Ancient writers about Macedonia – Arrian

ARRIAN ANAVASIS

[1]

Quote:

There he assembled all the Greeks who were within the limits of Peloponnesus, and asked from them the supreme command of the expedition against the Persians, an office which they had already conferred upon Philip. He received the honour which he asked from all except the Lacedaemonians, who replied that it was an hereditary custom of theirs, not to follow others but to lead them.

Arrian 1a1

The question here is why Lacedaemonians didn’t reply they wont follow foreigners if Macedonians supposedly were non-greeks. Simply because they knew Macedonians were Greek.

[2]

Quote:

He also ordered the archers and slingers to run forward and discharge arrows and stones at the barbarians, hoping to provoke them by this to come out of the woody glen into the ground unencumbered with trees.

Arrian 1a2

If the Macedonians were barbarians themselves, this quote wouldn’t have any meaning. We have a clear distinction between Macedonians and Barbarian Thracians.

[3]

Quote:

Alexander found some ships of war which had come to him from Byzantium, through the Euxine Sea and up the river. Filling these with archers and heavy-armed troops, he sailed to the island to which the Triballians and Thracians had fled for refuge. He tried to force a landing; but the barbarians came to meet him at the brink of the river, wherever the ships made an assault

Arrian 1a3

See above.

[4]

Quote:

After razing the city to the ground, he offered sacrifice upon the bank of the river, to Zeus the preserver, to Heracles, and to Ister himself, because he had allowed him to cross and while it was still day he brought all his men back safe to the camp.

Arrian 1a4

[5]

Quote:

Alexander, however, led his forces towards the city; and the enemy, after sacrificing three boys, an equal number of girls, and three black rams, sallied forth for the purpose of receiving the Macedonians in a hand-to-hand conflict.

Arrian 1a5

Human sacrifices seems to be an Illyrian custom as we can see here but not for Macedonians and the rest of Greeks at the time being, who considered it a barbaric custom.

[6]

Quote:

On the following day Alexander set out from Onchestus, and advanced towards the city along the territory consecrated to Iolaus; where indeed he encamped, in order to give the Thebans further time to repent of their evil resolutions and to send an embassy to him.
But Alexander remained encamped near the Cadmea, for he still wished rather to come to friendly terms with the Thebans than to come to a contest with them. Then those of the Thebans who knew what was for the best interest of the commonwealth were eager to go out to Alexander and obtain pardon for the commonalty of Thebes for their revolt; but the exiles and those who had summoned them home kept on inciting the populace to war by every means in their power, since they despaired of obtaining for themselves any indulgence from Alexander, especially as some of them were also Boeotarchs. However not even for this did Alexander assault the city.

Arrian 1a7

From a skeptic’s point of view the question coming is..why Alexander didnt just attacked Thebans as he did earlier with Thracians and Illyrians respectively. Alexander find it so easy without the slightest doubt to destroy the city of Triballians but here we can see not only he doesnt do what he did to the barbarians but he gives twice to Thebans a chance to come infriendly terms with him. From the other side Theban populace seems split. They are instigated from a few exiles spreading lies into fighting him. However abolishing proof is the quote “those of the Thebans who knew what was for the best interest of the commonwealth were eager to go out to Alexander and obtain pardon for the commonalty of Thebes for their revolt”.

[7]

Quote:

BUT Ptolemy, son of Lagus, tells us that Perdiccas, who had been posted in the advanced guard of the camp with his own brigade, and was not far from the enemy’s stockade, did not wait for the signal from Alexander to commence the battle; but of his own accord wvas the first to assault the stockade, and, having made a breach in it, fell upon the advanced guard of the Thebans. Amyntas, son of Andromenes, followed Perdiccas, because he had been stationed with him. This general also of his own accord led on his brigade when he saw that Perdiccas had advanced within the stockade. When Alexander saw this, he led on the rest of his army, fearing that unsupported they might be intercepted by the Thebans and be in danger of destruction. He gave instructions to the archers and Agrianians to rush within the stockade, but he still retained the guards and shield-bearing troops outside. Then indeed Perdiccas, after forcing his way within the second stockade, fell there wounded with a dart, and was carried back grievously injured to the camp, where he was with difficulty cured of his wound

Arrian 1a8

So the assault against Thebes had as culprit a Macedonian commander Ptolemy who defied Alexander’s orders.

