Main site - entry for Olympias

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Alexias
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Main site - entry for Olympias

Post by Alexias » Mon Feb 26, 2018 10:54 am

Olympias, daughter of the Molossian King Neoptolemus I of Epirus and a Chaonian (Illyrian?) mother could also trace her ancestry back to two famous royal houses: that of Achilles and that of Troy. Additionally, she served as priestess at Dodona. At the age of sixteen, she took part in the Mysteries of Samothrace where she met Philip II of Macedonia who was about to become his country's ruler. Together they parented two children: Alexander, later called "the Great" and Cleopatra, later a queen of Epirus. Olympias and Philip fortified Macedonia and led it into an ancient renaissance unequalled for centuries.

While Philip was away at war for as much as three years at a time, it was Olympias who was left behind in Pella to administer Macedonia. Later when her son left for Asia, it was Olympias who again managed Macedonia and the west for a third decade. After Alexander's death, it was Olympias whom the Macedonians recalled from her retirement in Epirus to return to Pella as the Guardian of the Two Kings. Olympias became the first and only Macedonian woman to rule the empire and the example of excellence for those generations of Macedonian queens who followed her over the next three centuries. During the reign of her rival Cassander, it seems likely that records of her career were erased and her reputation slandered. However, some tombstone inscriptions have been found in south-eastern Aegean Macedonia referring to the tomb of Olympias. It appears that the Macedonians showed her one final act of justice and respect: a proper burial. And mostly through her son and husband, her name, at least, has not been forgotten.
This is currently the main site's entry for Olympias. I am recording it here as, in my opinion, it is inaccurate in stating that Olympias ruled Macedonia and I intend deleting and re-writing this entry. Any objections?

system1988
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Re: Main site - entry for Olympias

Post by system1988 » Mon Feb 26, 2018 1:29 pm

Also : ' Served as a priestess to Dodona ..." How do we know about that ? I cant find any source
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Alexias
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Re: Main site - entry for Olympias

Post by Alexias » Mon Feb 26, 2018 1:44 pm

Yes, I wasn't sure about that so I was going to have to check it out. But we also don't know her age when she met Philip, and this is pure romantic fabrication
Olympias and Philip fortified Macedonia and led it into an ancient renaissance unequalled for centuries.
. Strictly speaking, 'fortified' means building forts and Olympias didn't have anything to do with that (at least while Philip was alive), and they certainly didn't rule jointly, and they certainly didn't lead Macedonia into a 'renaissance', which means rebirth. There was nothing to rebuild - Philip was building a kingdom from nothing, and it had less to do with building forts and imposing a local ruler than it did on constantly moving his army about from one end of Greece to the other (although I doubt he was absent from Pella for 3 years at a stretch, and he certainly didn't leave Olympias in charge!).

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Xenophon
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Re: Main site - entry for Olympias

Post by Xenophon » Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:56 pm

Certainly that entry is badly in need of rewriting, for the reasons you mention and others. Philip assumed power in the Spring of 359 following the defeat and death of his brother Perdikkas III in battle against the Illyrians. From then until his death in 336, he carried out annual military campaigns, not so much against Greeks as against his neighbours such as Illyria, Paeonia and Thrace, building the first European empire. We have a complete chronological picture of his reign, from which it is easy to determine he never left Pella/Macedon for any three year period.

As for Olympias, she enters the stage of history in the Autumn of 357 (probably), when she became the fourth (of seven) wife of Philip.Her original name was Polyxene, then Myrtale.[Plutarch 'Moralia']. Philip bestowed the name/honorific Olympias on her in honour of his Olympic equestrian victory in 356. Contra Plutarch and his romantic tale, it was a purely political marriage, like all Philip's marriages. The evidence merely indicates that, in all probability, Olympias enjoyed more prestige than any of Philip's other wives for only three to five years of her roughly twenty-one years of marriage She was probably born around 375-373 BC, which would make her 16-18 aprox at the time of her wedding.

If you haven't already, I'd recommend to all reading Elizabeth Carney on the subject........

Alexias
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Re: Main site - entry for Olympias

Post by Alexias » Tue Feb 27, 2018 12:39 pm

Part of what I have been doing on the new website is a timeline for Philip. He was constantly on the move from Thrace to Thessaly, Illyria to the Chalcidian peninsula. Pella was at the centre of this web of expeditions.

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Xenophon
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Re: Main site - entry for Olympias

Post by Xenophon » Tue Feb 27, 2018 11:48 pm

Hi Alexias :)
I have a complete year by year chronology of Philip's reign which should be of some assistance to you, if only to cross-check your timeline.
I was going to PM it to you, but there doesn't seem to be a facility for adding attachments to PMs. If you PM me a normal email address, I'll send it that way......

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Re: Main site - entry for Olympias

Post by sikander » Sun Apr 01, 2018 9:51 pm

Greetings Alexias,

I see no objection to a re-write on the main page regarding some of the historical figures. A re-write can bring us up to date on new information and keep the site fresh.

Regards,
Sikander

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