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Aelian - Varia Historia

Book I.25

Alexander son of Philip (if anyone thinks he was the son of Zeus, it makes no difference to me) added the formula of greeting to his letters, they say, only when writing to the Athenian general Phocion. Such was the impression Phocion had made on the Macedonian. But Alexander also gave him a hundred talents of silver, and named four cities with the request that he should choose one of them according to his preference, in order to be able to enjoy revenues from it. The cities were Cios, Elaea, Mylasa, and Patara.This was generous and high-minded on Alexander’s part; but Phocion was even more high-minded, since he accepted neither the money nor the city. However, as it was not his wish to show open contempt for Alexander, he honored him in the following way: he asked Alexander to release for him the prisoners held in the citadel at Sardis. Echecratides the sophist, Athenodoros of Imbros, Demaratus and Sparton – these two were brothers from Rhodes.

Book 2.3

Alexander looked at Apelles’ portrait of him in Ephesus and did not give it the praise which its artistry deserved. When his horse was brought along it whinnied at the horse in the picture as if it too were real, and Apelles said, “Your majesty, the horse certainly seems to have much better taste in art than you do.”

Book 2.19

When Alexander had defeated Darius and taken over the Persian empire he was very proud of his achievement. Feeling himself raised to the level of divinity by the good fortune which had now overtaken him, he sent an introduction to the Greeks to vote him divine honors. This was ridiculous; he could not acquire on demand from the rest of mankind what nature had not endowed him with. The cities passed various decrees, and the Spartans resolved as follows: “Since Alexander wishes to be a god, let him be a god.” In laconic fashion and in accordance with their own tradition the Spartans deflated Alexander’s madness.

Book 2.25

They say that the sixth of Thargelion brought much good fortune not only to Athens but to many other cities. It was for instance the date of Socrates’ birth; the Persians were defeated on that day; on it the Athenians sacrifice to the goddess Agrotera three hundred goats, acting in accordance with Miltiades’ vow. The sixth day at the beginning of the month is also said to be the date of the battle of Plataea, when the Greeks were victorious. The previous defeat of the Persians, which I have mentioned, was at Artemisium. The Hellenic victory at Mycale is also accepted as having been the gift of that day and no other, assuming that the victories of Plataea and Mycale were on the same day. Alexander of Macedon, son of Philip, is also reported to have crushed the many myriads of barbarians on the sixth of the month; that was when Alexander defeated Darius And it is believed that Alexander himself was born and departed this life on the same day.

Book 2.41

When Calanus the Brahmin, an Indian sage, set fire to himself, Alexander of Macedon arranged a competition for music, horse racing and athletics. As a favour to the Indians he included among the contests just mentioned one that was traditional among them, in honour of Calanus. This was a drinking contest, and the prize for the winner was a talent; the runner-up won thirty minae, and the third prize was ten. The person who celebrated victory was Promachus.

Book 3.6

Crates of Thebes gave many proofs of his lofty spirit. In particular he had contempt for what the masses admired, including money and one’s native city. Everyone knows that he turned his property over to the Thebans, but another fact about him is not generally known. It is that he left Thebes after it had been rebuilt, saying “I have no need of a city which a second Alexander will raze to the ground.”

Book 3.15

The Argives and Tirynthians were also ridiculed in comedy for their addiction to wine. As to the Thracians, it is now a well-established commonplace that they are great drinkers. The Illyrians do not escape the same criticism; but they have been accused of something else in addition – it is permissible at their dinners for each of the guests, if he so wishes, to toast the women, even if the woman in question is no relation.

Book 3.17

I would also class as political the activity of Persaeus, who was tutor to Antigonus, and of Aristotle, who clearly lived as a philosopher with the young Alexander son of Philip. Lysis the disciple of Pythagoras was tutor to Epaminondas. So if anyone says that philosophers are inactive, his comment is naïve and stupid. I would grasp with alacrity the leisure they enjoy and their love of tranquility.

