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Source : http://history-of-macedonia.


Plutarch in Alexander’s ‘Bios’ signifies the Greekness of Alexander and the

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

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

- 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)

Plutarch considered Macedonians as Greeks by distinguishing them always from


During his absence Barbarians had been overrunning and devastating

Macedonia, and at this particular time a large army of Illyrians from the interior
had burst in, and in consequence of their ravages the Macedonians summoned
Antigonus home.

[Plut. Cleomenes 27.3]

Antigonus marched up and took the city without resistance. He treated the
Lacedaemonians humanely, and did not insult or mock the dignity of Sparta, but
restored her laws and constitution,21 sacrificed to the gods, and went away on the
third day. For he learned that there was a great war in Macedonia and that the
Barbarians were ravaging the country. Moreover, his disease was already in full
possession of him, having developed into a quick consumption and an acute catarrh. 2
He did not, however, give up, but had strength left for his conflicts at home, so that
he won a very great victory, slew a prodigious number of the Barbarians, and
died gloriously, having broken a blood-vessel (as it is likely, and as Phylarchus says)
by the very shout that he raised on the field of battle. And in the schools of philosophy
one used to hear the story that after his victory he shouted for joy, “O happy day!” and
then brought up a quantity of blood, fell into a high fever, and so died. So much
concerning Antigonus.

[Plut. Cleomenes 30.1-3]

Here Leonnatus the Macedonian, observing that an Italian was intent upon Pyrrhus,
and was riding out against him and following him in every movement from place to
place, said: “Seest thou, O King, that Barbarian yonder, riding the black horse with
white feet? He looks like a man who has some great and terrible design in mind. 9 For
he keeps his eyes fixed upon thee, and is intent to reach thee with all his might and
main, and pays no heed to anybody else. So be on thy guard against the man.” To him
Pyrrhus made reply: “What is fated, O Leonnatus, it is impossible to escape; but with
impunity neither he nor any other Italian shall come to close quarters with me.” While
they were still conversing thus, the Italian levelled his spear, wheeled his horse, and
p399charged upon Pyrrhus. 10 Then at the same instant the Barbarian’s spear smote
the king’s horse, and his own horse was smitten by the spear of Leonnatus. Both
horses fell, but while Pyrrhus was seized and rescued by his friends, the Italian,
fighting to the last, was killed. He was a Frentanian, by race, captain of a troop of
horse, Oplax by name

[Plut. Pyrrhus 16.8]

While Philip was making an expedition against Byzantium,13 Alexander, though
only sixteen years of age, was left behind as regent in Macedonia and keeper of the
royal seal, and during this time he subdued the rebellious Maedi, and after taking their
city, drove out the Barbarians, settled there a mixed population, and named the city

[Plut. Alexander 9.1]

Thus it was that at the age of twenty years Alexander received the kingdom, which
was exposed to great jealousies, dire hatreds, and dangers on every hand. 2 For the
neighbouring tribes of Barbarians would not tolerate their servitude, and longed
for their hereditary kingdoms

[Plut. Alexander 11.3]

The Macedonian counsellors of Alexander had fears of the crisis, and thought he
should give up the Greek states altogether and use no more compulsion there, and
that he should call the revolting Barbarians back to their allegiance by mild
measures and try to arrest the first symptoms of their revolutions

[Plut. Alexander 11.5]

Then, while he was thus engaged with Rhoesaces, Spithridates rode up from one side,
raised himself up on his horse, and with all his might came down with a barbarian
battle-axe upon Alexander’s head

[Plut. Alexander 16.]

Of the Barbarians, we are told, twenty thousand footmen fell, and twenty-five
hundred horsemen.30 But on Alexander’s side, Aristobulus says there were thirty-
four dead in all, of whom nine were footmen.

[Plut. Alexander 16.15]

he sent to the Athenians in particular three hundred of the captured shields, and upon
the rest of the spoils in general he ordered a most ambitious inscription to be wrought:
18 “Alexander the son of Philip and all the Greeks except the Lacedaemonians
from the Barbarians who dwell in Asia.”

[Plut. Alexander 16.18]

He found his Macedonians carrying off the wealth from the camp of the
Barbarians, and the wealth was of surpassing abundance, although its owners had
come to the battle in light marching order and had left most of their baggage in

[Plut. Alexander 20.11]

Then for the first time the Macedonians got a taste of gold and silver and women
and barbaric luxury of life, and now that they had struck the trail, they were like
dogs in their eagerness to pursue and track down the wealth of the Persians.

[Plut. Alexander 24.3]

Two Barbarians who were sitting at the fire he [Alexander] despatched with his
dagger, and snatching up a fire-brand, brought it to his own party.

[Plut. Alexander 24.13]

In general, he bore himself haughtily towards the Barbarians, and like one fully
persuaded of his divine birth and parentage, but with the Greeks it was within limits
and somewhat rarely that he assumed his own divinity.

[Plut. Alexander 28.1]

On this occasion, he made a very long speech to the Thessalians and the other
Greeks,63 and when he saw that they encouraged him with shouts to lead them
against the Barbarians, he shifted his lance into his left hand, and with his right
appealed to the gods, as Callisthenes tells us, praying them, if he was really sprung
from Zeus, to defend and strengthen the Greeks

[Plut. Alexander 33.1]

But before the foremost ranks were engaged the Barbarians gave way, and were
hotly pursued, Alexander driving the conquered foe towards the centre of their array,
where Dareius was

[Plut. Alexander 33.4]

To show its nature and power, the Barbarians sprinkled the street leading to
Alexander’s quarters with small quantities of the liquid; then, standing at the farther
end of the street, they applied their torches to the moistened spots; for it was now
getting dark.

[Plut. Alexander 35.2]

company followed with shouts and revelry and surrounded the palace, while the rest
of the Macedonians who learned about it ran thither with torches and were full of joy.
7 For they hoped that the burning and destruction of the palace was the act of one who
had fixed his thoughts on home, and did not intend to dwell among Barbarians.

[Plut. Alexander 38.7]