Dan Carlin's Hardcore History: Addendum - Glimpses of Olympias

It’s Hardcore History.


I keep reading in all of the entertainment stories how desperate the entertainment industry

is for new ideas and new concepts and subject matter and all this stuff and I read one the

other day that says this is the reason why you keep seeing like Teenage Mutant Ninja

Turtles 47 and every cartoon you grew up with as a kid made into a live action movie.

I mean they’re just desperate for you know they need ideas.

And I can’t believe that I refuse to believe it because the ideas are hiding in plain sight

so I don’t get it I don’t get why the stories that are right there aren’t just snapped up

and used I mean they’re sitting there like diamonds on the beach.

And because human history is so vast right not just in terms of geography but also you

know eras that there are so many stories that whatever you’re particularly trying

to well let’s just take a movie for example but it could be anything whatever you’re

trying to make a movie out of I mean there’s there’s the right diamond on the beach for

you and maybe multiples.

I was thinking the other day everybody wants to make you know a strong female you know

protagonist sort of film right now from a female I mean it’s it would be the perfect

idea right the perfect time period right now to do the definitive movie how about the only

movie on what I think and remember my knowledge is the opposite of vast and deep but but from

my limited perspective this is the most interesting I don’t even know that the adjectives elude

me woman in the entire ancient period of you know Greek Mediterranean West Asian history

you know that world it’s Alexander the Great’s mother how the hell has that movie not been

made and let me stop and point out that Alexander the Great story may be the you know when people

say to me because I said once that history has ruined me for fiction and people will

come up to me sometimes and want an example you know give me an example from history and

I always use the same one because it’s right on the tip of my tongue and it’s also the

best example I can think of I don’t think it’s you know arguable I always say the Alexander

the Great story now obviously it doesn’t have dragons and stuff and you can get that

in fiction but to balance that out the story is basically true and that’ll compensate you

in my book anyway for a lot of dragons and the reason the Alexander the Great story is

so amazing is because he’s just one of many over-the-top larger-than-life figures in it

he may be like Seinfeld in the TV series Seinfeld where everyone orbiting around him is a more

interesting figure although he’s pretty damn interesting too but the story is so interesting

you can break pieces off of the main story and just examine them and get a kick out of

it I mean we’ve done that before we’ve mined the Alexander vein on this hardcore history

podcast already I mean the first show we did was called Alexander vs. Hitler then we did

one on what we called the Macedonian soap opera but the name you usually hear is the

funeral games the period after Alexander’s death where there was this scramble for the

Empire and Alexander’s mother was one of the key figures the Queen you might say on the

chessboard during that entire struggle so we’ve dealt with her before but I was thinking

you know just reading these stories about how you don’t have any content and everybody

wants to make a good strong female movie well how about the greatest story you’ve ever heard

and I should point out that I was trying to use as my model for this conversation today

some of the earlier hardcore history shows we did because we used to think if we would

just name them in a very limited way so that we set the parameters with the title of the

show it would keep us from going too deep and getting out of hand that was when we were

young and we didn’t know what we were doing and we didn’t realize that’s impossible so

what are we going to do we’re going to try it again we don’t learn from history but those

shows were shows like Nazi tidbits and thoughts on Churchill and meandering through the Cold

War you know sort of denotes that it’s not going to be a deep and intensive look we’re

just going to hit some of the more interesting points worth discussing some people miss those

shows some people don’t miss those shows so we’re going to please about half of you now

maybe we’ll call this today’s show glimpses of Olympias as we look at the most interesting

female figure that I know of in the ancient world Alexander the Great’s mom and I should

tell you and this is proof positive that I am a history geek because I have been giggling

to myself for like the last 24 hours I’ve been reading the historian Elizabeth Carney’s

book she’s the only one who I think actually put a book out specifically about Olympias

Alexander’s mom it’s called Olympias and in it she addresses one of the let’s call them

psychological profiles that people have attempted to make concerning Alexander for 2,500 years

he’s got to be the most psychoanalyzed historical figure from a long time ago that I can think

of and what’s great about him of course is you can see him a thousand different ways

so take your pick but Elizabeth Carney was addressing this question that has arisen from

you know way back in the time when this phrase was actually in use but the question was was

Alexander the Great a mama’s boy in air quotes mama’s boy I don’t even know what that means

anymore I think like Howard Wolowitz on the Big Bang Theory which makes that question

that’s why I’m snickering because was Alexander the Great a mama’s boys funny on a couple

of different levels but they’re history geek levels the first one is think about Alexander

the Great for a minute right I’m thinking Howard Wolowitz instead we have a guy that

is responsible one way or another for the deaths of at least hundreds of thousands and

maybe millions of people conquered a ton of the known world during the time period

far beyond anything anybody thought possible remember this guy conquered from Greece to

India into India he fought elephants in the rainforest with Macedonian Greek soldiers

he did not do this from some command center way behind the lines instead he would lead

the decisive cavalry charge himself probably from the front of a wedge formation which

is like a pyramid and he’d be the guy you know the star on the top of the Christmas

tree position the tip of the spear in the wedge so hardly a shrinking violet he was

known to drink other people under the table in drinking contests at parties and occasionally

at least on one occasion spear one of his best friends at one of these parties he doesn’t

strike me as the Howard Wolowitz stereotypically you know to mama’s boy in air quotes but it’s

funny for another reason because Alexander was all those things I just mentioned a person

that has been seen as everything from a philosopher king to a genocidal thug and everything in

between he could have been all those things in his case and still been a mama’s boy because

look at his mama this is the I’m listen again limited knowledge this is the most formidable

woman in history as far as from a geopolitical sense anyway you can see women get involved in

stories in the past with these male writers from Greece and Rome and these people who had to

catalog them and they’re often story props bits and pieces and furniture in great the stories of

great manner events sometimes they’re they’re sort of the wicked Eve type of character where

they’re the root of problems other times the they represent a religious and divine side of things

which is interesting and plays into this story too but as Elizabeth Carney points out in her

book Olympia’s it’s really tough to tease out all of the stereotypes and the and the cultural

influences of all these ancient writers who would oftentimes excuse a male figure like an Alexander

for doing something you know horrible maybe they had to wipe out a village and a person like Plutarch

an ancient writer would say well it’s a they have to do that it’s sometimes you know real

politic or Machiavellian is the way we look at it now sometimes a man has to do what a man has

to do to move history forward or whatever the tough decisions but when a woman does the same

thing it gets attributed not to logical real-world questions but emotion you know it’s envy it’s spite

it’s the jealousy of a woman she was angry you know it’s irrational right so just seeing it

through a lens where in a guy like Plutarch’s time a person like Olympias looks pretty uppity

in fact though let’s be honest Olympia looks uppity from the start it’s part of what makes her fun

because if you look at the stew that she walked into when she joined the Macedonian royal family

how do you how do you not get killed in that environment first or how do you avoid trouble

to begin with most people would walk in there and go how do I stay out of trouble in this

environment she walked in and and well far from shrinking in a sense she took it over and she

scared the crap out of some of the most august over-the-top larger-than-life figures of their

time one of them was Philip II the guy she showed up to marry in 357 BCE so let’s tell a little of

this story but like I said glimpses of Olympias because I don’t want to get too deeply into it

for a lot of reasons including we’ve talked about some of this stuff before I am saving most of this

stuff for the big Alexander show I have in my back pocket for some later date blueprint for

