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

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

Post by Paralus » Tue Jan 24, 2017 2:04 am

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

Derek
That's the distinct impression from the sources. Arrian as much as says so at 7.19.6 and he is likely correct. Although much is made of his "reorganising" of the satrapal governors after his return from India, it seems to me this was aimed more at securing the empire before setting off again. Again, his marriage to Roxanne was as political as it was anything else like his relationship with Barsine. The marriage to Stateira was the ultimate political union and he seemed not to be giving himself much time to sire an son with her with another expedition in the wind. Especially given the constant drinking bouts!
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Ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας, ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοὺς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τὰ ὅλα κατειργασμένους;
Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.

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

Post by Xenophon » Tue Jan 24, 2017 7:09 am

Paralus wrote:
Xenophon wrote:Astounding! Curtius and Justin combined expend just 120 words on the subject of Heracles supposed candidature by either Nearchos or Meleager (and the fact that there are two different proposers is suggestive that it is a fictitious interpolation), and yet Paralus' last post alone is some 2,368 words!
The predictable whine over words. Let’s address Xenophon’s failure to comprehend the point. Which point is not words but detail. Here, again, we have an attempt to minimise the clear attestation that Herakles was proposed by comparing the supposed number of words expended noting such in the sources with those in my post. A meaningless exercise and one can only wonder at the reason for such.
The predictable reversion to unnecessary offensive personal insult. Paralus doesn’t seem to recognise irony. It was he who introduced and relied on ‘word-count’. I was just being ironic by making a similar reference, and at the same time poking a little gentle fun at Paralus’ verbosity.
Of course Xenophon is not going to refute anything in detail: detail, it seems, matters not; spurious word comparisons do. The fact of the matter here is that we are dealing with four sources: Photios (Arrian); Diodorus; Trogus (via Justin) and Curtius. The latter is – lacunae aside – a “full history” while the preceding three are eptiomes of other sources. Of those epitomes, Justin’s is by far the fullest. At the risk of repeating what has been written more than once, an epitomator summarises his source and, by the very nature of his method, leaves matters out. Justin – never good with names – has done exactly this when he combines the proposals of Meleaghros and Nearkhos into the one.
The "spurious word comparisons" were those of Paralus, and then were incorrect.
What detail? It is the complete lack of detail that suggests perhaps an interpolation, or 'add-on'. Curtius uses just 100 words or so. We are told little more than that Nearchos proposes Heracles, and “His speech was approved by no-one.” Heracles and Roxane’s child are supposedly rejected because of their Persian blood. Justin gives even less detail: “Meleager argued .....for if they wished for a boy, there was at Pergamus a son of Alexander by Barsine, named Hercules; or, if they would rather have a man, there was then in the camp Aridaeus, a brother of Alexander...”

We can’t even be sure who supposedly suggested Heracles!

Once again, Paralus is confounding the whole Babylon conclave with the subject of Heracles, who is barely referred to at all. Justin doesn’t ‘combine’ proposals, he doesn’t mention Nearchos at all.
Curtius says Nearchos made the proposal, and makes no mention of Meleager.


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

No one is elaborating the “whole Babylonian Settlement thing”. Herakles is not an “add-on” and nor is it quickly dismissed by both authors. Nowhere does either author dismiss the notice. Herakles, in the conclave, is dismissed by the Macedonians – as is Roxanne’s unborn child. It is, indeed, a clear part of the puzzle of Herakles.
Hair splitting! It is the two authors who have the Macedonians quickly dismiss the subject of Heracles.

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

This is no "false distinction" at all and the rest, I’m afraid, is a nonsense. This is all post the settlement as is clear to anyone reading it. As well, the words Xenophon uses are his own – not Plutarch’s. Plutarch actual words are (Alex. 77.5):
For it was he [Perdikkas] who was at once in the greatest authority, dragging Arrhidaeus around after him to safe-guard, as it were, the royal power.

