- Alexander IV of Macedon
Alexander IV Aegus (in Greek, "Ἀλέξανδρος Aἰγός" — 323–309 BC) was the son of
Alexander the Great(Alexander III of Macedon) and the princess Roxana, of Bactria.
Because Roxana was pregnant when her husband died and the gender of the baby was unknown, there was dissension in the Macedonian army regarding the order of succession. While the infantry supported the baby's uncle, Philip III (who was both feeble-minded and illegitimate), the
chiliarch Perdiccas, commander of the elite Companion cavalry, persuaded them to wait in the hope that Roxana's unborn child would be male. The factions compromised, deciding that Perdiccas would rule the Empire as regentwhile Philip would reign, but only as a figurehead with no real power. If the child was male, then he would be king. Alexander IV was born in August, 323 BC.
After a severe regency, military failure in
Egypt, and mutiny in the army, Perdiccas was assassinated by his senior officers in May or June 321 or 320 BC (problems with Diodorus's chronology have made the year uncertain [ cite journal|title=Diodorus and the Date of Triparadeisus|journal=The American Journal of Philogy|date=Summer 1986|first=Edward M|last=Anson|coauthors=|volume=107|issue=2|pages=208-217|id= |url=|format=|accessdate=2008-05-30 ] ), after which Antipaterwas named as the new regent at the Partition of Triparadisus. He brought with him Roxana and the two kings to Macedon and gave up the pretence of ruling Alexander's Empire, leaving former provinces in Egypt and Asia in control of the satraps (see diadochi). When Antipater died in 319 BC he left Polyperchon, a Macedonian general who had served under Philip II and Alexander the Great, as his successor, passing over his own son, Cassander.
Although Polyperchon was successful at first, taking control of the Greek cities, his fleet was destroyed by Antigonus in 318 BC. When, after the battle, Cassander assumed full control of Macedon, Polyperchon was forced to flee to Epirus, followed by Roxana and the young Alexander. A few months later, Olympias was able to persuade her relative
Aeacides of Epirusto invade Macedon with Polyperchon. When Olympias took the field, Eurydice's army refused to fight against the mother of Alexander and defected to Olympias, after which Polyperchon and Aeacides retook Macedon. Philip and Eurydice were captured and executed on December 25, 317 BC, leaving Alexander IV king, and Olympias in effective control, as she was his regent.
Cassander returned in the following year (316 BC), conquering Macedon once again. Olympias was immediately executed, while the king and his mother were taken prisoner and held in the citadel of
Amphipolisunder the supervision of Glaucias. When the general peace between Cassander, Antigonus, Ptolemy, and Lysimachusput an end to the Third Diadoch War in 311 BC, the peace treaty recognized Alexander IV's rights and explicitly stated that when he came of age he would succeed Cassander as ruler.
Following the treaty, defenders of the
Argead dynastybegan to declare that Alexander IV should now exercise full power and that a regent was no longer needed. Cassander's response was definitive: to secure his rule, in 309 BC he commanded Glaucias to secretly assassinate the 13-year old Alexander IV and his mother. The orders were carried out, and they were both poisoned.
One of the royal tombs discovered by the archaeologist Manolis Andronikos in the so called "Great
Tumulus" in Verginain 1977/8 is believed to belong to Alexander IV. [ http://www.macedonian-heritage.gr/Museums/Archaeological_and_Byzantine/Arx_Bas_Tafoi_Berginas.html ]
*Smith, William (editor); "
Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology", [http://www.ancientlibrary.com/smith-bio/0131.html "Alexander IV"] , Boston, (1867).
Alexander IV in Popular Culture
The tragic young monarch appears as a character in "
Funeral Games", a historical novel by Mary Renault.
It is often joked that his title was Alexander the Mediocre.
* [http://www.livius.org/aj-al/alexander01/alexander_iv.html Livius.org: Alexander IV]
* [http://www.ancientlibrary.com/wcd/Alexander_IV Wiki Classical Dictionary: Alexander IV]
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