[8]

Quote:

Eurybotas the Cretan, the captain of the archers, fell with about seventy of his men; but the rest fled to the Macedonian guard and the royal shield-bearing troops. Now, when Alexander saw that his own men were in flight, and that the Thebans had broken their ranks in pursuit, he attacked them with his phalanx drawn up in proper order, and drove them back within the gates.

Arrian 1a8

[9]

Quote:

Then indeed the Thebans, no longer defending themselves, were slain, NOT SO MUCH by the Macedonians as by the Phocians, Plataeans and other Boeotians, who by indiscriminate slaughter vented their rage against them. Some were even attacked in the houses (a few of whom turned to defend themselves), and others as they were supplicating the protection of the gods in the temples; not even the women and children being spared.

Arrian 1a8

Another interesting point is that the slaughter was done mainly by Phocians, Plataeans and other Boeotians.

[10]

Quote:

for it struck the rest of the Greeks with no less consternation than it did those who had themselves taken part in the struggle, both on account of the magnitude of the captured city and the celerity of the action, the result of which was in the highest degree contrary to the expectation both of the sufferers and the perpetrators. For the disasters which befell the Athenians in relation to Sicily, though in regard to the number of those who perished they brought no less misfortune to the city

Arrian 1a9

So as we are being informed here Macedonians and the rest of their greek allies werent happy at all about the result of destroying a Greek city like Thebes. Obscure i could say at least noone of them felt the same when they destroyed earlier cities in Thrace and slained many inhabitants.

[11]

Quote:

these disasters, I say, neither produced in the persons who were themselves involved in the calamity an equal sensation of the misfortune, nor did they cause the other Greeks a similar consternation at the catastrophe. Again, the defeat sustained by the Athenians at Aegospotami was a naval one, and the city received no other humiliation than the demolition of the Long Walls, the surrender of most of her ships, and the loss of supremacy. However, they still retained their hereditary form of government, and not long after recovered their former power to such a degree as to be able not only to build up the Long Walls but to recover the rule of the sea, and in their turn to preserve from extreme danger those very Lacedaemonians then so formidable to them, who had come and almost obliterated their city. Moreover, the defeat of the Lacedaemonians at Leuctra and Mantinea filled them with consternation rather by the unexpectedness of the disaster than because of the number of those who perished. And the attack made by the Boeotians and Arcadians under Epaminondas upon the city of Sparta, even this terrified both the Lacedaemonians themselves and those who participated with them in the transactions at that time, rather by the novelty of the sight than by the reality of the danger. The capture of the city of the Plataeans was not a great calamity, by reason of the small number of those who were taken in it; most of the citizens having long before escaped to Athens. Again, the capture of Melus and Scione simply related to insular States, and rather brought disgrace to those who perpetrated the outrages than produced great surprise among the Grecian community as a whole.
But the Thebans having effected their revolt suddenly and without any previous consideration, the capture of the city being brought about in so short a time and without difficulty on the part of the captors, the slaughter, being great, as was natural, from its being made by men of the SAME RACE who were glutting their revenge on them for ancient injuries, the complete enslavement of a city which excelled among those in Greece at that time both in power and warlike reputation, all this was attributed not without probability to the avenging wrath of the deity

Arrian 1a9

Its quite interesting the fact that Arrian uses as similar examples disasters due to Greek civil wars. He doesn’t use even one example about disasters coming from non-Greeks as Persians. Therefore Arrian considers the destruction of Thebes as an act of Greek civil wars and its more clear from his use of the phrase “same race”.

[12]

Quote:

The settlement of Theban affairs was entrusted by Alexander to the allies who had taken part in the action. They resolved to occupy the Cadmea with a garrison; to raze the city to the ground; to distribute among themselves all the territory, except what was dedicated to the gods; and to sell into slavery the women and children, and as many of the males as survived, except those who were priests or priestesses, and those who were bound to Philip or Alexander by the ties of hospitality or had been public agents of the Macedonians. It is said that Alexander preserved the house and the descendants of Pindar the poet, out of respect for his memory. In addition to these things, the allies decreed that Orchomenus and Plataea should be rebuilt and fortified.

Arrian 1a9

Quote:

Having settled these affairs, he returned into Macedonia. He then offered to the Olympian Zeus the sacrifice which had been instituted by Archelaus

Arrian 1a11

Quote:

When he came to Elaeus he offered sacrifice to Protesilaus upon the tomb of that hero, both for other reasons and because Protesilaus seemed to have been the first of the Greeks who took part with Agamemnon in the expedition to Ilium to disembark in Asia. The design of this sacrifice was that disembarking in Asia might be more fortunate to himself than that it had been to Protesilaus.

