Alexander IV of Macedon


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.

Birth

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 regent while 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.

Regents

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 Antipater was 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.

Civil War

Cassander allied himself with Ptolemy Soter, Antigonus and Eurydice, the ambitious wife of king Philip Arrhidaeus, and declared war upon the Regency. Polyperchon was allied with Eumenes and Olympias.

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 Epirus to 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 Amphipolis under the supervision of Glaucias. When the general peace between Cassander, Antigonus, Ptolemy, and Lysimachus put 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.

Death

Following the treaty, defenders of the Argead dynasty began 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 Vergina in 1977/8 is believed to belong to Alexander IV. [ http://www.macedonian-heritage.gr/Museums/Archaeological_and_Byzantine/Arx_Bas_Tafoi_Berginas.html ]

References

*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.

External links

* [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]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Alexander I of Macedon — Alexander I ( el. Ἀλέξανδρος ὁ Μακεδών) was ruler of Macedon from 498 BC to 454 BC. He was the son of Amyntas I king of Macedon and Eurydice. According to Herodotus he was unfriendly to Persia, and had the envoys of Darius I killed when they… …   Wikipedia

  • Alexander V of Macedon — Alexander V (d. 294 BC) was the third and youngest son of Cassander and Thessalonica of Macedon, who was a half sister of Alexander the Great.cite encyclopedia | last = Elder | first = Edward | authorlink = | title = Alexander | editor = William… …   Wikipedia

  • Alexander II of Macedon — Alexander II (Greek Ἀλέξανδρος Β΄ ) was king of Macedon from 370 – 368 BC, following the death of his father Amyntas II. He was the eldest of the three sons of Amyntas and Eurydice.Although he had already attained his majority, Alexander was very …   Wikipedia

  • Alexander III of Macedon — biographical name 356 323 B.C. the Great king (336 323) …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Alexander of Macedon — may refer to:*Alexander I of Macedon (d. 454 BC), ruled from 498 454 BC *Alexander II of Macedon (d. 368 BC), ruled from 370 368 BC *Alexander III of Macedon (356 323 BC), or Alexander the Great, ruled from 336 323 BC *Alexander IV of Macedon… …   Wikipedia

  • Alexander the Great's personal relationships — Alexander the Great s lifelong companion was Hephaestion, the son of a Macedonian noble. Hephaistion was Alexander s closest friend, and held the position of second in command of Alexander s forces until his death, which devastated Alexander.… …   Wikipedia

  • Alexander of Pherae — Alexander (Gr. polytonic|Ἀλέξανδρος) was tagus or despot of Pherae in Thessaly, and ruled from 369 BC to 358 BC.cite encyclopedia | last = Elder | first = Edward | authorlink = | title = Alexander of Pherae | editor = William Smith | encyclopedia …   Wikipedia

  • Alexander I — may refer to:*Alexander I of Macedon, king of Macedon 495 450 B.C. *Alexander I of Epirus King of Epirus about 342 B.C. *Pope Alexander I, Pope from 106 to 115 *Alexander I of Scotland (c. 1078 1124), King of Scotland *Alexandru I cel Bun… …   Wikipedia

  • Alexander II — may refer to:* Alexander II of Russia (1818 ndash;1881), the Emperor of Russia * Alexander II of Macedon, King of Macedon from 370 to 368 B.C. * Alexander II of Epirus, King of Epirus in 272 B.C. * Pope Alexander II, Pope from 1061 to 1073 *… …   Wikipedia

  • Alexander III — may refer to:*Alexander III of Macedon, also known as Alexander the Great *Alexander (emperor), Byzantine Emperor (912–913) *Pope Alexander III pope from 1159 to 1181 *Alexander III of Scotland (1241 1286), king of Scotland *Alexander III of… …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.