Our knowledge of the early life of Alexander the Great is based upon very slender literary evidence.[*]I wish to thank E. Badian and A.B. Bosworth for many valuable discussions and helpful suggestions made during the preparation of this paper; I also wish to thank several anonymous referees for their useful comments. Obviously, none of these persons should be held responsible for those errors which still remain, nor for the arguments presented. I am grateful to Harvard University, the Westinghouse Corporation, and the Winston Churchill Foundation for their financial support during the preparation of this paper. Arrian devotes only a few sentences to the years prior to Alexander’s campaigns. Plutarch’s coverage of Alexander’s youth is also very condensed, and both he and Arrian rely almost exclusively upon pro-Alexander sources such as Ptolemy and Aristoboulos. The books of Curtius which deal with the early years of Alexander have been lost, and Diodorus’ coverage is as usual very scanty. Justin’s epitome of Trogus is among our longest and most comprehensive accounts, but it is often rhetorically unreliable and careless with details. Yet apart from the occasional flashbacks and allusions in these sources and a few fragments of other historians, this evidence—heavily biased, meager, and unreliable as it is—comprises all we know concerning the first twenty years of Alexander’s life.
Naturally facts are difficult to establish when all our extant sources are so unsatisfactory, and grotesque distortions are relatively easy to produce. Earlier this century, W.W. Tarn managed to create a pristine-pure Alexander the Just by explaining away all contrary evidence as hostile propaganda fabricated by Alexander’s enemies to blacken his name.The extreme nature of Tarn’s views is well-demonstrated by a passage relating to the topic of this paper. In his Alexander the Great: sources and studies ii (Cambridge 1948) 260-2, he acquits Alexander of the murder of his brother Karanos by ‘debunking’ Karanos’ existence, and closes his account with the words ‘Alexander did commit two [sic!] murders in his day; there is no need to invent a third which he could not have committed.’ A naive reader is liable to exhaust Tarn’s quota of killings in a single sentence of our Alexander sources; and E. Badian forcefully depicts the bloody character of Alexander’s later reign of terror in JHS lxxxi (1961) 16-43 and Studies in Greek and Roman history (Oxford 1964) 192-205.
Arguments from silence are also particularly questionable in view of the sources’ character. Amyntas Perdikkou was a leading figure at the court of Alexander’s father Philip, being the son of Philip’s brother and predecessor; Amyntas may even have reigned for a few years of his infancy before Philip his guardian usurped the throne.See J.R. Ellis, Philip II and Macedonian imperialism (London 1976) 15-22 for the sources and a good discussion of the evidence. Several casual allusions in our sources make it clear that upon his succession, Alexander murdered Amyntas, accusing him of conspiracy;References to Amyntas’ alleged conspiracy are in Plut. de fort. Alex. 1.3, Curt. vi 9.17, 10.24; while in Arr. An. i 5.4, Alexander offers a foreign king the hand of Kynna, his half-sister and the erstwhile wife (and current widow?) of Amyntas. yet only Justin explicitly mentions the killing,Justin xii 6.14-15. and Plutarch’s Alexander (for example) never even hints at Amyntas’ existence.
We must bear these facts in mind as we consider the evidence concerning Alexander’s brothers. Although a fragment of Satyros lists among Philip’s various children only two sons, Alexander and his feeble-minded half-brother Arridaios,Satyros in Ath. xiii 557, on which see A.D. Tronson, JHS civ (1984) 116-26. Justin mentions one or more other sons. In describing the circumstances of Philip’s assassination, Justin states that Alexander ‘feared his brother begot of a step-mother as his rival for the kingdom; and had been thereby moved to quarrel at an entertainment, first with Attalos, and presently with his father’ (‘Alexandrum quoque regni aemulum fratrem ex noverca suspectum timuisse; eoque factum ut in convivio antea primum cum Attalo mox cum ipso patre iurgaret’).Justin ix 7.3. The purpose of the first half of the sentence is to set the scene for Alexander’s dispute with Attalos at the wedding of Philip and Attalos’ niece Kleopatra. Hence it has been generally supposed that the ‘brother’ is a hypothetical unborn son of Kleopatra and that Alexander feared the loss of his position as heir to such a future son.Tarn (n. 1) 260 also argues this interpretation of the passage, and the same view is held either explicitly or implicitly by N.G.L. Hammond and G.T. Griffith, A history of Macedonia ii (Oxford 1979) 681 n. 1; Ellis (n. 3) 214; and R. Lane Fox, Alexander the Great (London 1973) 503. W. Heckel, RFIC cvii (1979) 386-7 considers the alternative possibility simply to dismiss it. H. Berve, Das Alexanderreich auf prosopographischer Grundlage (Munich 1926) s.v. ‘Karanos’ argued that Karanos was Phila’s son, but his reasoning was very weak (see n. 27 below However, a closer examination of Justin renders this view implausible. Justin later tells how Alexander, during the aftermath of Philip’s assassination, ‘took care likewise to have Karanos, his brother begot of a step-mother, his rival for the kingdom, slain’ (‘aemulum quoque imperii Caranum fratrem ex noverca suspectum interfici curavit’).Justin xi 2.3. There can be little doubt that the two sentences are parallel and refer to the same brother: aemulum imperii matches aemulum regni, fratrem ex noverca suspectum is exactly duplicated, and the structure of the two sentences is quite similar.On this point I am in complete agreement with Tarn (n. 1) 260 and Heckel (n. 7) 387. On the other hand, it is very unlikely that Justin is describing Karanos as an infant son of Kleopatra: he specifically states that Kleopatra’s child was a daughter, and describes her death at the hands of Olympias (without Alexander’s apparent complicity).Justin xi 7.12.