Armageddon was one of those shows we were saving for a while and when the centennial happened of

World War one boom we did that one I got the Alexander one in the future and I’m hoping that

my super intense interest in this means a slightly better chance of a good show or shows so I’m not

going to get too deeply into a bunch of stuff I’m saving for that someday I will say and this is a

little bit of a tangent in this story that I usually point out is the most unbelievable

interesting historical tale of all time as you know whatever is true and whatever isn’t that

there’s only been two movies attempted by Hollywood or at least released by Hollywood on this story

it’s incredible just incredible to me and one was in 1956 and Richard Burton was Alexander the Great

there was another one that was supposed to be a movie ended up being downgraded and cut up to like

a TV movie like a sword and sandals Western thriller with William Shatner as Alexander the

Great sort of like Captain Kirk with blonde hair and a more falsetto we voice I like William Shatner

I don’t think he’s probably too happy with it either though and then the one done by Oliver

Stone not that long ago and I support an artist’s right to look at a person like Alexander and his

era from a thousand different viewpoints because I think it lends itself to it it’s part of the fun

but it wasn’t my cup of tea I want to give him credit for something though because one thing he

did has stayed with me ever since and I actually can’t get it out of my mind I have to confess to

it right now I didn’t like his casting I found out he made the most maybe the most interesting

character in the story Val Kilmer is Philip the second come on but uh Alexander’s mother

is played by Angelina Jolie and I didn’t like the casting and then I saw her and now I can’t

unsee it I think she’s perfect at least you know everybody’s got their image my image of the of

this person first of all I don’t know if it’s the makeup or just how Jolie looks or some combination

of the two boy you she looks like my image of what a person in the northern greek southern Albania

area of Epirus would look like she looks the part to me and at the time she did the movie she really

seems to be of that age that most of Olympius’s story seems to happen in where she’s not a young

lady anymore and she’s not an older lady anymore it’s that middle range but she still commands

attention in a physical sense and there’s a lot of reasons for it it might not have just been

conventional beauty I mean the woman is supposed to have carried snakes around with her whether or

not that’s true that’ll make an impression right the stories are wonderful and watching Elizabeth

Carney try to make sense of what’s real and what’s not in the stories is fascinating the one thing

she does say though is the snakes were probably probably real so we should back up and talk about

the snakes and make sense of all this story for a minute Olympius ends up marrying this is why

she’s famous right she marries the up-and-coming soon-to-be greatest man of her age in her world

the guy who would have been Alexander the Great had he not died he’s one of these kings that

actually is maybe like the best example you will ever see who builds up everything necessary for

some great endeavor dies before he can carry it out hands over the you know the the car all gassed

up and ready to go to his son who then gets you know does it and gets credit for it Philip II is

the guy that set up the invasion of Persia he actually had a beachhead established in Persian

territory when he died Alexander grabbed the keys to the car and conquered you know half the known

world with it he was using basically the German Wehrmacht of 1940 right before the whole Russian

problem it was the greatest army of its time with a host of generals and marshals to help him out

right he had tutors right away and this group was in my top five of greatest assembly of generals

and marshals and and over the top military figures under a single great visionary leader you will

ever see Genghis Khan had a great group of generals Napoleon had I mean you know it is ever

has there ever been a better assembly of larger than life marshals and generals than Napoleon’s

general staff people and then you have Alexander and Alexander’s father and all these figures

who are not only going to play huge roles after his death and start whole kingdoms and dynasties

of their own but they’re all these I mean right out of central casting I mean take Antigonus

monothomas Antigonus one eye he’s got one eye he’s he’s looks like I mean they always portray

him like this giant sort of bearded I mean they just the Greeks in Athens and Sparta looked at

the people up in Macedonia like they were kind of barbarians and the funny part about it is it’s a

sliding scale because the Macedonians were always trying to import all these Greek scholars and

and teachers and artwork and and all the stuff to try to gussy themselves up a little and and buff

up their image with those cultured southern Greeks who might be a little sniffy and effeminate but

whatever the Macedonians were moving up in the world during this time period trying to point

out to the other Greeks hey we’re one of you we should be in the Olympics too and Philip was

allowed that early on that’s why Olympius might have been named Olympius but if the Macedonians

were trying to not look so barbaric they looked at the people where Olympius’s family’s from

as as the weirdos 150 miles away that’s part of the fun by the way of the ancient period

is it’s also localized sometimes I mean one of my favorite periods in Roman history is really

early on when Rome was a small city-state and it’s having a war with another city-state and

that city-state’s 11 miles away I mean in your big cities now that’s like fighting with your suburbs

but I love the locality of it uh Macedonia and Epirus which is where um Olympius is from

only about 150 miles away you know over the mountains though and Epirus is a place

and it’s funny how you can have this right where the Macedonians are a little leery of uh

Elizabeth Carney quotes some of the ancient stereotypes and says you know they thought

as poisoners and casters of spells now part of what makes this Olympia story uh interesting and

this is see this is my own take on it I try I’ve never forgotten an experiment that a teacher did

with us back when I was uh first starting as a history major and it was just the first step in

what would if you carried it all the way to a PhD someday be a long line of trying to get you to purge

your period now from how you see other periods because it’s this huge challenge right how do you

objectively look at the past when you’ve got all these cultural influences influencing you

and to make it more complicated many of the historians you’re reading had their cultural

influences working on them and so this teacher said let’s imagine something for a second

let’s imagine that instead of like Newtonian laws of physics that we all take for granted and we know

are true right you substitute magic and you believe it as as rock solid with as much certitude

as we believe in the Newtonian laws of physics how does that change everything around you

and when you start thinking about it for a while you go wait a minute I mean for example um in this

world we live in now you have many different competing views on reality and you can almost

treat it like a buffet you can say I accept uh the hard sciences here but I’m still into astrology

over there and I’m a Catholic so I believe in that but I also just subscribe to this I mean

you can be able you have lots to choose from and there are arguments on all sides it’s it’s a buffet

of intellectual uh reality orientation for yourself most periods in human history don’t have this

and in most periods of human history even where you could identify you could go to Athens in the

classical Greek period and say well there were some thinkers that clearly disagreed with the

idea that magic existed or anything they’re like the top 0.03 percent of the population right if

the rest of the people believe in magic magic what does that mean and the reason I bring it up is

because the people that Olympia shows up to believe the people where she’s from are casters of spells

and you know if you read the sources and you want to believe Olympia’s didn’t do a whole lot

to dissuade them of that notion this was another thing that a teacher explained once a female

teacher was trying to explain again not taking your modern template and putting it over a past

era and trying to draw conclusions and she was talking about um like an equal rights thing

between women and men because we as students and this was the 1980s we were trying to figure out

how you didn’t have more examples of societies where the 50 percent of the population that was

female overthrew the existing order right just said enough of being treated like you know slaves

or servants or chattel or property or whatever we’ve had it and she said because in a lot of

these cultures they were culturally fit into their own places in society and these were not necessarily

as powerless as we assume they are because we’re judging them the way we would judge power

does everybody have the same chance for example to lead the country or to be a general or to be

in these positions of authority right are women giving the same opportunities as men but in some

of these cultures they might not want that but they did have areas of their own power for example

in the greek world and places like macedonia and places like epirus heck in places like ancient

germany and and the kelton well a lot of other societies you can name the women were often

dominant in a religious area and not always as like the high priest but always in these

