At the suggestion of our friend, Malcolm, I recently read Ian Worthington’s new biography Ptolemy I: King and Pharaoh of Egypt. Ptolemy, the drunken Macedonian frat brother we all wish we had! If you are interested in Alex and his merry band, I highly recommend reading it. It’s not too long and is a fast read.
Since this blog focuses on Hephaestion, I wanted to look at a couple of the points that Worthington made about our boy. Worthington feels that by dividing duties and powers between his various friends and officers, Alexander caused jealousy and disharmony which exploded after his death into the Successor Wars. As a specific example, he points out that one of Ptolemy’s first actions upon taking over Egypt was to cancel plans for a shrine to Hephaestion. He feels this action shows the enmity that the entire senior command felt toward Hephaestion. Another example frequently given to support this thought is the fight between Hephaestion and Craterus which was broken up by Alexander himself who scathingly divided them into philobaselius and philAlexandros. (I’m typing those Greek terms from memory at the moment, so I may not have spelled them correctly.)
Now, come everyone’s favorite moment, audience participation time. Thoughts? Do you agree with Worthington that Alexander was responsible for the Successor Wars? Malcolm, you have done extensive reading on the Successor, so please help us out.