Satyros’ fragment lists Kleopatra’s child as a daughter named Europe.Satyros (n. 5) According to Diodorus, Kleopatra had borne a child (παιδίον) to Philip a few days before his death.Diod. xvii 2. Only Pausanias claims that the infant was a son: ‘And when Philip died, Olympias took his baby son (παῖδα νήπιον), the child of Attalos’s niece Kleopatra, and murdered the child and the mother together by dragging them onto a bronze oven filled with fire.Paus. viii 7.7. It has been suggestedLane Fox (n. 7) 503-5. that these accounts may be reconciled by the hypothesis that Kleopatra bore two children to Philip, first a daughter named Europe, then a son named Karanos, but this is unlikely. Justin never claimed that Karanos was Kleopatra’s son. More significantly, none of our sources imply that Kleopatra had two children; in each account, only a single child is mentioned. Then too, Kleopatra’s marriage to Philip seems far too short to have permitted the births of two children.With the political aftermath of Chaironeiea occupying his attention, it is unlikely that Philip returned to Macedonia to marry Kleopatra until after the meeting at Korinth; this would place the marriage in spring or summer 337. Diod. xvii 2.3 says that Kleopatra’s child was born a few days before Philip’s death in summer 336. This would fit well, and two births are impossible. Lane Fox (n. 14) is driven to the wildly implausible conclusion that Kleopatra was already many months pregnant at the time of her marriage to Philip. The general case against two births is well-argued by Heckel (n. 7) 389-93 and the issue of the date of the marriage is discussed by Ellis (n. 2) 301 n. 1, 302 n. 4. Finally, the statement of Pausanias—the only tangible evidence that Kleopatra bore a son—is very weak, and probably represents an embellishment of the indeterminently-sexed ‘child’ (παιδίον) of an earlier source.Pausanias full account is: ἐπι δὲ Φιλίππῳ τελευτήσαντι Φιλίππου παῖδα νήπιον, γεγονότα δὲ ἐκ Κλεοπάτρας ἀδελφιδῆς Ἀττάλου, τοῦτον τὸν παῖδα ὀμου τῇ μητρὶ Ὀλυμπιὰς ἐπὶ σκεύους Χαλκοῦ πυρὸς ὑποβεβλημένου διέφθειρεν ἕλκουσα. Nowhere does the actual word ‘son’ (υἱός) appear. Only two phrases specify the sex of the child: παῖδα νήπιον γεγονόταand τοῦτον τὸν παῖδα. Both of these imply a masculine child, but the impression they give is that Pausanias’ own confidence in the certainty of his information (or his memory) was not firm. The absence of the word ‘son’ makes it easy to imagine that Pausanias embellished the indeterminantly-sexed παιδίον of Diodorus or some other source into a masculine παῖδα νήπιον or τὸν παῖδα. An anonymous referee was kind enough to point out that a parallel embellishment may have occurred in the case of Julia’s baby born in 54 BC, apparently a daughter (Plut. Pomp. 53.5; Dio XXXIX 64) but sometimes called a son (Vell. ii 47.2, nepos at Suet. Caes. 26.1 and Lucan ix 1049). Taken together, the testimony of our sources makes it clear that Kleopatra had only one child, a daughter.
Alexander’s quarrel with Attalos at the marriage feast is not difficult to understand within this framework. With his mother Olympias having been displaced by Kleopatra, Alexander probably viewed Attalos’s taunts as a sign that his own position as heir was in jeopardy. He did not fear a hypothetical unborn (and unconceived!) son of Kleopatra, but his younger brother Karanos, who was obviously much more of a threat. Similarly, he was later to fear (momentarily) even feeble-minded Arridaios as a rival (an absurd possibility, which demonstrates the irrational nature of Alexander’s suspicion).Plut. Alex. 10.
Justin gives further evidence concerning the existence of Alexander’s brothers. Following his account of the assassination of Philip, he states:Justin ix 8.2-4. ‘Philippus genuit ex Larissaea saltatrice filium Aridaeum qui post Alexandrum regnavit. habuit et alios multos ex variis matrimoniis regio more susceptos qui partim fato partim ferro periere.’ The phrase alios multos almost certainly refers to sons (cf. filium in the previous sentence) rather than to children in general, since otherwise Justin presumably would have added a word such as liberos; and partim ferro periere can hardly refer to brothers of Alexander who died naturally in infancy or childhood.
What became of these brothers? The answer is plain: Alexander killed them. The practice of eliminating rival half-brothers was virtually universal among polygamous monarchies. Philip killed his own three half-brothers;Justin viii 3.10-12. Persian rulers often slaughtered dozens.E.g. Justin x 1-2. As seen above, Justin explicitly states that Alexander killed his rival half-brother Karanos. A later passage in Justin mentions that Alexander, before embarking on the Persian War, slew all his step-mother’s relatives (omnes novercae suae cognatos),The murder of Attalos, Kleopatra’s uncle is well-known (Diod. xvii 2.5). Probably Kleopatra’s brother Hippostratos and various other relatives also fell in the purge. as well as all of his own ‘who seemed fit for kingship’ (suis qui apti regno videbantur) in order to prevent any chance of sedition while he was far away.Justin xi 5.1-3. Clearly suos cognatos includes Amyntas, who was killed around this time,See n. 3 above. but aside from half-brothers, it is difficult to imagine what other names would explain the plural (and the sole survivor, Arridaios, who was emphatically not ‘fit for the kingship’, is the exception which supports the rule). An additional passage in Justin raises this implication of general fratricide to an explicit statement of fact. Following his murder of Kleitos, Alexander laments and recounts his various murders:Justin xii 6.14-15. ‘tunc Parmenion et Philotas, tunc Amyntas consobrinus, tunc noverca fratresque interfecti; tunc Attalos, Eurylochus, Pausanias aliique Macedoniae extincti principes occurrebant.’ Fratres is explicitly plural.
Our evidence for the existence of Alexander’s brothers has come from Justin, and as mentioned, Justin is not always reliable as an epitomizer of Trogus’ history. However, while it is plausible that Justin occasionally garbled or rhetorically distorted sections of Trogus (e.g. apparently having Alexander blame himself in the passage above for the murder of his step-mother Kleopatra, who was actually Olympias’ victim), it seems highly unlikely that Justin simply invented all these widely separated references to Karanos and to Alexander’s other brothers. It seems undeniable that Trogus repeatedly mentioned these brothers.
Therefore, the issue comes down to weighing the statements of Justin-Trogus against the silence of our other sources. The fragment of Satyros is concerned with Philip’s marriages rather than with his children and mentions only those children who played a significant role in history; the sole exception, Kleopatra’s daughter Europe, is listed apart from the others, almost as an afterthought. The very brief nature of our other sources has already been discussed, and it must be remembered that pro-Alexander sources such as Ptolemy and Aristoboulos would have balked at portraying their hero as a fratricide. In any event, if we are willing to accept the existence of Karanos (as some scholars do),E.g. Lane Fox (n. 7) 503, Ellis (n. 2) 306 n. 54, and S. Hornblower, The Greek world, 479-323 (London 1983) 262 to name a few recent authors. Various other references to the supporters of the existence of Karanos (whether as a son of Kleopatra or some other wife) are collected by Heckel (n. 7). then the argument from silence immediately becomes invalid: if one brother slipped through the cracks of Satyros and our other sources, other brothers may have done the same, especially since they were much less important than Karanos, whom Alexander feared as his chief rival. The explicit evidence of Justin-Trogus—who is perhaps our earliest main Alexander source—should outweigh the silence of our other sources. Alexander had brothers, whom he murdered when he came to the throne.The existence of other brothers (and sisters) besides those mentioned in the fragment of Satyros may help to resolve another puzzle: Philip’s fecundity. As it stands, for Philip to have had only six surviving children after twenty-five years of marriage to a total of seven wives seems implausible. Philip’s fertility must have been high, for at the age of forty-seven he obtained a child from his last wife Kleopatra after only about one year of marriage.
If we accept this idea, our picture of Macedon under Philip II must be redrawn. There was Alexander, Philip’s (probably) eldest son and likely successor; there was Arridaios, roughly of Alexander’s age (or perhaps even a little older), whose mental inability left him a cipher in succession intrigues; there were Alexander’s various sisters, possibly more than just those significant ones mentioned by Satyros; and there were Alexander’s younger brothers and their mothers, each (undoubtedly) continually intriguing on behalf of her sons. Since Karanos is singled out by Justin as being Alexander’s rival, it is likely that he was the eldest of these brothers, perhaps in his late teens at the time of Philip’s death (unfortunately we have no clue as to the identity of his mother).The suggestion that Karanos was the son of Phila, Philip’s second wife, was accepted by Berve (n. 7) and followed by half-a-dozen other (mostly German) scholars in the last hundred years; see Heckel (n. 7) 386 n. 1 for the list. The main argument is that Satyros lists no children for Phila though he does list children for five of Philip’s other seven wives; this is so thin as to be non-existent. Strangely enough, Berve also claims that Phila (a sister of Derdas and Machatas of Illyria) was the only ‘social peer’ of Olympias, and hence only a son of hers could be a rival to Alexander. This is completely untrue (as far as we can judge such things): Audata came from the royal Illyrian house, Meda was a daughter of the Thracian king, Kleopatra was the niece of a leading Macedonian noble, and even Philinna and Nikesipolis (about whose social background we know nothing) are usually assumed to have come from aristocratic Thessalian families.