The only ‘nonsense’ is what you have written here. Plutarch actually says:
“77[3] Most writers, however, think that the story of the poisoning is altogether a fabrication; and it is no slight evidence in their favour that during the dissensions of Alexander's commanders, which lasted many days, ( i.e. the Babylon settlement) his body, although it lay without special care in places that were moist and stifling, showed no sign of such a destructive influence, but remained pure and fresh.
[4] At this time Roxane was expecting a child, and on this account was held in special honour among the Macedonians; but she was jealous of Stateira, and therefore tricked her by a forged letter into coming where she was, and when she had got her into her power, murdered her, together with her sister, threw their bodies into the well, and filled it with earth.
[5] In this crime her accomplice was Perdiccas, who after Alexander’s death at once succeeded in concentrating the greatest power in his hands, using Arrhidaeus as a figurehead for the authority of the Royal house.
Arrhidaeus was Philip's son by an obscure and common woman named Philinna, and was deficient in intellect as a result of some disease.....

[Penguin translation by Ian Scott Kilvert]
The emboldened and underlined words show that Plutarch was referring to the Babylon settlement, and that the events he relates occurred at that time and not “afterward”.
Nor are the words I used my own – why do you think I used quotation marks? They are Plutarch's, as translated by Ian Scott-Kilvert!
Royal power Perdikkas already has. It is clear that Perdikkas is the regent when this murder is committed. This has nothing whatsoever to do with the Babylonian Settlement itself but rather events after Perdikkas is secure in his position as is immediately plain. Secure enough to participate in the murder of the dead king’s wife. Constantly rewording this so as to make it look like Plutarch is commenting the method Perdikkas used to gain ascendancy at Babylon is, at best, mischeivious.[sic]
Forgive me being pedantic, but Perdiccas did not hold Royal power, which vested in Arrhidaeus and later jointly with Roxane’s son, Alexander IV. Perdiccas was merely “first among equals” and his power was that of a Regent i.e “a person appointed to administer a State, esp. a Kingdom during the minority, absence, or incapacity of the monarch.” (As defined by the Oxford dictionary).
Nor do I ‘reword’ anything. Plutarch is quite clearly referring to these events as occurring “during the dissensions of Alexander's commanders, which lasted many days,...at this time.....at once”. Perdiccas was appointed by the conference at Babylon, not afterward.
There is not even a hint of your “afterward".

Oh, and by the way, as I am sure every reader will notice, Para 77 is Plutarch talking about the Babylon conference and the events of its outcome, with Perdiccas becoming Regent, "albeit briefly" just as I said, and which you say he doesn't do.

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

Post by Alexias » Tue Jan 24, 2017 7:53 pm

derek wrote: There were so many strong generals and it was such a large empire, yes, I agree Alexander's sons wouldn't have had much chance whatever their age. But 14 was classed as a man in Macedonia and, for a prince, was only a few years from commanding regiments in the field and gaining respect, so a young adult would have had a lot better chance than a toddler.
Agreed, but I would think a 14 year old would still need the support of one or more of the generals to survive, and they would only have done that if they thought it served their own interests best, or if they thought the army wouldn't tolerate any other option. Yet 14 year old might not have retained anyone's loyalty for long unless he had intimate experience and understanding of the army, which would have meant that he would have grown up with the army and been dragged around Bactria and India, lessening his chances of survival. He would also have needed to have inherited the abilities shared by Philip and Alexander, and the chances of that stretching into a third generation must be slim.
derek wrote: I think my point is that Alexander made no plans for his succession. He was a "here and now" kind of person, and seems to have had no long term plan other than to keep conquering and acquiring glory. And if he really did say, "To the Strongest," on his deathbed - wow!

Derek
Alexander had killed off his cousin and half-brothers (the latter of which he is said to have regretted) and, being an idiot, hadn't replaced them with his own heirs. Kind of hints at psychological issues with tolerating a potential rival.

Yet maybe, at least in his final illness, he might have realised that the power he had given the generals, the appetites and ambitions he had created in them, were going to be too strong for anyone other than one of their own to control. This may have been why he planned yet more conquests, as he had created a momentum and ambitions that needed satisfying.

