Archive for December 2007

Plutarch and Greekness of Macedonians

December 28, 2007

Plutarch in Alexander’s ‘Bios’ signifies the Greekness of Alexander and Macedonians. In reality even the few references to the gradual consolidation of Macedonian hegemony in Greek worl where Macedonians are distinguished from the rest of Greeks for clearly practical reasons since they were warring, but wthout an ethnological difference (see Alex 9.2, 13, ch 11, 12.5). Similarly Plutarch in his ‘lives’ uses the same method distinguishing the warring Spartans from the rest of Greeks.


Agesilaos was accused… that he exposed the city <Sparta>

as an accomplice in the crimes against the Hellenes.

<Plutarchos, Agesilaos 26>


Thus, the Hellenes were wondering what the state of the

Lakedaimonian army would be had it been commanded by Age

silaos or… the old Leonidas.

<Plutarchos, Agis 14>


Since the Lakedaimonians made peace with all the Hellenes,

they were in war only with the Thebans…

<Plutarchos, Pelopidas 20>

and the Atheneans from the rest of Greeks.


He soothed the Athenians’ pride by promising them… that the Hellenes would accept their leadership…

<Plutarchos, Themistokles 7>

In reality Plutarch reveals the Greekness of the expeditionary force of Alexander eventhough the main army consists of Macedonians.

– From the side of his father, Alexander is shown clearly as descendant of Heracles and from his mother side a descendant of Aeacos. (Alex 2.1).

– He is educated by Aristotle, uses as his permanent favourite book the Iliad of Homer (see 8,2, 26.2-3) but wishes also other Greek books to be sent to him.

– The inscription of Alexander with the first booty is clear and Macedonians are included as Greeks.


Alexander, son of Philip and the Greeks, except Lakedaimonians – from the barbarians living in Asia

Plutarchos, ‘Alexander’ 16.18

– After conquering Egypt Alexander wishes to found “a great Greek city with many people” (26.4 and Moralia 328B). The Priest of Ammon adresses Alexander in Greek (27.9).

– In Alexanders Live Macedonians are included in the general Greek race and those who are opposed to Persians and the rest of Barbarian tribes of Asia are called greeks and not Macedonians (33.1-4)

– Alexander campaigns in Asia in the name of Greeks in order to revenge the campaign of Xerxes against Greece (see 37.5, 38.4)

– Before Gaugamela, Alexander encourages mainly Greks and from Greeks he is being encouraged too (see 33.1)

– After the final defeat of Darius he chooses 30,00 young Persians and orders those to be educated in Greek (see 47.6)

– In the meantime he wishes to please all the Greeks by abolishing tyrranies, giving autonomy, urging Plateans to rebuild their city, sending booty even to Krotoniates in order to honour the participation of their ancestor Faylos in Medika (34.2-3)

-Finally Alexander’s behaviour to Greeks is entirel different from his behaviour to Barbarians. (see Alex 28.1)

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