Olympias: The Indomitable Mother Of Alexander The Great
In , the Molossians became the allies of the Macedonian king Philip II ( ); the alliance was strengthened by a diplomatic marriage. In , Olympias. Alexander the Great was one of the best-known rulers in ancient history. Olympias, a fierce and possessive mother, dominated her son's youth and filled him Alexander's relationship and military cooperation with his father ended soon after. Know everything you wanted to know about Alexander's mother Queen Olympias - Her Early Life, Biography, History, her relationship with.
It made Olympias the queen consort of Macedonia, and Philip the king.
Alexander the Great Biography
Philip had allegedly fallen in love with Olympias when both were initiated into the mysteries of Cabeiri at the Sanctuary of the Great Godson the island of Samothracethough their marriage was largely political in nature. In the summer of the same year, Olympias gave birth to her first child, Alexander. In ancient Greece people believed that the birth of a great man was accompanied by portents.
As Plutarch describes, the night before the consummation of their marriage, Olympias dreamed that a thunderbolt fell upon her womb and a great fire was kindled, its flames dispersed all about and then were extinguished. After the marriage Philip dreamed that he put a seal upon his wife's womb, the device of which was the figure of a lion.
Aristander 's interpretation was that Olympias was pregnant of a son whose nature would be bold and lion-like. According to primary sources their marriage was very stormy due to Philip's volatility and Olympias' ambition and alleged jealousy, which led to their growing estrangement.
Olympias - Wikipedia
At a gathering after the marriage, Philip failed to defend Alexander's claim to the Macedonian throne when Attalus threatened his legitimacy, causing great tensions between Philip, Olympias and Alexander. In BC, Philip cemented his ties to Alexander I of Epirus by offering him the hand of his and Olympias' daughter Cleopatra in marriage, a fact that led Olympias to further isolation as she could no longer count on her brother's support.
However, Philip was murdered by Pausaniasa member of Philip's somatophylakeshis personal bodyguard, while attending the wedding, and Olympias, who returned to Macedonia, was suspected of having countenanced his assassination.
During Alexander's campaigns, she regularly corresponded with him and may have confirmed her son's claim in Egypt that his father was not Philip but Zeus. The relationship between Olympias and Alexander was cordial, but her son tried to keep her away from politics.
However, she wielded great influence in Macedonia and caused troubles to Antipaterthe regent of the kingdom. In BC, she returned to Epirus and served as a regent to her cousin Aeacides in the Epirote stateas her brother Alexander I had died during a campaign in southern Italy.
Could Cleopatra have claimed to be pregnant with a new heir? The reasons for this murder remain unknown. In this excerpt he describes her foreign, Orphic rites in a barbaric, frightening manner: Again one must consider biases when researching Olympias— her portrayal is a form of propaganda in the ancient world.
In her homeland she continued a close relationship with her son and they regularly corresponded. Cleopatra pursued a Greek outlaw with a large army— however she eventually asked him to leave for fear of causing a civil war.
Personal relationships of Alexander the Great
Although Antipater did not kill her for this brief alliance he did strip her of all her independence and Cleopatra never saw her mother again. The eventual death of Antipater by the hands of his own guards led to the reign of Macedonian general Polyperchon.
The new king invited the former queen to return to Macedonia and join him in a political alliance. However these vicious actions made her unpopular among the Macedonians. Cassander captured Olympias and put her on trial for these murders. Although he initially promised her safety she was eventually put to death.
- Queen Olympias — The Bad-Ass Mother Of Alexander The Great
There are two versions of her murder: Pausanias claims she was stoned to death and Justin said she was stabbed to death—both humiliating for an elite woman of antiquity. Olympias, Mother of Alexander the Great.Scene from "Alexander"
Worthington, Ian; Roisman, Joseph. Classical Quarterly, 62 1 ,