It might be argued that strong-willed Olympias would never have permitted Philip to keep his other wives at court or even to continue to consort with them, but this is clearly false. Satyros explicitly tells us that Philip ‘brought home’ Thracian Meda as another wife besides Olympias (around 342),See Ellis (n. 2) 166-7. just as he later did with Kleopatra.Satyros (n. 5). The same verb έπεισάγω is used in each case. Once Alexander was the well-established crown prince, say by about 339, Olympias’ influence may have risen considerably; perhaps Philip sent his other wives to live away from court around this time (also partly to enhance his image as a Hellene by removing the stigma of an ‘oriental harem’). But during the first decade of Philip’s reign, Olympias cannot have had overwhelming influence over her husband: she was not Philip’s first wife, nor his only high-born one, nor (as yet) the mother of the certain successor. And it was probably during these years that Karanos and most of Alexander’s other rival half-brothers were born.
[*] I wish to thank E. Badian and A.B. Bosworth for many valuable discussions and helpful suggestions made during the preparation of this paper; I also wish to thank several anonymous referees for their useful comments. Obviously, none of these persons should be held responsible for those errors which still remain, nor for the arguments presented. I am grateful to Harvard University, the Westinghouse Corporation, and the Winston Churchill Foundation for their financial support during the preparation of this paper.
 The extreme nature of Tarn’s views is well-demonstrated by a passage relating to the topic of this paper. In his Alexander the Great: sources and studies ii (Cambridge 1948) 260-2, he acquits Alexander of the murder of his brother Karanos by ‘debunking’ Karanos’ existence, and closes his account with the words ‘Alexander did commit two [sic!] murders in his day; there is no need to invent a third which he could not have committed.’ A naive reader is liable to exhaust Tarn’s quota of killings in a single sentence of our Alexander sources; and E. Badian forcefully depicts the bloody character of Alexander’s later reign of terror in JHS lxxxi (1961) 16-43 and Studies in Greek and Roman history (Oxford 1964) 192-205.
 See J.R. Ellis, Philip II and Macedonian imperialism (London 1976) 15-22 for the sources and a good discussion of the evidence.
 References to Amyntas’ alleged conspiracy are in Plut. de fort. Alex. 1.3, Curt. vi 9.17, 10.24; while in Arr. An. i 5.4, Alexander offers a foreign king the hand of Kynna, his half-sister and the erstwhile wife (and current widow?) of Amyntas.
 Justin xii 6.14-15.
 Satyros in Ath. xiii 557, on which see A.D. Tronson, JHS civ (1984) 116-26.
 Justin ix 7.3.
 Tarn (n. 1) 260 also argues this interpretation of the passage, and the same view is held either explicitly or implicitly by N.G.L. Hammond and G.T. Griffith, A history of Macedonia ii (Oxford 1979) 681 n. 1; Ellis (n. 3) 214; and R. Lane Fox, Alexander the Great (London 1973) 503. W. Heckel, RFIC cvii (1979) 386-7 considers the alternative possibility simply to dismiss it. H. Berve, Das Alexanderreich auf prosopographischer Grundlage (Munich 1926) s.v. ‘Karanos’ argued that Karanos was Phila’s son, but his reasoning was very weak (see n. 27 below
 Justin xi 2.3.
 On this point I am in complete agreement with Tarn (n. 1) 260 and Heckel (n. 7) 387.
 Justin xi 7.12.
 Satyros (n. 5)
 Diod. xvii 2.
 Paus. viii 7.7.
 Lane Fox (n. 7) 503-5.
 With the political aftermath of Chaironeiea occupying his attention, it is unlikely that Philip returned to Macedonia to marry Kleopatra until after the meeting at Korinth; this would place the marriage in spring or summer 337. Diod. xvii 2.3 says that Kleopatra’s child was born a few days before Philip’s death in summer 336. This would fit well, and two births are impossible. Lane Fox (n. 14) is driven to the wildly implausible conclusion that Kleopatra was already many months pregnant at the time of her marriage to Philip. The general case against two births is well-argued by Heckel (n. 7) 389-93 and the issue of the date of the marriage is discussed by Ellis (n. 2) 301 n. 1, 302 n. 4.
 Pausanias full account is: ἐπι δὲ Φιλίππῳ τελευτήσαντι Φιλίππου παῖδα νήπιον, γεγονότα δὲ ἐκ Κλεοπάτρας ἀδελφιδῆς Ἀττάλου, τοῦτον τὸν παῖδα ὀμου τῇ μητρὶ Ὀλυμπιὰς ἐπὶ σκεύους Χαλκοῦ πυρὸς ὑποβεβλημένου διέφθειρεν ἕλκουσα. Nowhere does the actual word ‘son’ (υἱός) appear. Only two phrases specify the sex of the child: παῖδα νήπιον γεγονόταand τοῦτον τὸν παῖδα. Both of these imply a masculine child, but the impression they give is that Pausanias’ own confidence in the certainty of his information (or his memory) was not firm. The absence of the word ‘son’ makes it easy to imagine that Pausanias embellished the indeterminantly-sexed παιδίον of Diodorus or some other source into a masculine παῖδα νήπιον or τὸν παῖδα. An anonymous referee was kind enough to point out that a parallel embellishment may have occurred in the case of Julia’s baby born in 54 BC, apparently a daughter (Plut. Pomp. 53.5; Dio XXXIX 64) but sometimes called a son (Vell. ii 47.2, nepos at Suet. Caes. 26.1 and Lucan ix 1049).
 Plut. Alex. 10.
 Justin ix 8.2-4.
 Justin viii 3.10-12.
 E.g. Justin x 1-2.
 The murder of Attalos, Kleopatra’s uncle is well-known (Diod. xvii 2.5). Probably Kleopatra’s brother Hippostratos and various other relatives also fell in the purge.
 Justin xi 5.1-3.
 See n. 3 above.
 Justin xii 6.14-15.
 E.g. Lane Fox (n. 7) 503, Ellis (n. 2) 306 n. 54, and S. Hornblower, The Greek world, 479-323 (London 1983) 262 to name a few recent authors. Various other references to the supporters of the existence of Karanos (whether as a son of Kleopatra or some other wife) are collected by Heckel (n. 7).
 The existence of other brothers (and sisters) besides those mentioned in the fragment of Satyros may help to resolve another puzzle: Philip’s fecundity. As it stands, for Philip to have had only six surviving children after twenty-five years of marriage to a total of seven wives seems implausible. Philip’s fertility must have been high, for at the age of forty-seven he obtained a child from his last wife Kleopatra after only about one year of marriage.