positions where they would have these relationships with the deity priestesses

if you look at alexander the great’s mother and you look at her life and we’ll look at some

highlights she comes out like a dungeons and dragons character sometimes i said there were

no dragons in this story but there are snakes she is a follower of dionysus one of the most

interesting gods if you go back and you study you know ancient greek mythology uh in a nutshell

mythology in a nutshell though you know uh my college buddies would say he’s the god of partying

but it’s so much deeper than that yes wine okay so they’re drinking but there’s ritual ecstasy

there may be sexual orgies there it’s let’s put it this way it’s one of those things where i mean i

imagine one guy would wink at another guy and go you know she’s a follower of dionysus um but in

the case of somebody like olympius it made her intimidating and the sources make it sound like

she intimidates philip the second philip the second how do you intimidate the greatest man

of his day and age uh let me read you peter green’s description and i love peter green this

was written in 1970 but he’s he’s one of those people who raised me on this era in this region

and i still feel like he sets up the legend let’s call it the legend of olympus and how is there no

movie about this this woman let’s he sets it up perfectly now remember she walks into a scene

let me set it up for you that’s like a mafia crime family when oliver stone made his alexander film

there were rumors that martin scorsese had been thinking about making one of his own and i thought

oh that would be perfect because that would fit my image of the scene you know scorsese’s the

godfather if you’ll pardon the pun of the mafia genre of movies you could take that template

throw it over the macedonian royal house the dynamics of it add a lot more alcohol

and a lot of homosexuality and end up with something like the sopranos on a week-by-week

basis where somebody’s getting whacked somebody’s getting poisoned you don’t have love triangles

you have love hexagons heck it’s so violent you have love octagons imagine the complexity when

you’re not just dealing with the other woman because these macedonian kings often had multiple

wives you’re dealing with all the male lovers of the macedonian king and you all may be jealous

and gossiping and talking with each other it is an explosive situation that leads to people

getting killed pretty often in macedonian history to show you how weird it can get by modern

standards at one point in this story olympius and philip will be marrying off their daughter

cleopatra who is alexander the great’s full sister to olympius’s brother also named alexander

of melosia so that’s cleopatra’s uncle they’re wedding her too now alexander of melosia

cleopatra’s uncle who is marrying cleopatra now is also rumored to have been the lover of philip

as well and philip kind of put alexander on the throne of papyrus so um it’s a complicated dynamic

isn’t it and if you’re a fan of the ancient world this doesn’t put you off this is part of

the attraction like going and being part of a landing party at a very strange planet where

the customs are very different here’s what peter green wrote in 1970 about this young girl from

this out-of-the-way place known for poisoners and spell casters when she shows up in this

mafia cry they’re not gambinos and bananas um they’re arjeds they’re the descendants of hercules

or heracles is the better word for it and she shows up and she’s descended from her own royal

line which goes back to a different demigod achilles and she’s proud of it and aware of it

and just like uh the fact that philip the second is proud and aware that he’s supposed to be

descendant from heracles who’s the son of zeus of course it influences the way her self-image

is and the way she expects to be treated and the way she’ll conduct herself peter green writes quote

at all events in the autumn of 357 philip married as a pirate princess and for the first time in his

life found he’d taken on rather more than he could handle olympius though not yet 18 had already

emerged as a forceful not to say eccentric personality she was among other things passionately

devoted to the orgiastic rites of dionysus and her menadic frenzies can scarcely have been conducive

to a peaceful domestic life one of her more outre habits unless as has been suggested it had a

ritual origin was keeping an assortment of large tame snakes as pets to employ these creatures on

religious occasions could raise no objections but their intermittent appearance in olympius’s bed

must have been a hazard calculated to put even the toughest bridegroom off his stroke

our sources furthermore while admitting olympius’s beauty describe her variously as sullen jealous

bloody-minded arrogant headstrong and meddlesome to these attributes we may add towering political

ambition and a literally murderous temper she was determined to be queen in something more than name

this did not endear her to the macedonian barons end quote i love that line from peter green where

he says that olympius gave philip ii maybe something he couldn’t handle because if you

look at the history books this guy’s mo is kind of that he’s a guy no one else can handle and yet

this 17 or 18 year old pirate princess has given him trouble i should point out that when they get

married he’s got some life experience on her too he’s 25 i think he’s already got a couple of wives

and they’re not shrinking violets either he’s married to an illyrian princess that if the

sources are to be believed is trained in hand-to-hand combat sword shield helmet the

whole thing so she’ll kill you and he’s not having any trouble handling her so what’s so special about

olympius historian richard a gabriel wrote a whole book on philip ii and he tries to cut down

the list of the man’s achievements his formidable nature and all that stuff to um a single paragraph

and this is the way he describes the guy and as i said you think to yourself this is not the kind

of person you would imagine having any trouble with anyone or putting up with any flack from anyone

gabriel writes quote philip ii of macedonia lived 382 bce to 336 bce father of alexander the great

dynastic heir to the arjed kings who traced their lineage to heracles son of the temened family from

argos that had ruled macedonia since the 8th century bce unifier of greece author of greece’s

first federal constitution creator of the first national state in europe the first general of the

greek imperial age founder of europe’s first great land empire and greece’s greatest general was one

of the preeminent statesmen of the ancient world it was philip who saved macedonia from disintegration

military occupation and eventual destruction by securing it against external enemies and by

bringing into existence europe’s first national territorial state an entirely new form of

political organization in the west he continues having made macedonia safe philip developed mining

agriculture urbanization trade commerce and greek culture and transformed a semi-feudal tribal

pastoral society into a centralized national state governed by a powerful monarchy and protected by

a modern army end quote and couldn’t easily handle a 17 or 18 year old a pirate princess

that’s fascinating and listen timing is everything right i mean if this a pirate princess shows up

and marries some obscure balkan king who never does anything we never hear about her forceful

personality but because she joins the macedonian royal family when the macedonian historical stock

is about to go from nothing to spectacular she’s there you know for the ride and she has a huge

influence on it and this forceful personality is going to get amplified by the growing power of the

macedonians on world affairs and this guy she marries is going to play a huge role in that

and then the son she sires is going to do the rest of it in 356 the year after the wedding

basically she and philip welcome young alexander into the world and now olympius’s status changes

part of the reason maybe philip couldn’t handle her the way he could some other wife is all of a

sudden she seems to be the mother of the prospective heir and that changes things and and her power

base forever afterwards is going to be this connection she has to alexander

normally in history the mother of a king gets left out of the question about the king’s qualities i

mean this is even true up until recent times how often do you read about some historical figure

some great historical conqueror or unifier of states or however you want to frame it and then

someone speak about his mother you’ll hear sometimes the whole uh you know the king has

a son who’s a chip off the old block right looks just like his dad uh carries on the family mission

you can find that example all throughout history but you rarely hear someone say yes you know has

his mother’s qualities but you do with alexander and you’re tempted to suggest i mean this is just

my theory but it seems obvious to me you can send me an email and tell me how wrong i am because no

no worries there uh but i mean it almost seems like they’d ignore it if they could but it’s so

obvious they can’t does that make sense he’s so obviously a product heavily influenced by

his mother you’d be a fool to deny it i i hate to think that that might just be a story i don’t think

so when alexander’s young supposedly uh the precocious nature of the child is noticed this

can all be stuff written after the fact alexander put out a ton of propaganda in his life

