Alexander the great and hephaestion relationship questions

Were Alexander the Great and Hephaestion lovers? — Ancient Heroes

alexander the great and hephaestion relationship questions

More significantly, his relationship with Hephaestion (Jared Leto) is shown as was younger, because it raised questions about his masculinity as a full adult. . Stone based his film on Robin Lane Fox's Alexander the Great. But the relationship of Alexander and Hephaistion is one of those that we can plumb Perhaps because he himself questions the dominant model of pederasty. to a few Hephaestion experts about his relationship with Alexander the Great in of the lingering questions, a clearer portrait of Alexander and Hephaestion.

While it is true that very little detail of Hephaestion's childhood and education can be found, that which remains gives credence to what is known about his later life. His friendship with Alexander was long-lasting, as was his tenure in the court at Pella ; he even shared the same education as the future Great King of Greece and Asia.

alexander the great and hephaestion relationship questions

With such a promising start, age and experience would have helped mould Hephaestion Amyntoros into the man who would one day be the second most powerful man in Alexander's empire, second only to the king himself. Career[ edit ] Sharing Alexander's upbringing, Hephaestion would have learned to fight and to ride well from an early age. His first taste of military action was probably the campaign against the Thracians while Alexander was regent, followed by Philip II's Danube campaign BC and the battle of Chaeronea BC while he was still in his teens.

His name is not mentioned in lists of high-ranking officers during the early battles of Alexander's Danube campaign BC or the invasion of Persia. Nor are the names of Alexander's other close friends and contemporaries listed, suggesting that their promotions, when they achieved them, were earned by merit.

The Battle of Issus by Albrecht AltdorferHephaestion's career was never solely a military one. Right from the start he was also engaged in special missions, sometimes diplomatic, sometimes technical. The first mention of his career in the sources is a diplomatic mission of some importance.

After the battle of Issus BC when Alexander was proceeding south down the Phoenician coast and had received the capitulation of SidonHephaestion was "authorised to appoint to the throne the Sidonian he considered most deserving of that high office". The man, Abdalonymushad a successful royal career, fully justifying Hephaestion's choice. After the siege of Tyre BC Alexander entrusted his fleet to Hephaestion, who had orders to skirt the coast and head for Gazatheir next objective, while Alexander himself led the army overland.

Furthermore, on arrival at Gaza the cargo of siege engines had to be unloaded, transported across difficult terrain and reassembled. Plutarchwhile writing about Alexander's correspondence, reveals an occasion when Hephaestion was away on business and Alexander wrote to him. The subject matter suggests that this took place while they were in Egypt.

What business Hephaestion was attending to we do not know, but Andrew Chugg [15] has suggested that it was concerned either with his command of the fleet or Athenian diplomacy. He quotes sources which suggest that Hephaestion had been approached by Aristion of Athens to effect a reconciliation between Alexander and Demosthenes and, certainly, Athens' inaction during the revolt of the Spartan king Agis would seem to support this idea.

As Chugg says, "If he did persuade Alexander to reach an accommodation with Demosthenes at this critical juncture, as would seem likely from the circumstances, then he was significantly responsible for saving the situation for Macedon in Greece by preventing the revolt of Agis spreading to Athens and her allies.

Darius of Persia sent Mazaeus to hold the opposite bank while the bridging work was in progress. This Mazaeus was the commander who threw away what looked like certain victory on the Persian right at the battle of Gaugamela BC and later became Alexander's governor of Babylon. Robin Lane Fox has suggested that a conversation with Hephaestion may have won Mazaeus over: He is called the "commander of the bodyguards somatophylakes ".

Hephaestion was certainly in the thick of things with Alexander for Arrian tells us he was wounded and Curtius specifically mentions that it was a spear wound in the arm. One evening in Babylon Alexander noticed a high-born woman obliged to dance as part of the entertainment. That he chose Hephaestion to help him shows that he could rely on Hephaestion's tact and sympathy. Yet Alexander could also rely on Hephaestion for firmness and resolve. When his policies had led to a plot against his life, the possible involvement of a senior officer, Philotascaused much concern.

It was Hephaestion, along with Craterus and Coenuswho insisted on, and actually carried out, the customary torture. This dual appointment was a way of satisfying two divergent shades of opinion now hardening throughout the army: The army set out from Balkh in five columns to spread through the valleys between the Oxus and Tanais [ dubious — discuss ] rivers to pacify Sogdiana. Hephaestion commanded one of the columns and, after arriving at Marakandahe set out again to establish settlements in the region.