 The suggestion that Karanos was the son of Phila, Philip’s second wife, was accepted by Berve (n. 7) and followed by half-a-dozen other (mostly German) scholars in the last hundred years; see Heckel (n. 7) 386 n. 1 for the list. The main argument is that Satyros lists no children for Phila though he does list children for five of Philip’s other seven wives; this is so thin as to be non-existent. Strangely enough, Berve also claims that Phila (a sister of Derdas and Machatas of Illyria) was the only ‘social peer’ of Olympias, and hence only a son of hers could be a rival to Alexander. This is completely untrue (as far as we can judge such things): Audata came from the royal Illyrian house, Meda was a daughter of the Thracian king, Kleopatra was the niece of a leading Macedonian noble, and even Philinna and Nikesipolis (about whose social background we know nothing) are usually assumed to have come from aristocratic Thessalian families.
 See Ellis (n. 2) 166-7.
 Satyros (n. 5). The same verb έπεισάγω is used in each case.
The thought which crossed my mind is the idea in many cultures ‘cousin’ and ‘brother’ are indistinguishable in the language when spoken generically. Another way of saying this is, unless the referrer wishes to be technically specific, cousin and brother or cousin and sister can often be the identical word. In Blackfoot language, for instance, cousin and brother can be the same word. I understand this can also be the case in some Slav languages usage. I don’t know that were the case in the language spoken by Alexander’s contemporaries, but if it were, it could complicate matters, especially if writers about Alexander’s family were of a different language and the ‘cousin-brother’ distinction were not always clear in either the language spoken by Alexander, or any alternative language in which he’d been written about. Just a thought.
History fascinates and Alexander will never go away so long as European based culture retains its place of dominance.
How did you get on with the toucan man?
So may we just say we know not much about Alexander’s early years because he killed all his playmates? How many brothers do you think he had? I never knew Kleopatra had a daughter named Europe.
Makes me think what I’ve often thought regarding the human nature of those who reign, and how maybe it has never much changed a mite: all more or less have Narcissistic Personality Disorder–(which USA foreign policy has a jarring meta-case of, well because of whose behind it of course.) NPD is worth a wikipedia or mayo perusal if you, like me, always figured it was just an extra dose of narcissism. It’s not, it’s fundamentally about character assassination, and a torturous insecurity. So, A. the Great kills his step-mothers relatives comprehensively? Sounds maybe more than a little insecure, maybe that a better word than paranoid. And it seems hard to imagine his half-brothers were such rivals of the Right Stuff. Anyhow he kills his competition and today they character assassinate the competition. Well having suffered it from close quarters myself, eh, I’m content to judge him no more the monster than willy-nilly character assassins of now. Alexandria was like an art-culture-learning atlantis for a time.
The argument from silence is kinda interesting to ponder. “Have I no friend will rid me of this living fear?” Maybe the fratricide was mostly outsourced that way, no need to make a big defense after the fact of what you deliberately did not do. Tarn sounds like he’s hocking the popular thumbnail of Alexander. Though, who are the rivals out to besmirch his name, I guess claiming he was murdering relatives were they? Well I suppose you would only be practicing self-preservation getting behind that if it was a lie, right?
From secret of secrets:
O my excellent preceptor and just minister, I inform you that I have found in the land of Persia men possessing sound judgement and powerful understanding, who are ambitious of bearing rule. Hence I have decided to put them all to death. What is your opinion in this matter?
It is no use putting to death the men you have conquered; for their land will, by the laws of nature, breed another generation which will be similar. The character of these men is determined by the nature of the air of their country and the waters they habitually drink. The best course for you is to accept them as they are, and to seek to accommodate them to your concepts by winning them over through kindness.
All I ever knew about Alexander The Great came from a Landmark bio I read in the fifties. The Landmark series were two hundred page books about historical figures with biggish print and nothing about fratricide run wild. There was one on Garibaldi too.
The landmark book represented Alexander as the golden boy of early western history with his big horse and good intentions. Back then I could not imagine Alexander being a power grabber and brother killer, but now the Unz version rings with the sordid tone of truth.
Also I thank Mr. Unz for his forum and the opportunity to read thoughtful opinions you will not run into elsewhere on the Web.
Were there any laws that at least nominally forbade and punished murder in Alexander’s time?
(My classics knowledge is entry-level only. I have Arrian’s book, Cicero’s letters, a few others, all Eng. translation. Read a few period novels, plus had one year of Latin with Miss Macchione before she took ill and wasn’t replaced.)
Alexander’s nationality is still disputed among Greek and Macedonian historians. A great majority of inhabitants of Pakistan’s northern state, Hunza, claim to be descendants of Greek soldiers who accompanied Alexander the Great during his conquest of that part of the world which he was forced to abandon due to a rebellion back home. According to legend, during his short stay in Hunza, Alexander married daughter of a local chief. He left a regiment to guard his wife during his journey back to Macedonia.
A few years ago, I read an interview by Safder Karim, a student at University of Sydney (Australia), who said: “The people of Hunza and Kalash are the descendants of Alexander the Great . The great Alexander was the king of Macedonia. So logically we migrated from Macedonia to Hunza and we are the generation of Alexander ‘s army who never returned to Macedonia. I m totally confused why Greeks think that we are Greeks . Alexander was Macedonian so to clarify everything, our ancestors were Macedonians not Greeks. The Greeks have tried very hard to make us Greek but they won’t get us to become Greek. We belong to the Macedonian culture and to Macedonia . We never mix with any other culture .In the ancient world there was no country called Greece, there was a Macedonian kingdom with a king and a city states around Athens.”
Well, Macedonians are still struggling for their survival.
On January 31, 2015, Macedonian prime minister Nikola Gruevski accused opposition leader Zoran Zaev of conspiring with foreign intelligence agencies to topple his government. Zaev’s Social Democrats are supported by the US and EU, have been boycotting parliament for almost a year since alleging fraud in the last parliamentary election.
A little learning is a dangerous thing. The people who today call themselves Macedonians are speakers of a South Slavic language and descendants of Slavic invaders of the Balkan peninsula. They bear absolutely no relation to the Macedonians of Alexander’s time who spoke a dialect of Greek and were related by descent to the Greeks. It is as ignorant to confuse modern Macedonians with ancient ones as it is to confuse the Iraqi (now mostly American) Christian minority who call themselves Assyrians with the ancient people who “Came down like a wolf on the fold…”.
Detailed genetic analysis of the Hunza has shown that their European features appear to be due to spontaneous mutations within the native population not any admixture of Greek/ancient Macedonian genes from Alexander’s soldiers. People also tend to forget that Alexander’s supposed conquest of Afghanistan, northern India and neighboring areas was actually a reconquest of areas already conquered by the Persians in preceding centuries. The Persians basically softened these areas up for Alewxander’s later conquest.
I believe that one of the more telling accounts of Alexander’s cruelty is narrated in Plutarch’s Lives. During his conquest of Persia Alexander was overjoyed to come upon a city of Greek-speaking people. Later he learned that they were the descendants of Greek mercenaries who’d fought with the Persians. With no warning Alexander ordered the sacking and coimplete destruction of the city. All residents who weren’t killed outright were enslaved. Alexander was a blood-thirsty monster, a near savage, and a drunken lout who happened to inherit or steal an exceedingly effective military machine. His only accomplishment — albeit an extraordinarily important one — was to be the accidental agent that spread Greek culture throughout the ancient Mediterranean and Near East.
