Alexander the Great

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Alexander in the fray , detail of the famous " Alexander Battle " (mosaic, Pompeii , approx. 150-100 BC)

Alexander the Great ( ancient Greek Ἀλέξανδρος ὁ Μέγας Aléxandros ho Mégas ) or Alexander III. of Macedonia (* July 20, 356 BC in Pella ; † June 10, 323 BC in Babylon ) was from 336 BC. Until his death king of Macedonia and hegemon of the Corinthian League .

Alexander extended the borders of the empire that his father Philip II had established from the previously rather insignificant small state of Macedonia and several Greek poles , through the so-called Alexanderzug and the conquest of the Achaemenid Empire to the Indian subcontinent . After his invasion of Egypt he was welcomed there as a pharaoh . Not least because of his great military successes, Alexander's life became a popular motif in literature and art, while Alexander's assessment in modern research, as in antiquity , is ambiguous.

When he took office, the age of Hellenism began , in which Greek culture spread over large parts of the then known world. The cultural influences through the Hellenization survived the political collapse of the Alexander Empire and its successor states and continued to have an effect in Rome and Byzantium for centuries .


Early Years (356–336 BC)

The Taming of Bucephalus in Edinburgh

Alexander was born in 356 BC. Born as the son of King Philip II of Macedonia and Queen Olympias . Many details of his biography, especially from his childhood, were soon embellished in legend or invented. A good 400 years later, Plutarch reports that Alexander was undoubtedly able to trace his family tree on his father's side to Heracles and Karanos , the first king of the Macedonians, whereby Plutarch also implicitly emphasizes the descent of Alexander from the father of the gods Zeus . He also reports that Olympias and Philip had dreams that the seer Aristander interpreted to mean that the birth of a lion was imminent. Olympias claimed to be a direct descendant of the Greek hero Achilles and Aiakos , another son of Zeus . According to one (probably also legendary) story by Plutarch, Alexander is said to have tamed his horse Bucephalus at a young age , which later accompanied him to India, after no one had previously succeeded in taming it. Alexander realized what was behind the failures of the others: the horse seemed to shy away from its own shadow. Then Philip said to him:

Go, my son, find your own kingdom worthy of you. Macedonia is not big enough for you.

Aside from such legends, little is known about Alexander's childhood. Macedonia was a country that lay in the north of the cultural area of ancient Greece . It was viewed as " barbaric " by many Greeks , and only the royal line was recognized as Greek because of the alleged descent from Heracles. In ancient times there was no unified state of Greece, but rather a community of small and city-states connected by common culture, religion and language. In the early 5th century BC Macedonians were first admitted to the Olympic Games as representatives of the kings after Alexander I claimed a descent from the Greek Argos and from Heracles. Even today the discussion about the ethnic affiliation of the ancient Macedonians harbors political conflict.

From the available sources it can be seen that Macedonian , of which only a few words have survived, sounded like a foreign language to the Greeks. Whether Macedonian was a northern Greek dialect or a separate language related to Greek is still a matter of dispute. Culturally and socially, the Macedonians differed quite clearly from the Greeks: no urban culture (see Polis ), as an inner kingdom hardly any contact with the Mediterranean cultural area, and a monarchical form of government, which was not the rule in Greece at that time. The Hellenes at that time regarded kingship as a fundamentally non-Greek, barbaric form of government. For many Greeks, Macedonian society would have seemed at least archaic . It wasn't until the late 6th century BC. The Greek cultural influence in the Macedonian upper class increased.

Macedonia at the time of Philip's death

Alexander's father, Philip II, had united Macedonia, which had hitherto been rather insignificant, and which before him had been the object of conflict between the noble families and petty kings of the high and lowlands, secured its borders and, not least thanks to the development of rich precious metal deposits, made it the strongest military power of the time . He had conquered Thessaly and Thrace and finally forced all Greek city-states with the exception of Sparta into an alliance under his leadership ( Corinthian League ). Philip then began to prepare for a campaign against the Persians.

Alexander was last involved in the campaigns against the Greeks, especially in the Battle of Chaironeia (338 BC), in which an alliance of Greek polis led by Athens and Thebes were subdued. The Macedonian phalanx proved to be an important element for military success, but the central role of the Hetairen riding , which Alexander commanded at Chaironeia. His later successes undoubtedly go back in large part to his father's military reforms. Philip also surrounded himself with very capable officers, such as Parmenion , who also played a large part in Alexander's later victories.

Philip brought the Greek philosopher Aristotle to the Macedonian capital Pella and commissioned him to teach Alexander in philosophy, art and mathematics. Aristotle's influence should not be overestimated, but Alexander was certainly educated; According to Plutarch, he guarded his copy of the Iliad like a treasure, and he had great admiration for Greek culture.

The relationship between father and son was by no means free of conflict, especially with regard to the father's love affairs, through which Alexander saw himself threatened. Philip had in 337 BC Chr. Cleopatra , the niece of his general Attalos , married a concubine. Attalos is said to have poured fuel on the fire during a banquet and said he hoped that Philip would finally get a legitimate heir. Alexander, whose mother was not a Macedonian, started up in anger and yelled at Attalus:

Do you mean I'm a bastard?

Alexander threw a mug at Attalus and wanted to attack him. Philip got up and drew his sword, not to protect Alexander, but to help Attalus. But since Philip was already drunk, he stumbled and fell. According to Plutarch, Alexander is said to have looked at him scornfully and turned to the assembled Macedonians:

Look at him, gentlemen. This man wants to lead you from Europe to Asia, but he already fails in the attempt to go from one bed to the next. (Plutarch, Alexander , 9)

Alexander now evidently feared being excluded from the line of succession. Finally he and his mother fled to Illyria via Epeiros . After six months he returned to Pella, but his succession to the throne remained uncertain.

Philipp was born in the summer of 336 BC. Murdered by the bodyguard Pausanias during the wedding of his daughter Cleopatra to King Alexander of Epeiros in the old capital Aigai (also known as Vergina) . The motive of the perpetrator seems obvious: Pausanias, whom Alexander's friends killed immediately after the crime, had been a confidante of Philip and had been insulted by Attalus; he felt he was being treated unfairly by Philip. But soon there were rumors that Alexander had been involved in the act as a mastermind. The assumptions about the background to the murder and about the involvement of Olympias and Alexander are largely speculative, even if an accomplishment cannot be ruled out.

Taking over the government and securing power (336–335 BC)

Alexander the Great; Hellenistic, 2nd to 1st century BC BC, Greek marble

In 336 BC The twenty-year-old Alexander succeeded his father on the throne. The fact that there was no significant resistance is apparently due to Antipater , who persuaded the army to recognize Alexander as king. In the first few days he had members of the court executed who had spread the rumor that Alexander had something to do with the murder of his father. He next turned to his archenemy Attalus, who was on the run but was killed by his father-in-law Parmenion . Both Antipater and Parmenion were therefore in Alexander's special favor for a long time and benefited significantly from it: Antipater remained as imperial administrator in Macedonia during the Asian campaign , while Parmenion was rewarded for his support with great influence in the army.

In 336, Alexander had the allegiance of the Greek cities assured in Corinth . However, the peoples of Thrace and Illyria tried to take advantage of the situation and throw off Macedonian rule. Alexander moved in the spring of 335 BC. BC with 15,000 men north to today's Bulgaria and Romania , crossed the Danube and put down the Thracian revolt. Then he did the same with the Illyrians (see also: Alexander the Great's Balkan campaign ).

While Alexander was fighting in the north, the Greeks in the south decided that this was the time to break free from Macedonia. Their spokesman was Demosthenes , who tried to convince the Greeks that Alexander had fallen in Illyria and that Macedonia was without rulers. The residents of Thebes were the first to rise and drive the Macedonian occupation soldiers out of the city.

Alexander reacted immediately and marched south to Thebes directly from his Illyria campaign. The phalanx of his general Perdiccas conquered the city, where Alexander had all the buildings with the exception of the temples and the residence of the poet Pindar destroyed as a punishment . Six thousand residents were killed and the remaining 30,000 sold into slavery . The city of Thebes no longer existed and was only to be rebuilt twenty years later, but never found its way back to its old meaning.

Scared off by Alexander's criminal court, the other cities of Greece broke off their revolt and surrendered. Alexander had the Corinthians reassured him of allegiance and then spared them because he needed them as allies in his Persian campaign.

Beginning of the Persian campaign (334–333 BC)

Course of Alexander's march through Persia

The Persian Empire was the greatest territorial power on earth in Alexander's time. The Persian kings had conquered the Levant , Mesopotamia , Egypt and Asia Minor in the past centuries and between 492 and 479 BC. Several attempts were made to subjugate Greece as well (see Persian Wars ). From the point of view of Greeks and Isocrates as well as older researchers, the empire was around 340 BC BC weakened and had passed its zenith. In recent research, however, this is denied; Thus, a few years before the Alexander move, the Persians succeeded in recapturing Egypt, which had since fallen apart. It is therefore controversial whether Persia was easy prey for the Macedonians.

When Alexander in 334 BC BC turned to the Persian Empire, this was done by Dareios III. ruled from the house of the Achaemenids . Alexander's father Philip had already forged plans for an attack on the Persians, allegedly to take revenge for the invasion of Greece around 150 years earlier, whereby it was more a question of propaganda and political power reasons might have been decisive. An army under Parmenion , one of the most capable Macedonian generals, had already crossed the Hellespont into Asia, but was repulsed by the Persians. Alexander crossed the Hellespont in May 334 BC. With an army of around 35,000 Macedonians and Greeks to intervene in the fighting, while around 12,000 Macedonians under Antipater were supposed to secure Macedonia and Greece.

At the Battle of Granikos (May 334 BC) the first encounter with the Persian armed forces took place under the leadership of a war council of the satraps . The Greek Memnon of Rhodes , who fought for the Persians, led 20,000 Greek mercenaries, but could not prevail in the council of war with a defensive tactic. Alexander also achieved a clear victory due to an unfavorable line-up of the Persians. Memnon escaped with some of the mercenaries. This made the liberation of the cities of Ionia possible, which Alexander had named as the motive for his campaign. After the victory, Alexander appointed his own governors for the previous satrapies and thus took over the political and economic structures of the Persian administration of Asia Minor.

In Lydia , Alexander entered Sardis without a fight . He dedicated the local temple to Zeus and used the city's riches to pay for his men. Then he moved on to Ephesus . Shortly before, Memnon had passed through there with the remains of the Granikos mercenaries and had sparked unrest among the urban parties. Alexander had the old institutions restored and regulated the powers of the Temple of Artemis. After a break in planning and rest, the king set off with the bulk of his army for Miletus , the largest city on the west coast of Asia Minor. The local satrap was the only one who did not surrender, as he had been promised the arrival of a Persian auxiliary fleet of 400 ships. Since Alexander had also heard of this fleet, he instructed Nikanor, a brother of Parmenion, to block the entrance to the Bay of Miletus with 160 ships. He then succeeded in taking the city (→ Siege of Miletus ).

The Persians, who were still under the command of Memnon (although disagreements in the Persian high command had made effective resistance difficult), now rallied in Halicarnassus , the capital of Caria , and prepared the city for a siege. The fights were very costly for Alexander. In the meantime, he negotiated a truce to rescue the Macedonian fallen - something he had never done before and should never do again. When he finally broke through the walls, Memnon escaped with most of his soldiers on ships from the falling city (→ Siege of Halicarnassus ). By promising the Carian satrap's daughter Ada rule over Halicarnassus, Alexander secured an alliance with the people of Caria. Some sources say that Ada adopted Alexander. Here Alexander showed his tactic for the first time to show generosity towards defeated peoples in order not to turn them against the Macedonians.

The original goal of the Persian campaign, the conquest of the west coast of Asia Minor, was thus achieved. Nevertheless, Alexander decided to continue the expedition. Along the coasts of Lycia and Pamphylia , the Macedonian-Greek forces did not encounter any resistance worth mentioning. City after city surrendered without a fight. Alexander appointed his friend Nearchus governor of Lycia and Pamphylia.

In the winter of 334/333 BC In BC Alexander conquered the Anatolian interior. He advanced from the south, his general Parmenion of Sardis from the west. The two armies met in Gordion , the capital of the Persian satrapy of Phrygia . Legend has it that Alexander the Great cut the Gordian knot here with his sword, about which an oracle had prophesied that only he who untied this knot could gain dominion over Asia. But there is also the version that Alexander hit the wagon drawbar with the broad side of his sword, so that the pressure tore the knot apart.

The Macedonians stayed in Gordion for some time to await supplies of men and the importation of the harvest. During this time, Memnon, the commander of the Persian army, died in August 333 BC. From an illness. Pharnabazus was appointed his successor , and as the Persians were already regrouping, Alexander set out again. In Gordion he left his general Antigonus as governor of Phrygia and gave him the task of subjugating northern Anatolia and securing the supply routes.

Alexander's army marched through Cappadocia to Cilicia . There he took the capital Tarsus after a brief skirmish , where he stayed until October.

Battle of Issus (333 BC)

Alexander fights down at Issos Persians, detail from the " Alexander sarcophagus "

In Tarsus Alexander learned that Darius III. finally took the threat seriously enough to lead an army west from the Persian heartland. According to Plutarch, this Persian army was 600,000 strong - a statement that is certainly grossly exaggerated: the famous ancient historian Karl Julius Beloch , who was always very skeptical of the sources, estimated the actual number of Persians to be at most 100,000, but the strength of the Macedonian army to about 25-30,000 men.

Dareios managed to bypass Alexander's army in the north and occupy Issus , thereby blocking the supply routes. Darius also had the wounded who remained in Issus killed. In the battle of Issus , the armies met in battle until Darius fled the battlefield due to the great losses of the Persians. The Macedonians mourned 450 dead and 4,000 wounded. The Persian losses are unknown, but they are likely to have been much higher. Overall, the Persian leadership had made several mistakes during the battle, starting with the formation - there was no reaction to Alexander's regrouping. The battle was also of great importance as a symbol: Darius had shown himself to be no match for his opponent.

To secure the Persian camp, Alexander sent his General Parmenion to Damascus . In addition to the rich war treasure, there were also several members of the royal family here. The prisoners who fell into the hands of the Macedonians included Darius's mother, his wife Stateira, a five-year-old son and two daughters. Alexander treated her with respect. Barsine , the widow of Memnon , was also captured . A love affair broke out between Alexander and Barsine, which later resulted in a son who was called Heracles .

Soon, Darius asked Alexander to sign a friendship treaty and release his family. Alexander replied that Darius should come to him and recognize Alexander as "King of Asia", then his request would be granted; otherwise he should prepare for the fight.

After the battle, Alexander founded the first city in Asia, which he named after himself: Alexandretta, today's İskenderun . Here he settled the 4,000 wounded in the battle.

Location after the battle of Issus

The outcome of the battle surprised the ancient world. The expectations of the rulers of Carthage, in Italy, Sicily, from Sparta to Cyprus, the calculations of the merchants in the western Mediterranean, in Athens, on Delos and in Phenicia were not fulfilled: “... instead of the expected news of victory from Cilicia came the complete one Defeat of the great king, from the complete annihilation of the Persian army. "

The delegations from Athens, Sparta and Thebes , who followed the course of the campaigns at the headquarters of the great king in Damascus, were also imprisoned by Alexander's general Parmenion. Alexander himself resisted the temptation to quickly decide the war by marching into Babylon , but it was not easy for him to convince his commanders and companions of a defensive strategy.

