This is a blog post that I published previously on my other blog. I am reposting it, because I think there are a lot of you that are new readers, and some of you have asked me what my vision of Hephaestion is.
Apologies ahead of time as this may ramble a bit, but it’s something that has been rolling around in my head for awhile but haven’t been able to put adequately into words. I think I still haven’t, but here goes. And I more than realize that this may be a Hephaestion that only exists in my mind, but it is MY Hephaestion………….
I live in a different universe than the rest of humanity, one guided by twin suns–one named Alexander and one named Hephaestion. One sun inspires ambition, energy, a need to always conquer, to always learn. The other calms, tempers, brings balance, brings beauty.
In the life and career of Alexander the Great are the secrets of life. In him is greatness. In him is immortality. In Hephaestion is everything that makes all in Alexander worthwhile. Alexander set fire to the history obliterating everything that came before, creating in its place a world that was not and never would be the same. But it was a Hephaestion-shaped world. For, no offense to Alexander who was no mere mortal, everything that made Alexander Alexander was Hephaestion. He supported Alexander’s ambitions and dreams. He sacrificed everything, including his own life, for those dreams. While there is little doubt Alexander would have out-excelled all mankind, he would not have gone so far and the journey would not have been as worthy without Hephaestion.
Hephaestion was the greatest of men–a soldier but also a strong servant of Apollo. He showed that a man could be strong, athletic, physically beautiful, and possessed of great endurance but also intellectual, regal, philosophical, and a lover of beauty. He balanced two seemingly disparate halves with a transcendent grace. It is this balance he gave to Alexander and to the world they created.
Alexander was brave, almost to the point of lunacy at times, intellectual, quick-witted, playful, and fiercely loyal; however, he could also be petulant, spoiled, enraged, and occasionally cruel. Yet one word from Hephaestion could calm all that–often the only thing that could calm all that. Hephaestion was the axis around which Alexander spun.
My world is more often than not filled with chaos–a chaos in my own head that I can not escape. Like Alexander, I have grand ambitions. I have always had a deep and abiding love for history and archaeology which I wish to share with the world. I want to spread knowledge throughout the world and make it a better place before I leave it. I believe in Alexander and Hephaestion’s desire to create a world that shared culture and knowledge, that broke down barriers. But I have been cursed with an illness which injects chaos and madness into my world leaving it unbalanced. So much as Alexander, Hephaestion is the axis around which my world spins. He brings peace, he brings he brings balance, he tempers the storms. He pushes me to continue in both his and Alexander’s foosteps, even if I often am reduced to crawling, in the dream of one day meeting them in Elysium and hearing Hephaestion say “I am proud of you, my beloved friend. You have achieved more than Alexander and I could have hoped.”
Alexander’s world did not function without Hephaestion. Mine does not function without the pair of them.
(I realize that very little is actually known of Hephaestion. I have faith, but if I get to the afterlife and find out that Hephaestion was really a douche, I will so incredibly beyond pissed!)