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

Post by Paralus » Wed Jan 25, 2017 2:15 am

Xenophon wrote: What detail?
Indeed. There is no conversing with one who resolutely refuses to see the point or address the argument. I happily leave you to your upside-down world of preferring the silences of severely summarised epitomes over fuller sources on the same subject. Doubt that is well populated world!
Xenophon wrote:Once again, Paralus is confounding the whole Babylon conclave with the subject of Heracles, who is barely referred to at all.
I have not "confounded" any such thing. Obfuscation writ large...
Xenophon wrote:The only nonsense’ is what you have written here. Plutarch actually says:
“77[3] Most writers, however, think that the story of the poisoning is altogether a fabrication; and it is no slight evidence in their favour that during the dissensions of Alexander's commanders, which lasted many days, ( i.e. the Babylon settlement) his body, although it lay without special care in places that were moist and stifling, showed no sign of such a destructive influence, but remained pure and fresh.
[4] At this time Roxane was expecting a child, and on this account was held in special honour among the Macedonians; but she was jealous of Stateira, and therefore tricked her by a forged letter into coming where she was, and when she had got her into her power, murdered her, together with her sister, threw their bodies into the well, and filled it with earth.
[5] In this crime her accomplice was Perdiccas, who after Alexander’s death at once succeeded in concentrating the greatest power in his hands, using Arrhidaeus as a figurehead for the authority of the Royal house.
Arrhidaeus was Philip's son by an obscure and common woman named Philinna, and was deficient in intellect as a result of some disease.....

[Penguin translation by Ian Scott Kilvert]
The emboldened and underlined words show that Plutarch was referring to the Babylon settlement, and that the events he relates occurred at that time and not “afterward”.
Nor are the words I used my own – why do you think I used quotation marks? They are Plutarch's, as translated by Ian Scott-Kilvert! [...] Plutarch is quite clearly referring to these events as occurring “during the dissensions of Alexander's commanders, which lasted many days,...at this time.....at once”. Perdiccas was appointed by the conference at Babylon, not afterward.
There is not even a hint of your “afterward".
Apologies. The Penguin translation again. You've a penchant for typing these out rather than a copy and paste from Perseus and one might wonder why? Firstly, Plutarch is not dealing with the Babylonian Settlement here at all, he is dealing with the rumours of Alexander's supposed murder - something he makes quite plain in then dismissing them. He only mentions that the king's body laying unattended for many days during the dissension in Babylon is no proof of murder. To claim this is thus dealing with the Babylonian Settlement is extremely desperate.

As far as the translation goes, such a free rendition certainly seems to underline your view but free it remains. It goes far beyond what is actually written. There is no "at this time" and Bernadotte Perrin's "now" is much better. As for "who after Alexander’s death at once succeeded in concentrating the greatest power in his hands, using Arrhidaeus as a figurehead for the authority of the Royal house", there is nothing in the text concerning "succeeded in concentrating" or "using Arrhidaios as a figurehead". Nor is there anything remotely concerning "after Alexander's death". This is all free composition. What Plutarch does say is that Roxanne was pregnant and, out of jealousy, connived with Perdikkas in having her killed. Plutarch then says that it was Perdikkas who straightaway held the greatest power (ἦν γὰρ ἐκεῖνος εὐθὺς ἐν δυνάμει μεγίστῃ) and dragged Arrhidaios about as a bodyguard of that power (τὸν Ἀρριδαῖον ὥσπερ δορυφόρημα τῆς βασιλείας ἐφελκόμενος). Nothing about "after Alexander's death" nor is he relating that Perdikkas rose to power by using Arrhidaios. He quite clearly states that Perdikkas was in power and safeguarded that power by taking Arrhidaios about to guard that power.

Quite plainly, Perdikkas had no time for machinations leading to, and the carrying out of, Stateira's murder during the crisis in Babylon - he was quite preoccupied with his own survival. But one would need to show an interest in the detail of the Babylonian Settlement for that to be apparent. It is clear such a murder happened after Perdikkas had assumed the regency and was carrying Arrhidaios about with him as some sort of "safeguard" (δορυφόρημα) of that power. He was not doing this during the crisis.
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Ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας, ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοὺς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τὰ ὅλα κατειργασμένους;
Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.

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

Post by Xenophon » Thu Jan 26, 2017 6:57 am

Paralus wrote:
Xenophon wrote:What detail?
Indeed. There is no conversing with one who resolutely refuses to see the point or address the argument. I happily leave you to your upside-down world of preferring the silences of severely summarised epitomes over fuller sources on the same subject. Doubt that is well populated world!
More illogical reasoning! You may be having an “argument”, but I am not, rather trying to have a civilised discussion. And in case you hadn’t noticed, I don’t rely on the epitomes of source material at all for my view, other than to note they make no mention of Heracles, a rather odd omission if he really did exist and was the only living son of Alexander! I alluded to plenty of other evidence.

