I wrote a piece over at The Groovy Historian, discussing whether or not Alexander The Great’s subjects believed he was a god.
Nearly two and a half thousand years ago, c. 429BC, Sophocles’ Oedipus the King was first performed at the Athenian Dionysia. Audiences listened with morbid fascination as a messenger revealed the awful suicide of Oedipus’ wife and mother, Jocasta, and … Continue reading
… in 17BC the Roman poet Ovid died. He was responsible for works including the ‘Metamorphoses’ and a selection of love poetry, including ‘Amores’ and ‘Ars Amatoria’. These love poems contained such tongue-in-cheek advice as:
“If you want to be loved, be lovable”.
Curiously, despite enjoying much popularity, Ovid ended his life in exile – a punishment he described as the result of “a poem and a mistake”. This has puzzled ancient historians the world over…
It is the year 308 BC; fifteen years after the death of Alexander the Great. During this time, his empire has been unofficially divided between his closest companions: Ptolemy, a Macedonian general and one of Alexander’s oldest friends, has control of Egypt; the one-eyed general Antigonus has Asia Minor and Syria, and Cassander – son of the late great general Antipater – has forcefully taken over as regent of Macedonia and the Greek city states. This arrangement, however, is far from secure and intermittent, bloody war rages throughout Alexander’s lands.
In Sardis, the capital city of Lydia (situated in modern-day Turkey), Cleopatra of Macedon plots her escape. She has been living as a guest-prisoner with Antigonus for more than ten years. She is a princess – the full sister of Alexander the Great. By now she is about fifty years old. Most of her family is dead – mother, father, brother and half-siblings all having met untimely deaths. Somehow, word has reached her that Ptolemy, ruler of Egypt and a childhood friend of her brother’s, has asked for her hand in marriage. Despite having rejected the proposals of many of Alexander’s other generals, she accepts. This is where we find her, attempting to make her way south to Egypt.
She never makes it. Antigonus’s men find her and she is brought back to Sardis, imprisoned and killed. The question is, why?