his arrival there.

11 to a fort he controlled: The remarkable escape attempt of these three prisoners, which succeeded in gaining Docimus his freedom, is described by Diodorus at 19.16.

12 had arrived in Pella too late: In fact the man Antigonus had sent to confer with Antipater in Pella was the same one who returned with news of the old man’s death.

13 one last, stern injunction: Reported by Diodorus 19.11.9.

14 He did not belong: Very little is known about Polyperchon’s lineage or early life, but this very lack of evidence is significant. In Alexander’s army he had served only as an infantry commander and never fought with the cavalry, which again suggests an inglorious family heritage.

15 arrogantly seizing a treasure fleet: As described by Diodorus 18.52.7.

16 in this letter or in a later one: It is uncertain whether the messages described differently by Diodorus (18.58.3) and Plutarch (Eumenes 13.1) came from the same letter or two different ones.

17 a proclamation: The exact wording of the decree is given, at some length, by Diodorus (18.56).

18 He had kept up the morale: The remarkable details that follow, undoubtedly deriving from Hieronymus, who shared Eumenes’ confinement on Nora, are preserved by Plutarch (Eumenes 11) and Nepos (Eumenes 5).

19 According to Plutarch’s account: The story of the altered oath is found only in Plutarch (Eumenes 12.2) and Nepos (Eumenes 5.7) and has been rejected by Anson (“Siege of Nora”), whose opinion is seconded by Bosworth (“History and Artifice,” pp. 66–67). Anson regards the tale as a fiction concocted by Hieronymus to excuse Eumenes from what was, in his view, a brief alliance with Antigonus and a betrayal of the Argead house. Most other historians accept the story as valid, however. Michael Dixon has brought forward new support for this position in a chronological analysis of the movements of Hieronymus, Eumenes’ envoy to Antipater, showing that Eumenes must have had knowledge of the looming civil war in Europe at the time he left Nora and may even have been recruited by Polyperchon as an ally (“Corinth,” pp. 163–67).

20 or perhaps just before departing: The timing of the arrival of the letters is unclear in the sources. Dixon (see previous note) has proposed that Eumenes had already gotten word of Polyperchon’s offer from Hieronymus before he left Nora.

21 he still drew water: Details from Plutarch, Phocion 18.2.

22 and perhaps could not: Much remains unclear about Phocion’s collaboration with the Macedonian generals, since our principal source, Plutarch, was inclined to clear him of all misdeeds and to frame his story as a tragedy (see Lamberton, “Plutarch’s Phocion”).

23 Teutamus was an unknown quantity: There is no evidence at all about the history of this man prior to his appearance as co-captain of the Silver Shields in 318.

24 “I have no need”: The indirect statement found in Diodorus (18.60.2) appears to represent the precise words used by Eumenes. It should again be stressed that Hieronymus of Cardia, Diodorus’ principal source for events of this period, was an eyewitness to most of Eumenes’ activities. The words quoted on the following page represent a direct quotation in Diodorus.

25 Eumenes told his officers: The dream and the resulting erection of the tent are described, somewhat differently, by no fewer than four sources: Diodorus 18.60–61; Plutarch Eumenes 13.3–4; Nepos Eumenes 7.2–3; and Polyaenus 4.8.2. The version given here is based most closely on Polyaenus.

26 Alexander’s diadem, scepter, and armor: There has been debate as to how these came to be at Cyinda with Eumenes. Perhaps the Greek had kept them after somehow getting control of them in Babylon; perhaps they were stored in the Cyinda fortress as part of the imperial treasure. It seems likely that more than one set of these royal objects existed.

27 The hearing started: Details taken from Plutarch’s Phocion, from here to the end of the chapter.

28 for exhibition to the mob: My interpretation of Plutarch’s comment (Phocion 34.2) that Phocion’s return to Athens was shameful because he was carried on a cart. Others interpret the remark to mean that Phocion had become too infirm to walk.

29 in large part as a scapegoat: The motives behind Socrates’ indictment and conviction are of course more complex than I can deal with here. But among them was certainly the fact that two political leaders who had, at various times, collaborated with the Spartans were former students of Socrates.