Book 3.23

Alexander’s achievements – at the Granicus, at Issus, the battle of Arbela, the defeat of Darius, Persia enslaved by Macedon – were splendid. So too was the conquest of all the rest of Asia, with the Indians also becoming subjects of Alexander. So again were his exploits at Tyre and against the Oxydracae, and elsewhere. I do not need to describe within a narrow compass such great military talent. Let most of it be put down to Fortune who favoured Alexander, if one wishes to be captious. But Alexander was great because he was not defeated by Fortune and did not give up in the ace of her persistent attentions to him.

The following behaviour of Alexander was not good. On the fifth of the month of Dius he was drinking with Eumaeus, they say; then on the sixth he slept because of the amount he had drunk. During that day he was conscious only long enough to get up and discuss with his generals the following day’s march, saying that it would start early. On the seventh he banqueted with Perdiccas and drank again; on the eight he slept. On the fifteenth of the same month he drank once more, and on the following day did what he would normally do after a party. He had dinner on the twenty-seventh with Bagoas – the distance from the palace to Bagoas’ house was ten stades – and on the twenty-eighth he slept. One of two alternatives follows: either Alexander damaged himself with wine by drinking so often within the month, or the authors of these stories are telling lies. From them one can infer that such writers, who include Eumenes of Cardia (FGrH 117 F 2a), tell similar tales on other occasions.

Book 3.29

Diogenes of Sinope regularly said of himself that he suffered and endured to the full the curses of tragedy, for he was a “wanderer without a home, deprived of his native land, a beggar, ill-dressed, living from one day to the next.” Yet he took no less pride in these facts than Alexander in his rule over the world, at the time when he had captured India and returned to Babylon.

Book 3.32

When he was a boy, not yet an adolescent, Alexander the son of Philip learned to play the cithara. The teacher told him to touch a string in tune and in accordance with the melody. “What difference will it make if I touch that one?” he asked, pointing to another. The teacher replied that it made no difference to a man destined to be king; it was otherwise for anyone who would practise the art of the cithara. But the man, not being uneducated, was afraid that he might suffer the fate of Linus. Linus was teaching the child Heracles the cithara, and when he handled the instrument clumsily, Linus was annoyed with him. Heracles was angry, attacked Linus with his plectrum and killed him.

Book 3.45

They say Philip received an oracle in Boeotia at the shrine of Trophonius, to the effect that he must be on his guard against a chariot. The tradition has it that he was in fear of the oracle and never got up into his chariot. After this the story circulates in two versions. Some say that the sword of Pausanias, with which he killed Philip, had a chariot carved in ivory on the handle; the other version that he was assassinated after walking around the lake at Thebes known as Harma . The first story is popular, the second is not found everywhere.

Book 3.47

The good name which caused Phocion to be nicknamed “the honest” was of no advantage, nor the seventy-five years he had lived without harming anyone in the least; when he was found to have betrayed the Piraeus to Antipater, the Athenians condemned him to death.

Book 4.5

Benefits were remembered, and thanks for them given, by Theseus to Heracles. Aidoneus king of the Molossians put Theseus in chains when he came with Pirithous to kidnap the king’s wife. Theseus did not want to marry the woman himself but did this a favour to Pirithous. Heracles came to the country of the Molossians and rescued Theseus, in return for which the latter set up an altar to him.

Book 4.19

Philip of Macedon was said to be not merely a good soldier and powerful speaker but to have the highest respect for education. He provided resources unstintingly for Aristotle and so became responsible for any other facets of his wide learning, and in particular for his knowledge of zoology. The son of Nicomachus produced his History of Animals as the fruit of Philip’s wealth. He also honoured Plato and Theophrastus.

Book 4.29

I cannot persuade myself not to laugh at Alexander the son of Philip, if it is true that when he heard there were an infinite number of worlds – Democritus says this in his writings – he was pained at the thought of not even being the master of the one we all know. Need one say how much Democritus would have laughed at him, laughter being his stock-in-trade?