and it’s colored the narrative and polluted it ever since

now the two things that olympius traditionally brings to this alexander influence question are

you know her influences as a mother a close personal confidant and parent of alexander

right so you’d say her social influences and her dna so if the things olympius brings to

the table here the dna side’s easy to understand i mean it sounds to me like uh if we were at a

cocktail party in modern times and philip and olympius were there and they didn’t even know

each other and they were just sort of talking for the first time and you overheard their conversation

and watched them they would be the kind of people you would go i wonder what kind of kids those two

people would have right so they sound like formidable people to begin with and the greeks

wouldn’t have thought about dna the way we do but they sure did think about things like lineage and

that’s why you hear all this talk about alexander’s heracles is descended on this side and

achilles on that side because it has a lot of power if everybody buys into that alexander bought into

it and his mother and part of her role in all this is she’s telling him this stuff and telling

him not to forget it one of her reputations historically speaking is that she’s constantly

whispering into alexander’s ear you know don’t forget who you are

don’t forget your lineage

so besides the dna the personality question that comes into play here and what she did to influence

that well this is where things get more interesting because this is where the magic gets involved

right if she’s telling her son that he’s not necessarily just a descendant from achilles

you know many generations up the family tree but perhaps that he’s related to a god in a much more

close way than that that philip the second’s not his dad zeus the king of the gods is his dad oh

let’s turn to plutarch shall we because he’s so fun on stories like this but if they believed it

this is where the power of of mass collective belief right these people don’t believe in the

newtonian laws of physics like we do they believe i mean plutarch’s writing hundreds of years later

and says this note that there is no question is the way he phrases it quote as for the lineage

of alexander on his father’s side he was a descendant of heracles through carinus and on

his mother’s side a descendant of i believe it’s iacus through neotolomus this is accepted without

any question he writes and plutarch writing hundreds of years later by the way talks about

philip meaning olympius at a religious festival once again olympius always sort of associated with

the mysteries of dionysus and i should apologize to dionysus i didn’t mean to uh simply write him

off as just the god of partying earlier dionysus has a fertility connection it’s a very powerful

old god in this uh in this pantheon and you wouldn’t want to have him angry with you and no

one would during the time period so if you actually believe that olympius has some sort

of priestess-like connection to the god you might steer clear of her too

but as we said maybe more than dionysus we might be talking about someone

uh who at least people believed might be a little closer to the gods as we said plutarch wrote later

quote and he’s talking about the night before philip marries olympius quote the night before

that on which the marriage was consummated the bride dreamed that there was a peel of thunder

and that a thunderbolt fell upon her womb and that thereby much fire was kindled which broke

into flames that traveled all about and then was extinguished at a later time too after the marriage

philip dreamed that he was putting a seal upon his wife’s womb and the device of the seal as he

thought was the figure of a lion end quote gotta love the ancient history for the good weird stuff

uh apparently according to plutarch philip goes to a bunch of seers and asks them what does all

this mean and most of them say you got to keep a closer eye on your wife right make sure no one’s

coming into the marriage bed that you don’t know about um but philip apparently if you believe

plutarch uh he seems less worried about that than what he does know about here’s what plutarch says

he’s quoting by the way another one of these seers that says quote a serpent was once seen lying

stretched out by the side of olympius as she slept and we are told that this more than anything else

dulled the ardor of philip’s attentions to his wife so that he no longer came often to sleep

by her side either because he feared that some spells and enchantments might be practiced upon

him by her or because he shrank from her embraces in the conviction that she was the partner of a

superior being end quote understand this is the sort of stuff that alexander’s propaganda might

wanted to play up but it’s part of this character of this woman is it true it could be

is magic true no does it have an influence if people believe it yeah

if alexander was trying to make people think he was the son of a god

might a story like that you know help his case fake news goes way back

i mean it’s worth asking an obvious question and you can ask this about a lot of historical

events and the farther back in history you go the more easily you can ask it how much of this is

true how much of this is a story or a fable it’s hard to know it’s part of what makes the job of

historians and you know i’m not one i’m a fan i’m an admirer from afar their jobs are fascinating

they’re detectives they’re doing investigative research they start with these sources that have

come down to us right somehow through all the fire and earthquakes and war and everything that’s

happened since since early times information makes it through the pipeline but it’s a tiny

tiny fraction of what was originally there and oftentimes you don’t get it directly you don’t

get a scroll from the alexandrian library so you can read ptolemy’s memoirs you know in the original

right there you get copies of copies of copies and the people who write and do the copying this

was a by hand thing right are from much later eras with very different values and they copy what they

want and maybe the way they want part of the job of the historical investigator is to sit there and

sift through all that and it would be easy if all you had to deal with is a scroll from alexander’s

time and try to weed out alexander’s personal propaganda that he embedded into it but then what

happens when a roman gets their hands on it to write the history of alexander hundreds of years

after alexander farther away from alexander than we are from george washington’s time now

what sources are they using well theoretically they’re going to libraries too and they’re

you know digging out scrolls and something like ptolemy’s you know one of alexander’s generals

you know his memoirs are going to be there theoretically and the historians can actually

they’re so fascinating can sit there and and connect data points and say well he was probably

using ptolemy’s uh memoirs because this other guy says the same thing so i mean it’s fascinating

detective work but it’s ever changing and every time you find something new you have to alter the

paradigm a little and olympius is even harder for two reasons one because she’s being written about

as an addendum to other stories right she’s alexander’s mother so when someone writes a

piece about alexander she’s one of the characters in that story the other reason as we said is

because she’s a woman and when you think about the different copies and eras and filters that

this original story has to go through before it gets to us now you think about the different

attitudes towards women that the original macedonians had that alexander’s propaganda

might have might have seen things by then you think about their changing status in roman times

then think about the post-roman world and and the middle ages when you’ve got monks and scribes

copying this stuff in a religious context i mean this is hard stuff to try to figure out the stuff

we have from olympius or about olympius rather is is has made it through that same pipeline and so

trying to dissect the fables from the stories from the truth really difficult the one thing

you try to work on and hang everything on are these data points right data point number one

olympius marries philip seems to be a concrete moment this is a connect the dots game there’s a

dot olympius gives birth to alexander the great boom another data point connect that dot

there are going to be periods in her life where we are missing data points right she’s not part

of the alexander story nothing’s going on with olympius now so fast forward and we’re going to

fast forward yada yada yada because we don’t know what’s going on there are things we can infer

because we can see what’s going on at the same time her husband philip is off doing his you know

making his obituary essentially he’s piling up the achievements this is the period in his life

he’s laid that foundation that we said earlier now he’s capitalizing on it my mythical producer ben

had suggested casting some of these people and i thought you know like trying to figure out if you

like angelina jolie but you didn’t like val kilmer as philip who would you like as philip

and i spent a stupid amount of time and a stupid amount of time to not have a better answer

researching actors and going back and watching clips on them it was silly and the best i came

up with although he’s a lot better than a lot of the other ones i came up with i thought a 38 40