30 one expert has proposed: See Palagia, “Impact of Ares Macedon,” cited under “Archaeological and Material Evidence” in the bibliography.

31 Long-standing rivals: In a famous analysis of an earlier war, Thucydides makes the same point about the struggle for supremacy between liberal Athens and conservative Sparta. Passions of rival political parties in every Greek city were inflamed due to the fact that each could call on a superpower for support.

Chapter 9: Duels to the Death

1 an older man: There is no evidence about the early life of Aristonous, and it is not known at what point he became a Bodyguard, but Heckel (Who’s Who) supposes he was inherited by Alexander from Philip’s day.

2 no doubt ceased to matter: An important dividing line among historians of the Alexander period concerns the degree of constitutionality they assign to the Macedonians. Some regard this nation as lawful and observant of strict political conventions; others see them engaging in a might-makes-right free-for-all. The debate plays out in interesting ways where the succession to Alexander is concerned. I have here adhered to a moderate constitutionalist position, which I think is supported by the evidence: the impetus to install and obey a legitimate king was paramount throughout the first six years after Alexander’s death, until all hope was lost that such a king could be found. The opposing position is summed up by Carney (Olympias, p. 86): “Legality was never a major issue in Macedonian society generally. After the death of Alexander and certainly after that of Perdiccas, legitimacy is simply not a useful concept for historians to apply.”

3 four Bodyguards to Alexander’s three: See Heckel, “IGii2 561,” cited under “Rhoxane, Alexander IV, Barsine, and Heracles” in the bibliography.

4 the first of their species: Aristotle has such detailed information about elephants in his biological treatises that it has been thought he observed them firsthand, leading to the fanciful supposition that Alexander shipped one specimen back to Athens from Asia for him to examine (the premise of L. Sprague de Camp’s novel An Elephant for Aristotle). However, the more likely explanation is that Aristotle received written reports about the beasts through Ctesias, a Greek physician serving at the court of the Persian kings.

5 bringing with him many tales: Lawrence Tritle has even claimed that Damis published a treatise about elephant handling, though I have found no evidence that confirms this. See “Alexander and the Greeks,” pp. 121–40 of Alexander the Great: A New History, Waldemar Heckel and Lawrence A. Tritle, eds. (Malden, Mass. 2009).

6 causing a time-delayed collapse: This is my hypothesis for the goal of the sapping method described by Diodorus (18.70.5), in which the wooden props of the mine are set on fire.

7 to cross over into Asia: According to Diodorus (18.63.6), the goal of Eumenes’ naval strategy was to permit Polyperchon to invade Asia, though one wonders whether Eumenes would not have considered it more urgent that he himself cross into Europe.

8 At last Eumenes’ fleet was ready: Story related by Polyaenus 4.6.9.

9 a crushing setback: Described in slightly varying versions by Diodorus 18.72 and Polyaenus 4.6.8.

10 on restoring the oligarchy: Cassander granted the Athenians a less stringent property restriction than his father had done, limiting citizenship to those with estates of a thousand drachmas.

11 A new leader: This was Demetrius of Phaleron, whose story, though it falls outside the scope of this book, is as fascinating as any in the post-Alexander world.

12 a brief, defiant visit: This first return to Macedonia of Cassander is mentioned only briefly by Diodorus at 18.75.1 and 19.35.7, and is often overlooked, even by scholars. Cassander returned to test his political support, then set out for Greece again to further shore up his position there. Adams gives a good account of Cassander’s movements in “Antipater and Cassander.”

13 foiled in an attempt: Apparently, Eumenes learned of a disused canal in the area and reopened it, causing the water to be carried away again.

14 no doubt sensationalized report: The description of the battle is attributed to Duris of Samos by the writer who quotes it, Athenaeus (13.560f). Duris wrote a narrative history, now lost, of events in the Greek world from the mid-fourth to the early third century. He is not regarded as a very reliable source, though Plutarch sometimes made use of him.

15 Perhaps she thought: Carney (Olympias, p. 76) offers a different explanation for the walling up of the monarchs, that Olympias hoped to force Philip to abdicate the throne.