Book 5.6

It is right to praise the death of Calanus; one might even say, to marvel at it. This is how it happened. Calanus the Indian sage said goodbye to Alexander, the Macedonians and his life, wishing to free himself from the bonds of his body. The pyre was set up in the finest suburb of Babylon. The wood was dry, carefully selected for its fragrance, consisting of cedar, citron, cypress, myrtle, and laurel. Having taken his customary exercise – this was to run – he mounted the middle of the pyre and stood there, his hair covered with a crown of reeds. The sun shone down upon him, and he knelt in respect for it. This was the cue for the Macedonians to light the pyre. When this was done the flames took hold of him, but he stood there unflinching and did not fall over until he expired. Then, they say, even Alexander was astounded and said that Calanus had defeated more powerful enemies than he had himself. For Alexander had won his struggles against Porus, Taxila, and Darius, but Calanus against pain and death.

Book 5.10

The Athenians always prepared their naval forces painstakingly. Over the years they were sometimes successful, sometimes defeated. They lost two hundred triremes in Egypt, crews and all, in Cyprus one hundred and fifty; in Sicily two hundred and forty; and two thousand in the Hellespont. They lost forty thousand hoplites in Sicily, and one thousand at Chaeronea.

Book 5.12

I cannot suppress a liking for this act of the Athenians. Demades addressed the Athenian assembly and put forward a motion that Alexander be the thirteenth god. The public found this an intolerable show of impiety and imposed a penalty of a hundred talents on Demades because he had included Alexander, a mortal, among the Olympians.

Book 6.1

When Philip won the battle of Chaeronea he was buoyed up by his achievement, as were all the Macedonians. The Greeks were very frightened of him, and their cities surrendered individually; this was the decision of Thebes, Magara, Corinth, the Achaeans, Elis, Euboea, and the whole of Acte. But Philip did not respect the agreements he had made with them, and enslaved them all unjustly and illegally.

Book 7.8

When Hephaestion died Alexander threw armour on to his pyre, and melted down with the corpse gold, silver, and clothing much prized by the Persians. He cut off his own hair, a gesture in the Homeric manner, in imitation of the poet’s Achilles. But Alexander was more violent and hotheaded than Achilles: he destroyed the acropolis at Ecbatana and knocked down its walls. As far as his hair is concerned, I think he acted in accordance with Greek custom; but when he pulled down the walls, that was a barbaric expression of grief by Alexander. He changed his dress and allowed himself to be completely controlled by anger, love, and tears.

Note that Hephaestion died at Ecbatana. A story circulates that these ceremonies, while planned for Hephaestion, were carried out for Alexander on his death, because mourning for the young man was not yet completed when death overtook Alexander.

Book 7.12

Children have to be deceived with knucklebones, men with oaths. Some attribute this saying to Lysander, others to Philip of Macedon. Whoever it belongs to, it is wrong in my opinion. Perhaps it is not surprising if my views differ from Lysander’s. He was a tyrant, and as to my views, it is obvious why the remark does not appeal to me.

Book 8.6

They say that among the ancient Thracians no one was literate. Indeed, all the barbarians inhabiting Europe thought it shameful to write. But, as tradition has it, those living in Asia were more inclined to do so. For this reason some people dare to maintain that even Orpheus was uncultured because he was a Thracian, and that the myths about him are idle falsehoods. This is stated by Androtion (FGrH 324 F 54 a). if he is a reliable guide to the illiteracy and lack of culture among the Thracians.

Book 8.7

When Alexander captured Darius he celebrated his own marriage and that of his friends. The number of people marrying was ninety, and the bridal chambers equal in number. The hall for the reception and banquet had a hundred couches. Each couch had silver feet, except his own, which had gold; they were all decorated with purple or embroidered cloth, of a weave much prized among the barbarians. He took his personal guests from foreign states to the banquet and had them seated facing him. In the courtyard there was a feast for the other forces, the infantry, marines, and cavalry. Ambassadors and Greeks resident locally were at the feast. Dinner was regulated by trumpet calls; the signal for assembly was given when it was time to go in to dinner, and the signal for retreat when he gave instructions to leave. For five days in succession he celebrated the weddings. A great many artists and actors, of both tragedy and comedy, arrived; there were also outstanding Indian conjurers, and they were thought to be superior to the entertainers from elsewhere.