Arrian 1a11

No reason to do this unless Alexander was himself a Greek.

Quote:

and that when he was about the middle of the channel of the Hellespont he sacrificed a bull to Poseidon and the Nereids, and poured forth a libation to them into the sea from a golden goblet. They say also that he was the first man to step out of the ship in full armour on the land of Asia, and that he erected altars to Zeus, the protector of people landing, to Athena, and to Heracles, at the place in Europe whence he started, and at the place in Asia where he disembarked. It is also said that he went up to Ilium and offered sacrifice to the Trojan Athena; that he set up his ow n panoply in the temple as a votive offering, and in exchange for it took away some of the consecrated arms which had been preserved from the time of the Trojan war. It is also said that the shield-bearing guards used to carry these arms in front of him into the battles. A report also prevails that he offered sacrifice to Priam upon the altar of Zeus the household god, deprecating the wrath of Priam against the progeny of Neoptolemus, from whom Alexander himself was descended.

Arrian 1a11

Its clear Macedonians had the same gods as the rest of Greeks and Alexander had famous Greek ancestors like Neoptolemus

Quote:

When he went up to Ilium, Menoetius the pilot crowned him with a golden crown; after him Chares the Athenian, coming from Sigeum, as well as certain others, BOTH GREEKS and natives, did the same.

Arrian 1a12

Greeks of Asia minor crowned Alexander with golden crowns and celebrated he came to liberate them. Very interesting.

Quote:

And, indeed, there is NO other single individual AMONG GREEKS OR BARBARIANS who achieved exploits so great or important either in regard to number or magnitude as he did. This was the reason which induced me to undertake this history, not thinking myself incompetent to make Alexander’s deeds known to men.

Arrian 1a12

It is clear from earlier that Arrian doesnt consider Macedonians as Barbarians but as we see without doubt here Alexander and Macedonians are Greeks.

Quote:

Then indeed, Alexander’s spear being broken to shivers in the conflict, he asked Aretis, one of the royal guards, whose duty it was to assist the king to mount his horse, for another spear. But this man’s spear had also been shivered while he was in the thickest of the struggle, and he was conspicuous fighting with the half of his broken spear. Showing this to Alexander, he bade him ask someone else for one. Then Demaratus, a man of Corinth, one of his personal Companions, gave him his own spear; which he had no sooner taken than seeing Mithridates, the son-in-law of Darius, riding far in front of the others, and leading with him a body of cavalry arranged like a wedge, he himself rode on in front of the others, and hitting at the face of Mithridates with his spear, struck him to the ground.

Arrian 1a15

So except Cleitus, Demaratus a Corinthian saved Alexander’s life.

Quote:

But as many of them as he took prisoners he bound in fetters and sent them away to Macedonia to till the soil, because, though they were Greeks, they were fighting against Greece on behalf of the foreigners in opposition to the decrees which the Greeks had made in their federal council. To Athens also he sent 300 suits of Persian armour to be hung up in the Acropolis as a votive offering to Athena, and ordered this inscription to be fixed over them, “Alexander, son of Philip, and ALL the Greeks except the Lacedaemonians, present this offering from the spoils taken from the foreigners inhabiting Asia.”

Arrian 1a16

We cant add much. The case is clear. The Greek mercenaries fought “on behalf of the foreigners against Greece” and in the inscription Macedonians are placed with the rest of Greeks.

Quote:

He therefore resolved to build a temple to the Olympian Zeus on the hill, and to erect an altar in it;

Arrian 1b 17

Quote:

He also sent Calas and Alexander, son of Aëropus, into the country of Memnon, in command of the Peloponnesians and most of the other Grecian allies, except the Argives, who had been left behind to guard the citadel of Sardis.

Arrian 1b 17

If he didnt trusted Greeks he obviously wouldnt leave behind Argives to guard the citadel of Sardis.

Quote:

They were accompanied by Amyntas, son of Antiochus, who had fled from Alexander out of Macedonia, not because he had received any injury from the king, but from ill-will to him, and thinking it not unlikely that he should suffer some ill-treatment from him (on account of his disloyalty).

Arrian 1b 17

Its clear that also eminent Macedonians had joined Persian army.