Over 300 classicists recently sent a signed letter to President Obama. Here’s the introductory paragraph:
Wasn’t Alexander gay?
Yes, a little learning could be dangerous to some fools, but some of great people in history didn’t even passed 8th grade. For example, Soviet Russian dictator Stalin, who established world’s first Jewish state Birobidjan in 1934.
Alexander was tutored under Aristotle
I’ve read that he insisted on breaking the most spirited wild horses personally
a passion for knowledge and the ancient virtues, I wonder what he’d think of the kind of people we’ve become today ..
It may seem unpleasant but it was necessary. If a king didn’t eliminate rival half-brothers (and full brothers) it was an absolute certainty that they would take steps to eliminate him. Strict and properly defined rules of succession are a fairly modern development. Even without polygamy rules of succession were not very clear in the ancient and medieval periods, hence The Wars of the Roses and similar stuff.
If Alexander had his half-brothers killed that simply demonstrates his wisdom. There was no other way to assure stability.
They would kill any family member standing in the way of ascension to power, including breaking firm cultural taboos like matricide, as in the case of Alexander’s younger half-sister, Thessalonike. Alexander and his family tree is a compelling mix of an incredible thirst for knowledge, culture, and exploration, and savage bloodthirst.
The usual implication of the Zionist pursuit of a ‘Jewish state’ was a ‘sovereign state’, just as with other groups pursuing ‘statehood’ then and now. That’s also the usual meaning of the term ‘state’ outside a US or a few other limited contexts.
The JAO wasn’t a state. It was a third-tier subject of the USSR, or now of the Russian federation. That was a fancy equivalent of telling Soviet Jews they could run their own consolidated ghetto, which they already had been doing in most places, or telling Indians they can govern their reservations however they like. Not necessarily a bad thing, but not statehood.
Nor was it a polity in which Jews could determine what it meant to be a Jewish nation, as opposed to having to ‘develop a proletarian jewish culture’ within a Soviet ‘socialist framework’. Nor were those Jews permitted to decide that their religion would be a major element of that Jewish culture.
Not to mention immigration to it being controlled by Soviet authorities in Moscow, not Jewish authorities in Birobidzhan.
Utah has a better claim to call itself a sovereign Mormon state than the JAO ever had to being a sovereign Jewish state- it is at least a first-tier subject of the US as a member state of the union, which is many levels closer to the top than any oblast of the USSR or even Russia; it has actual internal self-government [at least while the SC assumes the constitution to still exist]; it has actual freedom for Mormons to define Mormonism [ditto wrt the SC, to be sure, but at least no one says the religion has to be scrapped]; And while it certainly has a non-Mormon population, last I checked it had a Mormon majority [the JAO peaked at 25% Jewish].
About the only things Utah lacks in this regard are full international sovereignty and the ability to direct the immigration of overseas Mormons. Still way ahead of the JAO.
A couple years ago some royal tombs were discovered in Macedon that may have shed some light on this. I cannot remember the details, but I do remember them being likely relations of Alexander’s. Now that I think about it, they may have been his own children/wives.
>>>>> and am taking the liberty of republishing this one here
I didn’t see any “reprinted by permission” boilerplate
“Alexander was a blood-thirsty monster, a near savage, and a drunken lout…”
Please spare me your subjection of Alexander the Great to the petty orthodoxies of the 21st century. He was a man of his times, and a great one. You sound like a contemporary college kid, denouncing Thomas Jefferson for being “a racist.” Ain’t nobody got time for that!
I’m sure that Jeb Bush would beg to differ and say that Alexander’s suspicion, of an easily-controlled feeble-minded brother taking his place, was highly rational and far from an absurd possibility.
This piece on Alexander brought to mind a section from the documentary “The Ring Of Power” in which the creator of the film theorizes that Ptolemy XV(Caesarion), the last king of the Ptolemaic dynasty of Egypt and rightful heir to the Roman Empire, was not killed by Octavian(adopted son of Julius Caesar, also known as Emperor Augustus) and that his mother, Cleopatra, sent him to India with her most trusted servants, Mary and Joseph. The theory is that Caesarion learned Buddhism in India and returned to reclaim his father’s kingdom spiritually. His father was Julius Caesar and the movie theorizes that Caesarion was Jesus. Very interesting theories in the film and well worth watching. I’ve attached a link to the section on Caesarion and a link to the whole film below it.
Let’s start with the fact that Rome was not then a monarchy, so by definition could not have a rightful heir. And it doesn’t get better from there.
Yeah, she seems to be a little sloppy with her research in terms of the connection. I THINK she was trying to say that whatever Augustus’s claim to Julius Caesar’s power in Rome as being next in line was actually Ceasarion’s. She definitely is a little loose with her use of facts and some of her connections are definitely a bit of a stretch, like her associating Julius Caesar to Jesus Christ because they both have JC in the beginning of their names… now I’m not an ancient linguist but I don’t even think that Jesus was spelled that way at the time and I think that the letter J did not even exist until about 500 years ago. 🙂
But nevertheless, I think that the premise is an interesting theory.
I think that with a little tweaking to make this article’s focus be the need for pro-gay, pro-black Feminism ruling all discussion of the Classical world, Mark Zuckerberg’s sister might want this. And then Ron Unz would know that he has arrived.
What kind of drugs, and in what dose do you need to take them, to fry yourself enough to think any of that makes sense?
Given the high degree of incest that existed in the pre-Christian world, the blurred line between “cousin” and “brother” probably made a lot more sense. Many families had no problem intermarrying in ways that disgust us in the West today: half-brothers and half-sisters married, uncles married nieces, first cousins could marry, etc. Your “cousin” might very well have enough of your own genes that he could be called your brother.
It was the Catholic Church that made incest verboten before the Reformation.The Church noticed that warring factions often (1) existed side by side; and (2) kept marriages within the nobility of the particular clan. The Church thought that by barring certain forms of incestual marriage, it would force clans next to each other to breed with one another, thereby uniting lands and reducing hostility, which, in fact, it did.
Note that Judaism did not ban a lot of incest; it was the Church that led this. Some Protestant denominations went backwards on incest, but for the most part Protestants kept up this ban (although Jane Austen’s novels do have a bit of a blur between relations and marriage opportunities),
Note also how it was assumed that the elites of two societies would much rather marry each other than commoners of their own realm. It probably didn’t mean much when a powerful clan was the only people on a land (i.e. with Scottish or Irish clans in the hinterlands), but as lands became more populated and the commoner/elite divide became more pronounced the elites still preferred to marry across elite lines rather than go down to the peasantry or yeoman or merchant. Food for thought.
We can see that in most of the non-Christian world today cousin marriage, uncle-niece marriage, etc. are still accepted, as the recent Somali elected representative shows. The horrors of Muslim incest are something that should be exposed more often, if only to show that not all cultures are equal, and sharia law is an abomination.
Great article, I didn’t know you had been a classical scholar, Ron. Your conclusions seem reasonable to me, though of course I know very little about the subject matter to be a reliable judge of the question.
