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Some Passages in Arrian Concerning Alexander1

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 February 2009

N. G. L. Hammond
Clare College, Cambridge


‘Alexander, it is said, starting from Amphipolis and keeping on his left the city Philippi and the mountain Orbelus, invaded Thrace, that part occupied by the so-called self-governing Thracians. He crossed the river Nestus, and in ten days, they say, he reached the mountain Haemus.’

Research Article
Copyright © The Classical Association 1980

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2 So Alexander is made to do by Tarn, p.355 and Wilcken, p. 67; but thereafter Tarn and Wilcken parted company. According to Tarn, Alexander ‘turned Rhodope, went north, roughly by Adrianople’ (viz. Edirne), and so entered the central plain; but this would make far too long a distance from the Nestus crossing to Mt. Haemus for any army to cover in nine days (see n. 7, below). According to Wilcken, Alexander followed the course of the Nestus inland from the coast, but the Nestus inland of Stavroupolis flows through a series of impassable gorges (the railway tunnels its way past them). In fact the route taken by Alexander has not been studied, and in consequence Brunt's comment (7 n. 4) that his route is ‘unclear’ is an appropriate understatement.

3 Described in Mac. I, 199 f. The highest point of Mt. Orbelus lies to the west of the Rupel pass. The mountainous area east of that pass was the Paroreia, and the range of Orbelus was carried by Ptolemy northwards and inland of the Paroreia.

4 I therefore disagree with Brunt's translation ‘the independent Thracians’ and his note ‘as distinguished from the Thracian principalities near the coast which Philip had annexed’. Rather, Philip conquered Thrace as far as the Lower Danube, as his dealings with Cothelas and Atheas show (Mac. II, 560 f.), and put an end to the unruly conduct of the Thracians (Diod. 16.71.2; see Mac. II, 672 f.).

5 The route is clearly shown on sheet Rita of the Tourist Map issued by Kartproekt, Sofia, 1969. One leaves the Strymon valley at Simitli above the Kresna defile.

6 The division was for purposes of military administration. Antipater as ‘General in Europe’ controlled areas outside the Macedonian kingdom such as the territory of the Agrianes and the Maedi (see Curt. 9.6.20) on my interpretation (see below where I discuss his control of northern Epirus).

7 My distances are taken from the Tourist Office's map 1:800,000, Sofia. In my forthcoming book on Alexander I give examples of marches of up to 20 miles on successive days with baggage-train and siege-train, but not of 25 miles. Tam's route would add about 120 kilometres to the total. ‘The self-governing Thracians’ on Mt. Haemus (Arr. 1.1.6) were local to that area, as they were said by Arrian to know the ground (1.1.13); they were thus different from those whom Alexander reached before crossing the Nestus.

8 For Argaeus, Arrhidaeus, and Menelaus see the stemma in Mac. II facing p. 176; Pausanias may have been a brother of Argaeus, as in the stemma, or a son of some other member of the lines descended from Perdiccas II or Menelaus, son of Alexander I.

9 Arr. 1.25.5; Justin 11.2.2; Curt. 7.1.6.

10 See Mac. II, 134 f., where seven members of the royal family come after the king in swearing to the treaty.

11 See Arr. 1.25.5 f. on the importance of this command.

12 In Mac. II, 15 f., written in 1974; see Beloch GG2 3.2.77 with stemma, Berve, Nos. 37, 144, and 355, and recently Ellis, J. R. in JHS xci (1971)Google Scholar, 15 f. and esp. 23 f., and Habicht, C. in Anc. Mac. II, 513 f. with stemma.Google Scholar

13 See Mac. II, 647 f. and Ep. 795, where I mentioned 115 ethnics to which others in inscriptions at Buthrotum may be added.

14 See Ep. 799 and Mac. II, 20; and D. Kanatsoulis, Makedonike Prosopographia s.v. .

15 In one sense more probable, because the only certain occurrence of Aëropus in connection with Lyncus was as ‘a son of Emathio’, cited probably as a contrast to the usurpers, the Bacchiad clan; see Mac. II, 37.