Let me summarise the evidence, since beyond referring to Curtius and Justin, Paralus makes not much of a case for the early existence of Heracles. In favour of Heracles early existence are the following :
• Curtius 100 words or so, briefly mentioning Nearchus’ proposal and its instant rejection.

• Ditto Justin’s 20 or so words, both of which have been quoted previously.

• An even briefer mention in Appian ‘Syrian Wars’: “[Alexander] died leaving one very young son [i.e. Heracles] and another unborn” [i.e. the future Alexander IV]

• The briefest mention in Strabo Geography XVII.1.8 of “the children” (which can only mean Heracles and Alexander IV) of Alexander the Great accompanying Perdiccas to Egypt in 321 BC, where Perdiccas met his end.

Against this we have:
• No mention whatsoever of the birth of Heracles in any source – rather astounding in itself, which if Diodorus is right that he was 17 when he was murdered in 310/309 puts it around 327/326 BC, when Alexander was campaigning in India, yet there is no mention whatever in our sources of Barsine accompanying the expedition East. In fact, after becoming Alexander’s mistress in 333, Barsine is never mentioned again until, as we have seen, Justin reports her and Heracles to be in Pergamum at Alexander’s death in 323.This itself sounds suspiciously as if Justin is simply placing him where he began the attempt at the throne- a dozen or so years later, nor is it consistent with Strabo reporting “the children” accompanying Perdiccas to Egypt, and presumably thereafter accompanying the Diadochi Generals to Triparadeisos on the Orontes in Lebanon.
Nor, in our sources does Alexander ever refer to such a son. It's as if he never existed........

• The so-called ‘Testament of Alexander’, which while not genuine displays an accurate knowledge of Alexander’s family, and probably written not too long after Antipater’s death. In this, Alexander makes provision for all those related to him by blood; the provisions are not historical, but the point is the list of relatives. Beside Olympias, the writer mentions the one surviving legitimate child of Philip II, Cleopatra; the three illegitimate ones, Philip Arrhidaeus, Cynane, and Thessalonice; and Cynane's daughter. He refers to Roxane's unborn child, and provides for either contingency, boy or girl. And he does not mention Heracles; he knows nothing of Heracles or Barsine, even though he knows all the members of the Royal house known to us from history. Note too that modern conceptions of illegitimacy are irrelevant, the thing that counts is a ‘blood relationship’.

• Without going into ‘quellenforschung’/study and critique of sources and their sources, much of our source material goes back to Hieronymous who wrote well after 309, and mainly comes down via Diodorus. As related in a previous post, at XVIII.2 Alexander dies “apais”/childless.At XVIII.9 and XIX.52 says he had no “diadochi”/heirs or successors, at XIX.11.2 there is but one “son of Alexander” At XIX.105 says “there was no one to inherit” after Alexander IV is murdered. Hieronymous/Diodorus clearly knows nothing of a son of Alexander called Heracles. For that matter, neither does Ptolemy.

• The fact that Cassander consistently acts as if Alexander IV, is the last of his line.

• The ease and ‘cheapness’ with which Cassander convinces Polyperchon to murder Heracles seems surprising and unlikely if he was genuine, and the fickle Macedonians about to go over to him as Cassander apparently feared, but not so if in reality both knew he was a ‘Pretender’.

• The fact that the shorter versions/epitomes make no mention of Heracles candidature.[previously referred to]

Let us consider Curtius, whose 100 words or so, though they tell us little, are the strongest evidence for Heracles being around in 323. A careful reading reveals that on at least three occasions, Curtius’ sources know nothing of Heracles. At VIII.4.23 ff, the courtship of Roxane, Alexander has apparently had no previous association with a Persian woman, for here occurs the first dissent at such a link. At X.7.2 – the very paragraph that refers to Heracles, in another speech Arrhidaeus is said to be “solus heres”/sole heir and again at X.7.6, he is the only one born to inherit/”hic solus est”, and at X.7.15 no-one but Arrhidaeus has a claim as a blood relation, and that no-one but he could assume Alexander’s name. All this denies the existence of Heracles, and strongly implies the speech attributed to Nearchus is an inserted interpolation.