By the way I mentioned similar topics in a quite recent comment (about North Korea, which is also a quasi polygamous monarchy), had I seen it, I would’ve referenced your article in my comment, too.
Great article. Seriously interesting stuff. I suppose Zuckerberg’s children better hope he isn’t the serial marriage type.
When Ottoman Sultan Murad III or IV came to the throne, all 19 brothers and half-brothers and their harem favorites were strangled.
Two of the Spanish Habsburg kings married their nieces, two their first cousins. The result was Charles II. They were Catholic, I think.
Quite correct about the Greek mercenaries in Persia. A full one-third of the Persian army that faced Alexander’s Macedonians (not to be confused with those living in today’s Macedonia) at the battle of Granicus were Greek mercenaries.
“Battle of the Granicus”
Greece was – and is – a poor country. Exporting mercenaries was a way to support their lifestyle. Much later, Greeks turned to shipping and commerce. Many emigrated over the ages.
Mr. Unz is indeed a man of many parts.
Thank you, Mr. Unz!
True, by that point the Hapsburgs had perfected getting exceptions directly from the pope and bishops to do such marriages. The fact that Protestanism had taken over many of the royal families whom the Hapsburgs had previously married into, and that the Hapsburgs by that point ruled many places in Europe, probably spurred these exceptions as well.And the English spreading the “Black Legend” about Spain exaggerated many of the inbreeding problems.
But that was all far after the ban.
I’m talking about originally when the Popes started really banning incestual marriage—medieval times. I remember one really religious French king who was a pretty great patron of the Church who married his cousin whom he was deeply infatuated with and, to his shock and spiritual anguish, got excommunicated by “bell, book, and candle.” It sent a message to the rulers of Europe that incest would not be tolerated, no matter how much you did. The French king ended up reconciling with the church and marrying someone not related to him.
OT: Greenwich Mean Time?
So, you’re saying, maybe another week or two?
Anyway, ‘pre-eminence’ is strong enough without resorting to ‘dominance’…
‘Following his murder of Kleitos, Alexander laments and recounts his various murders: ‘tunc Parmenion et Philotas, tunc Amyntas consobrinus, tunc noverca fratresque interfecti; tunc Attalos, Eurylochus, Pausanias aliique Macedoniae extincti principes occurrebant.’ Fratres is explicitly plural.’
This isn’t 19th century England where the educated not only were expected to be fluent in Latin and Greek, but were actually taught them. Even for a classics magazine, not translating long passages is inexcusable, but at Unz? Let’s be honest, how many readers got that?
It’s not a long passage, much of it consists of names.
noverca fratresque interfecti is the only important part for the purpose anyway.
‘It’s not a long passage, much of it consists of names.
noverca fratresque interfecti is the only important part for the purpose anyway.’
Okay, but even the three words you quote you’d need to speak Latin to understand. The middle one is seemingly something to do with ‘brother’, the first possibly something to do with ‘new’, and interfecti, who knows?, not intercept, not infect, ‘do between’?? Without thorough training in Latin, that is declensions, you are lost. Even worse is when the old writers (say 19th century) don’t translate Greek for us plebes.
Caesarion was born in 47 BC. This means that if he was Jesus, he would have been at least upper 70s at his crucifixion. Odd none of the Gospel writers mentioning how elderly He was.
My apologies, but as I mentioned in the introduction, I’ve simply republished my short 1985 article from The Journal of Hellenic Studies, whose readers obviously knew Latin. Indeed, the JHS editors or referees would obviously have complained if I’d included unnecessary English translations.
Anyway, much of my analysis depends crucially upon the exact meaning and implications of those Latin words, so in some respects “translating” them would have been assuming what I was attempting to prove. For example, fratres literally means “brothers” but some of the scholars whose establishment tradition I was disputing had previously argued that it might also sometimes mean “cousins.”
Thanks for responding, Ron, and clearing that up–it makes sense now. Cheers.
If you watch the video, it’s not Caesarion, but Titus son of Vespasian, they claim was ‘Jesus’. I think it’s a very interesting idea. What? Our elite leaders making up a huge phoney narrative which we can then dutifully follow for hundreds, even thousands of years into the future? No, can’t imagine. And much of what the video says would make sense, such as why Rome became the center of the new religion, why the New Testament was written in Greek (at least I think that might make some sense), and the actual need for it due to rabble troubles in Palestine, Rome itself, everywhere. Can’t think of much else now, I just woke up.
Related to the Jesus question above, in an old Steve Sailer article on Donna Zuckerberg the commenter Sean quotes, I believe, the classicist Enoch Powell (also a scourge of Ireland but nevermind):
‘Christianity is Oriental and Near-Eastern in origin, and was imposed on the western races rather recently, as history goes; and we have never got used to it. We still hold two sets of ethics, pagan and Christian, simultaneously. For instance, we say that we should love our enemies and not resist evil; yet at the same time we believe in justice, and that criminals ought to be punished, and that we should meet force with force, violence with violence. Or another instance: we believe in humility; but we also believe in masculine pride and self-assertion. I think that this spiritual conflict creates a strain in our psychology and in the heart of our culture, that has been extremely fruitful both of good and evil, of greatness and intensity, as well as of self-contradiction and hypocrisy and frustration. […] Have you thought how many of Shakespeare’s heroes, from Hamlet down, are at war in themselves, in their own souls; whereas heroes of Greek tragedy struggle against fate or each other, but their souls remain simple and undivided?’
Heck of a handy confusion to have if you’re a ruler, eh? And I’ve thought for years now, the problem is that people don’t know their enemy. One day they think it’s Muslims (okay, everyday), but (for the right-thinking) it’s also meanies of all sorts: racists, white men, non-trannies, non-women, Nazis, never England, never Israel, etc. etc.
Gotta admit I didn’t watch the video and don’t plan to. Not much tolerance for Da Vinci Code willful ignorance about history.
But Titus makes even less sense as Jesus.
He was born in 39, which was almost certainly after Jesus died. This would mean Paul wrote most of his letters about Christianity while Titus was still a kid.
The New Testament was written in Greek because it was the lingua franca of the eastern Mediterranean, the area where Christianity first spread. Lots of groups had their own language: Egyptians, Syrians, Jews, etc. But they almost all, or at least the literate ones, spoke Greek too.
Kind of like English in the world today. Native Hindi and Norwegian speakers can communicate just fine with each other by speaking English. Chance that either would ever learn the other’s birth tongue is slim to none.
Toynbee explained all this long ago.
He had an interesting theory that civilizations were organisms with a natural life cycle. Which has a good bit of truth to it. Then, like many people, he stretched the theory well beyond where it fit, distorting history where necessary.
His idea, as applied to western civ, was that it was/is the only civilization that is a hybrid. Essentially Greek classical civilization plus Judaic Christianity. This, in his opinion, made it uniquely innovative and vibrant, so it hadn’t (when he wrote) descended into the complacency that had doomed all previous civilizations.
The classical and biblical roots constantly struggled against each other. It’s not hard to spot.
During the Middle Ages the intellectual culture was dominated by Christianity. The Renaissance was a classical reaction, while the Reformation was a biblical re-reaction. The Enlightenment was classical. Victorian society was largely biblical, at least morally.