16 For the suggestion that the plot was aimed also at Alexander see my article in GRBS xix (1978), 347.

17 Consideration for the throne was in the male line, if we go by Hdt. 8.139, Thuc 2.99.3 and 100.2, and the stemma of subsequent kings. This is not to deny that relationship to the royal house on the female side was of importance for other purposes (e.g. in the Suda s.v. Leonnatos).

18 p. 67 with n. 2.

19 In CQ N.S. 22 (1972), 173; and the same misconception in G. Wirth, Historia xiii (1964), 231, though he finds it ‘unglaublich’.

20 The fact that Aspendus was not subject in the first treaty to Alexander's satrap shows that it was not a native but a Greek city.

21 Errington, R. M., ‘Macedonian “Royal Style” and its historical significance’, JHS xciv (1974), 32 n. 75, seems to dismiss the passage from consideration on the grounds that it is a summary of ‘the document’; but he gives no grounds for supposing that the summary is incorrect.Google Scholar

22 Errington, op. cit., 33, makes the comment that there is no place for ‘the Macedonian People’ as such. What then does Maue6dvec mean? Surely one cannot expect, as at Athens, .

23 Timber being ‘a royal monopoly’ (R. Mein's and D. M. Lewis, GHI, p. 278), it is all the more striking that the payments for services in transit and export were made by and no doubt to ‘the Macedones’.

24 J. Bousquet, ‘Le Compte de l'automne 325 à Delphes’, Mélanges G. Daux, 22 and 24. He found it ‘notable’ that we have as the contributors, p. 27.

25 There is evidence too that the local units in Macedonia in the late fourth century BC were making their own financial contributions to the shrines at Delphi and Epidaurus (Ditt. Syll.3 269 L and IG IV 617, 17); the amounts were no doubt fixed by the organ of local government.

26 Hammond, N. G. L., ‘The sources of Diodorus Siculus XVI’, CQ 21 (1937), 79 ff.Google Scholar

27 Pausanias was relating the history not of Macedon but of the Amphictyony, so that he or his source was drawing on Delphic records. Authors who were focused on Philip gave him the membership and the votes (Speusippus' Letter to Philip 9; Diod. 16.60.1; and Demosthenes often and only once in the correct form but with his addition at 19. 327).

28 For the historicity of details about Euripides in Macedonia see Mac. II, 162.

29 None of the evidence cited so far, except for the expulsion of Amyntas III, has been taken into account in a recent article by Errington, R. M., ‘The nature of the Macedonian State under the Monarchy’, Chiron viii (1978), 78133Google Scholar; he makes the mistake, shared by almost all writers on this subject, of working backwards from the Hellenistic period and preferring Latin writers such as Curtius to contemporary Greek inscriptions and writers. The passages which are quoted in the rest of this section have been much discussed, e.g. by F. Granier, Die makedonische Heeresversammlung; P. de Francisci, Arcana Imperii, II; A. Aymard, Études d'histoire ancienne, pp. 143 ff.; P. Briant, Antigone le Borgne; and most recently by Lock, R., ‘The Macedonian Army Assembly in the time of Alexander’, CP lxxii (1977), 91 ff. The views of Griffith and Hammond will be found in Mac. II, 150 ff. and 383 ff.Google Scholar

30 The suggestion made by Errington, op. cit., 105, that ‘the king (presumably) travelled round the country and tried to convince those whom he addressed’, is most unconvincing. It is closer to the method of presidential candidates in the USA than to the concept of the ancient ‘ekklesia’, an ‘assembly duly summoned’ (LSJ9 s.v.), to which as many of the electorate as possible came. In order to work up popular patriotic fervour one needs mass meetings at a centre, not gatherings round the village pump.