Quote:

He also ordered the Ephesians to contribute to Artemis all the tribute which they were in the habit of paying to the Persians.

Arrian1b17

Quote:

But Alexander himself remained behind at Ephesus, where he offered a sacrifice to Artemis and conducted a procession in her honour with the whole of his army fully armed and marshalled for battle.

Arrian1b18

Macedonians believed in the same gods as the rest of the Greeks.

Quote:

But Nicanor, the commander of the Grecian fleet, anticipated the Persians by sailing into the port of Miletus three days before they approached; and with 160 ships he anchored at the island of Lade, which lies near Miletus. The Persian ships arriving too late, and the admirals discovering that Nicanor had occupied the anchorage at Lade before them, they took moorings near Mount Mycale. Alexander had forestalled them in seizing the island, not only by mooring his ships near it, but also by transporting into it the Thracians and about 4,000 of the other auxiliary troops. The ships of the foreigners were about 400 in number.

Arrian1b18

Quote:

The foreigners used to start from Mycale every day and sail up to the Grecian fleet, hoping to induce them to accept the challenge and come forth to a battle; but during the night they used to moor their vessels near Mycale, which was an inconvenient station, because they were under the necessity of fetching water from the mouth of the river Maeander, a great way off.

Arrian1b19

Foreigners in contrast to Greeks.

Quote:

After doing this, he set forth into Caria, because it was reported that a considerable force, both of foreigners and of Grecian auxiliaries, had collected in Halicarnassus. Having taken all the cities between Miletus and Halicarnassus as soon as he approached them, he encamped near the latter city, at a distance from it of about five stades, as if he expected a long siege.

Arrian1b20

Same as above. Foreigners in contrast to Greeks.

Quote:

Neoptolemus, the brother of Arrhabaeus, son of Amyntas, one of those who had deserted to Darius, was killed, with about 170 others of the enemy. Of Alexander’s soldiers sixteen were killed and 300 wounded, for the sally being made in the night, they were less able to guard themselves from being wounded.

Arrian1b20

Another eminent Macedonian who had deserted to Persian army.

Quote:

For Alexander did not think it safe, while the war against the Persian was still going on, to relax in the slightest degree the terror with which he inspired the Greeks, who did not deem it unbecoming for them to serve as soldiers on behalf of the foreigners against Greece.

Arrian 1b29

on behalf of the foreigners…AGAINST GREECE??? Shouldnt it be against Macedonia if supposedly this wasnt Greek expedition?

Quote:

Having sailed into the harbour of Tenedus which is called Bor??us, they sent a message to the inhabitants, commanding them to demolish the pillars on which the treaty made by them with Alexander AND the Greeks was inscribed, and to observe in regard to Darius the terms of the peace which they had ratified with the king of Persia at the advice of Antalcidas.The Tenedians preferred to be on terms of amity with Alexander AND the Greeks ; but in the present crisis it seemed impossible to save themselves except by yielding to the Persians,

Arrian 2a2

“Alexander AND the greeks” twice. Another obvious undoubted proof Macedonians were Greeks.

Quote:

In Soli Alexander offered sacrifice to Asclepius, conducting a procession of the entire army, celebrating a torch race, and superintending a gymnastic and musical contest.

Arrian 2a5

Quote:

But he himself with the infantry and the royal squadron of cavalry came to Magarsus, where he offered sacrifice to the Magarsian Athena. Thence he marched to Mallus, where he rendered to Amphilochus the sacrificial honours due to a hero. He also arrested those who were creating a sedition among the citizens, and thus put a stop to it. He remitted the tribute which they were paying to King Darius, because the Mallotes were a colony of the Argives, and he himself claimed to have sprung from Argos, being one of the descendants of Heracles.

Arrian 2a5

Quote:

He said, moreover, that the Greeks who were coming into conflict with Greeks would not be fighting for the same objects; for those with Darius were braving danger for pay, and that pay not high; whereas, those on their side were voluntarily defending the interests of Greece. Again, of FOREIGNERS, the Thracians, Paeonians, Illyrians, and Agrianians, who were the most robust and warlike of men in Europe, were about to be arrayed against the most sluggish and effeminate races of Asia.