Book 8.12

Strange, is it not, but true. When Demosthenes lost his voice in Macedonia, Aeschines son of Atrometus, of the deme Cothocidae, was well regarded by the Macedonians and displayed far more confidence than the other members of the delegation. The reason for this was his friendship with Philip, the gifts he received from him, Philip’s kind and patient willingness to listen to him; Philip’s glance was sympathetic and displayed his good will. All these facts led Aeschines to speak freely and fluently.

Demosthenes in Macedonia was not the only person to have this experience, despite his great eloquence; it happened also to Theophrastus of Eresus. He failed in a speech before the Areopagus, and made the excuse that he was struck dumb by the prestige of the assembly. A tart and prompt reply was made by Demochares, who said “The jury were Athenians, Theophrastus, not the Twelve Gods.”

Book 8.15

Philip had defeated the Athenians at Chaeronea. Encouraged by his success he nevertheless kept control of his faculties and did not become arrogant. So he thought it necessary to be reminded by one of his slaves early in the morning that he was a human being, and he assigned this task to the slave. He would not go out himself, they say, or let any petitioner in to see him, until the slave had called out this daily message to him three times. The slave said “Philip, you are a human being.”

Book 9.3

Note that Alexander spoiled his friends by allowing them excessive luxury, if it is true that Hagnon had gold nails in his boots, and Cleitus when about to transact business walked on purple cloth to receive petitioners. Perdiccas and Craterus were keen on exercise, and were equipped with tents of leather a stade in length, and with these they took over a substantial area in the camp in order to perform their exercises.A great deal of sand, useful for gymnastics, was transported for them by pack animals. Leonnatus and Menelaus, who enjoyed hunting, had nets a hundred stades long.

Alexander’s own tent could accommodate a hundred beds. Fifty gold pillars divided it and supported the roof, which was gilded and expensively embroidered. Inside it stood in line first of all five hundred Persians, called the apple bearers, wearing cloaks of purple and quince yellow, then came a thousand archers dressed in flame color and scarlet. In front of these were the five hundred Macedonians with silver shields. In the middle of the tent was a golden throne, on which Alexander sat to transact business, surrounded on all sides by bodyguards. An enclosure wall around the tent was manned by a thousand Macedonians and ten thousand Persians. No one dared approach him without good reason, as he aroused great fear; his pride and good fortune had raised him to the position of a tyrant.

Book 9.30

Anaxarchus was on campaign with Alexander when winter began. Knowing that Alexander would be pitching camp in a spot that had no timber, he disposed of all his equipment and loaded his pack animals with wood. When they got to the camp and there was a shortage of wood, Alexander’s couches were burned in order to provide him with heat. But when someone reported that Anaxarchus had a fire, he called on him and stayed in Anaxarchus’ tent. Learning of the latter’s foresight he was very complimentary about it, and in return for the use of the fire he gave him twice as much equipment and clothing as he had thrown away.

Book 9.36

A cithara player was performing before Antigonus, who frequently gave him orders to tune first the lowest string, then the middle one. The man was annoyed and said: “Sire, I hope you are not overtaken by such an evil fate that you become more expert on these matters than I am.”*

Book 9.37

Anaxarchus, known as “the fortunate man,” laughed at Alexander for declaring himself a god. One day when Alexander was ill and the doctor ordered that some broth be prepared for him, Anaxarchus laughed and said: “The hopes of our god depend on a cup of broth.”

Book 9.38

Alexander arrived at Troy. As he looked around attentively, one of the Trojans came up to him and showed him the lyre belonging to Alexander.* “I should have preferred to see that of Achilles,” he said. This was excellent from Alexander because he was keen to see something that had belonged to a good soldier, an object with which he had sung the deeds of famous men. What did Paris’ lyre accompany except songs of adultery, the kind that attract and charm women?

Book 10.4

Alexander, son of Philip, wearing full armour, completed three successive marches of four hundred stades. He then attacked the enemy before resting his army and defeated the opposing forces.

Book 10.22

Note that Dioxippus, in the presence of Alexander and the Macedonians, took a club and fought a duel against the Macedonian hoplite Corragus. He broke the man’s pike, seized hold of him in full armour, and stood on his neck as he lay on the ground. Then he pulled out the knife he carried in his belt and killed the man. But he was hated by Alexander, and despairing because of this hatred, he lost heart and died.