31 I give reasons for supposing the plans and meeting to be historical in my forthcoming book on Alexander the Great.

32 For these trials and other aspects of them see my article Philip's Tomb in historical context’, GRBS xix (1978), 340. It seems, from Antigonus' behaviour near Tyre and Olympias' claim, to be clear that the assembly of Macedones included not only serving Macedones but resident Macedones, the latter mainly ex-servicemen or those rendering another important form of service to the king. This is not the place to say who was a full citizen, a ‘Macedon’ (my views are stated in Mac. II, 647 ff.), or to discuss the evidence for the assembly of Macedones electing and deposing a king.Google Scholar

While it is not my intention to cover the Hellenistic period, it should be noted that we have evidence from the late fourth century BC onwards of many of tribes and tribal states in Epirus, as generally in north-western Greece (e.g. Ep. 528, line 15 , . As yet Macedonia has yielded only late inscriptions, but they include of small tribes, e.g. Neapolitai and Dostoneis (Mac. I, 88, citing Spomenik lxxi (1931), No. 63), of cantonal tribes (Anc. Mac. II (1977), 130 f. Elimiotai, Orestai, and Lyncestai) and which honoured its king , probably c.220 BC (IG XI 4. 1102). It is most unlikely that these were created in late Hellenistic times in Macedonia, whereas they were active already in the fourth century in the neighbouring region, Epirus. What the Macedonian kings called themselves at home and abroad and called the neighbouring kings (e.g. in IG I2 71, lines 27 and 61 ; in Tod, GHI 111 with patronymic; 177 as ; and 192 as ) seems to have no bearing on their constitutional relations with the .

33 See, for instance, Serve, I, 109 f. For the Hydaspes campaign Tarn, p. 407 gave five Hipparchies; P. A. Brunt five in his article in JHS lxxxiii (1963), 29, and in his Loeb edition of Arrian, vol. I, p. lxxiii, ‘at least six Hipparchs’ and 'it seems' seven Hipparchies; and G. T. Griffith in the same JHS either seven Hipparchies (71 n. 3) or ‘six Hipparchies (out of eight) at the Hydaspes’. In citing these numbers, as far as I have understood them, I have not included the agema in the count.

34 I have chosen this Hipparchy for Coenus, because Perdiccas was acting as a Bodyguard with Alexander at the time (5.13.1).

35 Beloch, GG2 3.2.330 suggested that there were two men with the name Cleitus.

36 Tarn, p. 414 ‘Alexander began to build a harbour on the lake as a starting-point for Nearchus’, and ‘Nearchus dropped down the eastern arm of the Indus to its mouth.’ I think all writers since 1927 except Lambrick (see n. 38) have followed Tarn; thus J. R. Hamilton has no hesitation in making Nearchus start from the eastern branch of the Indus (Plutarch, Alexander: A Commentary, p. 183).

37 In Ind. 19.9 Nearchus ‘set out from the outlets of the Indus’, i.e. from the delta, and more exactly at 21.2 'from the naval base'. This base was evidently the one built at Pattala (6.18.2 and 6.20.1). From this base Nearchus travelled some 160 stades, i.e. 30 kilometres. to the outlet (Ind. 21. 2–5). The other ‘naval base’, built beside the lake on the eastern arm, was almost at the outlet (6.20.3), and certainly not 30 kilometres inland. So the evidence points again to the western arm being used by Nearchus.

38 If he had, the detailed account in Ind. 21.7–13 would have mentioned the outlet of the western arm of the Indus. When we tot up the stades given by Nearchus for his journey from the outlet of the Indus to the Arabis mouth (Ind. 21.7–22.8), they come to not more than 1,300 stades (allowing 300 stades for a day's sail for which the distance was not recorded). If he had started from the eastern mouth, he would not even have reached the western mouth after covering 1,300 stades, since he put the mouths 1,800 stades apart (6.20.2; Str. 701). The variant figures given by Aristobulus and Onesicritus, 1,000 and 2,000, show that the delta coast had not been traversed by Nearchus. Some of these points were noted by Lambrick, H. T., Sind: a General Introduction (Hyderabad, 1975), pp. 114 f., who supposed that Alexander intended Nearchus to sail from the eastern arm, that Nearchus was compelled by changing conditions to sail from the western arm, and that he did not tell Alexander what he had done; I thank Professor R. M. Ogilvie for informing me of the book when this article was accepted.Google Scholar

39 Milns, R. D. in Entretiens Hardt xxii (1975), 112, has reversed the order of events; but there is no ambiguity about an ablative absolute in Latin.Google Scholar

40 Yet others were to accompany Alexander on his intended campaign in Arabia; but they were not relevant to the mutiny.

41 A reference probably not to a new draft from Macedonia but to the young Persians, called by Arrian ‘the Epigoni’, in this context (7.8.2).