The Persian fleet still ruled the eastern Mediterranean - it no longer had any ports in Asia Minor, but still in Phenicia. The financial means of the Persians were still not limited by the coin tributes here, and Egypt was still available to them as a logistical and military base. While the upcoming winter storms were no fleet enterprises expect and therefore no danger of a rapid survey of the Greeks against Macedonia - particularly the Spartan king Agis IV. -, but there was now also on the behavior of the Phoenician squadron, which provided much of the Persian fleet . Although they remained abroad at this time of year, Alexander assumed that he could at least neutralize these contingents by immediately occupying their hometowns. "Even the Cypriot kings believed they had to fear for their island as soon as the Phoenician coast was under Alexander's control." After the occupation of Phoenician and Egypt, a campaign to Asia could then be carried out from a secure base, although the Persians of course also had time won for new armor. The assembly approved Alexander's plan.

The battle of Issus had not yet brought a fundamental decision: contrary to expectations, the Macedonian army was not destroyed, and Alexander had the means to continue the campaign with the Persian war chest in Damascus. This did not result in a decision in the war. "2,600 talents in coins and 500 pounds of silver" were drafted in Damascus , who "(were sufficient) to pay all the armed forces' debts and pay for about six more months ..."

Siege of Tire and the Second Offering of Darius (332 BC)

While the cities in the northern half of Phenicia - Marathos , Byblos , Arados , Tripoli and Sidon - willingly surrendered to the Macedonians, the dominant trading metropolis of Tire was at most willing to make a comparison. They built on their island location just off the coast, on their own fleet available locally and the support of their powerful daughter city Carthage . After Alexander was denied entry to the city - his touchstone was the desire for a sacrifice in the temple of the city god Melkart, the Tyrian Heracles - the king broke off negotiations. He decided to take Tire at all costs, because he was already planning the advance into Egypt and did not want to leave an enemy city that would cooperate with both the Persians and rebellious forces in Greece undefeated in his back. An alleged speech by Alexander Arrian to his officers, in which the strategic considerations are explained, is, however, a literary fiction based on the knowledge of the later course of the campaign. Before the start of the siege, Alexander offered the tyrers protection in case they surrendered. However, they killed his negotiators and threw the bodies off the city walls. The way to an agreement was finally blocked.

Without a fleet, there was only the possibility of building a dam through the mostly shallow waters that separated the offshore island city from the coast, and the attempt to destroy parts of the walls with siege engines. Alexander was able to finance this elaborate method, which required a developed technique and the appropriate materials and skilled workers, with the booty from the Persian headquarters in Damascus.

A first dam was successfully opposed by the Tyrians, they succeeded in stormy weather with a Brander two siege towers at the top of the dam to thwart any attempt to delete ignite and escorts with guns. The storm also tore away the front part of the dam.

The incident caused discouragement in the Macedonian army, especially since Darius ambassadors arrived and brought a new peace offer from the great king, which offered Alexander “the possession of the land on this side of the Euphrates ”, 10,000 talents ransom for his captured wife and the hand of his daughter. The reaction of the commander Parmenion - presumably transmitted by Callisthenes - also fell during this period : If he were Alexander, he would accept. Alexander replied that he would do the same if he were Parmenion. Alexander sent word to Darius that he, Alexander, would take whatever he wanted; if Dareios wants to ask anything of him, he should come to him.

The dam was restored to a greater width and new towers were built. In the meantime - after the winter storms - the Phoenician fleet contingents and the squadrons of the kings of Cyprus arrived in their home ports and were now available to Alexander; a total of 250 ships, including four and five oars.

This alliance was also based on the hostility of the smaller cities of Phenicia to Tire: Twenty years earlier, the metropolis had advocated an uprising under the leadership of Sidon against the Persians and promised help, but then waited for the conflict to unfold and was in favor of the Persians Attitude has been rewarded. After the suppression of the uprising and the destruction of Sidon, Tire gained dominance among the Phoenician trading cities.

While the newly acquired fleet was being equipped, Alexander undertook an expedition through the coastal mountains of the Antilebanon to conquer the fortresses of mountain tribes, to secure supplies (wood for mechanical engineering) and to secure the connection to Damascus.

The Carthaginians could not help the Tyrians because they were at war with Syracuse. After further eventful battles for the city walls and at sea, which cost the Tyrians more and more ships, the time for the assault was ripe. Alexander decided to launch a combined land and sea attack. On the side accessible through the dam, it was possible to break through the walls and carry out a landing operation, the Phoenician ships blew up the barrier chains in the south port and bored the ships lying there into the bottom, the Cypriot fleet also proceeded in the north port - there it was successful the troops to penetrate the city additionally. The reported number of 8,000 fallen in the city is said to refer to the entire siege period. Whether the alleged crucifixion of 2,000 fighters that followed is true is controversial. In the run-up to the last attack, Alexander let ships of the Carthaginians and his allied Phoenicians pass to evacuate the population. Those who had fled to shrines or temples were spared.

Numerous residents - the traditional number of 30,000 is considered greatly exaggerated - were sold into slavery. This was a common practice in ancient times to replenish war coffers. However, Alexander is said to have very rarely resorted to this method, because he wanted to win the population for himself, because he could not afford a constant threat from insurgents in his hinterland, which could hardly be occupied.

Tire was rebuilt and repopulated to secure the dominant position in Phenicia under Macedonian sovereignty. The news of this victory achieved with the most modern war technology - the siege towers are said to have reached a height of 45 meters - made a strong impression in the ancient world far beyond the affected region.

Conquest of Gaza

Alexander, who also took care of the administration and logistics in the newly won territories during the siege, “set out from Tire around the beginning of September 332.” The cities and tribes in southern Syria surrendered except for the port city of Gaza .

The city had been the main hub of the spice trade for centuries. By conquering the city, Alexander was able to bring one of the most lucrative trade areas between East and West under his control, but the Macedonians were not only faced with Persians, but also with Arab mercenary troops. The fight was waged with appropriate severity.

Greek trireme around 400 BC Chr.

Alexander could not expect an immediate profit from a conquest, because the spice trade of the year was concluded, since "the route was only traveled once a year." Weather conditions and "orientation weaknesses limited the activities of Mediterranean seafaring to six months between May and October, in which the weather was usually reliably good. […] In fact, the time was in mid-August (Hesiod, 700 BC), because the return journey was also due. "This trip was organized until late antiquity as a huge" Kauffahrtgeschwader "first along the eastern coasts - above all Grain freighters, slave and building material transports as well as mail ships and others that were then escorted across the sea by warships. With the siege of Tire, the trading companies were in 332 BC. Has already been severely affected.

Alexander immediately seized the port of Gaza to deliver the dismantled siege engines. The city itself was on a flat hill near the sea. Gaza was also the last free anchorage for the Persian fleet in Syria and thus also on the entire eastern Mediterranean coast. The fleet was meanwhile in the process of dissolving, as the Greek contingents now also - due to climate change - sailed back to their home ports in autumn.

Once again at great expense, the Macedonians built a dam on the south side of the city, which was then supplemented with further, concentric dams. The fighting - especially with the Arab mercenaries - was described as "wild", Alexander was wounded twice; with a knife stab and - more dangerous - with a catapult arrow that penetrated the armor into the shoulder. After two months and the fourth onslaught, the city fell, around 10,000 defenders are said to have died, and women and children were sold as slaves.

It is doubted that the commandant Batis, like Hector, should have been dragged around the city by Achilles before Troy . “Alexander drew the population of the surrounding Philistine and Arab towns into the city; a permanent occupation made it an arsenal that was equally important for Syria and Egypt. "

It is assumed that the transport of spices to Gaza was then stopped in the “rock city” of Petra - the station in front of the Incense Route. Petra was the “central incense store”, as the city had huge storage halls (caves) in a basin. “In Petra, the economists were in control of what they wanted to bring to the Mediterranean coast at what price.” For 332, however, business was already over.

According to the seasonal conditions, the merchant fleets also returned in the autumn and arrived in Phenicia everywhere in ports controlled by the Macedonians. The dissolution of the Persian navy in the autumn was also a routine matter, but it was clear to everyone involved that due to the Macedonian occupation of all the mainland ports in the eastern Mediterranean, the contingents would not be reunited under Persian command next spring.

Sea War (332 BC)

While Alexander with the army in 332 BC BC spent most of the year with sieges to complete his blockade of the Persian naval power - taking control of the Phoenician ports and their trade - the Persian fleet was weakened by the withdrawal of the Phoenician and Cypriot contingents in the spring and acted defensively.

The admirals Pharnabazos and Autophradates tried - mostly with the help of favored or appointed rulers - to keep the most important islands under their control. In Greece, which Alexander's governor Antipater had firmly under control except for the Peloponnese, there was no resistance.

Only the Spartan King Agis III. still bet on the Persian map and had Crete occupied by his brother and co-regent Agesilaos.

But already in the previous year, during the stay in Gordion in 333 BC. Chr. Had commissioned Alexander "Amphoterus the brother of Orestiden Krateros" "to equip a new Greek fleet in accordance with the arrangements of the Alliance." "Thanks," the looted treasures from Sardis "get the beginnings to and after the victory of Issus and the following winter, which did not permit any naval ventures, Alexander's new fleet stood in the spring of 332 BC. Ready.

Now the Macedonian nauarchs Hegelochus and Amphoteros were able to occupy the islands systematically - from Tenedos and Chios (where the Persian admiral Pharnabazos was captured with the crew of 15 Trireme) - to Kos and finally Lesbos. There the Athenian mercenary leader Chares negotiated free withdrawal with two thousand men and went to Tainaron , the port and mercenary market south of Sparta.

Amphoteros finally subjugated the Cretan bases, while Hegelochus was already heading for Egypt “in order to deliver the report of the outcome of the fight against the Persian naval power himself, and at the same time to deliver the prisoners [...] So with the end of the year 332 the last remnant was Persian naval power, which would have endangered the Macedonian army in the rear and prevented its movements, was destroyed. "

Occupation of Egypt (332–331 BC)

Egyptian name of Alexander the great
Horus name
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protector of Egypt
Throne name
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Chosen by Re, loved by Amun
Proper name
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Hiero Ca2.svg

After conquering Gaza, Alexander set off with part of his army for Egypt.

Egypt had been attacked and occupied several times by the Persians in the previous seven decades and was regularly lost to them through rebellions. It had only been in the hands of the great king for three years, but “Egypt was stripped of troops because the satrap Sabakes had come to Issus with a large contingent and had died there himself. [...] Mazakes , appointed (new) satrap by the great king [...], could not think of resistance. "He handed over 800 talents for safe conduct to the border fortress of Pelusion .

Part of the Macedonian fleet now sailed up the Nile to the capital, Memphis, while Alexander and the troops went there on the land march via Heliopolis . In Memphis, Alexander sacrificed (as he also made sacrifices to the gods of other conquered lands) to the Egyptian god Apis , instead of despising him like the Persian great king Artaxerxes III. who made the holy bull of God killed. "In return, Alexander seems to have been crowned Pharaoh of Upper and Lower Egypt, although this honor is only mentioned in the" fictitious " Alexander novel ." "The coronation cannot be dated to the exact month, but it is confirmed through the pharaohs title, which are ascribed to him in Egyptian temple inscriptions. ”The publisher also published a photo of a relief in the Amun temple at Luxor .

Alexander then moved north along the western Nile and founded in January 331 BC BC on the Mediterranean coast of Alexandria , the most important of all of his city foundations.

In March Alexander moved from Paraetonium 400 km southwest through the desert to the Oracle of Siwa , a temple dedicated to the god Amun . What messages he received there is unknown. Ancient sources report that Alexander learned there that he was the son of Zeus ; that is how the chief priest is said to have greeted him as the "son of Zeus". However, Alexander had previously referred to himself as the son of Zeus. From Siwa Alexander returned to Memphis, stayed there for a few weeks and then led his troops back to Palestine.

Conquest of the Persian heartland (331–330 BC)

In May 331 BC Alexander returned to Tire. Here he ordered the reconstruction of the city, which he had resettled with friends of the Phoenicians. An additional 15,000 soldiers had been dispatched from Macedonia in the spring, and they met Alexander at Tire in July. His army now consisted of 40,000 foot soldiers and 7,000 horsemen.

Alexander moved east through Syria and crossed the Euphrates . His plan may have been to move south from here to Babylon, but an army under the Persian satrap Mazaeus blocked the way. Alexander avoided the battle that would have cost him many men and instead moved north. In the meantime, Darius himself was gathering a large new force in Assyria , and it was this army that Alexander wanted to meet. In September 331 BC The army crossed the Tigris .

On September 20, just before the battle, there was a lunar eclipse that unsettled the Persians and interpreted it as a bad omen . Alexander's army camped 11 km from the Persian army near a village called Gaugamela, which is why the battle that followed became known as the Battle of Gaugamela . A fight broke out on October 1st. Although this time the army of Darius was numerically far superior to Alexander's troops, Alexander won again. But he was unable to kill Dareios himself or to take him prisoner. Although he had escaped again, his army was practically destroyed. Alexander, on the other hand, had now gained control over the satrapy of Babylon and was able to move into rich Babylon unhindered. Mazaeus, who had withdrawn to Babylon after the battle of Gaugamela, handed the city over to Alexander, who entered it through the Ishtar gate and was proclaimed "King of Asia".

While the Greeks had previously despised the peoples of Asia as barbarians, Alexander saw them with different eyes. Fascinated by the splendor of Babylon, he ordered all buildings to be spared. Alexander forgave the Persian satrap Mazaeus and appointed him his governor in Babylon.

After a five-week stay, Alexander moved eastward to attack the great Persian cities in the heartland. Susa surrendered without a fight. In January 330 BC The Macedonians reached the Persian capital Persepolis . Numerous residents committed suicide or fled before he moved in. The older opinion that Alexander plundered the city and had the royal palace burned down has now been relativized by the more recent source criticism. Archaeological finds confirm that only the buildings that Xerxes I had built were on fire, which makes the representation of Arrian more likely.

Persecution and death of Darius (330 BC)

Darius fleeing from the battlefield
(detail from the "Alexander battle mosaic")

Persia was now in Alexander's hands, but King Darius III. was still alive and on the run. Since Alexander had been informed that Darius was in the media , he followed his trail northwest to Ekbatana in June . But Darius's supporters now had no hope of winning back Persia either. The perfection of defeat only allowed the possibility of surrendering or of fleeing with Darius for life. Bisthanes, a member of the royal family, decided to stay in Ekbatana, where he received Alexander and gave him the city. Alexander was again generous and appointed a Persian to be his governor in the media. In Ekbatana Alexander also dismissed the Greek allies and the Thessalian horsemen, which was to be understood as a sign that the "campaign of vengeance" decided by the Corinthian Covenant was ended. However, parts of the army were recruited as mercenaries by Alexander.

In the meantime, Dareios continued his flight. He hoped to find refuge in Bactria , where a relative named Bessos was a satrap. But Bessus imprisoned Darius and sent a negotiator to Alexander. He offered him to hand Darius over to the Macedonians if in return Bactria remained free. Alexander did not enter into the negotiations and continued the pursuit. Bessos killed his hostage in July and in turn fled. The body of Darius was brought to Persepolis by Alexander and was solemnly buried there.

Persecution of Bessus (330–329 BC)

In the meantime Alexander had realized that he needed the support of the Persian nobles to secure rule over the Persian Empire. He therefore used Dareios' murder to call on the Persians to take revenge against Bessus, who had now given himself the name Artaxerxes and called himself the Great King of Persia. The soldiers were not very enthusiastic about the fact that they should repay the death of their archenemy and also fight together with the Persians. In addition, the land in the northeast was completely unknown to them. The provinces of Bactria and Sogdia there were roughly on the territories of today's states Afghanistan , Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan .

