Relationship between alexander and hephaestion death

Hephaestion - Wikipedia

relationship between alexander and hephaestion death

He studied with Alexander, as did a handful of other children of two bodies," After Hephaestion's death, Alexander mourned him. Alexander and Hephaestion spent time with each other nearly their whole lives, until the death of Hephaestion in BC. They traveled, fought in battlefields. After his surrender, Alexander reappointed him as ruler of his own kingdom. The difference between them was summarized as follows: Hephaestion but this time it had a sad consequence: Hephaestion fell ill and died.

This allows Stone to play around with the complexity of his historical sources. And then Ptolemy later comments about what he thinks happened.

One of his bodyguards, Pausanius, walks up to him, kisses him, and then stabs him to death. Olympias watches the whole scene impassively, having already hinted to Alexander that he ought to remove his father before his father removes him.

In an earlier scene, however, Philip is shown anally raping Pausanius during a drunken party. And early in the film, Alexander has repeatedly declared that the Persians were behind the murder. Kilmer as the one-eyed Philip of Macedon The viewer is left to decide what happened. Did Pausanius commit the murder out of a desire for revenge? Did Olympias orchestrate it? Pausanius clearly had some help, since when he flees he is trying to meet up with another man who has a spare horse, but he falls and Cleitus spears him before he can be interrogated.

Was Cleitus part of the plot? The whole scene follows one in which Cleitus and Alexander have a falling out during a drinking party and Alexander spears Cleitus. Could Alexander have been part of the plot? At the end of the film, Ptolemy comments that Olympias was probably the one behind the murder. Diodorus, expanding on a comment made by Aristotle, claims that Pausanius committed the murder out of revenge for being raped. But other sources claim that Olympias lavished honors on the dead Pausanius, including putting a crown on his corpse, suggesting that she was behind the crime.

Alexander clearly stood to gain quite a lot from the murder. And Alexander blamed the murder on Darius, using it as an excuse to invade Persia. It was just a part of life experience; it was the show of an either sentimental or sexual drive that, over a lifetime, alternated and was associated sometimes at the very same time with love for a woman".

Some Roman and later writers, taking the Athenian pattern as their example, have tended to assume either that Alexander and Hephaestion had a sexual relationship which belonged to their adolescence, after which they left it behind, or that one of them was older, the lover erastes and the other was the beloved eromenos despite there being scarcely any direct evidence that Alexander and Hephaestion had a sexual relationship at all. As Robin Lane Fox says, "descendants of the Dorians were considered and even expected to be openly homosexual, especially among their ruling class, and the Macedonian kings had long insisted on their pure Dorian ancestry".

Lucianwriting in his book On Slips of the Tongue, [63] describes an occasion when Hephaestion's conversation one morning implied that he had been in Alexander's tent all night, and Plutarch [64] describes the intimacy between them when he tells how Hephaestion was in the habit of reading Alexander's letters with him, and of a time when he showed that the contents of a letter were to be kept secret by touching his ring to Hephaestion's lips.

Diogenes of Sinope, in a letter written to Alexander when he was a grown man, accuses Alexander of being "ruled by Hephaestion's thighs". As Andrew Chugg says, "it is surely incredible that Alexander's reaction to Hephaestion's death could indicate anything other than the closest relationship imaginable".

In the context of the nature of their relationship however, one stands out as remarkable. Arrian says that Alexander "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".

In this picture we can see Hephaestion point out Alexander. Such an all-encompassing love often leaves little room for other affections. Hephaestion was the best friend of Alexander, his king and his commanding officer, so it is not surprising that we only hear of several other close friendships or attachments in his life.

There is no evidence, however, that he was anything but popular and well liked among the group of Alexander's close friends and Companions who had grown up together, and worked well together for so many years. It is possible that he was closest to Perdiccasbecause it was with Perdiccas that he went on the mission to take Peuceolatis and bridge the Indus.

By that time, as Alexander's effective second-in-command, he could doubtless have chosen any officer he cared to name. It is notable that their two cavalry regiments in particular were selected by Alexander for the dangerous crossing of the river Hydaspes before the battle with the Indian king, Porus.

On that occasion superb teamwork would have been of paramount importance. Outside the close-knit coterie of the Macedonian high command he had his enemies.

This is clear from Arrian's comment about Alexander's grief: Arrian [71] mentions a quarrel with Alexander's secretary Eumenes but, because of a missing page in the text, the greater part of the detail is missing, leaving only the conclusion that something persuaded Hephaestion, though against his will, to make up the quarrel.

However, Plutarch, who wrote about Eumenes in his series of Parallel Lives[72] mentions that it was about lodgings and a flute-player, so perhaps this was an instance of some deeper antagonism breaking out into a quarrel over a triviality. What that antagonism might have been, it is not possible to know, but someone with the closeness to the king of a secretary might well have felt some jealousy for Hephaestion's even greater closeness.

