How did I miss this?

One of the dark moments in the life of Alexander III was the assassination of Parmenion, his father’s general par-excellence, which was stemmed from Alexander’s execution of Parmenion’s son Philotas. Now two theories exist about the incident, the first of which says that Alexander was trying to eliminate the Macedonian nobility and that he headed a conspiracy against Philotas in order to remove Parmenion. The second theory (and the one that I tend towards) is that Alexander led a bunch of willful soldiers, some of whom thought to attack Philotas in order to gain positions for themselves.

Various evidence is cited for both causes, both theoretical and non, but one that I hadn’t seen, even though I mentioned it in my thesis is that Alexander clearly did not have a purely biased stance against Parmenion’s family. According to Curtius Rufus 6.6.19 (yes, I memorized the location of the quote), Alexander is called the saddest person in the army at the news of Nikanor’s death (Nikanor being Philotas’ brother), and that he wanted to stay for the funeral, but was lacking in provisions so he had to carry on. This could be a purely literary issue to show Alexander to be a good guy, but I think it goes deeper towards indicating that Alexander was wary of Parmenion and Philotas, but this was true for almost every one of his officers–even those he liked, but that Alexander liked Nikanor and by extension actually liked or at least didn’t hate Parmenion and Philotas. This may be a romantic notion, but I believe it, if for no other reason than that if we discount this as a purely literary device and Parmenion’s advice as a purely literary device (as I say elsewhere), then we really don’t have any sources for this time period and all of it should be thrown into the fiction category.

One thought on “How did I miss this?

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