Arrian 2a7

Quote:

Alexander’s letter ran thus: “Your ancestors came into Macedonia and the rest of Greece and treated us ill, without any previous injury from us. I, having been appointed commander in chief of the Greeks, and wishing to take revenge on the Persians, crossed over into Asia, hostilities being begun by you. For you sent aid to the Perinthians,’ who were dealing unjustly with my father; and Ochus sent forces into Thrace, which was under our rule. My father was killed by conspirators whom you instigated5 as you have yourself boasted to all in your letters; and after slaying Arses, as well as Bagoas, and unjustly seizing the throne contrary to the law of the Persians, and ruling your subjects unjustly, you sent unfriendly letters about me to the Greeks, urging them to wage war with me. You have also despatched money to the Lacedaemonians, and certain other Greeks; but none of the States received it, except the Lacedaemonians. As your agents corrupted my friends, and were striving to dissolve the league which I had formed AMONG the Greeks, I took the field against you, because you were the party who commenced the hostility.

Arrian 2a14

Quote:

Having subdued some of the mountaineers by force, and drawn others over to him by terms of capitulation, he returned to Sidon in ten days. Here he found Cleander, son of Polemocrates, just arrived from Peloponnesus, having 4,ooo Grecian mercenaries with him.

Arrian 2b20

Quote:

The position seemed to him a very fine one in which to found a city, and he thought that it would become a prosperous one. Therefore he was seized by an ardent desire to undertake the enterprise, and he marked out the boundaries for the city himself, pointing out the place where the market place was to be constructed, where the temples were to be built, stating how many there were to be, and to what Grecian gods they were to be dedicated

Arrian 3a1

Quote:

From Antipater also arrived an army of 400 Grecian mercenaries under the command of Menidas, son of Hegesander: likewise from Thrace 500 cavalry, under the direction of Asclepiodoros, son of Eunicus. Here he offered sacrifice to Zeus the King, led his soldiers fully armed in solemn procession, and celebrated a gymnastic and musical contest.

Arrian 3a5

Quote:

He also gave the command of the Grecian auxiliaries to Lycidas, an Aetolian, and appointed Eugnostus, son of Xenophantes, one of the Companions, to be secretary over the same troops.

Arrian 3a5

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As their overseers he placed Aeschylus and Ephippus the Chalcidean. The government of the neighbouring country of Libya he granted to Apollonius, son of Charinus; and the part of Arabia near Heroöpolis 2 he put under Cleornenes, a man of Naucratis This last was ordered to allow the governors to rule their respective districts according to the ancient cust&n; but to collect from them the tribute due to him.

Arrian 3a5

Quote:

Erigyius was made commander of the allied Grecian cavalry,5 and his brother Laomedon, because he could speak both the Greek and Persian languages and could read Persian writings, was put in charge of the foreign prisoners.

Arrian 3a6

Quote:

Many other things were also captured there, which Xerxes brought with him from Greece, especially the brozen statues of Harmodius and Aristogeiton.’ These Alexander sent back to the Athenians, and they are now standing at Athens in the Ceramicus, where we go up into the Acropolis, right opposite the temple of Rhea, the mother of the gods, not far from the altar of the Eudanemi.

[Arrian 3b16]

Quote:

He burnt down the Persian palace, though Parmenio advised him to preserve it, for many reasons, and especially because it was not well to destroy what was now his own property, and because the men of Asia would not by this course of action be induced to come over to him, thinking that he himself had decided not to retain the rule of Asia, but only to conquer it and depart. But Alexander said that he wished to take vengeance on the Persians, in retaliation for their deeds in the invasion of Greece, when they razed Athens to the ground and burnt down the temples. He also desired to punish the Persians for all the other injuries they had done the Greeks.

[Arrian 3b18]

Quote:

Alexander honoured these people, for the service which their ancestors had rendered to Cyrus; and when he ascertained that the men not only enjoyed a form of government unlike that of the other barbarians in that part of the world, but laid claim to justice equally with the best of the Greeks, he set them free, and gave them besides as much of the adjacent country as they asked for themselves; but they did not ask for much. Here he offered sacrifice to Apollo, and arrested Demetrius, one of his confidential body-guards, on suspicion of having been implicated with Philotas in the conspiracy. Ptolemy, son of Lagus, was appointed to the post vacated by Demetrius.

Arrian 3b27

Quote
“Alexander thought it was not safe to stop being feared by the Greeks who did not hesitate to campaign against Greeks, on the side of the barbarians, while the expedition against the Persians was in progress”.

Arrian Α, 29

How would it be possible that those who took the side of the Persians to fear Alexander’s wrath, if he himself were not Greek?

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