In August 330 BC In BC Alexander embarked on a new campaign and first conquered Hyrcania , the Persian satrapy on the south coast of the Caspian Sea . Among those who fought with Alexander was Oxyartes , a brother of Darius. Instead of choosing the direct route to Bactria from Hyrcania, Alexander went through Aria , whose satrap Satibarzanes had been involved in Darius's capture. Alexander conquered the capital Artacoana, sold the inhabitants into slavery and renamed the city Alexandreia; the current name of the city is Herat .

On his way, an incident occurred when Philotas , the son of Parmenion , was accused of attempting an attack on Alexander's life. It is unclear whether this attempt was actually made. Perhaps the Alexander affair merely served as a pretext to get rid of Parmenion, who had become the spokesman for his critics. They disapproved of Alexander's tendency to honor the Persians and wear their robes, and viewed this as an ingratiation to a barbarian people. Philotas was killed on the spot with a spear. A courier was then sent to the aides of the Parmenion who remained in Ekbatana. They killed Parmenion on Alexander's orders.

After an arduous journey along the Tarnak River, Alexander reached the center of present-day Afghanistan in April 329 and founded Alexandria in the Hindu Kush (today Chârikâr). From here Alexander wanted to cross the mountains and invade Bactria in this way. Legend has it that the mountain to which the Titan Prometheus was chained was found here.

When the news reached Bactria that Alexander was about to cross the Hindu Kush, the inhabitants of Baktra (now Balkh ) feared the punishment of their city and drove Bessus out. The arduous crossing of the mountains, however, had forced the soldiers to slaughter some of their pack animals. When they arrived exhausted in Bactria, the land was handed over to them without a fight. Alexander appointed his Persian confidante Artabazos, the father of the Barsine, to be a satrap.

Alexander did not stay long in Bactra and continued to follow Bessus, who had fled north to Oxus ( Amu Darya ). The 75 km long march through a waterless desert was fatal for many. In the meantime, Bessos had destroyed all the ships that could have crossed the Amu Darya. It took the Macedonians five days to build enough rafts to cross the river. Then they transferred to the Satrapy of Sogdia in what is now Turkmenistan .

The Besso's companions no longer wanted to flee. They mutinied against him, took him prisoner and handed him over to Alexander. He showed himself merciless and had Bessos cut off his nose and ears. Alexander then handed the maimed man over to Darius' brother Oxyartes so that he could take him to Medien to the place where Darius had been murdered. There Bessus was crucified.

Alexander went further north and reached the Sogdian capital Marakanda (today Samarkand ). All the satrapies of the Persian Empire were now under Alexander, and no one except himself claimed the title of king over Persia.

Alexander in Sogdia (329–327 BC)

Alexander bust of Lysippus , Roman copy of an original from around 330 BC Chr.

After taking Marakanda, Alexander moved on to Syr Darja and founded there in May 329 BC. The city of Alexandria Eschatê ("the most distant Alexandria"), today's Khujand in Tajikistan . At about the same time the people of Sogdia rose against him. The leader of the rebellion that caused Alexander considerable trouble was a man named Spitamenes , who had previously betrayed Bessus and handed over to Alexander. The Sogdians , who had initially greeted Alexander but now saw that one foreign rule was being replaced by another, brought down the Macedonian garrisons. Alexander gathered troops and marched from one rebellious city to another, besieging seven of them and then killing all of the male residents, probably to set a chilling example. In the meantime, Spitamenes recaptured Marakanda , but Alexander won the city again, although Spitamenes escaped. As the army was weakened and greatly reduced, Alexander had to give up the pursuit. In anger he burned down the villages and fields of those peasants who had supported the Sogdian revolt. For the winter of 329/328 BC He withdrew to Bactra and expected new troops, which soon arrived from the west and were sorely needed.

In the spring of 328 BC Alexander returned to Sogdia. According to the sources, he founded another Alexandria on Amu Darya, which is perhaps identical to the present-day settlement of Ai Khanoum . The fight against the Sogdian rebels lasted the whole year. It was only months later that it became apparent that the supporters of the hospital were beginning to leave their commander. Alexander finally became the head of the rebel leader in December 328 BC. Brought to BC.

While the victory was being celebrated, a dispute broke out between Alexander and his general Kleitus . Kleitus, who was old Macedonian, was about to leave for Bactria. The reason was probably his age, but Kleitus saw this as a disparagement. It is also possible that on this occasion Kleitos criticized prosksynesis , a Persian court ritual adopted by Alexander. The contestants were drunk at this point, and Kleitus had begun to praise Alexander's father, Philip. Alexander felt so offended by this that a dispute broke out, in the course of which Alexander looked in vain for his weapons, as they had been put aside by a bodyguard as a precaution. Alexander, who was possibly afraid of treason , shouted for a lance in Macedonian, snatched one from a guard and killed with her Kleitos, his lifesaver on the Granikos. When Alexander regained his senses, he deeply regretted this act: It is said that he should have complained and cried and tried to kill himself. In any case, he saw this act as one of his worst mistakes. Alexander's tendency to excessive alcohol consumption - although he drank almost exclusively in company - remained a weakness in which he often lost self-control. Drinking together with the men was an integral part of social life in the Greek world (see symposium ).

In the following year 327 BC BC Alexander conquered two Sogdian mountain fortresses. Then there was no one left who could have resisted him. The Sogdians had risen against Alexander for two years and involved him in ever new skirmishes. After that time, most of them were dead or enslaved. Before Alexander returned to Bactria, he left a crew of 11,000 in the conquered areas of Sogdia.

Alexander in Bactria (327 BC)

Back in Bactra, Alexander gave a series of orders that further alienated his Macedonian generals from him. Since Bactrian horsemen had proved helpful in the campaigns in Sogdia, Alexander ordered his generals to train 30,000 young Persians and Bactrians to be phalanx soldiers. Locals were also integrated into the cavalry. The soldiers reluctantly accepted the conditions because they still did not trust the Persians.

Alexander married the Sogdian princess Roxane in Bactra , daughter of a man named Oxyartes (not identical with the brother of the same name of Darius). Through this political marriage he intended to contribute to the pacification of Sogdia. In return, Alexander sent his long-time lover Barsine and their illegitimate son Heracles away. The marriage was also an insult to Alexander's ally Artabazos, the father of Barsine, his governor in Bactria.

Alexander also tried to introduce the Persian court ritual of Proskynesis : anyone who wanted to appear before the king had to bow to him and press his face to the floor. Free Macedonians and Greeks underwent such a gesture of submission only to the gods. It is said that several of Alexander's generals refused to humiliate themselves in this way in front of him. From then on it was only valid for Persians.

Alexander's orders were found to be so strange that this time there was a risk of open revolt among the Greek soldiers. As part of the so-called page conspiracy , Alexander had a number of former followers executed, including his court biographer Callisthenes .

Indian Campaign (326 BC)

Alexander with an elephant scalp, symbol of his Indian conquests

After conquering the entire Persian Empire, Alexander made the decision to expand his empire further east. India was a semi-legendary country for the Greeks that they hardly knew anything about. The country that was then called India is not identical to today's state of India. It began where Persia ended, in eastern Afghanistan, and included Pakistan and what is now India. There was no defined eastern border, as no traveler had ever penetrated far into India. The westernmost parts of that India had belonged to Persia in the time of Darius I , although India itself was not a unified state, but consisted of a large number of little-known small states. There was no military necessity for the Indian campaign. The reasons are still being discussed in research today without an agreement having been reached. Possibly it was Alexander's curiosity and belligerence, a kind of irrational striving and longing for success (pothos) ; but also theses such as those of the endeavor to consolidate one's authority through ever new military victories are cited. In any case, the Indian campaign turned out to be a severe test.

At the beginning of the year 326 BC BC Alexander advanced with two armies into the valley of the river Kabul , which was then part of India. The advance was particularly cruel. Alexander showed less and less generosity towards conquered regions. Cities and villages were destroyed and their people murdered. The two armies met on the Indus . Alexander made the country between Kabul and Indus the province of Gandhara and appointed his follower Nikanor as their governor.

On the other bank of the Indus, Alexander's troops were received by Omphis , the king of Taxila , about 30 km from present-day Islamabad . Here Alexander met a man named Kalanos whom he asked to accompany him on his further campaigns. Kalanos agreed and became Alexander's adviser; evidently he was very useful in the coming negotiations with Indian leaders.

From the court of Omphis, Alexander called on the other Punjab states to submit to him and to recognize him as god. This was refused by Poros , the king of Pauravas , which was separated from Taxila by the river Hydaspes (today Jhelam ). In May Alexander crossed the Hydaspes during a downpour and defeated a mounted unit under the son of Porus. The Greeks and Persians moved further east. In numbers they outnumbered the small army of Poros that awaited them, but they found it difficult to cope with the lush forested land with its constant rainfall. They had also received reports that Poros maintained a unit of war elephants with which the Greeks had never competed before. The Indians were defeated in the Battle of the Hydaspes . In this battle, Alexander's horse Bucephalus is said to have died in the Hydaspes, although other sources say it died of old age before the battle. In honor of his long-standing mount, Alexander founded the city of Bukephala (today probably Jhelam in Pakistan ). Porus was pardoned and appointed Alexander's governor in Pauravas.

Further to the east on the Ganges was the Kingdom of Magadha , little known even to the people of Punjab. Alexander wanted to conquer this country too. In heavy monsoon rains , the largely demoralized army tormented its way east and had to cross one flood after another. At the end of July the crossing of the Hyphasis (today Beas ) was due, and the soldiers were still a long way from Magadha. Here the men mutinied and refused to go on; her only endeavor was to return home. Alexander was beside himself, but was ultimately forced to turn back. On the banks of the Hyphasis he founded another Alexandreia and settled many veterans here, who had little hope of ever returning to Greece.

Return to Persia (326-325 BC)

The arduous way back to the Hydaspes lasted until September. In Bukephala, the construction of 800 ships had begun to sail down the river to the Indian Ocean . However, these were not enough to transport Alexander's entire army, so foot soldiers had to escort the ships on the bank. In November they set out from Bukephala, but ten days later they encountered rapids at the confluence of the Hydaspes and the Acesines (now Chanab ) in which several ships overturned and many Greeks lost their lives.

The further way led through Indian states, which Alexander had not subjugated. The army was attacked again and again, and the Persians and Greeks destroyed cities and villages wherever they came in their way. In the fight against the Maller , Alexander was seriously injured by an arrow while storming a city (perhaps Multan ). The bullet penetrated his lungs; although Alexander survived, he would suffer the consequences of this wound for the rest of his life. From the sickbed he ordered that another Alexandreia (near today's Uch ) should be founded at the confluence of the Acesines and Indus rivers and that Roxane's father Oxyartes should be appointed governor of the new province.

Next, Alexander attacked the States of Sindh to fight the way south for his army. The kings Musicanos, Oxicanos and Sambos were subjugated. Musicanos, who later started a rebellion, was ultimately crucified. Only when the monsoon started again did the army reach 325 BC. The mouth of the Indus and the Indian Ocean. Alexander founded the city of Xylinepolis (now Bahmanabad) here and made the fleet ready for action. While about a quarter of the army was supposed to return by sea, the majority had to return to Persia by land. In August 325 BC The land army set out under Alexander's leadership. The fleet, under the command of Nearchus , left precipitously a month later, as the locals had begun to rise. Practically immediately after the withdrawal of the army, the newly conquered small states of India fell away and rose up against the veterans who remained in the new cities, about whose further fate nothing is known in very few cases.

Today's Balochistan was then known as Gedrosien . Although the Persians warned against crossing the Drosian desert, Alexander took this risk, probably because the route was the shortest. However, the background to this is controversial in research. Whether he really wanted to surpass the legendary Queen Semiramis is at least questionable; If so, then Alexander was probably interested in relativizing the setbacks of the Indian campaign caused by this company. The strength of his army at this point in time is also uncertain, from a probably exaggerated 100,000 men to a probably more realistic 30,000. The sixty days of hardship left countless soldiers dead from exhaustion, heat stroke or dying of thirst; the fact that Alexander's leaders were apparently quite incompetent also played a role. In December the soldiers reached Pura (now Bampur), one of the easternmost outposts of Persia, and were thus safe.

Mass wedding of Susa, revolt in Opis and death of Hephaestion (324 BC)

Hephaestion near Issus, detail from the so-called "Alexander sarcophagus"

Alexander founded in January 324 BC Another Alexandreia; today Golashkerd . On the way west, he came across Nearchus and his men in Susa, who had survived the sea route largely unscathed. New celebrations were used to marry 10,000 Persian women to soldiers - the mass wedding of Susa .

The marriages were seen by Alexander as a necessity in order to promote the growing together of the Persians and Macedonians / Greeks. He himself married two women, namely Stateira , a daughter of Darius, and Parysatis . He was now married to three women. The weddings were celebrated according to Persian ritual. Alexander's father had already used marriage to several women as a diplomatic means of stabilizing and expanding his sphere of influence.

In research this was interpreted as an attempt to operate a kind of "merger policy" ( Johann Gustav Droysen ). The British historian Tarn even saw it as an attempt to “unite humanity”; however, many other modern historians such as Badian or Bosworth reject this.

In order to take on further attributes of a Persian state, Alexander appointed his long-time friend Hephaistion (and after his death Perdiccas) as chiliarch ( vizier ) and his general Ptolemy as taster . Both titles were unknown in the West. In addition, trials were opened against several governors who had enriched themselves or who had not performed their duties properly. Harpalus, a childhood friend of Alexander and his treasurer, feared such a process because of his behavior. He left for Greece with 6,000 mercenaries and 5,000 silver talents, but was soon murdered in Crete.

Alexander's innovations widened the gap between him and his Macedonian generals. Since the number of soldiers of Iranian origin in the army began to surpass those of the Macedonians, they feared that they would soon be completely irrelevant. Persians were now also allowed to hold higher ranks in the army, which the Macedonians regarded as unheard of. When the army reached the city of Opis on the Tigris , Alexander allowed many Macedonians to return home. What they had longed for before, they now saw as an affront, since this seemed to be the first sign of their replacement by Orientals. Sources report that some of the soldiers shouted savage insults at Alexander. Alexander responded by relieving them of their positions and threatening to send the Persian soldiers against them. The soldiers apologized and were forgiven. 11,500 Greek soldiers were sent home in the following days.

In the autumn of 324 BC In BC Alexander went to Ekbatana , where Hephaistion fell ill and died after one of many drinking sessions. Alexander, who had been Hephaestion's lover for many years (at least until the campaign in Iran), was beside himself with grief. According to Plutarch, he had his friend's doctor crucified, had the hair of horses and mules shaved and sacrificed, fasted for several days and then hosted a monumental funeral. Then he had all the Kossaier killed. The relationship between Alexander and Hephaestion is often equated with that between Achilles and Patroclus . Because since the family of Alexander's mother Olympias traced back to the hero from the Trojan War , Alexander compared himself to Achilles and his friend to Patroclus.

Alexander, like his father Philipp and many other Macedonians and Greeks of his time, had relationships with women - he had several, the most famous and most serious of which was that of Roxane - and with men, some of which were sexual in nature . Same-sex relationships were not outlawed at the time, but the social status of the partner did matter.

Alexander's Last Year and His Death in Babylon (323 BC)

The funeral procession as described by Diodorus
(attempt at reconstruction in the 19th century)

Alexander had the Persian royal treasure minted, throwing the Achaemenid fortunes into the Middle East's exchange system, which financed a steep increase in the volume of market transactions in the Mediterranean region. The fact that the Attic standard was now - except in Ptolemaic Egypt - generally in the Hellenistic world, facilitated international trade and shipping.