16 opening his grave: See Diodorus 19.11.8 and Plutarch Alexander 77.1. It is curious Olympias did not do likewise to the tomb of Antipater; evidently, she still observed some limits out of respect for Macedonian public opinion.

17 imperious and solitary: Attested by Plutarch Demetrius 28.5, where the anecdote that follows can also be found.

18 Inside the Susa cache: Its contents were later inventoried by Antigonus and recorded by Diodorus (19.48.6–8). Chares of Mytilene attests to the use of the “Climbing Vine” as a royal bedchamber adornment (Athenaeus 12.514f).

19 a hard road into Media: The story of Antigonus’ difficult passage through Media is told by Diodorus at 19.19. Antigonus chose a mountainous route to escape the heat, but refused to bribe the tribesmen who lived along it and was therefore constantly harassed and blocked as he made his way north.

20 she might hope to be rescued: Diodorus attributes this hope to her at 19.35.6.

21 unprecedented grandeur: Alexander’s banquet at Opis, on which Peucestas’ feast was clearly modeled, is said to have had nine thousand guests.

22 while his men fretted: Their anxiety increased when the gleam of the enemy’s armor was sighted in the distance. According to Plutarch, some of the troops vowed not to fight until Eumenes was back in command; Eumenes had his litter brought alongside them, drew back the curtains, and feebly extended a hand, prompting a vigorous battle cry from the men (Plutarch Eumenes 14.3). But Bosworth (“History and Artifice”) and Roisman (“Hieronymus of Cardia”) are skeptical.

23 The two armies: For details of the battles of Paraetacene and Gabene, I am grateful for the analyses in chapter 4 of Bosworth’s Legacy of Alexander and in the two articles by Devine listed in the bibliography under “Eumenes.” The basic narrative of events comes from Diodorus; Plutarch’s Eumenes becomes confused and abbreviated when it reaches these two battles.

24 Gabene: The spelling here used is that found in Diodorus and Plutarch; other sources use “Gabiene,” and this is often seen in modern writings as well. Bosworth locates the region near modern Isfahan, Iran (Legacy of Alexander, p. 127).

25 he made haste to cremate his dead: Polyaenus reports the ploy (4.6.10) without specifying what battle it followed, but Paraetacene gives the most fitting context.

Chapter 10: The Closing of the Tombs

1 after which it disappeared: The fate of Alexander’s body, or the possibility of its recovery, has been the focus of much speculation and lore. An amusing survey has been compiled by Nicholas Saunders, Alexander’s Tomb: The Two-Thousand Year Obsession to Find the Lost Conqueror (New York, 2006).

2 They revered no commander: Unique information provided by Justin (14.2). The details that follow regarding Eumenes’ flattery of the Shields are from the same passage.

3 oaths of allegiance: Justin has Eumenes make reference to these in his final speech to the Shields at 14.4.

4 plotting against his life: The plot is discussed by Plutarch at Eumenes 16. Apparently, Eudamus brought word to Eumenes that the satraps and Silver Shields were planning to have him assassinated directly after the battle had ended. But Plutarch includes in the plot Antigenes, who had no discernible reason to turn on the commander he had so faithfully followed, making the information suspect. There is also the problem discussed by Bosworth in “History and Artifice,” that Plutarch goes to extraordinary lengths in Eumenes to make points of contact with the parallel Roman life, Sertorius, often using unreliable reports for this purpose. Since Sertorius was killed by a conspiracy of his officers, Plutarch may have reached far into his source materials in order to find a similar episode concerning Eumenes.

5 an act of cowardice: This is the judgment of the sources (Diodorus 19.38.1; Plutarch Eumenes 15.8), but it has long been recognized that, as they are based on Eumenes’ partisan Hieronymus, they have a negative bias toward Peucestas. The truth may be more closely connected to the murder plot reported by Plutarch, or to the various differences Eumenes and Peucestas had had over grand strategy. Heckel (Who’s Who, p. 205) suggests Peucestas may have been seeking to detach himself from Eumenes during the winter but was forestalled by Antigonus’ sudden approach.

