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Weddings and funerals - Alexander the Great


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Discussion of the Weddings at Susa and the death of Hephastion and Bucephalus.

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Weddings and funerals - Alexander the Great

  1. 1. The Mallians  Alexander continues to campaign along his route back to Babylon.  Marching down the river (Hydaspes) to mark out his eastern territory.  Alexander had built a fleet which was commanded by Nearchus.  Two opposing tribes formed an alliance to fight Alexander.  Alexander moved quickly to separate them, using his navy for speed.  Policy changed from peacefully conquer, to brutal massacre.  Alexander is almost killed at the Siege of Multanes Citadel.  His men hesitate (Flagging morale?) so he goes instead.  When the ladders break he jumps into the inside of the walls and fights off attackers.  His lung is pierced by an arrow.
  2. 2. 90 Weddings, 2 Funerals
  3. 3. Mass weddings at Susa 324BC Wherein Alexander makes his troops get married. Susa
  4. 4.  Susa is the capital of Susiana.  Alexander held an expensive marriage ceremony which the Persian Princesses and other noble women were married to Macedonian Soldiers.  The wedding ceremonies lasted 5 days, held in a luxurious tent. Entertainers were recruited from all over the Greek World
  5. 5. Alexander gets busy.  Alexander married 2 Princesses, (He had already married Roxane, daughter of a Sogdian Baron in 327BC) This time he married Stateira (the eldest daughter of Darius III, AKA Barsine) [Stateira’s sister also married off to Hephaistion]  And he married Parysatis (daughter of Artaxerxes III Ochus)
  6. 6. Roxane • Daughter of Oxyartes, Bactrian princess • Captured after Alexander took over the Sogdian Rock • Bore Alexander a son, posthumously (after her death) = Alexander IV
  7. 7. Alessandro Varotari (1588-1648), Roxane and Alexander IV Rubens, The Crowning of Roxane by Alexander …Some earlier visions of Roxane
  8. 8. Sodoma (1525) The Wedding of Alexander and Roxane
  9. 9. Mughal Indian miniature painting The Wedding of Alexander and Roxane
  10. 10. Everyone must get Married!  90 other marriages were celebrated. Each was given an impressive dowry by Alexander (to improve relations with his troops)  Many marriages did not last after Alexander’s death but were important as they symbolised the transfer of power to the Macedonians.  The weddings were the pinnacle of Alexander’s Policy of Fusion.
  11. 11. Alexander was now Great King of the Persian Empire – ruling in an oriental style as the absolute monarch.
  12. 12. Bucephalus and Hephaestion Alexander does not deal with Loss well.
  13. 13. Bucephalus
  14. 14. Two Accounts  Arrian  Bucephalus dies at the ANCIENT age of 30 years of Natural causes.  Other Sources  Bucephalus dies of wounds received during the battle of Hydaspes.  Either way, Alexander commemorates his horse’s death by founding a city a calling it Bucephalus.
  15. 15. Hephastion from the film Too heavy on the homoeroticism.
  16. 16. Hephaestion’s role in the Army under Alexander  Plutarch of Chaeronea writes that Alexander once remarked that without him, Hephaestion would be nothing. This was true. Hephaestion was a competent officer, but was lacking the brilliance of rival commanders like Parmenion and Craterus. He was a skilled diplomat and a great organizer, but he did not speak his foreign languages like Peucestas and did not write as beautifully as Eumenes. However, he was closer to the king's heart, and this must have made his position very, very difficult: all court officials envied him. This made him an isolated man, who was completely dependent on the king. Therefore, Alexander could completely rely on Hephaestion. 
  17. 17. Hephaestion dies.  "... Alexander's grief was uncontrollable ...“ - Plutarch  "... he flung himself on the body of his friend and lay there nearly all day long in tears, and refused to be parted from him until he was dragged away by force by his Companions ...“ - Arrian  "... he lay stretched upon the corpse all day and the whole night too ...“ - Arrian  "... for two whole days after Hephaestion's death Alexander tasted no food and paid no attention in any way to his bodily needs, but lay on his bed now crying lamentably, now in the silence of grief.“ - Arrian   "Many of the Companions, out of respect for Alexander, dedicated themselves and their arms to the dead man ...“ - Arrian
  18. 18. Alexander makes someone pay.  Bans all music, horses manes and tails are shorn, demolition of neighboring cities battlements.  Hephaestion’s physician Glaucias is put to Death for lack of care.  Shrine of Asclepios in Ecbatana is razed on Alexander’s orders.  Alexnader cuts his hair short.  Alexander launches an extremely bloody campaign against the Cosseans, a nomadic tribe living in the Zograns. (Retribution?)
  19. 19. The COST of Hephaestions Funeral  10,000 Talents on the funeral  Average daily wage of a skilled worker = 2-3 Drachmas  Hellenistic Mercenaries get 1 Drachma/day  6,000 Drachma = 1 Talent  1 Talent = 16.43 years work as a mercenary.  6.54 for average skilled worker.  Median NZ income in 2012 was 29,120  1.91 BILLION dollars on this funeral. (Conservative Estimate)
  20. 20. Games, Pyres, Festival  Hephaestion’s corpse is transported to Babylon  Alexander drives the carriage himself.  3,000 competitors take part in Funeral games in honor of Hephastion.  The Companion Cavalry continue to carry Hephastion’s banner.  Commissions Stasicrates to build the funeral pyre.  60 meters high, square and built in levels.   The first level was decorated with two hundred and forty ships with golden prows, each of these adorned with armed figures, and with red banners filling the spaces between. On the second level were torches, with snakes at the base, golden wreaths in the middle, and at the top, flames surmounted by eagles. The third level showed a hunting scene, and the fourth a battle of centaurs, all done in gold. On the fifth level, also in gold, were lions and bulls, and on the sixth, the arms of Macedon and Persia. The seventh and final level bore sculptures of sirens, hollowed out to conceal a choir who would sing a lament.