Book 11.9

Phocion too was poor. When Alexander sent him a hundred talents he asked: “Why does he give them to me?” When they said that Alexander considered him the only good and noble Athenian he remarked: “Then let him leave me in that condition.”

Book 12.7

Note that Alexander laid a wreath on Achilles’ tomb and Hephaestion on Patroclus’, hinting that he was the object of Alexander’s love, as Patroclus was of Achilles.

Book 12.14

They say that among the Greeks Alcibiades was the most charming and handsome, among the Romans Scipio. It is also said that Demetrius Poliorcetes claimed to be handsome. Alexander, the son of Philip is reported to have possessed a natural beauty: his hair was wavy and fair. They say there was something slightly alarming about Alexander’s appearance. When Homer wishes to praise the handsome he compares them to trees (Iliad 18.56,437): “he grew like a sapling.”

Book 12.16

Note that Alexander hated Perdiccas because he was bellicose, Lysimachus because he was a good general, and Seleucus because he was brave. Antigonus’ ambition annoyed him. He disliked Antipater for his leadership and Ptolemy for his cleverness.

Book 12.26

The greatest drinkers on record, they say, were Xenagoras of Rhodes, who was called Amphora, the boxer Heraclides, and Proteas son of Lanice and childhood companion of king Alexander. Alexander himself is said to have drunk more than any other man.

Book 12.34

Many instances of love among the ancients have been recorded for us, among them the following prominent cases. Pausanias was in love with his wife, Apelles with Alexander’s mistress – she was called Pancaste and came from Larisa. She is said to have been the first woman Alexander slept with.

Book 12.37

When Alexander was pursuing Bessus, he became short of food, and both he and his men ate camels and pack animals. As their stock of wood gave out they ate the meat raw. They were helped by having plenty of silphium to tenderize the meat.

Book 12.39

Perdiccas the Macedonian who accompanied Alexander on his expedition was apparently so courageous that he once went alone into a cave where a lioness had her lair. He did not catch the lioness, but he emerged carrying her cubs. Perdiccas won admiration for this feat.

Not only Greeks, but barbarians as well, are convinced that the lioness is an animal of great bravery and very difficult to contend with. They say that the Assyrian Semiramis had her spirits raised, not if she killed a lion or leopard or another animal of that kind, but if she captured a lioness.

Book 12.43

I hear that Darius the son of Hystaspes carried the quiver for Cyrus. The last Darius, who was defeated by Alexander was a slave. Archelaus the king of Macedon was the son of the slave Simiche. Menelaus the grandfather of Philip was classified as illegitimate; his son Amyntas was believed to be a servant of Aeropus and a slave. Perseus, who was defeated by the Roman Paulus, was born in Argos, the son of an undistinguished man. Eumenes is thought to have been the child of a poor father who played music at funerals. Antigonus the son of Philip, who had one eye and consequently was known as Cyclops, was a peasant. Polysperchon was a bandit. Themistocles, who defeated the barbarians at sea and was the only man to understand the messages of the gods in oracles, was the son of a Thracian slave woman, and his mother was called Habrotonon. Phocion nicknamed the Good was the child of a man who made pestles, while they say that Demetrius of Phalerum (fr.2b W.) was born a slave in the household of Timotheus and Conon. Although Hyperbolus, Cleophon, and Demades became champions of the Athenian democracy, no one could easily say who their fathers were. Furthermore, Callicratidas, Gylippus, and Lysander were called “inferiors” at Sparta, this being the term for the slaves of rich men sent by the father of a family to share in exercise at the gymnasium. It was Lycurgus who made this concession and granted citizenship at Sparta to those who adhered to the rules for the education of children. Epaminondas was also the son of an undistinguished father. Cleon, the tyrant of Sicyon was a pirate.

Book 12.51

The doctor Menecrates became so arrogant that he called himself Zeus. One day he sent Philip of Macedon a letter in the following terms: “Menecrates Zeus greets Philip.” Philip replied: “Philip wishes Menecrates good health. I advise you to take yourself off to the region of Anticyra.”* By this he hinted that the man was mad.