At the Olympic Games in 324 BC In BC Alexander had the so-called Exile Decree proclaimed, with which he ordered the Greek Poleis to take back the citizens who had been driven into exile for political reasons. This represented a massive encroachment on the autonomy of the cities, led to violent conflicts in the communities and was ultimately the reason why Athens and several other cities rose up against Macedonian rule after the death of the king in the Lamian war .

In February 323 BC Alexander returned to Babylon . Here he prepared new campaigns that should lead to the capture of the Arabian Peninsula . Whether, as Diodorus reports, he also planned to subsequently conquer the western Mediterranean with Carthage has long been a matter of dispute. Most recent research assumes that Alexander actually had such an expedition prepared, since the Macedonians had a very large fleet at their disposal during the Lamian War in 322, which was supposedly originally built for the enterprise against Carthage . In May, shortly before the planned departure of the army for Arabia, Alexander announced that his dead friend Hephaistion would henceforth be worshiped as a demigod after a messenger had arrived from the Siwa oasis , where Alexander had requested Hephaistion to be deified. On this occasion he organized celebrations at which he gave himself up again to excessive drinking. The next day he developed a fever , and finally died on June 10th.

With regard to the cause of death, several theses have been discussed since then, including one that Alexander fell ill with West Nile fever . Alcohol poisoning is also repeatedly considered. According to a tradition widespread in antiquity, however, it was poisoned (allegedly with the poisonous water of the Styx ). It is more likely that his physical debilitation from numerous combat injuries and excessive wine consumption led to illness. Since doctors at the time trusted in the cleansing effects of induced vomiting and diarrhea, it was customary to give Weisser Germer in small doses . The traditional symptoms of Alexander are typical of a poisoning by White Germer. The doctors may therefore make his condition worse by giving him repeated doses.

Alexander's body is said to have been placed in honey for preservation . Contrary to the wishes of the deceased to be buried in the ammonium of Siwa , he was buried in Alexandria .

Alexander's last words when asked who he was going to leave his kingdom to should have been: To the best. Furthermore, Alexander uttered a dark prophecy: He believed that his friends would hold big funeral games for him . He gave his signet ring to Perdiccas, who had been his closest confidante after Hephaistion's death.

Alexander tomb

The Egyptian King Ptolemy I and his wife Berenike I.

Alexander had requested a burial in the Ammon sanctuary of the Siwa oasis. Only after two years of preparation did the funeral procession in Babylon begin. He was received in Syria by Ptolemy, the future king Ptolemy I , and led to Egypt. There the body was not brought to the oasis, but first buried in Memphis . Later (probably during the reign of Ptolemy I, a few years after his death at the latest) he was moved to Alexandria after a splendid burial place had been erected for him. It was replaced by a new mausoleum under King Ptolemy IV , which then also served as the burial place of the Ptolemies , who, like all Diadochi, referred to Alexander's example. The mummified corpse was in a golden sarcophagus, but it was in the 1st century BC By King Ptolemy X. was replaced by a glass one that revealed the embalmed corpse. This step by Ptolemy X, which was later mistakenly interpreted as desecrating the grave, was supposed to promote the cult of Alexander.

Visits to the grave are attested for Caesar , Augustus , Septimius Severus and Caracalla . It may have been destroyed during the city riots in late antiquity or a natural disaster. In the turmoil of late antiquity, knowledge of the location of the grave was lost (at least the corpse, according to Libanios, was still to be seen at the end of the 4th century). The church father Johannes Chrysostomos († 407) asked in a sermon the rhetorical question about the location of the Alexander tomb in order to illustrate the transience of the earthly; he could therefore assume with certainty that none of his listeners knew where the famous building had been. The memory of it was still preserved in Islamic times; an alleged burial site was shown in the 10th century. In the 15th and 16th centuries, European travelers reported a small building in Alexandria that was passed off as the tomb of Alexander. Many attempts at localization have been made since the 18th century, all of which have so far failed.

Historical outlook

The Diadochian empires after the Battle of Ipsos in 301 BC Chr.

After Alexander's death, the loyalty to his family, which could not provide a ruling successor, proved to be very limited. Although the inheritance claim of his mentally weak half-brother and also that of his posthumously born son was initially recognized, this regulation did not last. His mother Olympias of Epirus , his wife Roxane , his son Alexander IV , his illegitimate son Heracles , his sister Cleopatra , his half-sister Kynane , her daughter Eurydice and his half-brother Philip III. Arrhidaios met a violent death. Instead of the members of the previous Macedonian royal family, Alexander's generals took over power as his successors ( Diadochi ). Since none of them was strong enough to assert themselves as sole ruler, a long series of civil wars broke out in which one struggled for power in alternating coalitions. In the course of the Diadoch Wars , the huge empire was divided into Diadoch empires . Three of these empires proved to be permanent: that of the Antigonids in Macedonia (up to 148 BC), that of the Seleucids in Western Asia (up to 64 BC) and that of the Ptolemies in Egypt (up to 30 BC). Alexander left numerous newly founded cities, many of which bore his name; the most important was Alexandreia in Egypt.




Alexander became a mythical figure during his lifetime, to which his claim to be the sons of God contributed. The contemporary narrative sources are not preserved or only in fragments. In addition to the fragments of the alleged office documents of Alexander ( ephemeris ) , most of them were reports from participants in the Alexanderzug. The court historian Callisthenes accompanied Alexander to record and glorify the king's deeds. His work "The Deeds of Alexander" only lasted until 331 BC. BC, but had an enormous influence on the later Alexander historians. Other authors of Alexander stories were King Ptolemy I of Egypt, who had lived as an officer and court official near Alexander, Aristobulus , who denied or weakened what was unfavorable to Alexander, as well as Alexander's naval commander Nearchus and his helmsman Onesikritus . The greatest aftereffect among these early Alexander historians was achieved by Kleitarchus , who was a contemporary but not a participant in a campaign himself, but rather gathered information from Alexander’s officers and soldiers in Babylon and combined it into a rhetorically embellished presentation, including fabulous elements. One of these early legends was, for example, the false claim that Alexander and Darius met repeatedly in hand-to-hand combat.

In the 2nd century AD, the Roman Senator Arrian wrote his Anabasis , the most reliable ancient Alexander source, based on the older sources, among which he preferred Ptolemy and Aristobulus . Strabo probably also dealt with the life of Alexander in his historica hypomnemata ("historical memorabilia") that have not survived ; its preserved geography contains information from lost works by the early Alexander historians.

Further information can be found in the 17th book of the universal history of Diodor , which was based on Kleitarchos. Plutarch wrote a biography of Alexander, whereby it was more important to him to understand the character from a moral point of view than to the historical process. Quintus Curtius Rufus wrote a story of Alexander that received little attention in antiquity. Justin chose for his presentation from his (lost) model, the universal story of Pompeius Trogus , above all events that were suitable to entertain his readership.

The accounts of Curtius, Diodorus, and Pompey Trogus depend on a common source; the news material that they consistently pass on probably comes from Kleitarchos. This tradition (Vulgate) offers some valuable information; Curtius is slightly favored over Arrian in French research. Additional material has come down to us from Athenaios as well as in the Metz Epitome and the Itinerarium Alexandri . Only a few fragments have survived from the works of Chares of Mytilene and Ephippus of Olynthus .


Antique Alexander medallion

As a source for the historical Alexander of relatively little value, but literarily of extraordinary importance is the " Alexanderroman ". This term is used to describe a large number of ancient and medieval biographies of Alexander, which describe and glorify his legendary deeds. Over the centuries, the material has been continuously edited and embellished. The original Greek version in three books, which forms the starting point for all later versions and translations into many languages, was probably written in Egypt in the late 3rd century. Its unknown author, who was probably a citizen of Alexandria, is referred to as Pseudo-Callisthenes because part of the handwritten tradition erroneously ascribes the work to the Alexander historian Callisthenes of Olynthus. This work was based on older, non-preserved novel-like sources, fictional letters from Alexander and smaller stories. The best-known of the letters is a letter allegedly addressed by Alexander to Aristotle about the wonders of India, which was built into the novel in an abbreviated version and has also come down to us separately.

The common term "novel" refers to the literary genre of the ancient novel . In contrast to the modern novel , the author and his ancient and medieval readership stuck to the claim that the content was historiography and not literary invention.

The novelist alienates the historical Alexander's idea that he was a son of the Egyptian god Ammon ( Amun ) by making Alexander an illegitimate child. In the novel, Alexander's father is the king and magician Nectanebos, who fled Egypt to Macedonia and appears as Ammon (meaning the pharaoh Nectanebos II. ). Nectanebos seduces Queen Olympias while her husband Philip is absent. Later Alexander, who grows up as the son of Philip, kills his biological father; only then does he learn his true origin. This is how the Egyptian author made Alexander an Egyptian. Another essential innovation of the pseudo-Callisthenes is the introduction of a non-historical train to Italy by Alexander, on which the Macedonian comes to Rome. Like all other western empires, Rome submitted to him without a fight. Then he subdues the peoples of the north in heavy battles before he goes against the Persian Empire. This shows the literary need to let the hero conquer the west and north so that his world domination is completed. In the novel, Roxane is a daughter of the Persian king Dareios, whom the dying Alexander gives as his wife. The last of the three books, which deals with the Indian campaign and the death of the hero, is particularly marked by miracles and fantastic elements. It also describes Alexander's alleged visit to Queen Kandake of Meroe , where the king appears in disguise but is exposed (an episode which later editors of the material give an originally completely missing erotic component). Eventually Alexander is poisoned.

In the early 4th century Iulius Valerius made a free Latin translation of the Alexander Romance (Res gestae Alexandri Magni) . He made hundreds of additions, changes and omissions. He removed inconsistencies and formulations that could put the Macedonian king in an unfavorable light, and added details that were advantageous for Alexander. His Alexander is an ideal figure equipped with all the virtues of rulership; he makes mistakes, but learns from them.

Another component of the ancient legend of Alexander are fictional dialogues between the king and the Indian Brahmins, as well as letters that are said to have been exchanged between them. The Indians try to show the superiority of eastern wisdom and a simple, natural way of life compared to Greek civilization and Alexander's striving for power. This literature was also widespread in both Greek and Latin. Since it was about fundamental questions of conduct and asceticism, the effect in Christian times was considerable.

Cult and role model

The rulers who came to power in the various parts of his empire after Alexander's death were not related by blood, and as far as there was loyalty to the conventional order in Macedonia, it applied to the ruling house as a whole, although it was not specifically related to kinship Alexander arrived. Therefore there was little reason for an official state cult of Alexander in the Diadochian kingdoms; this was left to the individual cities. Only in the high and late Hellenistic times did political recourse to Alexander become an important means of propaganda. A special case, however, was Egypt, whose new capital, Alexandria, was founded by Alexander and the site of his tomb. The Ptolemies ruling there promoted the cult of Alexander from the start as part of their propaganda. Initially, however, it did not form a central part of their legitimation of power and was only intensively politically instrumentalized by Ptolemy X, who had the double name "Ptolemy Alexandros".

A prominent opponent of the Romans, King Mithridates VI. von Pontos († 63 BC), stood out for his emphatically imitated Alexander . He dressed in Alexander's cloak, which he had captured from the Ptolemies, and thus illustrated his claim to be the champion of Greece and savior of the Hellenistic monarchy from the Romans. Later the Roman general Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus , who defeated Mithridates, captured this cloak and wore it on his triumphal procession. The obvious Roman imitation of Alexander began with Pompey, whose epithet “the great” reminded of Alexander, initially as a reaction to Mithridates' propaganda. Several Roman generals and emperors followed Alexander's propaganda; they compared themselves to him and tried to repeat his successes in the east. In some cases, the admiration for Alexander increased to a demonstrative imitation of outward appearances. The admirers and imitators of Alexander among the emperors included Trajan , Caracalla and (with reservations) Julian . Augustus temporarily wore an image of Alexander on his signet ring, Caligula put on the alleged tank of Alexander brought from Alexandria, Nero set up a new legion for a planned campaign in the Caucasus, which he called the "Phalanx of Alexander the Great", Trajan put on a helmet, that Alexander is said to have worn. Emperor Severus Alexander , who was originally called Alexianus, changed his name to refer to the Macedonians.


The destruction of Thebes left a very deep and lasting impression on Greece . It was felt not only by contemporaries, but for centuries (even in the Roman Empire) as an outrageous cruelty that Alexander was charged with, and cited as a historical example of a terrible catastrophe. The ancient speakers were particularly fond of speaking about it and used this opportunity to arouse strong emotions in their audience. It was said that Alexander acted like a wild beast and as a monster (apánthrōpos) . This tradition of interpretation was still accepted in Byzantine times.

From a philosophical point of view, Alexander was usually judged negatively, as his way of life contrasted with the philosophical ideals of moderation, self-control and peace of mind. The Stoics in particular criticized him severely and accused him of arrogance; Their criticism was also directed against Aristotle (the founder of a rival philosophy school), who had failed as Alexander's educator. The Cynics also used to judge Alexander disparagingly, with the anecdote of the king's encounter with the famous Cynic philosopher Diogenes of Sinope as the starting point. According to her, Diogenes had only asked Alexander, who left him a wish: "Get out of the sun", and Alexander is said to have said: "If I were not Alexander, I wanted to be Diogenes." In the philosophy school of the Peripatetics founded by Aristotle Alexander's rejection was also pronounced, if not consistently. The reason for this was apparently originally tensions between Aristotle and Alexander, which found a late echo in the Roman Empire in a baseless rumor that Aristotle had prepared a poison with which Alexander was murdered. Cicero also shared the philosophers' negative image of Alexander . He tells the famous anecdote of the captive pirate who was confronted by Alexander for his wrongdoings, to which the pirate replied that he was acting on a small scale from the same drive that the king did the same worldwide.

Seneca expressed the stoic point of view particularly drastically . He described Alexander as a mad fellow, a blown up animal, a robber and a plague of the people. Seneca's nephew, the poet Lucan , expressed a similar opinion . The philosophically oriented emperor Julian, who admired Alexander as a general, criticized him at the same time for excessiveness and unphilosophical way of life.

There was also a small minority among philosophically oriented authors who praised Alexander. This included Plutarch, who in his two declamations "On the luck or virtue of Alexander the Great" made the king a philosopher ruler whose conquests brought justice and peace to barbarian peoples and thus humanized the subjugated. These early works by Plutarch were, however, rhetorical exercises in style that did not necessarily reflect his real conception. In his biography of Alexander, Plutarch expressed himself far more critically, but also tried to justify Alexander. Dion of Prusa , who admired the emperor Trajan, who was linked to Alexander, paid tribute to the heroic sentiments of the Macedonian king.

A popular topic among the Romans was the hypothetical question of how a military conflict between the Roman Empire and Alexander would have gone. The historian Livy studied it in detail and came to the conclusion that the Roman military leaders were superior to the Macedonian king. Alexander owed his victories to the military ineffectiveness of his opponents. Livy combined this assessment with a devastating judgment of Alexander's character, which had been spoiled by the king's successes. A similar judgment was made by Curtius Rufus, who attributed the Macedonian victories more to luck than to efficiency and believed that the development of tyrannical traits in Alexander's character was the result of excessive success.

From a Jewish point of view, the verdict on Alexander was very favorable. The Jewish historian Flavius ​​Josephus describes the Macedonians favoring the Jews and claims that when Alexander came to Jerusalem, he prostrated himself to the God whom the Jews worshiped. It is a Jewish modification of a Greek story.

In the 4th century, bronze coins from Alexander were worn like amulets in the east of the empire .

