Alexandria's founded by Alexander

Alexandria's founded by Alexander the Great (by year BC): 334 Alexandria in Troia (Turkey) - 333 Alexandria at Issus/Alexandrette (Iskenderun, Turkey) - 332 Alexandria of Caria/by the Latmos (Alinda, Turkey) - 331 Alexandria Mygdoniae - 331 Alexandria (Egypt) - 330 Alexandria in Areia (Herat, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria of the Prophthasia/in Drangiana/Phrada (Farah, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Arachosia (Kandahar, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Caucasus (Begram, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria of the Paropanisades (Ghazni, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria Eschate or Ultima (Khodjend, Tajikistan) - 329 Alexandria on the Oxus (Ai-Khanoum OR Termez, Afghanistan) - 328 Alexandria in Margiana (Merv, Turkmenistan) - 326 Alexandria Nicaea (on the Hydaspes, India) - 326 Alexandria Bucephala (on the Hydaspes, India) - 325 Alexandria Sogdia - 325 Alexandria Rambacia (Bela, Pakistan) - 325 Alexandria Oreitide - 325 Alexandria in Opiene (confluence of Indus & Acesines, India) - 325 Alexandria on the Indus - 325 Alexandria Xylinepolis (Patala, India) - 325 Alexandria in Carminia (Gulashkird, Iran) - 324 Alexandria-on-the-Tigris/Antiochia-in-Susiana/Charax (Spasinou Charax on the Tigris, Iraq) - ?Alexandria of Carmahle? (Kahnu)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Philip’s hegemony and his plans for Asia - Macedonia forged by Philip II - 14

Philip’s hegemony and his plans to cross over to Asia (337 BC)
Although at first sight the Greeks could make their own decisions within the frame of the synedrion, it definitely was Philip as hegemon who was pulling the strings – he was the one who had all the power.

This was clearly illustrated at Olympia, where Philip commissioned the building of a splendid Philippeon, a large circular tholos counting 18 Ionic columns on the outside and nine Doric ones on the inside. A statue of Philip, slightly larger than life-size would stand in the center, surrounded by his parents (Eurydice and Amyntas), his wife Olympias and his son Alexander. The architect was no one less than Leochares of Athens who had worked on the famous Mausoleum of Halicarnassos. This Philippeon  was located in the sacred area and must have caught the eye of all the visitors by its shear shape (the only round building in the sanctuary of Olympia), if not size. It may have looked like a thank-you to Zeus for his recent victory at Chaeronea, but it most certainly showed off Philip’s power and that of Macedonia.

A second meeting of the Synedrion was held that same spring in Corinth to officially elect Philip as hegemon. This is when he announced his plans to invade Asia as part of a pan-Hellenic plan to liberate the Greeks of Asia Minor from Persian rule and to punish the Persians for sacking Athens some one hundred and fifty years before. This is what he proclaimed, while we may wonder whether it was his dire need of money that instigated this decision. We know he made huge profits from his several gold and silver mines (more than 1,000 talents a year from Crenides alone), but vast amounts went into his army. His court in Pella cannot have come cheap either with all the women and guest-friends. And then there were all the bribes he paid to influential statesmen and the many awards he lavishly granted for building temples, fortifications, etc. It’s interesting to read a comment made by Diodorus that “Philip used gold more than arms to enlarge his kingdom”, which tells a lot. We all remember that Alexander when he set out to Asia had no more than 70 talents in his treasury and that he had to borrow 600 talents on top of that – a clear proof that Philip’s money was not there for the taking, although he somehow always had managed to use the income from one campaign to finance the next one.

Now the reason why Philip went to Asia is another interesting question. There are several theories, as always, but most likely is that Philip wanted to win the cities of Asia Minor over to Greece as the country was in need of agrarian land (it might even be a place where the Greeks could dispose of their unwanted or disreputable elements!). On the other hand he had a golden opportunity to expand his own empire and acquire more wealth.

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