The whole story of Barsine, supposedly captured after Issus, is possibly confused with that of Barsine/Stateira, daughter of Darius whom Alexander would marry, which would explain her total disappearance after Issus.
It would appear then that we cannot arrive at any firm conclusion from the Literary evidence, for we have Curtius and Justin referring to Heracles supposed candidature on the one hand, with some slight support from Appian and Strabo.

On the other hand we have no less than five references in Hieronymous/Diodorus to the fact that Alexander died childless, and without heirs. In Curtius too, despite the speech he gives Nearchus, there are several references to Arrhidaeus being the sole heir and blood relation (at least until the birth of Roxanne’s child), implying the Nearchus speech is an interpolation. There is also the list of Alexander’s blood relatives in the ‘Testament’.

If we turn to the circumstantial evidence, we have no reference for Barsine accompanying Alexander East, or being with him as late as 326 or so when Heracles is allegedly born, we have no mention of his birth, in fact nothing of either of them until supposedly his candidature in 323. Thereafter he ‘disappears’ for the next dozen years or more, until around 310, ignored by everyone – and as Alexias pointed out, that in itself is suspicious.
There are also the circumstances surrounding the ease with which he was ‘sold out’ and murdered, implying a ‘pretender’, not to mention the ‘co-incidence’ of his emergence just after the death of Alexander IV.

All of these factors convince me that, on balance of probability Heracles was not really Alexander’s son, who did not actually exist until 310, when he suddenly emerges, very suspiciously and conveniently, as the ‘last Argead’ following the death of Alexander IV.
Apologies. The Penguin translation again. You've a penchant for typing these out rather than a copy and paste from Perseus and one might wonder why?
That’s easy. In my boyhood, I was given all the Penguin Greek and Latin classics. I still have them, over 50 years later, the pages held together with repeated gluing and Sellotape. Every page has all the margins filled with handwritten notes and cross-references, key passages underlined, and practically every page ‘tagged’, so that I can go instantly to any given section far more quickly than working my way through on-line sources.
Firstly, Plutarch is not dealing with the Babylonian Settlement here at all, he is dealing with the rumours of Alexander's supposed murder - something he makes quite plain in then dismissing them. He only mentions that the king's body laying unattended for many days during the dissension in Babylon is no proof of murder. To claim this is thus dealing with the Babylonian Settlement is extremely desperate.
I’ll let readers decide for themselves, but I’ll point out that not only are the seven days or so of the conclave referred to, but also the outcome, with Perdiccas Regent, and effectively having ‘custody’ of the impaired King Philip Arrhidaeus. To suggest he is dealing solely with the rumoured poisoning is quite wrong.
As far as the translation goes, such a free rendition certainly seems to underline your view but free it remains. It goes far beyond what is actually written. There is no "at this time" and Bernadotte Perrin's "now" is much better. As for "who after Alexander’s death at once succeeded in concentrating the greatest power in his hands, using Arrhidaeus as a figurehead for the authority of the Royal house", there is nothing in the text concerning "succeeded in concentrating" or "using Arrhidaios as a figurehead". Nor is there anything remotely concerning "after Alexander's death". This is all free composition.
Perhaps, but here is another translation, similar to Scott-Kilvert’s:
The majority of historians consider this story about the poison to be completely made up; strong support for their view is given by the fact that during the strong disagreements between the commanders over many days after Alexander’s death his body lay unattended in a stifling hot place, and showed no sign of such a drug, but remained pure and undefiled.