Orosius stands out among the church fathers as the most radical critic of Alexander. In his Historia adversus paganos (“History against the Gentiles”), based on Justin , he describes him as a bloodthirsty, cruel monster and great destroyer.

middle Ages

Christian-medieval interpretation of the coronation of Alexander from the 15th century.

The mediaeval Alexander reception was extraordinarily intense and diverse. The legends were in the foreground. The ancient shape was adapted to medieval ideas; for example, the king receives a knight's doctorate ( sword leadership ). The subject particularly stimulated poets in the West as well as in the Orient to work; over 80 poems were written in 35 languages.


The fundamental ancient sources that were available in Western and Central Europe in the Middle Ages were, besides Pseudo-Callisthenes, the eagerly received Curtius Rufus, Justin, who only served as a secondary source, and the much-noticed Orosius, whose negative assessment of Alexander, however, received little attention. The fairytale-like elements of the Alexander novel made a particularly good impression and stimulated the imagination of the editors to further develop them. The novel was translated into numerous European languages, with Latin versions forming the basis; Added to this were the partly strongly differing versions in oriental languages ​​(Armenian, Old Syriac, Hebrew, Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Ethiopian, Coptic).

The prophecy in the biblical book of Daniel about the fall of the successive world empires also played an essential role ; Alexander, who, according to medieval interpretation, destroyed the second of the four world empires and founded the third, appeared in this light as an instrument of God. The first chapter of the first Book of Maccabees also contained a brief summary of Alexander's life story; there one read that he reached the end of the world and that "the world fell silent before him". This biblical background gave it additional meaning.

Catalog of Heroes

In the late Middle Ages Alexander was included in the circle of the Nine Good Heroes , a popular catalog of heroes in vernacular literature, which named the three greatest heroes for the Old Testament, Greco-Roman antiquity and Christian times; for antiquity it was Hector , Alexander and Caesar . This series of heroes was received even more widely in the visual arts (sculpture, painting, textile art) than in literature.

Middle Latin literature

Alexander the Great in the original manuscript of Liber floridus made in 1112/1121 : Gent, Universiteitsbibliotheek, Ms. 92, fol. 153v

The image of Alexander in the Latin-speaking world of the Middle Ages was largely shaped by the Latin Alexander novel. In the early Middle Ages, the main effect did not come from the original version of the translation by Julius Valerius, of which only three complete manuscripts have survived; Far better known was an excerpt (epitome) from this work that was preserved in more than 60 manuscripts and was created in the 9th century at the latest . Around 968/969, the Archipresbyter Leo of Naples made a new Latin translation of the pseudo-Callisthenes from the Greek, the Nativitas et victoria Alexandri Magni ("Birth and Victory of Alexander the Great"), which was published several times - most recently in the 13th century - has been revised and expanded; the revised versions are known under the title Historia de preliis Alexandri Magni ("History of the Battles of Alexander the Great"). The poet Quilichinus of Spoleto wrote a version of the Historia de preliis in elegiac distichs in 1237/1238 , which became popular in the late Middle Ages. Even more influential, however, was Alexandreis Walters von Châtillon , written between 1178 and 1182 , an epic in ten books based on the depiction of Curtius Rufus, which became a school reading and in the 13th century surpassed Virgil's Aeneid in popularity as a schoolbook . Walter almost completely refrained from evaluating the material in the Alexander novel. For him Alexander was the always victorious hero, who overcame himself and all enemies and thus achieved immortal fame.

The relationship between these authors and their audience and Alexander was mainly characterized by admiration for extraordinary heroic deeds and amazement at the fairytale and exotic. Alexander's death received special attention; it gave rise to innumerable religious and edifying considerations aimed at the finitude and nullity of all human greatness in the face of death. Among other things, many small poems, including in particular Alexander's fictitious grave inscriptions, indicated this aspect.

Medieval readers were particularly fascinated by a story about Alexander's flight to heaven and diving expedition, which Leo of Naples reproduced based on the Greek novel. According to this legend, the king wanted not only to reach the extreme limits on the surface of the earth, but also to explore the sky and the depths of the ocean. To this end, he and his friends devised and built an aircraft pulled by griffins and a glass submersible vehicle held by chains. The flight of the sky was often depicted by medieval artists. Hans Christian Andersen processed the story in his art fairy tale The Bad Prince in the 19th century , but without naming Alexander.

The Iter ad Paradisum ("Journey to Paradise"), the Latin version of a Jewish legend about Alexander's attempt to find the earthly paradise , the Garden of Eden described in Genesis , dates from the 12th century .

In addition to hero worship, there were also isolated extremely negative interpretations of Alexander's personality. In the 12th century, the prominent theologians Hugo von St. Viktor and Gottfried von Admont equated him with the devil .

Stories from the Alexander novel were included in world chronicles and encyclopedias, which further expanded their reception.

The Latin tradition formed the basis for the vernacular reception. In the vernacular literatures, numerous prose works and poems on subjects from the Alexander saga emerged, with the various Latin versions of Pseudo-Callisthenes, the Historia Alexandri by Curtius Rufus and the Alexandreis Walters von Châtillon being processed.

Romance literatures

"Alexander's Coronation" by Jean Fouquet (15th century)

Alberich von Bisinzo (Albéric de Pisançon), who wrote the oldest vernacular biography of Alexander in the early 12th century, a poem in the Franco-Provencal dialect that has only partially survived, emphatically rejected the legend of Alexander's illegitimate birth and emphasized his noble descent from his father's and mother's side emerged. He also emphasized the ruler's excellent education, which - in accordance with a medieval ideal of education - included knowledge of Latin and Hebrew in addition to Greek (which the Macedonians had to learn like a foreign language). After the middle of the 12th century, further French poems were written that dealt with individual episodes from Alexander's life (the siege of Tire, the Indian campaign, the end of his life). They were put together in the late 12th century to form the “standard version” of the old French Roman d'Alexandre (also: Roman d'Alixandre ), which achieved the greatest impact of all the vernacular versions of the material that were widespread in the Romance-speaking area. This epic consists of over 20,000 verses, twelve and thirteen silver; from the Roman d'Alexandre this meter was later given the name Alexandrian . The novel depicts Alexander's life by linking four poems of different origins. In addition to the old stock of the Alexander legend, there are also a number of freely invented people and events. The author depicts Alexander in the style of the chanson de geste as a very class-conscious, knightly feudal lord of the Middle Ages. He particularly emphasizes the generosity of his hero and presents the ideal of a harmonious relationship between king and vassal. In addition to epic games, especially in the battle descriptions, there are also more novel-like and fantastical ones. Several poets later added additions, in particular the portrayal of revenge for the poisoning of Alexander, in response to a public need. In England, in the late 12th century, Thomas of Kent wrote an Alexander novel in Alexandrians in the Anglo-Norman language called Le roman de toute chevalerie . In contrast to all older novel-like adaptations of the material, he easily accepted the idea that Alexander was the result of his mother's adultery, which had been an unacceptable flaw for the earlier authors.

In the 15th century, prose versions of the Roman d'Alexandre were made . The old French prose Alexander novel found widespread use. The admiration for Alexander reached a high point in the Duchy of Burgundy at the court of Duke Philip the Good († 1467) and his successor, Charles the Bold .

The most important Spanish adaptation of the material is El libro de Alexandre . This epic contains over 10,000 verses (Alexandrians), making it the most extensive epic poetry in Spain from the 13th century. The unknown author, an excellently educated clergyman, pursues a moral goal; He wants to show the reader the exemplary virtue of the hero on the basis of the narrated events.

In Italy, a number of vernacular works about Alexander's life in prose and verse were written, mostly based on the Latin Historia de preliis . The oldest completely preserved Italian Alexander poem is the Istoria Alexandri regis by Domenico Scolari from the first half of the 14th century. Scolari largely christianizes his hero; Alexander is a pious, almost holy miracle worker. As a universal monarch, he makes the world happy through justice and peace. In the 15th century interest in the Alexander legend reached its peak in Italy.

German literature

The German legend of Alexander and Alexander seal implemented the mid-12th century with the Alexander Song of the priest Lamprecht one who remains close to Alberich's verse novel. The three surviving, later edited versions of Lamprecht's poem, the "Vorauer Alexander", the "Strasbourg Alexander" and the "Basler Alexander", however, set different accents in the assessment of Alexander. In “Vorauer Alexander” there is clear criticism of the king. Alexander acts according to God's will, but is portrayed as haughty and domineering; The destruction of Tire is condemned as a grave injustice, since the Tyrers, as loyal subjects of the Persian king, only fulfilled their duty. In addition, he appears to be pitiless because he does not mourn the death of the many fallen. On the other hand, he has caution, which allows him to overcome his tendency to irascible indifference, with which he sets an example and sets himself apart from the very negatively drawn Dareios. Alexander is deliberately portrayed as an ambivalent personality. An author who judges from a chivalrous-aristocratic point of view creates a simpler picture of Alexander in “Strasbourg Alexander”; here the king is idealized as an exemplary fighter, general and ruler. As such, he does not act on his own authority, but seeks advice from his vassals. He is clever, just and kind, and his tendency to be angry, which was already negatively valued in antiquity, is presented as reasonably justified. However, he is not free from arrogance; He lacks the moderation to become a perfect ruler, which he still attains in the last phase of his life, with which he completely realizes the ideal. In “Basler Alexander”, another element, which is also central to the mediaeval reception of Alexander, dominates: the joy of the wonderful, the strange and the exotic. This treatment of the material is aimed at the entertainment needs of a broad, late medieval public no longer primarily oriented towards chivalric ideals.

In the 13th century, the poet Rudolf von Ems wrote the (albeit unfinished) epic Alexander . He portrays the king as an exemplary virtuous hero and knightly prince, who legitimizes himself as a ruler through his moral qualities. As an instrument of God, Alexander carries out God's will. It is through him that the Persians, who with their behavior aroused the wrath of the Almighty, are chastised. His actions are part of salvation history; he can serve as a model for Christian rulers. Ulrich von Etzenbach describes in his poem Alexander (28,000 verses) , written between 1271 and 1282, the king not only as a noble knight, but also as an extremely pious man of God, who owes his victories to his godly behavior and trust in God; the virtues ascribed to him come from the depiction of saints. Ulrich disapproves of individual acts such as the murder of Parmenion; in this he differs from Rudolf, in whom Alexander is flawless and Parmenion is responsible for his own fate. In 1352 the poet Seifrit, known only from his only work, completed his Alexander poem, in which he emphasized Alexander's role as world ruler and tried to keep his hero away from the common accusation of pride.

In the 14th and 15th centuries, the Alexander material was widely used in new prose arrangements; one is in the Great Soul's Comfort (middle of the 14th century), the other is Johann Hartlieb's Histori of the great Alexander , which was written after the middle of the 15th century. Both served a moral purpose, but their authors used completely opposite evaluations. In the great consolation of soul, Alexander offers the terrifying teaching example of a thoroughly greedy person, whose curiosity, greed for possession and greed for power ultimately lead to ruin, because he tries to cross the limits set for man. For Hartlieb, on the other hand, he is a model of manly and princely virtue and, moreover, inspired by a scientific striving for knowledge. What is striking for medieval conditions is the positive evaluation of the thirst for knowledge, an urge to research directed towards nature, to which Alexander is ascribed.

Alexander dramas were also created and performed in the 15th century, but their texts have not survived.

While the works designed with literary aspirations usually glorify Alexander or at least let him appear in a predominantly positive light, the religious-edifying and morally instructive prose writing often emphasizes negative traits of the Macedonian king; there he is cited as a chilling example of excess and cruelty. His flight into the sky serves clergymen such as Berthold von Regensburg as a symbol of outrageous arrogance. On the other hand, important poets like Walther von der Vogelweide and Hartmann von Aue emphasize Alexander's exemplary milte (generosity).

English literature

Despite the traditionally great interest in Alexander cloth in England, there was an Alexander novel in English only in the late Middle Ages, the Middle English poem Kyng Alisaunder , which probably dates from the early 14th century. She portrays the king as a hero and emphasizes his generosity, but also does not hide his excessiveness and rashness. A number of other accounts of Alexander's life were based on the Historia de preliis Alexandri Magni , which was popular in medieval England.

Byzantium and Slavic countries

Aviation of Alexander the Great, north facade of San Marco, Byzantine Spolie in Venice .

The novel by Pseudo-Callisthenes also formed the starting point for the popular Byzantine reception of Alexander. It was initially available in a Middle Greek prose adaptation from the 7th century. Several new versions were made in the late Byzantine period. Here Alexander has assumed the form of a Byzantine emperor; he was sent by God and endowed with all the virtues of knight and rulership, but is not made a Christian, but assigned to the area of ​​the Old Testament. He is friends with the prophet Jeremiah and is protected by him. The Byzantine Alexander poem was written in 1388.

The most popular scene from the Alexander legend in Byzantium was the flight into the sky, which was often depicted in the fine arts.

In the South and East Slavic literatures, the Alexander material was widely received, with the tradition going from the Greek Alexander novel to Church Slavic adaptations into the vernacular. An old Bulgarian version of the novel (Aleksandria) became the starting point for reception in Russian chronicles. In Russia, the Alexander novel was widespread in several versions in the High Middle Ages. In the 14th century, a new version began to dominate, based on the Byzantine folk novel and characterized by strongly pronounced features of the medieval chivalric novel. The Serbian version (“Serbian Alexander” or “Serbian Alexandreis”), which was also used in Russia and was the model for the late medieval Georgian prose translation, was particularly popular . This type of Alexander legend prevailed in Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria and Romania.

Arabic literature

In medieval Arabic-language literature, Alexander was known as "al-Iskandar" because the beginning of his name was confused with the Arabic article al . It was mentioned in pre-Islamic poetry. His identification with the Qur'anic figure of Dhū l-Qarnain ("the two-horned"), of whom it is mentioned in Sura 18 that he built a dam against Gog and Magog (verses 83-98), had consequences. This identification was accepted by a majority, but not unanimously, by Muslim scholars. According to current research, the derivation of the figure Dhū l-Qarnain from Alexander and the origin of the motif from the old Syrian Christian legend of Alexander is a certain fact. The name of Alexander as "two-horned", which is widespread in the Orient, appears in a late antique Alexander legend in the ancient Syriac language, where Alexander is a Christian ruler, whose head God let two horns grow, thus giving him the power to rule the kingdoms of the world conquer. The original reason for the designation "the two-horned" offered the ancient pictorial representation of Alexander with ram horns, which pointed to his deification. The god Zeus Ammon (Amun), whose son Alexander considered himself, was depicted as a ram or ram-head.

In the Koran, the story of the two-horned man is revealed to the prophet, because he is supposed to share it when asked about it. Alexander appears in it as a pious servant of God, to whom power on earth was given and "a way to everything". He reached the far west of the world, where the sun “sets in a muddy spring”, and gained dominion over the people living there (here you can see an echo of Pseudo-Callisthenes, Alexander's coming to Italy and the entire west ingested). Then the two-horned man took the path to the extreme east and came to the place where the sun rises (this is why the medieval interpreters of the Koran usually interpreted the two-hornedness as a sign of rule over the west and east). Eventually he went in a different direction and came to an area where people lived who were threatened by attacks by two peoples, the Yāǧūǧ and Māǧūǧ (Biblical Gog and Magog ), and asked him for help. To protect the threatened, he built a gigantic iron wall between two mountain slopes, without asking for wages, that the attackers could not climb or break through. This protective wall will last until the end of the world. - An ancient Syriac version of the legend of Alexander's lockout by Gog and Magog (in the Revelationes of Pseudo-Methodius) was translated into Greek and Latin and received a lot of attention in Europe.

