Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Alexander the Great

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In 6BC Philip of Macedonia was murdered. The murder of Philip was surrounded by many major events. These events were some of the motives for Alexander and Olympias wanting Philip dead. We know it was not Olympias and Alexander who pierced the knife through Philip, as that was Pausanias.

However it seems more than likely that they both, or even just one, may have been whispering in his ear.

Pausanias of Orestis was Philip’s ex-lover, who was replaced by another man also called Pausanias. Pausanias of Orestis made the other Pausanias life such a living hell, that he committed suicide. The second Pausanias had confided in Attalus before he died and this left Attalus wanting vengeance.

One night Attalus got Pausanias of Orestis drunk then left him to the stable boys to do with him as they pleased.

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The next day when Pausanias woke up, he realised what had happened to him and went to Philip to get revenge. Philip could not help Pausanias though and offered him a job instead. Pausanias was angry and hurt but accepted the job and became Philip’s body guard.

Pausanias’ revenge on Philip for not helping would have to wait seven years and as for Attalus he had more damage to contribute in the future events.

It was at the event of Philip’s wedding to Cleopatra, to which Attalus returned, as he was Cleopatra’s Uncle. This wedding was a major event as it was to be the day Olympias was stood down, as Philip’s number wife. Alexander, her son’s place in line for King would be jeopardised.

Attalus added to this stress by asking the guest to pray for, “a legitimate heir.”

This was hinting at Olympias’s Barbarian blood.

Alexander took offence to this and asked, “Am I then a bastard, you villain?”

The rest of the wedding ended in a total mess and Philip blamed the whole thing on Alexander.

Olympias was angry and insulted by Attalus and Alexander fled to Illyria and did not talk to Philip for years.

After a while Philip and Alexander’s relationship started to resume.

The next major event leading up to Philip’s murder was the Pixodarus affair.

Pixodarus the King of Caria, offered his daughter’s hand in marriage to one of Philip’s sons, in exchange for an alliance. Philip decided that Philip Arrihaeua, the half-witted brother of Alexander, would marry the daughter of Pixodarus.

Unfortunately Alexander heard this on the grape vine and due to lack of communication, thought he had been cut out of the loop.

So with out consulting Philip, Alexander pronounced he would marry the girl.

When Philip found out what had happened he was furious, as he was no longer getting a cheap alliance and Philip called the whole thing off.

Philip was so angry with Alexander, that he punished him by banishing all of his friends. The Pixodarus affair just made the relationship between Alexander and Philip more difficult than before.

This bad relationship between Alexander and Philip was seen as a major motive for Alexander wanting Philip dead.

The relationship had been strained over the years with Philip’s wedding to Cleopatra, his position for the throne was put in jeopardy and the mess he made of the Pixodarus affair. These were important motives but not the main motive.

The main motive was as clear as rain. He was the chief beneficiary at the time. If Alexander had to wait too much longer for the throne, Cleopatra might have a son by then old enough to take the throne off him. When Philip’s murder took place Alexander was 0 and very keen to be the king.

Philip’s death would not only gain Alexander the throne, but also it would guarantee Olympias protection. These were significant motives for Alexander to want his father dead.

This is where Olympias’ motives come in. With her not being the number one wife any more, she was now very vulnerable. And if Alexander did not get the throne, she was destined to be killed. This was because a large group of mainly Macedonian officials did not like her.

Olympias had many other motives such as her general jealously and anger towards Philip, when he made Cleopatra his number one wife.

She also felt very insulted by Attalus’s comments about her at the wedding.

In the end the main motive would have been to get her son in as King to save her own self. So you could say Olympias had as much to gain as Alexander did from Philip’s death.

Philip’s murder was not expected, as he drew up plans to invade Persia.

But if you were to remember all the events leading up to Philip’s death you would realise how many people Philip offended.

You would then realise why Alexander and Olympias had such strong motives for wanting the King of Macedonia dead.

And that is what happened in 6 BC, while at the wedding of Cleopatra (his daughter) to Alexander of Epirus, he was stabbed by his own bodyguard.

Alexander the Great took over and Olympias was free from harm for now.

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