The Anabasis of Alexander/Book VII/Chapter IV

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The Anabasis of Alexander
by Arrian, translated by E. J. Chinnock
Book VII, Chapter IV.
Marriages between Macedonians and Persians


Marriages between Macedonians and Persians.

At this time Alexander sent Atropates away to his own viceroyalty,[1] after advancing to Susa; where he arrested Abulites and his son Oxathres, and, put them to death on the ground that they were governing the Susians badly.[2] Many outrages upon temples, tombs, and the subjects themselves had been committed by those who were ruling the countries conquered by Alexander in war; because the king's expedition into India had taken a long time, and it was not thought credible that he would ever return in safety from so many nations possessing so many elephants, going to his destruction beyond the Indus, Hydaspes, Acesines, and Hyphasis.[3] The calamities that befell him among the Gadrosians were still greater inducements to those acting as viceroys in this region to be free from apprehension of his return to his dominions. Not only so, but Alexander himself is said to have become more inclined at that time to believe accusations which were plausible in every way, as well as to inflict very severe punishment upon those who were convicted even of small offences, because with the same disposition he thought they would be likely to perform great ones.[4]

In Susa also he celebrated both his own wedding and those of his companions. He himself married Barsine, the eldest daughter of Darius,[5] and according to Aristobulus, besides her another, Parysatis, the youngest daughter of Ochus.[6] He had already married Roxana, daughter of Oxyartes the Bactrian.[7] To Hephaestion he gave Drypetis, another daughter of Darius, and his own wife's sister; for he wished Hephaestion's children to be first cousins to his own. To Craterus he gave Amastrine, daughter of Oxyartes the brother of Darius; to Perdiccas, the daughter of Atropates, viceroy of Media; to Ptolemy the confidential body-guard, and Eumenes the royal secretary, the daughters of Artabazus, to the former Artacama, and to the latter Artonis. To Nearchus he gave the daughter of Barsine and Mentor; to Seleucus the daughter of Spitamenes the Bactrian. Likewise to the rest of his Companions he gave the choicest daughters of the Persians and Medes, to the number of eighty. The weddings were celebrated after the Persian manner, seats being placed in a row for the bridegrooms; and after the banquet the brides came in and seated themselves, each one near her own husband. The bridegrooms took them by the right hand and kissed them; the king being the first to begin, for the weddings of all were conducted in the same way. This appeared the most popular thing which Alexander ever did; and it proved his affection for his Companions. Bach man took his own bride and led her away; and on all without exception Alexander bestowed dowries.[8] He also ordered that the names of all the other Macedonians who had married any of the Asiatic women should be registered. They were over 10,000 in number; and to these Alexander made presents on account of their weddings.

  1. Media. See vi. 29 supra.
  2. Oxathres wag killed by Alexander himself with a sarissa, or long Macedonian pike. See Plutarch (Alex. 68), who calls him Oxyartes.
  3. For this use of φθείρομαι, cf. Aristophanes (Plutus, 610); Alciphron, i. 13, 3; with Bergler's note.
  4. Cf. Curtius, x. 5.
  5. She was also called Statira. See Diodorus, xvii. 107; Plutarch (Alex., 70). She is called Arsiuoe by Photius.
  6. "By these two marriages, Alexander thus engrafted himself upon the two lines of antecedent Persian kings. Oohus was of the Achaemenid family, but Darius Codomannus, father of Statira, was not of that family; he began a new lineage. About the overweening regal state of Alexander, outdoing even the previous Persian kings, see Pylarchus apud Athenaeum, xii. p. 539."—Grote.
  7. See p. 242.
  8. Cf. Aelian (Varia Historia, viii. 7). A copious account of this celebrated marriage feast is given in Athenaeus, xii. p. 538.