The preceding passage of the 18th sura (verses 59-81) also seems to be influenced by the Alexander legend, although in the version of the Koran Moses is the protagonist instead of Alexander. A miracle related there (resuscitation of a dried fish) apparently comes from the Alexander novel; it also occurs in a late ancient Syriac version of the legend. It can be assumed that the material of the Alexander romance was already widespread in Arabic translation at the time the Koran was written.

The Islamic esteem for Alexander, which resulted from his description in the Koran, led some authors to count him among the prophets.

Medieval Arabic-speaking historians treated Alexander's government rather curtly. In contrast to the European Christian chroniclers, important Muslim historians such as Ṭabarī , Masʿūdī , Ibn al-Aṯīr and Ibn Chaldūn did not deal with the Alexander legend or only in passing; they adhered primarily to the tradition about the historical Alexander. Ṭabarī viewed his sources critically; he relied in particular on the representation of the important scholar Ibn al-Kalbī († 819/821) and presented the destruction of the Persian Empire as necessary and justified, since Darius ruled tyrannically. Dealing with the legends was not a topic for historians, but a concern of theologians who dealt with the interpretation of the Koran. Extensive legends about Alexander were spread in Muslim Spain ( Al-Andalus ); There it was said that he had ruled the Iberian Peninsula as king and resided in Mérida .

In addition, Alexander also appears in the Arabic wisdom literature, where he is described as a scholar and music lover. His name appears very often in collections of sayings, some of which are ascribed to him, others are about him.

Persian and Turkish literature

Alexander in a 14th century Persian manuscript

In Persian , Alexander was called Iskandar , Sikandar or Eskandar . In late antiquity, a legend was spread in the Persian Sassanid Empire that he dealt a severe blow to the Persian religion, Zoroastrianism , by having religious writings destroyed. Therefore, Alexander was hated by the followers of this religion and was considered a diabolical being. After the Islamization, this legend had the opposite effect, because now Alexander was turned into a champion of monotheism against pagan idolaters.

The famous Persian poet Firdausī († 1020) incorporated a version of the Alexander legend into the Iranian national epic Shāhnāmeh, deviating in some details from Pseudo-Callisthenes. For him Alexander was a "Roman Emperor" and a Christian who fought under the sign of the cross; evidently he was thinking of the Byzantine emperors. In addition, he made - like Ṭabarī, who was of Persian descent - Alexander to a half-brother of Darius, with which he appropriated him for Persianism; the annihilation of the Persian Empire turned into a fraternal dispute within the Iranian ruling family.

In 1191 the Persian poet Nezāmi created the Eskandar-Nāme ("Alexander Book"). His Alexander is completely Islamized; he is a monotheistic hero who exterminates the Zoroastrianism of the Persians with fire and sword and for it receives the acclaim of the poet. He subdues not only India but also China and reaches Spain in the west. As with Firdausī, Alexander also visits Mecca and cleans the Kaaba there. He is also a philosopher and a great promoter of science; he commands the scholars to collect the knowledge of all peoples. The Eskandar-Nāme became the model for some later poems of a similar nature.

The manuscripts of the Persian Alexander Books were adorned with illumination from the 14th century, despite Islamic prohibitions on images. In northern India, the Mughal emperors of the 16th century provided images for such books.

In 1390 the Turkish poet Tāǧ ed-Dīn Ibrāhīm Aḥmedī wrote the Turkish epic poem Iskendernāme , the first Turkish adaptation of the Alexander cloth . Nezāmi's “Book of Alexander” formed the basis for this, but Aḥmedī also had other sources from which he obtained additional legendary material. His work was famous in the Ottoman Empire for a long time and also reached Iran and Afghanistan.

Hebrew literature

The Jewish reception of Alexander was shaped by the fact that the Macedonian was already regarded as a friend of the Jewish people and a servant of God in ancient times. In the medieval Hebrew literature on Alexander, material from different traditions flowed together. On the one hand it was about material from the Greek Alexander novel or the Historia de preliis , on the other hand it was about individual legends of Jewish origin (behavior of Alexander in Jerusalem, his protective measures against Gog and Magog, his stay in earthly paradise and other stories).

The Hebrew tradition was not only influenced by the Greek and Latin, but also influenced the Western European legend of Alexander. A variant of the story of Gog and Magog, introduced by Petrus Comestor , was widespread in the Latin-speaking world , according to which Alexander locked out not the savage peoples Gog and Magog but the ten Jewish tribes in order to punish them for turning away from the true God.

Ethiopian Alexander legend

The Alexander novel reached Christian Ethiopia by way of a detour via an Arabic version. The material has been heavily redesigned for the needs of a spiritually minded audience. Alexander becomes a Christian king who preaches the Christian faith. He lives chaste and is an example of virtue. He dies like a hermit after distributing his fortune to the poor. This particularly extensive reworking of the novel turns it into a book of edification.

Humanism and early modern times

“Alexander's Entry into Babylon” by Charles Le Brun , 1661–1665

Petrarch also dealt with Alexander in his work "On Famous Men", sticking to Curtius Rufus, whose negative remarks he picked out; He withheld the positive.

The extraordinary fame of the legendary figure Alexander continued into the early modern period. The chronicler Johannes Aventinus († 1534) wrote that “no lord, no prince is as well known to our people, even to the common unlearned man” as Alexander. On the other hand, however, during the Renaissance the humanists penetrated the historical Alexander and dismissed the Alexander legend as a fairy tale. The rediscovery of Greek sources (in particular Arrians), which were unknown in the Middle Ages, enabled a new approach to the era of Alexander. Even the Portuguese Vasco da Lucena, who in 1468 at the court of Charles the Bold of Burgundy made the first French translation of Curtius Rufus' biography of Alexander, sharply criticized the legend, whose exaggerations and beliefs in miracles obscured the true historical achievement of Alexander.

In 1528/29 the painter Albrecht Altdorfer created his famous painting The Battle of Alexander . Charles Le Brun painted a series of scenes from Alexander's life for King Louis XIV from the early sixties of the 17th century .

The figure of Alexander continued to hold a strong fascination for poets and novelists. From the 17th century onwards, however, these are largely works whose plot - in contrast to the traditional Alexander saga - revolves around freely invented erotic entanglements and only bears little resemblance to the original legends.

In 1558 Hans Sachs wrote a tragedia by Alexandro Magno , which depicts the entire history of Alexander in seven acts. In France, Jacques de la Taille wrote the tragedies La Mort de Daire and La Mort d'Alexandre in 1562 , and Alexandre Hardy chose the same titles for two of his tragedies ( La Mort d'Alexandre , 1621, and La Mort de Daire , 1626). In the further course of the 17th century, numerous tragedies and tragicomedies followed, including Racine's Alexandre le Grand (first performed in 1665). The reception in Italian was even more intense. Antonio Cesti composed the opera Alessandro vincitor di se stesso (first performance Venice 1651), Francesco Lucio a “dramma musicale” Gl'amori di Alessandro Magno e di Rossane (libretto by Giacinto Andrea Cicognini , 1651); numerous dramas, melodramas, operas and ballets followed. Among the operas particularly successful were Alessandro Magno in Sidone by Marc'Antonio Ziani (1679, libretto by Aurelio Aureli ), the "tragicommedia per musica" Alessandro in Sidone by Francesco Bartolomeo Conti (1721, libretto: Apostolo Zeno ) and the libretto, which is often set to music Alessandro nell'Indie by Pietro Metastasio (1729, first setting: Leonardo Vinci ) and above all Alessandro von Handel (first performance in London 1726, libretto by Paolo Antonio Rolli ). Gluck used elements of the Alexander fabric both in his opera Poro (Alessandro nell'India) (first performance: Turin 1744, libretto by Metastasio) and in the ballet Alessandro .

At the beginning of the 17th century, the poet Lope de Vega wrote the tragic comedy Las grandezas de Alejandro in Spain .

The English writer John Lyly wrote the comedy Campaspe (first performed in 1584), also known as Alexander and Campaspe , and about Alexander's stay in Athens. In 1692 John Dryden composed the Ode Alexander's Feast , which formed the basis for the libretto of the oratorio of the same name by Georg Friedrich Handel ( HWV 75) , which was completed and premiered in 1736 .

In Greece from 1529 to the early 20th century, the Alexander legend was distributed in printed popular books, initially mainly in verse ( Rimada , 14 prints from 1529 to 1805), from the 18th century mostly in prose (Phyllada) . From a total of 43 prints of the Phyllada from around 1680 to 1926, 20 appeared in the second half of the 19th century.

Reception in North Macedonia

The equestrian monument in Skopje, North Macedonia, erected in 2011

Since the declaration of independence of the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia, today's Republic of North Macedonia , in 1991, the new sovereign state demonstratively tied in with the tradition of the ancient Empire of Macedonia and regarded this as an essential aspect of its national identity. The official Macedonian side claimed that there was an ethnic and cultural continuity from ancient Macedonia to today's Macedonia. In the context of maintaining traditions in this way, Macedonian authorities also promoted the veneration of Alexander the Great at the municipal level, which is reflected in the erection of Alexander monuments and the naming of streets. In December 2006 the airport of the Macedonian capital Skopje was named after Alexander (Aerodrom Skopje "Aleksandar Veliki"); a large bust of Alexander was placed there. In 2009 it was decided to erect a twelve meter high equestrian statue on a ten meter high base in the center of Skopje, which was modeled on Alexander. In June 2011 this decision, which caused irritation in Greece, was implemented.

On the Greek side, the claim of a cultural continuity between the ancient Macedonians and the current citizens of the Republic of Macedonia is emphatically rejected. Therefore, the Macedonian reception of Alexander appears to be a provocation from a Greek point of view, since the entire Alexander tradition is exclusively part of the Greek cultural heritage.

In February 2018, the new Macedonian government decided to rename the airport of Skopje and a highway that bore the name "Alexander of Macedonia" in view of progress in negotiations with Greece on the Macedonian name dispute .

Modern fiction

In the modern age, fiction has tried harder than before to be close to the historical Alexander. Well-known historical novels from the first half of the 20th century include Alexander in Babylon by Jakob Wassermann (1905), Alexander. Novel der Utopie by Klaus Mann (1929), who portrays Alexander as a failed utopian, and Iskander by Paul Gurk (1944). Other fictional depictions of Alexander's life come from Mary Renault , Roger Peyrefitte , Gisbert Haefs and Valerio Massimo Manfredi . In his story Alexander or Was ist Truth (2005), Arno Schmidt lets the first-person narrator Lampon go through a change from admirer to Alexander's opponent. Iron Maiden dedicated the title Alexander the Great , which has become very popular in the metal scene and was first published in 1986 on the album Somewhere in Time .

Assessment in modern research

The starting point of the modern scientific discussion of Alexander was the "History of Alexander the Great" by Johann Gustav Droysen , published in 1833 . Droysen emphasized what he saw as the positive cultural consequences of Alexander's policy of "mixing peoples" instead of mere Macedonian rule over subjugated barbarians. He praised the economic policy, the establishment of cities and the promotion of the infrastructure and said that in the religious field Alexander's policy had prepared the emergence of a world religion. This view had a strong aftereffect. In the English-speaking world, its main representative in the 20th century was William W. Tarn, whose Alexander biography, published in 1948, describes the conqueror as an idealist who wanted to fulfill a civilizing mission.

This assessment, the basic idea of ​​which already emerged in Plutarch, is opposed to a decidedly negative assessment, which takes up the key points of the ancient criticism of Alexander. The representatives of this direction (see already the negative characterization by Karl Julius Beloch and later Ernst Badian and similar Fritz Schachermeyr , followed by Albert B. Bosworth, Ian Worthington , Wolfgang Will ) differ with regard to the weighting of various individual aspects. Basically, however, they see in the conqueror Alexander primarily a destroyer whose capabilities were limited to the military. Politically, he failed because of his mistakes. He made impulsive, irrational decisions and finally maneuvered himself into isolation with the purges among his confidants and officers, since he could no longer trust anyone.

The military achievements of Alexander, which earlier received unanimous recognition, are relativized by modern critics; Badian characterizes the march back from India as a military catastrophe caused by Alexander. Waldemar Heckel, on the other hand, recently emphasized Alexander's strategic abilities and at the same time turned against a romanticizing image of Alexander. Frank L. Holt, for example, warned against excessive criticism, which, so to speak, threatens to swing the pendulum from the hero worship of Alexander to the other extreme, who called this trend the “new orthodoxy”.

In addition to these highly evaluative representations, there are studies from more recent and recent times, whose authors refrain from the outset to capture Alexander's personality, to make a value judgment about him and to explore his hidden motives (which is very difficult due to the source situation, whereupon among other things. Gerhard Wirth pointed out). Rather, these researchers examine Alexander's self-portrayal, its change and the resulting political consequences.

See also


  • Waldemar Heckel , John C. Yardley: Alexander the Great. Historical Sources in Translation. Blackwell, Oxford 2004, ISBN 0-631-22821-7
    (thematically arranged collection of source excerpts in English translation with brief comments and further information; recommended as a first overview)
  • Johannes Hahn: Alexander in India 327-325 BC Ancient testimonies, introduced, translated and explained (= foreign cultures in old reports , vol. 8). Thorbecke, Stuttgart 2002, ISBN 3-7995-0607-1 .