Our present culture seems to be attempting to reject both roots.
daniel le mouche is the kind of thinker who requires his itching ears be scratched by things as insane and/or destructive of Christendom as Albigensianism, the 10 Lost Tribes of Israel as Anglo-Saxons, Mormonism (replete with its Mohammedan-like polygamy), and Scientology.
Oh dear, another clever commenter who seems to know so much about me (perhaps you can join insult/heckling forces with Jonathan Revusky and the Wizard of Oz to become the dynamic trio). I will point out, not to you but to decent readers, that for the record I know precisely zero about the ten lost tribes (much less as Anglo Saxons–but I’ll hazard a guess that you are one of those, A-Sax.). I have had fairly brief looks at Mormonism and Scientology, enough to make me run very quickly the other way. The Albigensians or Cathars I only remember as being a heresy that dared to oppose the Vatican’s word, and which was led in being murderously obliterated by an Englishman, I can’t be asked to look up what the nasty creature’s name was.
(Also to OTHER readers and for the record:) I am willing to entertain, for some time anyway, any theory of history/the present/reality that strikes me as plausible.
Nice try, thoughtless goon.
‘The classical and biblical roots constantly struggled against each other. It’s not hard to spot.
During the Middle Ages the intellectual culture was dominated by Christianity. The Renaissance was a classical reaction, while the Reformation was a biblical re-reaction. The Enlightenment was classical. Victorian society was largely biblical, at least morally.
Our present culture seems to be attempting to reject both roots.’
Agreed on the final statement. As for the struggle between classical and Christian, much of this is looked at in the video, and I found it fairly interesting. Powell seems to have lifted his theory from Toynbee, whom I’ve only begun to read so can’t comment on. I suspect that his theories will have detractors. What stands out for me immediately is the notion of the Reformation being a ‘biblical re-reaction’. It seems to me it was a power play, extremely destructive in the short and long run, to the Church and ultimately Christianity itself (to which I’m tempted to say, ‘good ridance’). The Reformation seems to be closely connected to the beginnings of big business and capitalism, though I know little on this subject–but it certainly was not a reaction to the Renaissance, and Luther himself only desired to make a small reform of the Church or two, not to destroy it as, was it Wolsey?, did. Henry’s grim work was continued by Elizabeth, then later Cromwell and finally by William the shite. Since the brief glimmer of hope offered by James II all is lost.
At any rate, I find the ancients and their worldview much more interesting than Christianity and its Hebrew sky god.
Finally (and I realize I’m not doing the best job of explaining myself), I fully believe that nothing is what it seems, and religion since my childhood has seemed to me obviously false and the creation of the powerful to tame the plebes–though of late I’ve begun to wonder how much of my atheism came, obviously unbeknownst to me, from the Jewish puppeteers who seem to have it in for the goyim (unless they’re really: the English aristocracy, decended perhaps from Venetians and before that Romans?), that is, who deliberately created the modern atheist, just as they seem to have created the modern socialist, Freudian, SJW, and every other modern opinion. Lennon said it best: You’re still f’n peasants as far as I can see.
That was before power went to his head and he became essentially Pope of Wittenberg.
‘Not much tolerance for Da Vinci Code willful ignorance about history.’
Never read it, no idea what it’s about, other than being a pulpish thriller that was on the NYT bestseller list for some time–not a good sign.
But to speak of a willful ignorance of history, then to go on about some sort of historical Jesus, I find incredible. There seems to be precisely zero evidence of a historical Jesus. And watch out for Paul. Again, I know little on this but recall reading various things about Paul that suggest he was possibly (take your pick): psychotic, twisted, insane, disingenuous, power mad. Who was this Paul?
And what makes you think the history you’ve read is true? What survives is only what’s allowed to survive, that is, official histories. You can perhaps already see before your very eyes what our history is shaping up to be, all based on lies: Muslims attacking Christians (phoney), Israeli good guys, etc. etc.
There’s about as much evidence for him as for Alexander.
Disagree about the Reformation. It seems to me that it was pretty clearly at core a reaction to the reborn paganism of the Renaissance, symbolized by the utterly decadent and corrupt popes such as Alexander VI. It was explicitly an attempt to Reform the Church by returning it to its roots. Those roots were/are of course Biblical and therefore Hebraic.
There was nothing notably pagan about even the most lax of popes and in any case Luther himself inclined in that direction more than any of them.
That will need some explaining. No historian of first century Rome mentions Jesus. Many (I believe though admittedly haven’t read) mention Alexander, including the fact that Aristotle was his tutor, and his famous words with the philosopher Diogenes, and to say nothing of the trail of evidence he left behind in the form of cities renamed after him.
But again, history can be, and is, continually falsified, so to claim that I actually know any of this is absurd–I’ve READ bits here and there, so it’s all rather suspect from the beginning.
It seems you’ve read a particular author with that thesis, that the Reformation was a result of resurgent paganism in Europe, including decadent popes. Now, perhaps the popes ARE actually, and always have been, pagan, i.e. perhaps it’s a massive hoax. This is what I think is likely true of the Christian religion. Absurdity piles onto absurdity, starting with a non-existent Jesus and going forward from there. Perhaps the popes are Satanists, pagans, wizards, doing Bohemian Grove-style rituals involving pedophilia (like they do in the upper reaches of government from Washington to London).
That’s a lot of perhapses!
Presumably you mean “first-century historian of Rome”.
How many histories of Alexander survive from before 256 BC?
Daniel, Rome was not really the center of the early Christian world. Not then. It was spread throughout the east empire. When Constantine made it the official religion of the empire, he also split the empire in two and relocated to the new capital of Constantinople (currently Istanbul, Turkey) abandoning Rome.
The actual church was divided into a pentarchy, various regional churches set up by the apostles. They were located in Rome, Constantinople, Antioch, Alexandria, and Jerusalem.
A couple hundred years after Constantine bolted east to Greece the city of Rome was burnt to the ground and it’s western empire conquered by pagan germans. To the extent that there was a “first among equals” among the churches, it was Constantinople. Rome was a dysfunctional imploded backwater church conquered by pagan barbarians and basically last among equals. This was the dark ages of western europe. The Roman church was no longer headquartered in Rome which was abandoned, and I believe during this time there were actually several competing popes in various locations all claiming to be the legitimate pope of the Roman church.
A few hundred years after the dark ages ended and the western church was getting back on it’s feet, the larger eastern churches were all getting conquered by muslims from the east. That was during the Crusades. Constantinople was the last of the 4 of 5 other pentarch patriarchates. and it fell to the Turks in the 15th century.
Rome was rebuilt over the ruins at some point in this time span by one of the popes. It was then after all the eastern churches fell to muslims and with the beginning rise of western powers that it became basically the center of Christianity. Sort of. It isn’t for protestants or various other eastern church branches like marionite, coptic or orthodox. Only for the Roman Catholics who schismed off from the rest of the eastern orthodox patriarchates. But most of the patriarchates got conquered and occupied for a millennium by muslims so the Roman church became very large and prominent in comparison after it converted all the germans.
This is true but it should be kept in mind that even the Orthodox generally recognize the historic primacy of the See of Rome, even if only as a “primacy of honor”.