Roxana happened to be pregnant at this time and was honoured by the Macedonians because of this. She was jealous of Stateira and deceived her through a letter she forged; when Stateira came to where Roxana was waiting for her, she killed both her and her sister and threw the dead bodies into a well; Perdiccas knew what she was doing and helped her. Perdiccas held the greatest authority in the immediate aftermath of Alexander’s death, and took Arrhidaeus around with him as a token of the royal power; he was Alexander’s brother, though his mother was a common woman of no reputation, and he was lacking in intelligence because of a disease which afflicted him;”
What Plutarch does say is that Roxanne was pregnant and, out of jealousy, connived with Perdikkas in having her killed. Plutarch then says that it was Perdikkas who straightaway held the greatest power (ἦν γὰρ ἐκεῖνος εὐθὺς ἐν δυνάμει μεγίστῃ) and dragged Arrhidaios about as a bodyguard of that power (τὸν Ἀρριδαῖον ὥσπερ δορυφόρημα τῆς βασιλείας ἐφελκόμενος). Nothing about "after Alexander's death" nor is he relating that Perdikkas rose to power by using Arrhidaios. He quite clearly states that Perdikkas was in power and safeguarded that power by taking Arrhidaios about to guard that power.
I’ll only point out that ‘literal’ translations don’t always convey the meaning and feel of the original, but it doesn’t matter anywaybecause even in the ‘literal’ all these events are happening in the seven days or more of the Babylon conference......
Quite plainly, Perdikkas had no time for machinations leading to, and the carrying out of, Stateira's murder during the crisis in Babylon - he was quite preoccupied with his own survival. But one would need to show an interest in the detail of the Babylonian Settlement for that to be apparent. It is clear such a murder happened after Perdikkas had assumed the regency and was carrying Arrhidaios about with him as some sort of "safeguard" (δορυφόρημα) of that power. He was not doing this during the crisis.
I disagree. ( and there's no need for snide remarks). The chaos of the conference would be the perfect cover for Roxane to carry out her murderous plans. Nor is it to be supposed that Perdiccas took a personal hand in matters. He certainly had plenty of time to read a letter from Roxane, or speak to a messenger, then summon a ‘minion’ with orders to go and assist Roxanne carry out the murders, and report back when it was done. Nothing easier. Nor was he pre-occupied that whole time with survival, for it all occurred on a single day. “On the following day it seemed to the Macedonians shameful that Perdiccas had been exposed to danger of death....et seq” Q.C.X.8.5 and then followed fairly quickly the death of Meleager. Your attempt to 'explain away' the fact that Perdiccas had ample time to deal with many things, including this minor one, does not in fact stand up. And Arrhidaeus was present during the conference before and after Perdiccas was made Regent......

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

Post by Paralus » Thu Jan 26, 2017 10:10 am

Xenophon wrote: More illogical reasoning! You may be having an “argument”, but I am not, rather trying to have a civilised discussion.
That's about the silliest thing I've read on this forum. On that ridiculous note, I'll rest my case I believe.
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Ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας, ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοὺς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τὰ ὅλα κατειργασμένους;
Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.

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

Post by Xenophon » Thu Jan 26, 2017 11:27 pm

Preferring "civilised discussion" to "argument", i.e. heated discussions which lead to ill-feeling, is "silly" is it ?

That's yet another unnecessary offensive remark.

Such an attitude explains your penchant for being combative, and constantly seeking to 'win' arguments, often purely for argument's sake.......

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

Post by Paralus » Fri Jan 27, 2017 4:35 am

Xenophon wrote:
Paralus wrote:Indeed. There is no conversing with one who resolutely refuses to see the point or address the argument.
More illogical reasoning! You may be having an “argument”, but I am not, rather trying to have a civilised discussion.
Paralus wrote:
Xenophon wrote: More illogical reasoning! You may be having an “argument”, but I am not, rather trying to have a civilised discussion.
That's about the silliest thing I've read on this forum. On that ridiculous note, I'll rest my case I believe.
Xenophon wrote:Preferring "civilised discussion" to "argument", i.e. heated discussions which lead to ill-feeling, is "silly" is it ?

That's yet another unnecessary offensive remark.

Such an attitude explains your penchant for being combative, and constantly seeking to 'win' arguments, often purely for argument's sake.......
Quod erat demonstrandum. Perhaps I should leave you to ponder the relevance of the (pardon the pun) definite article in the relevant statement. Twisting people's words is never conducive to "civilised discussion".
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Re: Alexander the Great...Good or Bad King, or neither? An Essay

Post by Xenophon » Mon Jan 30, 2017 12:10 am

Q.E.D (that which needs to be proved has been) indeed! :lol: :lol: :lol: .......I could not have asked for better proof of my contention that you have a penchant for being argumentative and combative. Not content with arguing everything I may say, you now attempt to start an argument over what you meant by "the argument" !!
I am quite familiar with the definite article. For those who are not, "the" is the only definite article in the English language and generally reckoned its most common word.It precedes a noun when the writer believes the reader will understand what is being referred to - in this case 'the subject', namely Heracles. Its a shortcut to save explaining the subject each time.