To the historical Alexander

  • Pedro Barceló : Alexander the Great. Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 2007, ISBN 3-89678-610-5 .
  • Helmut Berve : The Alexander Empire on a prosopographical basis. 2 volumes, Beck, Munich 1926 (still fundamental for institutions and people).
  • Albert Brian Bosworth : Alexander and the East. The Tragedy of Triumph . Oxford / New York 1996 (sometimes very negative assessment of Alexander by a historian who has dedicated numerous books and articles to him).
  • Albert Brian Bosworth: Conquest and Empire. The Reign of Alexander the Great. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1988, 1993, ISBN 0-521-40679-X .
  • Albert Brian Bosworth: Alexander the Great . In: The Cambridge Ancient History . 2nd Edition, Vol. 6: The Fourth Century BC Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1994, ISBN 0-521-23348-8 , pp. 791-875.
  • Pierre Briant : Darius in the Shadow of Alexander. Harvard University Press, Cambridge (Massachusetts) / London 2015.
  • Pierre Briant: Alexander the Great and His Empire: A Short Introduction. Princeton University Press, Princeton 2010.
  • Paul Cartledge : Alexander the Great. The Hunt for a New Past. Overlook Press, Woodstock (New York) / London 2004, ISBN 1-58567-565-2 (easy-to-read representation, even if structured thematically rather than chronologically).
  • Alexander Demandt : Alexander the Great: Life and Legend . Beck, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-406-59085-6 ( review by sehepunkte ).
  • Johann Gustav Droysen : History of Alexander the Great. Edited by Armin Hohlweg et al., Ars una, Neuried 2004, ISBN 3-89391-800-0 (reprint of the Gotha 1877 edition, increased by a note section with critical comments by the editors and numerous illustrations and maps)
  • Johannes Engels : Philip II and Alexander the Great . Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 2006, ISBN 3-534-15590-4 (very good introduction).
  • Robin Lane Fox : Alexander the Great. Conqueror of the world. 4th edition, Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart 2005, ISBN 3-608-94078-2 (not undisputed, but well-narrated representation, which Alexander sees quite positively).
  • Peter Green: Alexander of Macedon. A historical biography. University of California Press, Berkeley / Los Angeles / London 1992, ISBN 0-520-07166-2 (reprinted by Penguin, Harmondsworth 1974; one of the best modern Alexander biographies alongside Bosworth, Lauffer and Lane Fox).
  • Hans-Joachim Gehrke : Alexander the Great. 6th, updated edition. Beck, Munich 2013, ISBN 978-3-406-41043-7 .
  • Nicholas GL Hammond: Alexander the Great. General and statesman. Ullstein, Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-549-07140-X .
  • Svend Hansen, Alfried Wieczorek , Michael Tellenbach (eds.): Alexander the Great and the opening of the world . Asia's cultures in transition. Schnell & Steiner, Regensburg 2009, ISBN 978-3-7954-2177-9 (companion volume to the exhibition of the same name in the Reiss-Engelhorn museums in Mannheim with approx. 600 color illustrations and essays by scientists from various fields).
  • Waldemar Heckel : In the Path of Conquest. Resistance to Alexander the Great. Oxford University Press, Oxford 2020.
  • Waldemar Heckel: Who's Who in the Age of Alexander the Great. Prosopography of Alexander's Empire. Blackwell, Oxford et al. a. 2006, ISBN 1-4051-1210-7 .
  • Waldemar Heckel: The Marshals of Alexander's Empire. Routledge, London 1992, ISBN 0-415-05053-7 (useful prosopographic handbook).
  • Waldemar Heckel, Lawrence A. Tritle (Eds.): Alexander the Great. A new history. Blackwell, Oxford et al. a. 2009 (current and useful collection of articles on various key issues such as conquests, army, court, Persia, private life, reception).
  • Siegfried Lauffer : Alexander the Great. 4th edition, dtv, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-423-34066-5 (German short description, very close to the source).
  • Sabine Müller : Alexander the Great. Conquest - Politics - Reception. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2019, ISBN 978-3-17-031346-0 .
  • Joseph Roisman (Ed.): Brill's companion to Alexander the Great. Brill, Leiden 2003, ISBN 90-04-12463-2 (anthology with contributions to various key topics, including Alexander as a strategist, self-portrayal, the court).
  • Fritz Schachermeyr : Alexander the Great. The problem of his personality and his work. Vienna 1973 (comprehensive presentation, which partly broke with the previous, mostly positive pictures of Alexander).
  • Jakob Seibert : Alexander the Great (= income from research. Vol. 10). Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 1972, ISBN 3-534-04492-4 .
  • William W. Tarn: Alexander the Great. 2 volumes, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1948 (German 1968, reprinted in one volume 1981; partly very romanticizing presentation, whereby Alexander is judged very positively; volume 2 offers an overview of the sources as well as individual studies).
  • Hans-Ulrich Wiemer : Alexander the Great. Beck, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-406-52887-2 (solid introduction).
  • Wolfgang Will : Alexander the Great (= Urban Pocket Books. Vol. 370). Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 1986, ISBN 3-17-008939-0 .
  • Wolfgang Will (Ed.): To Alexander the Great. Festschrift Gerhard Wirth for his 60th birthday. 2 volumes, Hakkert, Amsterdam 1987–1988.
  • Gerhard Wirth : Alexander the Great with self-testimonies and photo documents . Rowohlt, Reinbek 1973, ISBN 3-499-50203-8 .
  • Ian Worthington : By the Spear. Philip II, Alexander the Great, and the Rise and Fall of the Macedonian Empire. Oxford University Press, Oxford 2014.
  • Ian Worthington (Ed.): Alexander the Great. A reader. Routledge, London 2003, ISBN 0-415-29186-0 (collection of articles in which sources, mostly from fragments of Greek historians , are cited in English translation).

Reception history


  • Jean-Michel Croisille (Ed.): Neronia IV. Alejandro Magno, modelo de los emperadores romanos. Latomus, Bruxelles 1990, ISBN 2-87031-149-4 .
  • Karsten Dahmen: The Legend of Alexander the Great on Greek and Roman Coins. Routledge, London 2007, ISBN 0-415-39451-1 .
  • Siegmar Döpp : Alexander in late Latin literature. In: Göttingen Forum for Classical Studies 2, 1999, pp. 193–216 ( PDF ).
  • Hans-Ulrich Wiemer : Hero, God or Tyrant? Alexander the Great in the Early Hellenistic Period . In: Henning Börm (Ed.): Antimonarchic Discourse in Antiquity . Steiner, Stuttgart 2015, pp. 85–112.

middle Ages

  • Willem J. Aerts (Ed.): Alexander the Great in the Middle Ages. Ten Studies on the Last Days of Alexander in Literary and Historical Writing. Alfa, Nijmegen 1978.
  • George Cary: The Medieval Alexander. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1956.
  • Heribert J. Gleixner: The Alexander picture of the Byzantines. Salzer, Munich 1961.
  • Laurence Harf-Lancner et al. a. (Ed.): Alexandre le Grand dans les littératures occidentales et proche-orientales . Center des Sciences de la Literature, Nanterre 1999.
  • Tilman Nagel : Alexander the Great in early Islamic folk literature (= contributions to the linguistic and cultural history of the Orient , volume 28). Verlag für Orientkunde, Walldorf 1978, ISBN 978-3-936687-28-6 .
  • Richard Stoneman: Alexander the Great. A Life in Legend. Yale University Press, New Haven 2008, ISBN 978-0-300-11203-0 .
  • Klaus Wessel u. a .: Alexander the Great in art and literature . In: Lexicon of the Middle Ages (LexMA). Volume 1, Artemis & Winkler, Munich / Zurich 1980, ISBN 3-7608-8901-8 , Sp. 354-366.
  • Zachary David Zuwiyya (Ed.): A Companion to Alexander Literature in the Middle Ages. Brill, Leiden / Boston 2011.

Modern times

  • Jan Cölln: Alexander the Great in Europe and Asia. Mythization of history and its presence after the First World War. In: Antike und Abendland 52, 2006, pp. 183–207
  • Georg Veloudis: The modern Greek Alexander. Tradition in preservation and change (= Miscellanea Byzantina Monacensia , Volume 8). University Institute for Byzantine Studies and Modern Greek, Philology, Munich July 2, 1968, DNB 458503576 (dissertation University of Munich 1968, 306 pages, under the title: Giōrgos Athanasiu Beludēs: Alexander the Great. An old modern Greek ); [Abridged] book trade edition (95 pages): (= Tusculum-Schriften ). Heimeran, Munich 1969, DNB 458503568 .