42 year old charles bronson would have met my view of it kind of he’s he’s got that look where you

could see him coming from that region he’s not macedonian he’s not even from the balkans he’s

lithuanian or latvian but i think his family you know go go back to like tatars from the step

i think like angelina jolie if you put you know his physical features in the hands of a good

makeup person you’re going to get somebody that looks like they could play the role

in terms of the physicality of it and whatnot i messed around for again far too long with one of

those online beard creators where you upload a photo of charles bronson in this case and then

try to find a beard that fits him i couldn’t find anything that even looked like it wasn’t a joke

i know one of you out there will though i know how these things go so if you do it

don’t get some barbarian looking beard don’t fall for that demosthenes portrayal of the guy

this is a wealthy up-and-coming dude who wants to tell and show the greeks down south i mean

part of this is a pr campaign uh that he’s a full-fledged member of the greek cultural club

i mean this is a guy you don’t have to worry about letting him into the country club he won’t

embarrass you look at these flashy suits he wears he’s gonna be as turned out as he can be

while still appearing to be you know charles bronson i also think this will be a fun role

for charles bronson because uh you know there’s all as we said the the um and and i think this

is a wonderful way of showing how weird this is because the cultural mores are so different

imagine charles bronson in one of those scenes where he has to be with one of the the male lovers

right even interacting with them in a way that implies that you don’t have to see anything just

the implication can you think of a more awkward pairing i think that’s perfect because um every

time you read about these things the historians always caution you about applying our modern

views because they they say the greeks didn’t think about it the way we do it’s you know

there’s so much cultural um baggage concerned with it so you have to think about it in a way

that’s totally alien watching charles bronson in some sort of gay brokeback mountain brokeback

macedonian mountain scene is about as strange and sriracha sauce on vanilla ice cream that i can

imagine which is how the ancient world looks and feels like i said if you revel in that sort of

stuff um you know there you go it does uh depend on when you also uh create this charles bronson

character because he goes from what appears to be a pretty dashing character maybe a very rough

and tumble as my old history books used to say a macedonian ruler uh to somebody who degrades like

an nfl football player does over a 20-year career he’s like jim otto a couple years after he marries

olympius he famously loses his eye and they’re pretty sure it’s been long debated but they’re

pretty sure now that they found his skull and some of the bones in a famous tomb and the skull has

the little notch that the arrow left when it took out his eye and i think he suffers like five or

six life-threatening bad awful wounds over his lifetime and by the end of it he’s just you can

see the physical toll the cost of this you know starting philip and sons right uh this family

business what it’s done to him when alexander’s growing up philip’s gone a lot he’s gone when

alexander’s born this is maybe part of the reason that you see the influence that olympia’s had on

him she’s the primary family member there philip by the way this remarkable combination and you

see it from time to time in great figures of energy and genius it’s a force multiplier either

one of those things without the other uh it’s great to have but but you put them together and

you get guys like philip you look at philip’s schedule and his data points are pretty well

attested it’ll wear you out most of us anyway now philip’s besieging this city in this year

he’s besieging that city in that year holy cow but he’s never at home he does want a son that none of

the cultured greeks in the south can sneer at the way they sneer at dad so he’s bringing in the best

educators he giving him the best sort of cultural exposure you can he brings in aristotle to be his

tutor how’s that for nouveau riche yeah get me the best what’s his name aristotle bring him in here

and aristotle’s not teaching alexander you know with a hundred other students in the symposium

he’s teaching alexander with a couple of alexander’s youthful friends that’s

the class all day long hang with aristotle absorb everything

alexander could of course uh famously recite passages from the great greek plays and dramas

and all these things you have a cultured guy here it’s part of how you get that whole view

of him as a philosopher king a cultured man as a buddy of mine always likes to say

a cultured genocidal butcherous thug it’s butcherous a word i’ll have to call him on that

the whole period when alexander’s growing up is one of those yada yada yada times you don’t really

hear a lot of details except how precocious this guy is and all the portents are showing these

signs that he’s going to be this amazing guy meanwhile philip is uh by hook or by crook

taking conquering uh somehow acquiring great wealth as he takes over minds um he’s becoming

this huge player in greek politics and at a certain point he clashes with the other major

players you know there are certain city states that are well known athens sparta thebes those

are your big three usually and philip philip has a problem eventually with all of them

his encounters with sparta are famous because it’s one of the great lines from sparta one of

the great diplomatic notes from them back to a demand involves philip because he was coming down

near sparta and he gives him one of those ultimatums that says if i have to come down there

you know i’m paraphrasing uh and and destroy you i will you know make you all enslaved i will take

all your stuff you know all that kind of thing if i have to do that and the famous spartan answer and

they were known for very short as as few words as possible it’s called the laconic style and the

spartan answer was just one word if that sounds really badass except the spartans did not come

out of their little enclave to play with philip at all right what does that say right we’re badass

come and get us uh they stayed away and uh philip famously in 338 bce destroys greek freedom is the

way i always learned about it but you know you’ll get different approaches whole different lenses

unified greece is a whole different way to look at it isn’t it when he destroyed both those

armies at the battle of kyrinia the combined arms of thebes and athens and it wasn’t all that close

famously leading the cavalry charge his young i think he was 17 or 18 years old his young son

alexander right you get your 17 or your 18 year old kid at the tip of the spear there dad

welcome to the homeric ethos and action right so olympius’s data points re-enter the picture here

as philip is beginning to get to the height of his power he’s doing so many amazing things and

is being recognized as this huge historical figure that alexander supposedly says i think it’s plutarch

that says that he’s not going to leave anything for me or the functional equivalent he’s going to

do everything you can do alexander was chomping at the bit i like elizabeth carney the historian

who points out that there’s this usual relationship between kings and their sons that’s a little

strange right because sometimes the son is the king in waiting just sort of waiting for the dad

to die even if you like the guy the dad however may have several different sons that could get

the kingship in the system like the macedonians so that explains carney thought one explanation

anyway why alexander might be close to his mother she and he had the same interest in him philip

ends up you know he’s got a son uh about alexander’s age right around named philip erodeus is the way

history describes him he’s uh he’s interesting he’s described all kinds of different ways he

sounds like he’s got some sort of mental disability it’s obscure i think it’s plutarch i can’t remember

which of the ancient historians starts the rumor that it was olympius who poisoned him and gave him

that malady don’t you love that i mean if you’re gonna have a bad guy in the story anybody who’s

in alexander’s way who has anything wrong with him might be the witch i mean the priestess

but alexander runs into some trouble as philip is is reaching his ascent and he’s planning this

crusade against persia right this is going to be philip’s crown and glory he’s going to go back and

this is the way the propaganda sells it and pay the persians back for that whole invasion thing

that happened you know with the we are spartans thing more than a century before you’re like

getting mad at somebody for something that happened in the late 1800s and saying we’re finally back

you know you thought we forgot about that no uh philip uh gets a bridgehead going in asia

he creates a league of greek states uh the macedonians didn’t rule like god kings this

was a way to do it in a very modern fashion where everybody just is in the greek version of nato

or the warsaw pact or whatever and we’re all in this together right and by the way

who is the leader of the group you guessed it the boss of bosses philip the moment where

olympia comes back into the story is when philip takes another wife

the same year that this crusade against persia is announced philip marries cleopatra

now the macedonian history is really hard to follow because they seem to have only had like

nine names or ten names for people and they just reoccur all the time so you get easily confused

cleopatra uh one of those names you see all the time it’s not egyptian it’s greek and macedonian

and it’s one of the names i mean alexander’s sister’s name is cleopatra this cleopatra

is the niece of a guy named atlas atlas is one of these important macedonian barons

one of these people that you know are part of the family right we’re marrying ourselves together