As to 'argument', its most common meaning is what everyone knows, a heated or angry exchange of views, but it is ambiguous, for it has a secondary meaning, a set of reasons given in support of an idea.

I doubt if Paralus meant the latter, for at no time has he given much of a set of reasons supporting his view, so there is no 'argument' in that sense. One is reminded of the Monty Python sketch in which a man pays to have an argument, and feeling short-changed, says indignantly; "That's not an argument! You're just contradicting me!"..."No I'm not".....etc. And certainly the usual meaning comes across, for Paralus', almost from the start of the debate ( see his post Sat Jan 14 ) makes assertions without mentioning sources or evidence,( it is left to me to introduce them) and thereafter simply argues (in the former meaning of the word) against what I have put forward - rather like the Monty Python sketch.By Jan 23, not only is he argumentative, putting forward spurious arguments that don't stand up to scrutiny, but descending into aggressive personal insults ( I am a whiner, what I write is nonsense) which only gets worse. ( I am 'silly' and' ridiculous'). It is a sure sign that a protagonist is not persuasive in his arguments when he starts getting personal and resorts to 'ad hominem' insults.( which are totally against Forum rules).

In any event, any 'argument' as to what Paralus actually meant is irrelevant. It is obvious to any reader that he is arguing in the former sense ( putting forward heated/angry views) and therefore my saying that I preferred 'civilised discussion' to such an aggressive approach is perfectly valid.

Anyway, 'Nuff said'........let us get back to the thread's subject, was Alexander a good or bad King?

Alexias' and Derek's points that on the subject of providing for his succession and hence a stable regime were non-existent......
Alexias wrote: Alexander had killed off his cousin and half-brothers (the latter of which he is said to have regretted) and, being an idiot, hadn't replaced them with his own heirs. Kind of hints at psychological issues with tolerating a potential rival.
Derek wrote: "However I look at it, it staggers me that he failed to leave a viable heir. Parmenion and Antipatros both advised him to delay the invasion of the Troad until he had a son, but he made no plans for marriage before leaving Greece and when he eventually married it was almost on a whim. He was in battle the whole time he was campaigning so knew he could be killed at any time, and knew that young sons would be liable to be usurped. It was his duty to have an heir old enough to have a chance of inheriting, but he failed to do so.".......and..... "I think my point is that Alexander made no plans for his succession."
.....are very valid, and a striking example of Alexander's failure in what many would regard as one of the King's primary duties. Whether at the beginning of his reign, or at the end, when on his deathbed, the Marshals asked him to name a successor, Alexander steadfastly refused to address this vital issue. I'd agree with Alexias that this indicates psychological problems with the subject.

I'd also agree that a 14 year old, or thereabouts, successor would have had problem surviving and retaining Royal power, if Macedonian history was anything to go by. He would certainly have needed powerful support.....The ideal solution, of course, would have been for Alexander to live on at least another 20 years or so........

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

Post by amyntoros » Mon Jan 30, 2017 4:19 am

Good grief. When people come to Pothos they :expect: to find arguments, debates, disagreements, sometimes heated discussions, etc. Doesn't matter what one calls them and as long as they stay on topic and do not become personal then they have a place here. Is it not possible to actually discuss Alexander and his times without veering off into accusations and recriminations as to :why: someone disagrees? And then the lectures? Why must all this be public?
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Re: Alexander the Great...Good or Bad King, or neither? An Essay

Post by hiphys » Tue Jan 31, 2017 5:21 pm

I think we'd take care when we say words like 'wife', 'concubine', 'legitimate' or 'illegitimate' heir, referring to the law of ancient Macedonia. The succession of a king, for instance, wasn't strictly arranged previously, but depended on various elements, i. e. his ability in winning a war, his wealth, the number and the power of men willing to support him, no matter whether his moter was a slave woman (as for Archelaus I) or a (half) barbarian princess (like Eurydike, daughter of Hirras/Sirras and mother of three kings, the last being Philip II). I fear the sources for Alexander's history we have now are too late to understand such differences (I mean Curtius, Plutarch, and especially Arrian, of course). Therefore I think Alexander knew very well that it was impossible for him to establish an heir to his kingdom. The only thing he could do was to say he left the kingdom 'to the strongest'.