6 Plutarch eulogizes them: Eumenes 16.4. The age range given by Plutarch has been doubted by some but demonstrated by Hammond to be quite plausible (“Alexander’s Veterans After His Death,” under “Antigenes, the Silver Shields, and the Macedonian Army” in the bibliography).

7 They shouted: Details and quotations provided by Justin 14.3.

8 made his valedictory speech: Different versions of this speech are reported by Justin (14.4) and Plutarch (Eumenes 17.3), though the main point is very much the same in both. Justin gives Eumenes a bitter series of reproaches against the Shields after they refuse to grant his request. I have opted, somewhat arbitrarily, to include here a portion of the version of Plutarch.

9 called up a column of elephants: Another point on which I have preferred Plutarch’s version over that of Justin. Justin portrays the elephants and Asian troops as part of Eumenes’ army, a kind of honor guard, not a security detail sent by Antigonus.

10 Nearchus of Crete: It is curious to find Nearchus in the service of Antigonus, and none of our sources explains how he got there. He was last observed advocating for Heracles as a successor to the throne, in the council at Babylon (this page).

11 sent a man to kill him: Nepos (Eumenes 12) has an alternative account in which Eumenes is strangled by his guards without Antigonus’ knowledge, but concurs with the other sources that Antigonus had resolved on Eumenes’ death.

12 returning his ashes: Plutarch Eumenes 19. There is no evidence concerning to whom Eumenes was married at the time of his death. In the Susa weddings eight years earlier, Alexander had matched him with a highborn Persian named Artonis. But it is unlikely this is the woman who received his ashes.

13 The platoon was broken up: Portrayed by Plutarch (Eumenes 19), in typically moralistic fashion, as a punishment inflicted by the gods for the impiety the Shields had committed in their betrayal of Eumenes.

14 watching for the masts: Diodorus (19.49.3) tells us that Olympias, not Alexander, was still clinging to hopes of rescue, but I have assumed that the grandson took his cue from his grandmother.

15 Polyperchon devised a plan: As related by Polyaenus 4.11.3.

16 or perhaps a resumption of the first: There is much that is unclear about Olympias’ trial and death; the two accounts in the sources, those of Diodorus and Justin, diverge. The account of Diodorus has been followed here. Carney (Olympias, pp. 82–85) conducts a thorough review of the evidence.

17 He did not yet know: Most chronologies place the deaths of Eumenes and Olympias at about the same time. News of Antigonus’ victory would have taken several weeks to reach European shores.

18 caused him to tremble with fear: Plutarch Alexander 74.6.

19 “dry” cremation: This is the opinion of the paleoanthropologist Antonis Bartsiokas, as reported in Science 228 (2000). See note 3.

20 and a scepter: The scepter, according to Borza and Palagia (see note 2), has subsequently disappeared from the collection of items found in the tomb.

21 a series of kings: Another possibility, advanced by the tomb’s excavator, is that the diadem was meant to be adjusted to be worn with or without another piece of headgear.

22 Cassander prepared a fine chamber tomb: There is no clear evidence of who built Tomb 3 at Vergina, but its apparent date indicates that Cassander was responsible. Diodorus, however, says that Cassander killed Alexander in secret and hid his body (19.105). The most likely scenario is that, after the death of the boy inevitably leaked out, Cassander felt obliged to conduct a proper royal burial. See Adams, “Cassander, Alexander IV and the Tombs at Vergina,” AncW 22 (1991) 27–33. A different theory of the tomb’s construction, unconvincing in my view, has been put forward by Franca Landucci Gattinoni (“Cassander and the Legacy of Philip and Alexander II in Diodorus’Library,” pp. 113–21 of Philip II and Alexander the Great: Father and Son, Lives and Afterlives, eds. Elizabeth Carney and Daniel Ogden [Oxford and N.Y., 2010]).


1 Plutarch records: In the essay “On Compliancy,” Moralia 530d.

2 was strangled to death: Pausanias, however, records that Heracles was killed by poison. Justin (15.2.3) does not specify the form the assassination took but supplies the unique information that Barsine, Heracles’ mother, was also killed on Cassander’s orders.

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