even more uh we need each other philip needs these people to um they’re the best cavalry

in greece he needs them to be on his side and everybody happy so they’re going to marry into

each other’s families and then there’s an incident recounted this is part of the macedonian soap opera

thing um where stuff just goes down at a drinking party now if you’re a substance abuse counselor

you’re going to notice right away that it is probably not smart certainly not by modern standards

to get a whole bunch of these powerful and important people together and they’re an emotional

lot by the way but they’re all killers in their time period a lot of people were killers right i

don’t want to make that sound so extra bad they’re not charles manson but these are all

very experienced men kind of hard men uh and they like to drink and they don’t like to drink in

moderation one of the critiques that the greeks always had about these people is that they do not

drink wine mixed with water like cultured people do they drink the wine straight and they have

drinking contests this is something that’s hard to understand but you have to imagine very big

containers full of wine and then men drinking at the same time and you know the guy who drinks

longer wins but when you read the accounts of this it’s crazy and by the way these guys are

all there’s weapons everywhere i mean it’s it’s a dangerous environment for people to be

um dead drunk in i mean what if you said something in this mafia-like crime family

that wasn’t politically correct about somebody who was really powerful

so here’s the story take it or leave it um but it’s famous a lot of you know it already there’s

a drinking party where uh this marriage is being celebrated and atlas this important macedonian

general and baron and everything else is supposed to give a toast something about it’s phrased

different ways you know hoping that this provides uh an air but the suggestions in many of the

pieces of literature hopefully provides a legitimate air or a true air or a true full

blood macedonian air remember alexander who is the air has a mother who’s not macedonian at all

so what is atlas saying here well in the story that’s exactly what alexander says

loud and in front of the whole group of people i remember the richard burton portrayal you know

a cup is thrown and he says are you calling me a bastard or i hope i’m remembering the

richard burton portrayal then you have the moment where philip supposedly drunk as a skunk

and now even more broken down you know with a uh spear wound and he’s lame and and he gets up from

the table and supposedly pulls a uh a sword almost against alexander which leads alexander

to believe wait why didn’t dad get up and defend me in front of that that scurrilous charge right

there which leads to a break in the family and alexander and his mom leave macedonia go back

to epirus and things are chilly philip does not need this kind of problem right away i mean this

is his really dramatic wife and once again there’s problems she’s got the air i got problems with

atlas now i should point out that there’s been lots of speculation and opinions and views of

what’s going on here this would have been something that would have been hard to figure out

at the time with the sources that we have that we’re working with you know it’s open for argument

i’m not gonna try to parse it except to point out that some of the obvious points that have

been made about this when you marry a queen to solidify a diplomatic agreement and that queen

goes back home to her family uh maybe with you know tales of insults to their lineage i mean this

is again the same sort of um thing that will get you whacked in a mafia crime family if you’re

disrespected and she goes back to her brother maybe the former lover of philip at one time

and basically you know she looks like a queen that’s been

maltreated what does that do to the diplomatic agreement

philip is in a position now where he’s kind of uniting all the different families that he’s put

together so that they can go off and get this big score that this easy pickens that persia looks like

at this point it looks like it’s just there who’s going to be the first guy to walk in they’ve left

the door open the alarm doesn’t work the security guards old and senile it’s just there come on all

we got to do is unite and go take that right we’ll all be you know kings of the world basically he’s

just got to keep this fractious coalition of greek states that were only you know cooperating because

he beat them macedonian barons that are always kind of unreliable and and jockeying for you know

closer family ties guys like atlas you could easily see as as an underboss or a boss from a

different family uh that’s working with philip now but he’s got to be kept happy one of the ways

he’s kept happy is you marry my niece right uh but marrying my niece causes problems with one of your

wives the mother of the air see it’s it’s a soap opera but it’s murderous because a lot of people

are going to die because of this uh dynamic at this time olympius and alexander for a short time

worry it might be them but philip is far too smart for this you don’t get to where he is without

realizing that this can’t work so uh in what elizabeth carney historian elizabeth carney says

is almost certainly a sort of um amending fences sort of affair he arranges another wedding i mean

what do you do right this is the standard approach this wedding is going to strike us all is very

incestuous what he’s going to do is he’s going to marry his daughter who is also olympius’s daughter

so he’s got a lot of wives but this one is alexander’s full sister cleopatra he’s going to

marry cleopatra to olympius’s brother her uncle former lover probably of her father

and going to just double down on the family relationship there if this is for diplomatic

purposes you can almost see philip not wanting to do any of this but he’s got to keep that

important area pacified and with him so he can conduct this long-awaited thing in persia

he’s already got an advanced party of his generals who’ve conquered a little bridgehead over there so

i mean they’re ready to go so as part of the ceremonies for this wedding where cleopatra’s

going to marry her uncle philip throws a big bash this is his coming out party this is 25

years or something of work on his part to create this moment he’s going to bask in it

he’s going to bask in it he invites all the big dignitaries all the top people the ambassadors the

performers everything today we would call it a star-studded affair right the media would all be

there he has a bunch of gold statues made for all the gods and then one other one that just happens

to be him think of the significance of that so this is this multi-day affair supposedly for a

wedding ceremony but in reality a hugely political event

and of course this is going to be a highly choreographed affair isn’t it it’s going to be

staged and everything is going to be done for a reason it’s supposed to convey something

maybe the same thing that having 12 statues of gods and a 13th of the you know main guy actually

the father of the bride that maybe symbolizes something too maybe 13 is an unlucky number too

the way this thing is staged is philip is going to come out in front of a crowd in the amphitheater

and he’s going to have alexander his son you know someday to be the great with him that’s

a symbol right and basically embracing my son here in front of the crowd he must have gone to him and

said something like hey we were chug-a-lugging wine until one person in the contest passed out

you can’t hold me to account for something i didn’t notice that you know bygones bygones who

knows but alexander’s there with him the other alexander right philip’s brother-in-law the one

that he may have had an affair with the one that’s marrying his daughter he’s there too

and then philip’s got bodyguards right because this is the boss of bosses there’s always somebody

who wants to get him demosthenes in athens years before basically said this is a hunted man

but he’s got seven famous bodyguards and maybe another guy but he tells them to stand off

famously because he’s trying to show these people in the audience these dignitaries

i’m not some guy that needs to be afraid of enemies i don’t have enemies right people love

me i’m a uniter not a divider i mean it’s an important piece of symbolism to show that i don’t

need to have bodyguards i’m not in danger he is however falling apart physically i mean he’s

taking a spear through the knees so he’s limping out there he’s missing the eyes got about he’s

showing all of his 46 years and according to the ancient sources he gets to the center

of this theater and once again you have to think that this is the man’s the highlight of this guy’s

life so far with great things on the horizon olympius is thought to be in the audience by the

way there was some disagreement on this sometimes but i mean peter green i think uh elizabeth carney

i think they think she was there uh but you know this is her brother marrying her daughter you

think it’s a family affair i would think she’d be there and that’s part of the reconciliation right

all’s good with the royal family don’t worry um and if she is she gets to watch

a man run out to the center of the theater and plunge a dagger into the ribs of philip ii

in front of everybody all these people he invited to his assassination unwittingly

and history turns on a dime here because most of history as we know it’s it’s an accumulation of a

ton of trends and chaotic things all pinging off each other you know and and even when things seem

to go quickly sometimes if you examine it you go well you can see that the roots of this go very