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

Post by system1988 » Tue Jan 31, 2017 6:10 pm

I think... he would not say these words (" to the strongest') if he had a legitime son ,lets say 20 years old
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Re: Alexander the Great...Good or Bad King, or neither? An Essay

Post by Paralus » Thu Feb 02, 2017 6:05 am

hiphys wrote: I think we'd take care when we say words like 'wife', 'concubine', 'legitimate' or 'illegitimate' heir, referring to the law of ancient Macedonia.
True enough. It is plain that the Macedonians had no problems with the nomination of Arrhidaios and one strongly suspects the stories of his “dancing girl” mother come from the propaganda mills of the Diadochi. The Macedonians did, though, have a problem with Alexander’s unborn half Asian child and his half Asian son by a ‘mistress’ in Barsine. By 309, many of those in Macedonia seem to have welcomed this half caste son - a son not borne of a royal wife. I’d suspect the interminable fighting of the Diadoch struggles made any Argead, no matter his ancestry, a palatable alternative.
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Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.

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

Post by Xenophon » Thu Feb 02, 2017 6:25 am

I'd agree with Hiphys remarks - up to a point. Whilst it proved in the end impossible for Alexander to establish an heir, that was largely his own fault. It was certainly possible for a Macedonian King to arrange for an heir to succeed him - Philip II having Alexander succeed him being a case in point. Mind you, I suspect given the turbulent history of Macedonian Royalty, that Alexander's succession was neither as smooth nor as certain as we are told, there is the hint in our sources that rivals might have acted.....

As System 88 points out things might have been very different if Alexander had an experienced adult heir.....

I think a most important point that Hiphys makes is that the nature of relationships then was rather different to that later. As I noted above on Jan 26:

"In this, Alexander makes provision for all those related to him by blood; the provisions are not historical, but the point is the list of relatives. Beside Olympias, the writer mentions the one surviving legitimate child of Philip II, Cleopatra; the three illegitimate ones, Philip Arrhidaeus, Cynane, and Thessalonice; and Cynane's daughter. He refers to Roxane's unborn child, and provides for either contingency, boy or girl. And he does not mention Heracles; he knows nothing of Heracles or Barsine, even though he knows all the members of the Royal house known to us from history. Note too that modern conceptions of illegitimacy are irrelevant, the thing that counts is a ‘blood relationship’."

As for Paralus' remarks, the likelihood is that Alexander knew his unborn child, if a son, would have little or no chance of surviving, let alone succeeding, and the Macedonians didn't have to be 'seers' to forecast troubles if Roxane's child was named heir. As Curtius says, that left only Arrhidaeus, a grown man, and "sole heir" and "next in blood" (as half brother) "born to such a hope"(kingship) [X.7]
This directly contradicts the earlier brief mention of Heracles, who would have fit all these criteria if he existed. The clear implication is that the brief mention of Heracles is a later fictional interpolation/insertion, and a clumsy one at that, because the interpolator made no effort to ensure any sort of consistency. ( let alone all the other evidence adduced that Heracles was not a real son of Alexander and did not exist at that time - he was as mythical as his namesake).

Paralus wrote:
"I’d suspect the interminable fighting of the Diadoch struggles made any Argead, no matter his ancestry, a palatable alternative."

Just so. Such a hope or yearning for an Argead King made Antigonus and Polyperchon's plot of a 'pretender' in the form of Heracles all the more palatable - Macedonians wanted to believe it.

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

Post by hiphys » Thu Feb 02, 2017 6:33 pm

I think that a son of Alexander (either named Heracles or not) did exist. Perhaps he was the same son by Roxane who died (according to Metz Epitome 70) in Autumn 326 b.C. during the Indian campaign. But the Heracles who Polyperchon tried to pass off as Alexander's son was most likely a fake. But what about Nearchus' support to Heracles (according to Curtius 10. 6, 10-12), during the debate on Alexander's succession? I can only guess some late source backdated Heracles' mention in Babylon conclave, "because" someone had to gain someting doing so (for instance a reward from Polyperchon ?). Unfortunately I have no proof at all of this conjecture.

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