42 Tarn, p. 420 and Lane Fox, p. 424.

43 At least we should expect the article in Classical Greek. At times Arrian uses the participle almost as in Latin which lacks the article; thus at 1.27.4 the text (without the addition of ) may well be what Arrian wrote under the influence of Latin.

44 Of the other accounts Diodorus 17. 109.1 has Curtius' sequence of events: discharge , i.e. the Macedonian citizens; payment of debts; the mutiny , ‘those being left behind’; and he differs from Justin in that he puts the replacing of the veterans with Persians after the end of the mutiny (17.110.1). Plutarch, Alex. 71, seems to give his own conflation of what he had read; for it includes the fears of the Macedonians being aroused by the smartness of the Epigoni, and the discharge of ‘the weak and maimed’ causing the demand that all should be dismissed. The order of events in Arrian is likely to be correct in that it is derived from Ptolemy and/or Aristobulus: payment of debts (7.5.1–3); arrival of Epigoni (7.6.1); annoyance of the Macedonians at favours accorded to the Persians (not part of the logos at 7.6.2, as Badian suggested in JHS lxxxx (1965), 160, because not in the accusative and infinitive); and after a considerable interval the announcement to the army (7.8.1). Arr. 7.8.2 is not a doublet of 7.6.1, as has been suggested, but it is Arrian's way of showing the background of discontent and the points which came to the fore in the mutiny.

45 For instance, Berve, 2.287; G. N. Cross, Epirus (Cambridge, 1932), p. 43; P. R. Franke, Alt-Epirus u.d. Königtum d. Molosser (Kallmünz, 1955), p. 46.

46 The inscription is discussed in the same volume on pp. 710 ff.; REG lxxxii (1969), 550 f.; lxxxiv, 355; Bull. Epigr. 1967. 261; and printed with restorations in SEG xxiii, 189. Cabanes, P., L'Épire de la mort de Pyrrhos a la conquite romaine (Paris, 1976), pp. 117 f. and 173 f. discusses it with his own suggestions. It should be noted that Chameux in BCH xc, 710 reaffirmed that he read in line 13 only -pa (not as in Cabanes's version -upa); hence my preference for . In line 16 he and others propose , but this is geographically a non sequitur, since no one would think of travelling from Apollonia to Cyrenaica and then back to the ‘Peloponnese and Cephallenia’. See my forthcoming article on the lists of Theorodoci in Epirus in Epeirotica Chronica, New Series.Google Scholar

47 See the preceding note.

48 IG IV2 95; see Ep. 517 f. and 532 f.; Franke, pp. 16 f.; Cabanes, op. cit., pp. 116 f 49 As suggested in Ep. 559; see Franke, pp. 42 f. for a different view.

50 Berve, 2.287; G. N. Cross, p. 43; Tarn, p. 354; Franke, p. 41. Cabanes, p. 173 puts her move to Epirus in 325 BC.

51 See Ep. 818 f.; the Molossian state and the Macedonian state had much in common, as noted in Ep. 539.

52 The corpse of Alexander, like the corpse of Bessus, was cut up and used for target-practice-a flight of fancy perhaps by Cleitarchus in both cases (Livy 8.24.14–15 and Diod. 17.83.9).

53 Berve, 2.287 makes her ‘Herrin von Epeiros’.

54 Hyperides had mentioned Olympias and Alexander at the end of 31 and he resumed them as in 32.

55 Hamilton in commenting on this passage said ‘Plutarch seems to mean that this event took place in 324’; but he himself put it back to ‘not later than 331’.

56 This included the handling of the ‘royal money’, presumably in Macedonia itself, according to Justin 13.4.5, ‘regiae pecuniae custodia’.

57 See my article in GRBS xix (1978), 333, for worship paid after death to Amyntas, father of Philip, and to Philip at Aegeae.

58 The complementary summaries of Arrian and Dexippus are , and passage (b) above. They do not say, as Tarn, p. 461 supposed, tht Craterus was guardian of Arrhidaeus (he was under the charge of Perdiccas) but of the kingship of Arrhidaeus, a post explained more fully as the prostasia in passage (b).

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