deep and the seeds were planted a long time ago for this event but sometimes earthquakes happen

in history and stuff that lee harvey oswald shoots john f kennedy if that’s what happened

boom what is that that’s a historical earthquake and everything’s different afterwards and how

scary that one guy maybe all by his little lonesome self changes the world so dramatically

and what if he wasn’t acting alone all those things apply to what happens to philip

it is the great john f kennedy assassination of this time period in this this area

the greatest man in the world was just killed by somebody in front of everybody

right before he’s about to embark on this historic mission right he’s basically declared war almost

against the persian empire and then this happens well if you think about it that doesn’t sound too

coincidental though does it first of all let’s go to the sources because um the reason that philip

ends up in this situation is part of the macedonian soap opera remember we talked about

love octagons what does a love octagon look like shall we go to diodorus siculus the ancient writer

all these people writing a long time after these events we presume using some sources that have now

you know been lost to us but who the hell knows

so we’ll pick up diodorus’s account uh when he talks about philip coming into the theater right

he’s he’s got this uh this this conquering moment in his life with greater things even to come

quote once the theater had been filled philip himself entered wearing a white cloak he ordered

his bodyguards to follow removed at some distance from him as an indication to everyone that he had

indication to everyone that he had no need of the protection of guards such was the degree of

pre-eminence that he had attained but amid the encomia of everyone as they were congratulating

him an unbelievable and totally unexpected plot against the king came to light that was to bring

about his death end quote congratulating maybe i mean we may be talking about applause there like

a theater people applauding him and lauding him you know as he garland’s being thrown his way i

mean i guess if this has to happen to you maybe this is the time i don’t know what you would

choose if you could choose but then diodorus diverts from what’s about to happen to go into

the roots of what’s about to happen and it involves two people named pausanias again we get confused

here right not only do these macedonians have a limited number of names they keep changing them

sometimes in their lifetime both of these figures are named pausanias this is what diodorus says and

now think soap opera and now think murderous soap opera quote in order that our account of this

matter may be clear we shall first explain the causes of the plot he says quote there was a

macedonian named pausanias who originated in the canton known as arrestus he was a bodyguard of

the king and loved by philip for his good looks on observing that another man of the same name

as himself was becoming the object of the king’s affections he abused the second pausanias by

calling him an effeminate who was willing to submit to the erotic advances of anyone who desired to

initiate them end quote richard gabriel says it’s the equivalent of calling someone a male prostitute

sounds like he’s saying you use a male slut what would the reaction be to that especially from

another guy who was probably sleeping with philip well according to diodorus this second pausanias

unable to tolerate the insult he said for a time kept his mouth shut and then diodorus goes to

describe how he throws himself heroically and recklessly in front of the king to protect him

you know as a bodyguard but essentially committing suicide by heroic act and it made atlas mad

atlas you may remember uh the bride’s uh uncle in this whole wedding ceremony

apparently atlas got mad that this pausanias guy the good one who threw his life away had to throw

his life away so he decided to punish the initial pausanias guy and the story of how he does that

is positively triggering for some people so i apologize if this is hardcore because it is

welcome to the ancient world diodorus writes quote when this incident became widely known

atlas who was a courtier and exercised a good deal of influence with the king

invited pausanias to dinner and filling with vast quantities of unmixed wine handed his body

over to his stableman to abuse sexually in a drunken rape on sobering up from his intoxication

he pausanias was extremely bitter about the physical abuse he had suffered and accused atlas

before the king philip though incensed at the enormity of atlas’s transgression was nevertheless

unwilling to show his abhorrence because of his kinship with him and his present need of his

services end quote so in order to punish this guy for uh for his actions against the other pausanias

atlas has the guy basically date rapes him right he gets him drunk on wine throws him to the stable

mates and it’s a male gang rape and pausanias is upset about that as you might imagine someone

would be he goes to perhaps his former lover philip the king and says atlas did this to me

do something about it and he can’t he’s just married himself to atlas’s niece to try to you

know make the relationship more stable atlas is one of the generals who’s commanding the bridgehead

in asia he can’t upset atlas so he gives this pausanias guy a lot of other things to compensate

him right uh here’s some stuff here i’ll promote you into the bodyguard all these things just don’t

be mad but he’s mad if you believe the sources anyway and instead of just wanting to get even

against the person who set up his gang rape he wants to get even with the guy who didn’t do

anything about it when he complained he went to the godfather and the godfather didn’t help

so he whacks philip a knife to the ribs

after stabbing philip pausanias runs out of the theater he is pursued by several of philip’s

bodyguards some run to philip he’s almost certainly already dead by the time they get there this seems

to have been i mean these these guys were warriors i mean this is a professional hit he would have

known just where to stab somebody philip’s probably dead by the time the bodyguards get to him

the other bodyguards take off after pausanias and he would have gotten away deodorus says he has

horses waiting for him right at the ready the getaway car so to speak in ancient terms but he

trips on a vine with his sandals and goes sprawling in the dust and the bodyguards catch up to him and

spear him right there and kill him it’s a little jack ruby ish though isn’t it and people have

been wondering ever since that moment was pausanias acting alone and i was going through a

bunch of the different theories and and the number one theory just like the jfk assassination is

pausanias might have been acting exactly the way these ancient writers said jilted uh male lover

the godfather didn’t i mean the whole thing we just described that can be absolutely true

there’s a lot of other things involved though too a lot of people wanted philip dead demosthenes

said that a long time earlier he was giving his speeches warning about philip he basically said

he has a lot of enemies he won’t be around forever lasted longer than some might have thought

actually the ancient writers of course having a woman to potentially link to it often do

and the rumor was that olympius was seen at the grave of uh the assassin putting garlands on it

or something like that decorating or honoring the grave of pausanias later she’s tied to it

the idea being that you know her status in the court had been very precarious this was supposed

to be a sort of a makeup affair but philip also might have insulted her family this this family

descended from achilles it was very proud in this um ethical world where that was a very big deal

you can get whacked for that right i mean we talked about how precarious being a macedonian

ruler was anyway it was one of the things that had kept the kingdom down for so long

you couldn’t keep a good king around the second they became too powerful somebody wanted to take

them down a peg right the last thing you want is a perpetual boss of bosses if you think someday

you might be the boss of bosses and that’s not a pipe dream if you’re the mother of the air because

very quickly after philip is stabbed alexander is acclaimed the king and the macedonians do a

thing where they kind of have the the people acclaim the king and there’s a lot of argument

whether that’s real or whether it’s a bunch of nobles who get out and say get out there and raise

your hands and say you know hail the new king who the hell knows uh but it goes back to that

homeric ethos too it’s not a god king it’s it’s sort of an acclaimed king and so if you had something

to do with the assassination and you’re olympius you just solved all your problems she made out

like a bandit a lot of the people i’ve read lately are of you know this changes are of the opinion

that olympius probably didn’t have anything to do with what happened to philip and that neither did

alexander if only because they had no need to kill him in public in front of a lot of people

they had access to him in private right this could have been done nicely quietly a little poison in

the right place and who would have known this guy is murdered in front of a giant crowd of admirers

in public i mean today would be the equivalent of having it happen on live television

and the star of the show is the one who’s killed the greatest man in the history of this region

right just when they’re celebrating it some of the other people who are implicated though make

a lot of sense the athenians could have hired an assassin they would have loved to have seen