He led his section north into the Swat Valleywhile Hephaestion and Perdiccas took a sizeable contingent through the Khyber Pass. Hephaestion's orders were to "take over either by force or agreement all places on their march and upon reaching the Indus to make suitable preparations for crossing". He reached the Indus with the land behind him conquered, including the successful siege of Peuceolatis, which took thirty days, and proceeded to organize the construction of boats for the crossing.

For example, a few weeks before this mission of Hephaestion's, Craterus had been sent with a large force to subdue the last two remaining Bactrian rebels. Hephaestion took part in a notable cavalry charge at the battle of the Hydaspes river BC. Arrian lists Hephaestion first among these "honorary trierarchs ", indicating his leading position at this time.

Hephaestion's section marched "five days in advance, with the object of intercepting and capturing any native troops which After Alexander had taken a detour to subdue a hostile tribe, in which he was seriously injured, Hephaestion took command of the greater part of the army as they travelled down the Indus to the sea. When he rejoined Alexander at Rhambacia he established a city there also.

alexander the great and hephaestion relationship questions

But, having ended his military career as Alexander's de facto second-in-command, he was also his second in the political sphere. Alexander had made that official by naming him Chiliarch. Photius mentions Perdiccas being appointed "to command the chiliarchy which Hephaestion had originally held".

Alexander was an outgoing, charismatic man who had many friends but his dearest and closest friend and confidant was Hephaestion. It endured through adolescence, through Alexander's becoming king, and through the hardships of campaigning and the flatteries of court life and their marriages.

Apart from Diogenes of Sinope 's alleged letter quoted below, heavily hinting at Alexander's yielding to Hephaestion's thighs, ancient sources do not generally mention that Hephaestion and Alexander may have been lovers, as some modern scholars have theorized. Overall direct evidence is non-existent and, at least according to Thomas R.

Martinthis was a practice which was uncommon by majority Greek standards of their time. From a edition of Curtius.

Their tutor Aristotle described friendship as "one soul abiding in two bodies". Diodorus[38] Arrian [39] and Curtius [40] all describe the scene when Alexander and Hephaestion went together to visit the captured Persian royal family.

Its senior member, the queen Sisygambisknelt to Hephaestion to plead for their lives, having mistaken him for Alexander because he was taller, and both young men were wearing similar clothes. When she realized her mistake she was acutely embarrassed, but Alexander pardoned her, saying "You were not mistaken, Mother; this man too is Alexander. Hephaestion, when replying to a letter to Alexander's mother, Olympias, said "you know that Alexander means more to us than anything". They worked well together; it is possible to discern a pattern, when studying Hephaestion's career, of Alexander's constant trust in, and increasing reliance on, Hephaestion.

By the time of the advance into India, after the deaths of senior generals from the older generation, there had been worrying instances among senior officers of their own generation of treachery, [44] a lack of sympathy with Alexander's aims of further integration of Persians into the army, [45] and of sheer incompetence.

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Hephaestion played a full part in Alexander's regular consultations with senior officers, but he was the one to whom Alexander would also talk in private, sharing his thoughts, hopes and plans. Curtius [47] states that Hephaestion was the sharer of all his secrets; and Plutarch [48] describes an occasion when Alexander had a controversial change to impose and implies that Hephaestion was the one with whom Alexander discussed it and who arranged for the change to be implemented.

According to the painting done by Aetion of Alexander's first wedding, Hephaestion was his torch bearer best manshowing by this not only his friendship, but also his support for Alexander's policies as Alexander's choice of an Asian bride had not been a popular one.

By the time they returned to Persia Hephaestion was officially, by title, Alexander's second-in-command, as he had long been in practice, and also his brother-in-law. Hammond sums up their public relationship well: Thus Alexander honoured Hephaestion both as the closest of his friends and the most distinguished of his Field Marshals.

Personal relationships of Alexander the Great - Wikipedia

The Getty Villa Museum. It has been suggested by some modern scholars that as well as being close friends Alexander and Hephaestion were also lovers despite the fact that hardly any of Alexander's extant ancient Greek or Roman biographers ever refers to Hephaestion as anything but Alexander's friend, [36] [51] consistent with Hephaestion's epithet "Philalexandros" which was given to him by Alexander himself.

