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 of the Prophthasia/in Dragiana/Phrada (Farah, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Areia (Herat, 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, Afghanistan) - 329 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)

Monday, January 26, 2015

What if … Alexander had married before leaving for Asia and had produced a son?

It is often said that Alexander should have married before leaving for Asia in order to secure his posterity, but this seems a rather simplistic way to look at the succession problem his generals encountered at their king’s untimely death.

Let’s assume he had married and produced a son in Macedonia. The boy would have been eleven or twelve years old, still a minor and too young to rule his father’s empire. We may also wonder what kind of boy he would have been, being raised by a Macedonian mother, we expect and probably with a lot of interference by Queen Olympias, Alexander’s mother. Would he have grown up as a mammy’s boy? Would he have been interested in his father’s campaigns and in the army? We know that in his youth Alexander was in part formed by his father’s constant battles, and well trained for that matter since he was allowed to lead Philip’s cavalry at Thebes as a 16-years-old boy. Where and how would this son of Alexander have acquired his military experience? Sure, Antipater as Regent of Macedonia could have taken charge, but based on his relationship with Olympias this sounds very improbable. Maybe the boy’s mother was a fierce and proud Macedonian in the style of Adea/Eurydice who later married Arrhideus/Philip III. In that case the boy would have had a chance to grow up among Antipater’s soldiers, and hence been prepared to follow in his father’s footsteps.

Remains the matter of succession upon Alexander’s death. The boy would have been made king alright and the Successors had one worry less, but who would rule in his name pending his coming of age? Since he presumably lived in Pella, it seems obvious that his mother or Antipater would rule in his name. Can we eliminate the interference of powerful Olympias? I’m afraid not.

So how could east meet west in this case? Even in the event that the army truly accepted the regency by the boy’s mother, I fail to see how she could have commanded that group of weathered generals in Asia. Even highly skilled and seasoned Antipater, who had not participated in any of his kings’ campaigns in Asia and who had never been there either, had only a slim chance. Each of Alexander’s generals in Babylon would stake his claim, meaning that the Succession War could not have been avoided after all. It only might be shortened since young Alexander IV would have come of age in six years time or so.

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