In only one instance is Hephaestion known to have quarrelled with a fellow officer and that was with Craterus. In this instance it is easier to see that resentment might have been felt on both sides, for Craterus was one of those officers who vehemently disliked Alexander's policy of integrating Greek and Persian, whereas Hephaestion was very much in favour.

Plutarch tells the story: Once on the expedition to India they actually drew their swords and came to blows It is a measure of how high feelings were running over this contentious issue that such a thing should have happened and also an indication of how closely Hephaestion identified Alexander's wishes with his own.

Hephaestion gave perhaps the ultimate proof of this in the summer of BC, when he accepted as his wife Drypetis, daughter of Darius and sister to Alexander's own second wife Stateira. They became brothers-in-law, and yet there was more to it than that. Alexander, says Arrian "wanted to be uncle to Hephaestion's children". They arrived in the autumn and it was there, during games and festivals, that Hephaestion fell ill with a fever. Arrian says that after the fever had run for seven days, Alexander had to be summoned from the games to Hephaestion, who was seriously ill.

He did not arrive in time; by the time he got there, Hephaestion was dead.

relationship between alexander and hephaestion death

His meal, however, seems to have caused a relapse that led to his rapid death. Precisely why this should have happened is not known. As Mary Renault says, "This sudden crisis in a young, convalescent man is hard to account for. This would have led to internal bleeding, though it would be unusual in that case for death to follow quite as swiftly as it seems to have done here. For that reason, it is not possible altogether to discount other possible explanations, one of them being poison.

Following Hephaestion's death his body was cremated and the ashes were taken to Babylon. Plutarch says that "Alexander's grief was uncontrollable" and adds that he ordered many signs of mourning, notably that the manes and tails of all horses should be shorn, the demolition of the battlements of the neighbouring cities and the banning of flutes and every other kind of music.


Plutarch says they were massacred as an offering to the spirit of Hephaestion and it is quite possible to imagine that to Alexander this might have followed in spirit Achilles' killing of "twelve high-born youths" beside Patroclus' funeral pyre. Arrian tells us that "Many of the Companions, out of respect for Alexander, dedicated themselves and their arms to the dead man". When the reply came saying he might be worshipped not as a god, but as a divine heroAlexander was pleased and "from that day forward saw that his friend was honoured with a hero's rites".

relationship between alexander and hephaestion death

Its cost is variously given in the sources as 10, talents or 12, talents. It is difficult to give a modern equivalent for such a huge amount but we know that in Hephaestion's time, the daily wage of a skilled worker was two or three drachmas. The contests ranged from literature to athletics and 3, competitors took part, the festival eclipsing anything that had gone before both in cost and in numbers taking part. A man was expected to have sex with those who were beneath him socially.

His wife was beneath him because she was a woman. His slaves were beneath him because they were his property. Male and female prostitutes were beneath him because they were lower class. And his eromenos was beneath him because the eromenos was not a full adult. But the eromenos would eventually reach adulthood and become a full citizen. This made homosexual sex an awkward issue for the Greeks, because it was acceptable for a teen or young men to be sexually receptive, but a fully adult man was expected to only be sexually active.

To be penetrated was perceived to be unmanly. It was socially awkward for an adult man to have been sexually penetrated when he was younger, because it raised questions about his masculinity as a full adult.

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So the Greeks generally avoided talking directly about exactly what happened when an erastes got busy with his eromenos; looking too closely at that made them anxious. Consequently, many earlier scholars insisted either that this was a non-sexual relationship or that it involved non-penetrative forms of sex such as frottage which is scholar-speak for dry humping. In theory, Greek men only had sex with younger, unmarried men.

relationship between alexander and hephaestion death

But in practice, things were probably more complicated than that. We also know that the Thebans and the Spartans expected their soldiers to form romantic and sexual relationships, because they would fight harder to impress their partners and to keep them alive. The elite Theban troops, the Sacred Band, were comprised of such partners. In other words, two adult Greek men may well have had a sexual relationship, despite the fact that such a relationship would violate the cultural norm.

Far from being a shadowy thing, same-sex love was celebrated as a cultural ideal that even the great heroes and the gods engaged in.

relationship between alexander and hephaestion death

In fact, every major Greek god other than Ares is described as having a male lover. The greatest warrior in Greek literature, Achilles, famously fights to avenge his dead companion Patroclus in The Iliad. Homer never explicitly describes the men as lovers, but by the Classical era in Greek culture roughly, BCthe two men were understood be erastes and eromenos, although there was a debate about which role was played by which man.