Web links

Commons : Alexander the Great  - album with pictures, videos and audio files


  1. a b Plutarch , Alexander 2,1 ( English translation )
  2. Plutarch, Alexander 2,3 ( English translation )
  3. Plutarch, Alexander 6.
  4. Herodotus , Histories 5:22.
  5. See the source references in Heckel, Yardley: Alexander. P. 7 f. and Eugene N. Borza: Greeks and Macedonians in the Age of Alexander. The Source Traditions . In: Transitions to Empire. Essays in Greco-Roman History, 360-146 BC, in honor of E. Badian. Norman 1996, pp. 122-139 (see also here ). Nicholas GL Hammond disagrees: Literary evidence for Macedonian speech . In: Historia 43/2, 1994, pp. 131-142. In the following, “Macedonian (n)” only expresses the origin from ancient Macedonia.
  6. ^ Peter Green: Alexander of Macedon. Berkeley 1992, p. 6 f.
  7. Anonymous Chronicle in: Bernard P. Grenfell, Arthur S. Hunt (Ed.): The Oxyrhynchus Papyri. Part I, London 1898, pp. 25-36, here: p. 27 columns III.13-IV.1 ( ).
  8. The ancient sources, including Plutarch, Alexander 10.5-7 and Justin, Historiarum Philippicarum libri XLIV 9.6-7; 11,2,1-23 and Diodor, Bibliothéke historiké 16, 94-17 , 2 contradict each other. The more recent research is with Hans-Joachim Gehrke: History of Hellenism. Munich 2003, p. 144.
  9. a b c Anonymous Chronicle in: Bernard P. Grenfell, Arthur S. Hunt (Ed.): The Oxyrhynchus Papyri. Part I, London 1898, pp. 25–36, here: p. 27 columns III.13-IV.1 ( )
  10. Anonymous Chronicle in: Bernard P. Grenfell, Arthur S. Hunt (Ed.): The Oxyrhynchus Papyri. Part I, London 1898, pp. 25-36, here: p. 27 columns IV.1-7 ( ).
  11. Cf. Jakob Seibert: “Panhellenic Crusade”, national war, campaign of revenge or Macedonian war of conquest? Reflections on the causes of the war against Persia . In: Wolfgang Will (Ed.): Alexander the Great. A world conquest and its background. Lectures at the International Alexander Colloquium in Bonn, 19. – 21. December 1996 , Bonn 1998, p. 3 ff.
  12. ^ Karl Julius Beloch: Greek History , 2nd Edition, Vol. 3.2, p. 361; see. Siegfried Lauffer: Alexander the Great , 4th edition, Munich 2004, p. 77.
  13. ^ Curtius , Historiae Alexandri Magni Macedonis 3, 12, 27-13, 16.
  14. ^ Johann Gustav Droysen: History of Alexander the Great. Munich 1954 (reprint), p. 185.
  15. ^ Johann Gustav Droysen: History of Alexander the Great. Munich 1954 (reprint), p. 186.
  16. ^ Robin Lane Fox: Alexander the Great , Stuttgart 1974, p. 229.
  17. ^ Johann Gustav Droysen: History of Alexander the Great , ed. by Armin Hohlweg u. a., Neuried 2004 (reprint of the Gotha 1877 edition), p. 272f. (and editor's note 274).
  18. Robin Lane Fox: Alexander the Great , Stuttgart 1974, p. 240.
  19. Arrian, Anabasis 2.25.
  20. Photo gallery - image 2 - Tire: supposedly impregnable island. In: Spiegel Online photo gallery. May 15, 2007, accessed June 9, 2018 .
  21. Alexander Demandt: Alexander the Great. Life and legend. Munich 2009, p. 155. Demandt cites: Diodor, Bibliothéke historiké 17, 40, 41; 17, 46, 4; Curtius Rufus, Historiae Alexandri Magni Macedonis 4, 15; Justin, Historiarum Philippicarum libri XLIV 11, 10, 14.
  22. Nicholas Hammond: Alexander the Great. Berlin 2004, p. 146.
  23. ^ Johann Gustav Droysen: History of Alexander the Great. Munich 1954 (reprint), p. 199 and Robin Lane Fox: Alexander the Great. Stuttgart 1974, p. 250.
  24. ^ William Linn Westermann: The Slave Systems of Greek and Roman Antiquity , Philadelphia 1955, p. 28.
  25. ^ Johann Gustav Droysen: History of Alexander the Great. Munich 1954 (reprint), p. 199.
  26. Time according to Johann Gustav Droysen: History of Alexander the Great. Munich 1954 (reprint), there are different details about the exact date.
  27. ^ Frank Rainer Scheck: The Weihrauchstrasse. From Arabia to Rome - on the trail of ancient world cultures , Bergisch Gladbach 1998, pp. 293–296.
  28. ^ Frank Rainer Scheck: The Weihrauchstrasse. Bergisch Gladbach 1998, p. 281.
  29. Nicolas Hammond: Alexander the Great. Berlin 2004, p. 148: “This version is to be rejected.” Historicizing embellishments are mostly to be assigned to Curtius Rufus, who referred to Kleitarchos. This 'Vulgate', called "a representation following a single tradition, here Cleitarchos [...] made Alexander (first) the controversial person whose judgment divided the ancient public and modern historians" (Wolfgang Will: Alexander der Große , Darmstadt 2009, P. 12). In the time of the Roman Curtius “… (could) the contemporary criticism of the Roman emperors in the 1st century. AD are only uttered in secret ... and openly show (oneself) to Alexander [...] - as a representative - "(Wolfgang Will: Alexander the Great , Darmstadt 2009, p. 13).
  30. ^ Johann Gustav Droysen: History of Alexander the Great. Munich 1954 (reprint), p. 202.
  31. ^ Frank Rainer Scheck: The Weihrauchstrasse. Bergisch Gladbach 1998, p. 279.
  32. Robin Lane Fox: Alexander the Great . Stuttgart 1974, p. 198 f.
  33. ^ Johann Gustav Droysen: History of Alexander the Great. Munich 1954 (reprint), p. 211 f.
  34. ^ Günther Hölbl: History of the Ptolemy Empire , Darmstadt 1994, p. 9.
  35. Robin Lane Fox: Alexander the Great , p. 258. Gerhard Wirth, 1973, gives the source for this: Pseudo-Kallisthenes 1, 34, 2 (p. 24).
  36. Text and image: Robin Lane Fox: Alexander the Great , Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag, Reinbek bei Hamburg, 2010 (original 1973), p. 248. ISBN 978-3-499-62641-8 .
  37. See also the anonymous chronicle in: Bernard P. Grenfell, Arthur S. Hunt (Ed.): The Oxyrhynchus Papyri. Part I, London 1898, pp. 25–36, here: p. 28 columns IV.24–36 ( full text as PDF file ).
  38. a b Anonymous Chronicle in: Bernard P. Grenfell, Arthur S. Hunt (Ed.): The Oxyrhynchus Papyri. Part I, London 1898, pp. 25–36, here: p. 28 columns V.1-4 ( full text as PDF file ).
  39. For the struggles in the satrapy of Bactria cf. Frank L. Holt: Into the Land of Bones. Alexander the Great in Afghanistan , Berkeley 2005.
  40. A brief overview is provided by Albert Brian Bosworth: The Indian campaigns. 327-325 BC In: J. Roisman (Ed.): Brill's Companion to Alexander the Great , pp. 159-168. See Bosworth: Alexander, Euripides, and Dionysos. The motivation for apotheosis . In: Robert W. Wallace, Edward M. Harris (Eds.): Transitions to empire. Essays in Greco-Roman history, 360-146 BC , Oklahoma 1996, pp. 140-166; Johannes Hahn (Ed.): Alexander in India, 327–325 BC Chr. , Stuttgart 2000.
  41. For localization cf. Siegfried Lauffer: Alexander the Great , 4th edition, Munich 2004, p. 155, note 19.
  42. See Ernst Badian : Alexander the Great and the Unity of Mankind . In: Historia. No. 7, 1958, pp. 425-444.
  43. General overview by Daniel Ogden: Alexander's Sex Life . In: Waldemar Heckel, Lawrence A. Tritle (Eds.): Alexander the Great. A New History , Chichester 2009, pp. 203 ff.
  44. ^ Fritz Moritz Heichelheim : Wirtschaftsgeschichte des Altertums , Volume 2, Leiden 1969, p. 421.
  45. Diodor, Bibliothéke historiké 18,4,1–6.
  46. See Albert Brian Bosworth: Alexander's last plans . In: Albert B. Bosworth (Ed.): From Arrian to Alexander: Studies in Historical Interpretation. Oxford 1988, p. 185 ff.
  47. According to Plutarch , Alexander 76,9 he died on 28th Daisios , corresponding to 10th June 323 BC. Chr.
  48. Diodor, Bibliothéke historiké 17, 117, 4.
  49. Discussion with Michael Rathmann: Perdiccas between 323 and 320: estate administrator of the Alexander empire or autocrat? Vienna 2005, pp. 9–26 ( review ).
  50. For the location of this tomb see Andreas Schmidt-Colinet: The grave of Alexander the great in Memphis? In: Margaret Bridges, Johann Ch.Bürgel (Ed.): The Problematics of Power. Eastern and Western Representations of Alexander the Great , Bern 1996, pp. 87-90.
  51. On the political background see Claudia Bohm: Imitatio Alexandri im Hellenismus , Munich 1989, pp. 142–144.
  52. ^ Harry E. Tzalas: "The Tomb of Alexander the Great" - The history and the legend in the Greco-Roman and Arab times . In: Graeco-Arabica 5, 1993, pp. 329–354, here: 337. Tzalas compiles the source documents about the grave on pp. 333–336.
  53. For the history of the search see Harry E. Tzalas: “The Tomb of Alexander the Great” - The history and the legend in the Greco-Roman and Arab times . In: Graeco-Arabica 5, 1993, pp. 329-354, here: 332 f., 339-348.
  54. For details, see the thorough study by Peter Marshall Fraser: Cities of Alexander the Great , Oxford 1996 (List of cities, pp. 240–243, maps, pp. 236–238).
  55. See Lionel Pearson: The lost histories of Alexander the Great. New York 1960 ( online version ).
  56. On the beginnings of the Alexander legends among the king's contemporaries see Erwin Mederer: The Alexander legends among the oldest Alexander historians , Stuttgart 1936.
  57. Ben Edwin Perry : The Ancient Romances , Berkeley 1967, p. 35; Hartmut Bohmhammel: Valerius' transmission of the Alexander story and its social tendencies , dissertation TU Berlin 2008, p. 6.
  58. On the Nectanebos legend see Richard Stoneman: Alexander the Great. A Life in Legend , New Haven 2008, p. 6 ff.
  59. Hartmut Bohmhammel: Valerius' transmission of the Alexander story and its social tendencies , dissertation TU Berlin 2008, pp. 120–135.
  60. A detailed examination of this part of the Alexander legend and its aftermath in the patristic and in the Middle Ages is offered by Florian Kragl: The wisdom of the foreigner. Studies on the medieval Alexander tradition , Bern 2005.
  61. On the question of the Alexander cult and the popularity of Alexander in the Diadochin empires see Robert Malcolm Errington : Alexander in the Hellenistic World . In: Alexandre le Grand. Image et réalité , Geneva 1976, pp. 145–158, 162–172, Alfred Heuss: Alexander the Great and the political ideology of antiquity . In: Antike und Abendland 4, 1954, p. 66 f., Alexander Meeus: Alexander's Image in the Age of the Successors . In: Waldemar Heckel, Lawrence A. Tritle (Eds.): Alexander the Great. A New History , Chichester 2009, pp. 235–250 and the study by Claudia Bohm: Imitatio Alexandri im Hellenismus , Munich 1989.
  62. Claudia Bohm: Imitatio Alexandri im Hellenismus , Munich 1989, pp. 145, 153 ff., 181.
  63. ^ Gerhard Wirth: Alexander and Rome . In: Alexandre le Grand. Image et réalité , Geneva 1976, pp. 186-210; Otto Weippert: Alexander imitatio and Roman politics in republican times , Augsburg 1972, p. 56 ff .; Diana Spencer: Roman Alexanders: Epistemology and Identity . In: Waldemar Heckel, Lawrence A. Tritle (Eds.): Alexander the Great. A New History , Chichester 2009, pp. 251-274, here: 262-267.
  64. See Corinne Jouanno: Un episode embarrassant de l'histoire d'Alexandre: la prize de Thèbes . In: Ktèma 18, 1993, pp. 245-258.
  65. ^ Max Brocker: Aristotle as Alexander's teacher in the legend , Bonn 1966, p. 20; Erwin Mederer: The Alexander legends among the oldest Alexander historians, Stuttgart 1936, pp. 149–151.
  66. On Seneca's reception of Alexander see Alfred Heuss: Alexander the Great and the political ideology of antiquity . In: Antike und Abendland 4, 1954, pp. 88f .; on the philosophical criticism of Alexander in general Johannes Stroux: The stoic assessment of Alexander the great . In: Philologus 88, 1933, pp. 222-240 and William W. Tarn: Alexander, Cynics and Stoics . In: American Journal of Philology 60, 1939, pp. 41-70, here: 54-56.
  67. Lucan, Bellum civile 10: 20-45.
  68. Gerhard Wirth: The way to forget , Vienna 1993, pp. 48-50.
  69. ^ Alfred Heuss: Alexander the Great and the political ideology of antiquity . In: Antike und Abendland 4, 1954, p. 94 f.
  70. Ernst Bammel: The witness of Judaism . In: Wolfgang Will (Ed.): On Alexander the Great , Vol. 1, Amsterdam 1987, p. 283; see. Gerhard Wirth: The way into oblivion , Vienna 1993, pp. 20–23.
  71. John Chrysostom, Ad illuminandos catechesis 2.5.
  72. On the Alexander picture by Orosius see Siegmar Döpp: Alexander in late Latin literature . In: Göttingen Forum for Classical Studies 2, 1999, pp. 193–216, here: 209–212 online (PDF; 157 kB).
  73. Current overview by Zachary David Zuwiyya (ed.): A Companion to Alexander Literature in the Middle Ages , Leiden / Boston 2011.
  74. Herwig Buntz: Die deutsche Alexanderdichtung des Mittelalters , Stuttgart 1973, p. 1. The basic standard work for the mediaeval Alexander reception is George Cary: The Medieval Alexander , Cambridge 1956.
  75. For the oriental versions see Rudolf Macuch: Pseudo-Callisthenes Orientalis and the Problem of Ḏu l-qarnain . In: Graeco-Arabica 4, 1991, pp. 223-264; David JA Ross: Alexander Historiatus. A Guide to medieval illustrated Alexander Literature , Frankfurt am Main 1988, pp. 6-9.
  76. Dan 2, 31–45 as well as Dan 7 and 8.
  77. For the ancient and medieval interpretation see Hartmut Wulfram: The transition from the Persian to the Macedonian empire with Curtius Rufus and Walter von Châtillon . In: Ulrich Mölk (Hrsg.): Dominion, Ideology and the Conception of History in Alexander Poems of the Middle Ages , Göttingen 2002, pp. 40 ff.
  78. ^ Victor M. Schmidt: A Legend and its Image. The Aerial Flight of Alexander the Great in Medieval Art , Groningen 1995 (study with numerous illustrations). See also Richard Stoneman: Alexander the Great. A Life in Legend , New Haven 2008, pp. 111-119.
  79. Gottfried von Admont, Homilia XVI . In: Jacques Paul Migne , Patrologia Latina , vol. 174 col. 1131 f .; Hugo von St. Viktor, Allegoriae in Vetus Testamentum 9.4. In: Migne, Patrologia Latina , vol. 175 col. 749 f.
  80. ^ Trude Ehlert: German-language Alexander poetry of the Middle Ages , Frankfurt am Main 1989, p. 20 f. See also Ulrich Mölk: Alberics Alexanderlied . In: Jan Cölln et al. (Ed.): Alexander Dichtungen im Mittelalter , Göttingen 2000, pp. 21–36.
  81. David JA Ross: Alexander Historiatus offers an overview of French poetry . A Guide to medieval illustrated Alexander Literature , Frankfurt am Main 1988, pp. 9-17; Martin Gosman offers more in-depth presentations: La légende d'Alexandre le Grand dans la littérature française du 12e siècle , Amsterdam 1997, and Catherine Gaullier-Bougassas: Les romans d'Alexandre. Aux frontières de l'épique et du romanesque , Paris 1998.
  82. The history of Alexander reception in the Italian Middle Ages is described by Joachim Storost: Studies on the Alexander legend in older Italian literature , Halle (Saale) 1935.
  83. Trude Ehlert: German-language Alexanderdichtung des Mittelalters , Frankfurt am Main 1989, pp. 43–46, 59; Christoph Mackert: The Alexander story in the version of the 'pfaffen' Lambrecht , Munich 1999, p. 36 f., 262–267, 277–297, 336 ff.
  84. Trude Ehlert: German-language Alexanderdichtung des Mittelalters , Frankfurt am Main 1989, pp. 59–62.
  85. On this work see Gerrit Bunt: Alexander the Great in the literature of Medieval Britain , Groningen 1994, pp. 19–26.
  86. Heribert J. Gleixner: Das Alexanderbild der Byzantiner , Munich 1961, pp. 67–85, 97–100.
  87. ^ Willem J. Aerts: The Last Days of Alexander the Great according to the Byzantine Alexander Poem , in: Willem J. Aerts (Ed.): Alexander the Great in the Middle Ages. Ten Studies on the Last Days of Alexander in Literary and Historical Writing , Nijmegen 1978, pp. 25-27 (and p. 21 f. On dating).
  88. ↑ On this and on Islamic interpretations of the Koran passage see Rudolf Macuch: Pseudo-Callisthenes Orientalis and the Problem of Ḏu l-qarnain . In: Graeco-Arabica 4, 1991, pp. 223-264, here: 241-257; Alexander Demandt: Alexander in Islam . In: Monika Schuol , Udo Hartmann, Andreas Luther (eds.): Border crossing. Forms of contact between Orient and Occident in antiquity , Stuttgart 2002, pp. 11–15; Max Brocker: Aristotle as Alexander's teacher in the legend , Bonn 1966, pp. 83–86; last Kevin van Bladel: The Alexander Legend in the Qur'an 18: 83–102 , in: Gabriel S. Reynolds (Ed.): The Qur'an in Its Historical Context , London 2008, pp. 175–203.
  89. ^ Rudolf Macuch: Pseudo-Callisthenes Orientalis and the Problem of Ḏu l-qarnain . In: Graeco-Arabica 4, 1991, pp. 223-264, here: 237.
  90. ^ Dominique Svenson: Representations of Hellenistic kings with attributes of gods , Frankfurt am Main 1995, pp. 14-17.
  91. For the ancient origin of this legendary motif, see Alexander Demandt: Alexander im Islam . In: Monika Schuol et al. (Ed.): Grenzüberreitungen , Stuttgart 2002, pp. 11–15, here: 13 f.
  92. ^ Rudolf Macuch: Pseudo-Callisthenes Orientalis and the Problem of Ḏu l-qarnain . In: Graeco-Arabica 4, 1991, pp. 223-264, here: 241. The place is Pseudo-Kallisthenes, Vita Alexandri Magni 2,39,12. However, Brannon M. Wheeler expressed himself skeptically: Moses or Alexander? Early Islamic Exegesis of Qur'an 18: 60-65 . In: Journal of Near Eastern Studies 57, 1998, p. 192 ff.
  93. On the Arabic Alexander novel, see Toufic Fahd: La version arabe du Roman d'Alexandre . In: Graeco-Arabica 4, 1991, pp. 25-31.
  94. Max Brocker: Aristotle as Alexander's teacher in the legend , Bonn 1966, p. 79.
  95. Michel M. Mazzaoui: Alexander the Great and the Arab Historians . In: Graeco-Arabica 4, 1991, pp. 33-43.
  96. For the Spanish versions of the Muslim Alexander legend, see Manuela Marín: Legends of Alexander the Great in Moslem Spain . In: Graeco-Arabica 4, 1991, pp. 71-89.
  97. ^ Richard Stoneman: Alexander the Great in the Arabic Tradition . In: Stelios Panayotakis (ed.): The Ancient Novel and Beyond , Leiden 2003, pp. 15-18.
  98. ^ Max Brocker: Aristotle as Alexander's teacher in the legend , Bonn 1966, pp. 62–65, 96; Richard Stoneman: Alexander the Great. A Life in Legend , New Haven 2008, pp. 41-44. In the 17th century this view was widespread among the Parsees in India; see Friedrich Pfister : Kleine Schriften zum Alexanderroman , Meisenheim 1976, p. 303.
  99. ^ Rudolf Macuch: Pseudo-Callisthenes Orientalis and the Problem of Ḏu l-qarnain . In: Graeco-Arabica 4, 1991, pp. 223-264, here: 258 f.
  100. The Persian scholar al-Bīrūnī , who died in 1048, had already written about an advance by Alexander into China , see Alexander Demandt: Alexander im Islam . In: Monika Schuol et al. (Ed.): Grenzüberreitungen , Stuttgart 2002, pp. 11–15, here: 14.
  101. ^ Rudolf Macuch: Pseudo-Callisthenes Orientalis and the Problem of Ḏu l-qarnain . In: Graeco-Arabica 4, 1991, pp. 223–264, here: 259. On Nezāmi's epic see also Johann C. Bürgel: War and Peace in the Alexandre epic Nizamis . In: Margaret Bridges, Johann Ch.Bürgel (Ed.): The Problematics of Power. Eastern and Western Representations of Alexander the Great , Bern 1996, pp. 91-107.
  102. David JA Ross: Alexander Historiatus. A Guide to medieval illustrated Alexander Literature , Frankfurt am Main 1988, pp. 33-36, 45, 59, 64 f. On the Jewish legend of Alexander see also Max Brocker: Aristoteles als Alexander's teacher in the legend , Bonn 1966, pp. 71–78; Friedrich Pfister: Kleine Schriften zum Alexanderroman , Meisenheim 1976, pp. 319–327.
  103. David JA Ross: Alexander Historiatus. A Guide to medieval illustrated Alexander Literature , Frankfurt am Main 1988, pp. 34-36.
  104. Arthur Huebner: Alexander the Great in the German poetry of the Middle Ages . In: Die Antike 9, 1933, p. 32.
  105. Florens Deuchler: Hero cult in the Middle Ages . In: Margaret Bridges, Johann Ch.Bürgel (Ed.): The Problematics of Power. Eastern and Western Representations of Alexander the Great , Bern 1996, p. 20 f.
  106. Georg Veloudis: Alexander the Great. An old new Greek , Munich 1969, p. 16 f. The dissertation by Georg Veloudis: Der Neugriechische Alexander , Munich 1968, provides a more detailed presentation .
  107. ^ History of the Macedonian Embassy in London ( Memento from February 6, 2012 in the Internet Archive ). Loring M. Danforth provides information on the positions of Macedonian nationalists: The Macedonian Conflict: Ethnic Nationalism in a Transnational World , Princeton 1995, pp. 42–55, especially on Alexander the Great, pp. 46–49.
  108. Sinisa-Jakov Marusic: Italy Casts Macedonia's Alexander Statue (May 5, 2009) .
  109. ^ Hajrudin Somun: Macedonia's monument to discord (June 27, 2011) .
  110. ^ Anna Triandafyllidou / Marina Calloni / Andonis Mikrakis: New Greek Nationalism . In: Sociological Research Online , vol. 2, no.1, 1997 ( memento of October 3, 2013 in the Internet Archive ). Loring M. Danforth provides information on the positions of Greek nationalists: The Macedonian Conflict: Ethnic Nationalism in a Transnational World , Princeton 1995, pp. 30–42, especially on Alexander the Great, pp. 34, 36–38.
  111. Macedonia renames airport and highway., February 6, 2018. Accessed February 21, 2018.
  112. ^ Gisbert Haefs: Alexander , Volume 1: Hellas. The novel of the unification of Greece (1992) and Volume 2: Asia. The novel of the conquest of an empire (1993).
  113. ^ Valerio Massimo Manfredi: Alexander. The Macedonian Prince (first volume of a trilogy ), Alexander. King of Asia (second volume) and Alexander. The ruler of the world (third volume); the Italian original edition of all three volumes appeared in 1998.
  114. The Alexander article written by Ernst Badian in the New Pauly , an authoritative reference work (Vol. 1, Col. 468–474), summarizes the essential aspects from the point of view of this research direction.
  115. ^ Waldemar Heckel: The Conquests of Alexander the Great . Cambridge 2007, pp. IXf.
  116. ^ Frank Holt: Alexander the Great today. In the Interests of Historical Accuracy? In: The Ancient History Bulletin 13, 1999, pp. 111-117. See Ian Worthington's answer to Holt .
predecessor Office successor
Philip II King of Macedonia
336–323 BC Chr.
Philip III
unsure Pharaoh (King) of Egypt
Greco-Roman Period
Philip III
This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on May 21, 2005 .