Philip was giving a grand banquet, and he invited this man to the feast. He ordered a separate couch for him, and when Menecrates had settled in his place Philip put an incense burner close to him, and lit the incense for him. Everyone else was feasting, and it was a splendid occasion. At first Menecrates was able to hold out and he enjoyed the honor paid to him; but when hunger gradually overcame him and he was shown up to be the mortal he was, and a naïve one at that, he got up and walked away, saying he had been insulted. Philip had very artfully brought his insanity into the open.

Book 12.53

It has not escaped my notice that the causes of the greatest wars somehow seem trivial. The Persian war is said to have had its origin in the disagreement between Maeandrius of Samos and the Athenians, the Peloponnesian War because of the small tablet about the Megarians, the so-called Sacred War as a result of enforcing a verdict given by the Amphictyones, and the Chaeronean War because the Athenians were at odds with Philip and did not wish to accept .

Book 12.54

When Aristotle (fr. 659 R.) wished to soothe Alexander’s anger and check his annoyance with many people, he wrote to him as follows: “Temper and anger are not displayed to inferiors but to superiors; and no one is equal to you.”

Aristotle gave essential advice to Alexander and benefited many people. Among other things he resettled his home town, which had been razed by Philip.

Book 12.57

When Alexander the son of Philip led his forces against Thebes the gods sent them signs and portents presaging their imminent fate; but the Thebans thought Alexander had died in Illyria and they made many rude remarks about him. The marsh at Onchestus made a continuous frightening noise which seemed like a bull roaring. The spring called Dirce, running parallel to the Ismenus and the walls themselves, which had always previously had clear and pure water, was suddenly and unexpectedly filled with blood. The Thebans were sure the gods threatened the Macedonians. In the city at the temple of Demeter a spider began to cover the face of the cult statue with its handiwork and weave its usual product. The statue of Athena known as Alalcomeneis caught fire spontaneously, though no light was set to it; and much else.

Book 12.58

Dioxippus the Athenian athlete victorious at Olympia was driving into Athens as the athletes used to. A crowd collected from all directions and watched him intently. In it was a woman of great beauty who came to enjoy the spectacle. On seeing her Dioxippus was immediately struck by her beauty; he could not keep his eyes off her, turning to look at her and changing colour, so that many people realized he was not gazing idly at the woman. First to detect his feelings was Diogenes of Sinope, who said to his neighbours; “Look at your great athlete held in the grip of a little girl.”

Book 12.60

Dionysius II and Philip son of Amyntas met one day. Naturally there was a long and flowing conversation, and it included the following exchange. Philip asked Dionysius how it was that having inherited such a powerful state from his father he had not maintained it. The other replied, not without point: “My father left me everything else, but not the luck by which he obtained those possessions and kept them.”

Book 12.64

Alexander, son of Philip and Olympias, lay dead in Babylon – the man who said he was the son of Zeus. While his followers argued about the succession he lay waiting for burial, which even the very poor achieve, since the nature common to all mankind requires a funeral for those no longer living. But he was left unburied for thirty days, until Aristander of Telmissus, whether by divine inspiration or for some other reason, entered the Macedonian assembly and said that of all kings in recorded history Alexander was the most fortunate, both in his life and in his death; the gods had told him that the land which received his body, the earlier habitation of his soul, would enjoy the greatest good fortune and be unconquered through the ages.

On hearing this they began to quarrel seriously, each man wishing to carry off the prize to his own kingdom, so as to have a relic guaranteeing safety and permanence for his realm. But Ptolemy, if we are to believe the story, stole the body and hurriedly made off with it to Alexandria in Egypt. The other Macedonians did nothing, whereas Perdiccas tried to give chase. He was no so much interested in consideration for Alexander and due respect for his body as fired and incited by Artistander’s prediction. When he caught up with Ptolemy there was quite a violent struggle over the corpses, in some ways akin to the one over the phantom at Troy, which Homer (Iliad 5.449) celebrates in his tale, where Apollo puts it down among the heroes to protect Aeneas. Ptolemy checked Perdiccas’ attack. He made a likeness of Alexander clad in royal robes and a shroud of enviable quality. Then he laid it on one of the Persian carriages, and arranged the bier sumptuously with silver, gold, and ivory. Alexander’s real body was sent ahead without fuss and formality by a secret and little used route. Perdiccas found the imitation corpse with the elaborate carriage, and halted his advance, thinking he had laid hands on the prize. Too late he realized he had been deceived; it was not possible to go in pursuit.