It happened right at the beginning of the campaign in Asia when Alexander led a contingent of the army to visit Troyscene of the events in his beloved Iliad. He laid a wreath on the tomb of Achilles and Hephaestion laid a wreath on the tomb of Patroclus and they ran a race, naked, to honour their dead heroes.

Arrian discreetly draws no conclusions from this, but, according to Thomas R. First, and perhaps most important, is the literary comparison made between their friendship and that of Achilles and Patroklos, which 4th century Greece assumed to have had a sexual side.

Was it used in Alexander's own lifetime by Alexander and Hephaistion themselves? Certainly Alexander cast himself as Achilles!

alexander the great and hephaestion relationship questions

But was Hephaistion also cast as Patroklos at the time, or was this done later by the poetasters? Much depends on what one makes of Arrian's story 1.

Alexander: Was Alexander the Great Gay?

Arrian gives this as a logomena a mere story: The tale was not, apparently, found in Arrian's chief sources Ptolemy and Aristobulos. It is difficult what, or how much, to make of it.

Did Arrian include it as part of a complicated flattery for his patron, the emperor Hadrian who, as we recall, loved the youth Antinoos? Certainly, others in Alexander's train were compared to figures in the Achilles legend most notably old Lysimakhos as Phoenix. As Cohen has pointed out, these Homeric tales were living reality to the Macedonians. A Tribute to Emily Townsend Vermule While Curtius' use of conciliatum does not have to mean "beloved," that seems to be the thrust of the passage pun intended.

Euxenippos was a pretty boy who had caught the king's eye. Alexander would hardly be the first Macedonian king to have a fling with one of his Pages. This makes the boy's comparison to Hephaistion particularly suggestive. Has the king's current eromenos been set beside his old flame and come off the worse for the comparison? I believe this passage makes far more sense if we assume a romantic affair at some point between Alexander and Hephaistion.

Finally, Hephaistion's death and Alexander's grief is, itself, an indication of Hephaistion's significance to the conqueror. If Alexander is understood to be mourning a spouse or spouse-equivalentthe severe nature of his mourning is far more comprehensible and proves, in fact, not to be abnormal or pathological at all, contrary to much ancient and modern opinion. Yet, again, Alexander's bereavement is not proof of a sexual relationship between the two; it only proves, or at least suggests, that Hephaistion occupied the central emotional place in Alexander's life.

We must remember that the two of them had been friends at least nineteen years, if we accept Mieza as the terminus ante quem for their meeting. During much of this, they would have have lived in close quarters on campaign and no doubt seen one another daily when not away on independent missions. Nineteen years is longer than many modern marriages.

alexander the great and hephaestion relationship questions

Whatever the truth of their sexual involvement, their emotional attachment has never been seriously questioned. In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle speaks of the true friend as the "second self" b and postulates there is only one special friend a.

At least some of his teachings seem to have made an impression on his student! Greek philia included a level of friendship that was particularly intense, one which is sometimes difficult for us now to grasp. In our societies, friendship all too often exists on the boundaries of other relationships those with our family or lovers. For the Greeks, though, such was not the case, and perhaps they were richer for it. In short, our models of friendship are not consonant with theirs, and in these ancient societies where homoerotic desire was freely, sometimes emphatically, expressed, intense friendship might well develop a sexual expression even while that expression was not the focus of the friendship, or even thought of as particularly characteristic of it.

Thus, it would be inappropriate to refer to the friend as "lover" except in very specific circumstances, as such would fall short of encompassing the whole.

What was the REAL relationship Between Alexander the Great and Hephaestion? | Ancient Origins

Alexander's choice of philalexandros for Hephaistion said far more about the nature of his affection than calling him merely eromenos. Article submitted to pothos. The material here is based on "An Atypical Affair? The material may not be reproduced without permission from the author. Additional Note from the Author I have found portions of this article very selectively quoted to support political or social positions that I do not support which, in fact, I may find disquieting.

If such quotes are within fair-use rights, I can hardly forbid them. And it's not disagreement or differing opinion that disturbs me it's the use of my own words to justify modern political agendas with which I don't agree that disturbs me Particularly when it's not made clear that I don't subscribe to them. Homosexuality and gay rights are topics that evoke strong feelings.

Therefore let me be extremely clear where I stand: I am in support of civil rights for gays and lesbians, up to and including marriage. Anti-gay writings that quote me in support of their positions do not reflect my own opinions, and I do not believe that current research into ancient Mediterranean sexuality is driven by a 'gay agenda'.