Not really. The secular authority of the Emperor was based there and he often claimed the privilege of appointing bishops in other places. Not quite the same thing.
No, the Great (Western) Schism was considerably later.
I have little to add to this thread but an accompanying musical history lesson.
A truly awful song. Thanks, I guess. I’d never listened to Iron Maiden, and this is enough. I will say, this man should have been a history teacher instead of a heavy metal rocker.
‘Presumably you mean “first-century historian of Rome”.’
Yes, of course–contemporary history.
‘How many histories of Alexander survive from before 256 BC?’
No idea. I think I mentioned somewhere above that I’ve never read anything on the guy at all.
I appreciate the long response. Unfortunately, I can’t comment as my history is far too patchy. I’m interested in the Church to some degree, and history in general, but it’s fairly recent and my reading on these subjects is slim.
A truly awful song. Thanks, I guess. I’d never listened to Iron Maiden, and this is enough. I will say, this man should have been a history teacher instead of a heavy metal rocker.
You can’t please everyone I guess. I like it… I think it’s one of their better songs and one of my favorites. It is unapologetically admiring of Alexander’s legacy, fratricidal or otherwise. Bruce voted for Brexit, fittingly btw.
I’m not a historian, but historians including atheists seem generally to conclude that we can be as certain of Christ’s existence as certainty gets in history. So I don’t waste my time on things I really can’t judge anyway– if there were anything in this stuff about Caesarion or whatever, if any of it were even remotely plausible, historians would pick it up and run with it; there are a lot of atheist historians as well as a lot of historians willing to pursue random pet theories, and blasphemy sells very well.
It would go hard with me before I would admit that Milton was a worse classicist than Michelangelo; nor would I admit he knew his bible better than More, though I will admit of course that the 16th century was considerably more lax in religious matters than the 17th– the Reformers more and not less than other people. All the same I think, unless one is really a Greek pagan, that if a pope had a mistress or so on it is not entirely necessary to impute the fact to the influence of Venus or Cupid– like Laplace “I have no need of that hypothesis, Sire.”
In general I think the 17th and 19th centuries were in general more bookish than the surrounding periods– whether to say this is a cause, or an effect, or neither, of the religious opinions held at the time time I will not venture to say, not, unlike Toynbee (for whom I have the greatest respect), being a historian.
The 16th century, during which the entire Reformation happened, including the utter destruction (literally razing to the ground) of all monasteries in Britain, the creation of the bogus Anglican Church (which ‘co-opted’ the beautiful Catholic churches and magically made them their own), not to mention the drawing and quartering of all Catholics in England on Elizabeth’s orders, was more lax in religious matters than the 17th?
To your previous response to me, my main point is that official histories exist, in fact they are being created before our very eyes if we have the eyes to see it; the forces that control our minds (i.e. that control the schools, churches, media, and publishing) will have us believe what they want us to believe, Toynbee or no. I only just began his big theoretical work on history some years ago; it seemed very interesting of course, but (like basically all published work) very Establishment. But again, I’m far too ignorant on this subject to say anything for sure–so I hazard guesses, speculate.
No historian of first century Rome mentions Jesus.
Quite simply untrue.
Josephus mentions him several times in Antiquities of the Jews, written around 93, less than 60 years after his death.
Jesus was, from the perspective of most first-century Romans, simply an obscure criminal from an obscure part of the Empire. Why in the world would a Roman historian write about him?
Tacitus also referred to him in writings from the early second century.
The Renaissance was touted at the time and since as a return to classical values after the dark ages. Sort of by definition this involved giving greater respect to the values of classical times, which were of course pagan in origin, not Christian.
In my various comments, when I’ve referred to pagan influence in society during the Renaissance and later, I’ve been, perhaps clumsily, referring to these values, not theology. No, the renaissance popes never reverted to pagan doctrine, but society, among the upper classes and intelligentsia, sure reverted to a great extent to classical and therefore pagan values. Hence the immense interest in classical literature, the explosion of artwork based on classical mythology and other themes, etc.
Many of the Reformers were repulsed by this glorification of pre-Christian and therefore pagan values, and the Reformation was explicitly an attempt to return to what they saw as specifically Christian rather than Christian/pagan values.
2 Corinthians: “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership can righteousness have with wickedness? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement can exist between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people.”
This reaction against what it saw as paganism was one of the main driving forces behind the Reformation. Opinions vary on whether the reaction was justified or appropriate.
Which? Luther? Calvin?
Yes; the examples you cite go to demonstrate the fact. Obviously the people doing these things were not particularly pious!
An interesting article on the subject, from the Catholic Encyclopedia of all places.
Which? Cited in the article is Heine who shares your opinion, and various Catholics who thought the laxity (not specifically the “Revival of Learning”, but possibly the “incredible liberty of discussion”) of Rome was responsible for its troubles, but neither he nor they are Reformers.
Weren’t you the one who previously maintained that the Reformation led to a broadening of thought? Of course since it was not in this discussion you are not obliged to maintain this thesis, and “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds”, but it seems an interesting conjunction.
That’s a flat lie. You’re as ignorant as you are arrogant.
Cousin marriage is allowed, yes. Uncle-niece marriage is not.
Anyway, the abomination is the western civilisation, which thrives on a satanic level of Greed and Psychopathy… and Pagan Polytheism.
As your kind burns for all eternity, you will understand which is the true abomination.
I don’t think it’s a lie, I just think he doesn’t know all that much of what he’s talking about. I tried to lead him into a Socratic dialogue which sort of petered out.
This is a cheap shot. There are a lot of bona fides to the West despite the ruin.
Curtius writes that Alexander was uninterested in women so much that Philip imported a foreign courtesan to initiate him. It was imperative for him to eliminate the competition, but even so he and his mother were considered excessively sanguinary even in the Antiquity.
Define “gay.” Did he screw dudes, yes. Exclusively, no. But that was the norm for the upper classes in Greek culture, so it’s not really accurate to call him “bisexual” as if it was merely a personal preference.
Unz presents a false conspiratorial picture of Alexander’s succession of Philip. There is no doubt that Philip worried a lot for Alexander’s upbringing, procuring the very best education available, including hiring the philosopher Aristotle to tutor him. He also brought in Greece’s most famous prostitute to initiate Alexander in heterosexual love (he seems to have been less than enthusiastic). Moreover, Philip left the adolescent Alexander in charge of the kingdom while he was away in campaign and Alexander more than justified his confidence by enslaving nearby tribes. He also led the horse unit in his father’s campaigns, most successfully.
When Philip was assassinated, Alexander did not succeed him by way of conspiracy or eliminating rivals, as the article seems to suggest, he had no need of that, because the Army immediately elected him to be its leader.
off topic: Is is possible to recommend a book for inclusion on Unz.org? How does one do so?
The Code of Justinian clearly gives the precedence to the Pope (of Rome!). The reason Justinian and Belisarius had to take control of Rome and try to control the Papacy was to attempt to force some condemnations (the three chapters) for political reasons, and to do so he needed the agreement of the Pope. The thing to understand about English language history, is that it is generally tendentious to the extreme. How someone can make a comment such as yours, insisting that “Constantinople was first among equals” – you can only make that statement because of the unending deluge of lies about the history of the Catholic Church.