Book 13.7

When Alexander captured Thebes, he sold into slavery all free citizens except priests. He also exempted from sale his father’s hosts – Philip as a boy had been a hostage there – and released their relatives. He paid honour to the descendants of Pindar, and allowed his house alone to stand. He executed about 6,000 Thebans, and 30,000 were taken prisoner.

Book 13.11

A story has reached me according to which Isocrates the orator was the cause of the enslavement which the Persians suffered at the hands of the Macedonians. The Panegyricus, which he delivered before the Greeks, became known in Macedonia, and first inspired Philip to attack Asia.* When he died, it caused his son Alexander, as heir to his father’s estate, to continue Philip’s enterprise.

*Isocrates published the Panegyricus in 380 B.C. Aelian speaks as if he delivered it in person, attempting to rally panhellenic sentiment at the Olympic festival, but this is not correct.

Book 13.13

Ptolemy son of Lagus (they say) took great pleasure in enriching his friends. He said it was better to make others rich than be rich oneself.

Book 13.30

When Alexander’s mother Olympias learned that her son lay unburied for a long time, she groaned deeply and cried in a high-pitched voice: “My child,” she said, ‘you wanted to reach heaven and made it your aim, but now you do not enjoy even what are surely common rights shared by all men, the right to earth and to burial.” Thus she lamented her own fate and criticised her son’s arrogance.

Book 13.36

Olympias sent Philip’s daughter Eurydice – she was the child of Philip and an Illyrian woman – hemlock, a noose and a dagger. Eurydice chose the noose.

Book 14.1

Aristotle, son of Nicomachus, a wise man in reality as well as by repute, was deprived of the privileges he had been granted at Delphi,* and wrote to Antipater on the subject as follows (fr. 666 R.): “About the privileges voted to me at Delphi and now taken away from me, my feeling is that I neither care about them very much nor disregard them entirely.” This is not the remark of a man anxious to be well known, and I would not accuse Aristotle of such sentiments; on the contrary, he sensibly thought there was a difference between not receiving in the first place and being stripped of what one had acquired. Not to receive was no great blow; but to acquire and then be deprived was painful.

Book 14.11

Philiscus once said to Alexander: “Take care of your reputation; don’t become a plague , bring health.” By plague he meant violent and savage rule, the capture of cities, the destruction of populations; by health, care for safety of subjects; that is the benefit of peace.

Book 14.12

Note that when traveling the Persian king took with him, in order not to be bored, a small block of lime wood and a little knife to scrape it. This was the activity of the royal hands. He certainly did not take with him a book or serious thoughts, in order to be able to read something important and improving or meditate on a noble and worthwhile subject.

Book 14.46c


Book 14.47a

Alexander son of Philip is said to have been very jealous of his friends and envious of them all, though not for identical reasons. He disliked Perdiccas for being a born soldier, Lysimachus because he had a good reputation as a general, and Seleucus for his bravery. Antigonus’ ambition pained him, he disliked Antipater’s quality of leadership, was suspicious of Ptolemy’s adroitness, and feared Atarrius’ insubordination, not to mention Pithon’s revolutionary instinct.

Book 14.48

Note that Philip took the sons of leading Macedonian families into his personal service, not intending (so they say) to insult or demean them, but on the contrary training them to be fit and ensuring that they would be ready for action. He took a hostile view (they say) of any who were self-indulgent and slack in obeying orders. So he whipped Aphthonetus for breaking ranks, leaving the road because he was thirsty, and entering an inn. And he executed Archedamus because when he personally ordered the man to stay in his armour, he took it off. Archedamus was unable to resist thoughts of gain and had hoped to win over the king by flattery and wheedling.