philip out of the way but maybe most likely on this assassination you know hitler’s who paid for

the the killing you know who hired murder incorporated the persians i’m a fan of the

persians as many of you know and one of the wonderful things about them is they had a

government that just did not function well and they figured out ways around it and the number

one way around it was money they had a lot of money and they figured out ways to have money

do things for them so they couldn’t beat the greeks on the battlefield because of tactical

dissimilarities between their armies okay well spend a lot of money have the greeks fight each

other that was wonderful they called it the peloponnesian war uh it kept the greeks busy

for a long time kept them out of persia’s hair persia has no doubt that uh philip’s coming to

invade them he’s already basically publicly proclaimed it he’s conquered a little territory

already to establish a beachhead as we said he’s making inroads diplomatically with some of the

satraps you know closest to him it’s going to happen so if you kill him maybe it won’t

but as several of these historians point out the persians probably did not have somebody so inside

the royal family that they could do it quietly and that so they had to kind of do it in public or

you never know this might be a statement right especially if you’re pausanias and you really are

acting because you were gang raped and um you know you’re not going to be disrespected like that

it all boils down to how much you’re willing to trust these ancient writers

who preserve the details of these incidents or what they say are the details or what they heard

were the details or what the source they were using said were the details you can see why

so many historians would love if they could just throw all this stuff out as unreliable and biased

and all these kinds of things but if you do you’re not left with a whole lot of information

you’re not left with a whole lot right i mean for example coinage and inscriptions and stuff

like that will tell you that during this time period there was a change in leadership from

philip king of macedonia to alexander king of macedonia but it probably won’t tell you why

and it certainly won’t give you any details but that leaves the experts trying to pick out the

fact from the fiction and well as you might imagine it’s it’s tough and views change and

differ reminds me again a little of the kennedy assassination we have a lot of different theories

here and when you hear the rationales for them you kind of go i kind of go with a bunch of them

going yeah that makes sense and then i read the next one but yeah that makes sense

in the 1970s when i read alexander of macedon peter green was firmly in the camp of those who

thought olympius and alexander did it a dynastic hit now his views may have updated since then i

should point out an update it doesn’t mean better because there’s a whole lot of people still think

olympius and alexander did it but the story you know you want to compare it to the jfk assassination

which is a fascinating story of course at the same time it makes it look so vanilla and boring by

comparison i mean for example if you want the analogy here that starts the the mind reeling

you’d have to have jackie kennedy basically at the root of the plot to kill her husband

right when he gets killed in the limo next to her she set that up if she’s olympius and

you believe that particular conspiracy theory what’s more the person if you believe oswald

took a shot at jfk that person is encouraged by jackie kennedy to do the deed and oswald of

course would have had to have a sexual relationship previously with jfk see how weird it gets on how

quickly remember how wild some of the accusations from the ancient writers can get here saying that

olympius placed a gold crown on the assassin’s head the assassin was nailed to it like a cross

or a gibbet and that she placed a gold crown on his head and then had uh it this the ashes spread

over philip’s grave that every year on the anniversary of the murder she poured libations

and offerings over them that she obtained the murder weapon and dedicated it to apollo

and used her maiden name when she did a lot of accusations right well peter green suggests back

in the 1970s anyway a possible way it all goes down and it starts with olympia’s working her

sorceress like magic psychologically speaking on the lee harvey oswald in this story

i mean plutarch has olympius doing the initial inciting of pausanias going up and playing on

his grievances and exhorting him to do this we should recall by the way uh the version i gave

of the pausanias date rape thing that’s the mild one the more severe one is that this all happened

at a party and that atlas the guy who organized the whole thing was one of the people who date

raped him before turning him over to the grooms who continued the process and then beat him up

afterwards the point of the story is that this guy’s humiliation would have been known to

basically everybody imagine how quickly that gossip got around with all the people that mattered in

his life in a culture of a heroic ethos clan loyalties grievances uh generational feuds um

how do you think this person’s gonna gonna be thinking of himself anyway he’s humiliated and

if olympius goes to him and and commiserates with him and tells him that this can all be remedied

right we can just put somebody else in power not connected to your whole deed and all these

bad people including atlas will go away and i can think of a whole lot of different appeals that

might have been used on a guy like pausanias starting with the most real world bedrock

one of all how about some money or how about you pull this off get rid of the old king the new king

takes over the new king is going to forgive you make you a valued member of your honor

based society again you will prosper your enemies will pay that’s a pretty good incentive in any

time and place for a lot of people isn’t it then of course there’s the other tradition about what

was maybe going on here and that’s that olympius was in the assassin’s head

psychologically manipulating him like jackie kennedy working on oswald psychologically

there were no doctorate degrees in psychology in the ancient world that i know of but let’s not

pretend that the ancients especially the ancient greeks didn’t understand human

psychological makeup i mean go look at their plays it’s a key integral part of a lot of them

they explore the issue intensely to me when i do my movie it’s not going to be a movie it has to

be more like a game of thrones now that i think about it long term sort of thing because there’s

too many characters that come in and out you can hardly learn the names they die and much more

suited to that um but in in the movie i’m gonna have uh my moment when olympius goes to pausanias

and gets up in his head i’m gonna have her come to him and maybe she did dressed the way some of

these ancient writers describe the dionysian priestesses they carry wands one of them said

they carry wands like magic wands uh some of them wrapped with ivy which was a sacred plant i guess

others dripping honey which is very symbolic if you think about the god of fertility and all that

kind of stuff and and wine and all that um and that there were snakes everywhere sometimes on

the wands wrapped around them i think it was plutarch said freaking the man out so she’s going

to come in my uh long-term hbo miniseries um she’s going to come to pausanias and she’s going to get

in his head and she’s going to promise a very dionysian thing to promise because remember

dionysus is you know the apollonian tradition according to nietzsche anyway and others is that

that’s the rational side of the human mind the logic and all that it’s all the other stuff that

dionysus controls the hidden stuff these uh the subconscious the emotional the inspirational the

madness i mean heck acting and most of the arts are dionysian uh at their root

it’s a little mysterious right it’s very mysterious to us now looking back in the

ancient world but even in the ancient world it was kind of mysterious it was part of the

attraction and she represents this now another name see this is how i’m going to do it as the

producer of this thing the other name for dionysus that dionysus was known as was the liberator

right frees you from care worry sorrow pain the the good side of what wine might do to you

especially in the ancient world versus the destructive nature which is the divine madness

and all that kind of stuff although she wouldn’t have seen that as destructive that’s one of the

good things right well she is promising as a priestess for the liberator maybe

to liberate pausanias from his cares and worries and this hell that he lives in

we should also point out that she’s the one who supposedly has horses waiting for the conspirators

right so remember there’s not one horse waiting the tradition has multiple horses there multiple

getaway vehicles why do you need multiple horses if you only have one assassin

peter green has a 1970s rundown of how it might have happened and he writes quote

from these facts we may perhaps form a hypothesis as to how philip’s murder was planned and carried

out pausanias still hot with resentment at the abominable way he had been treated

was approached probably by olympius and promised high rewards and honors if he would join with his

three kinsmen from orestes in assassinating the king i should point out those three kinsmen

were philip’s bodyguards so the guys who jack ruby’d him in a minute are the guys who are

supposed to work with him in the assassination this is going to be very joker like from batman

green continues quote olympius undertook to have horses ready for all four of them afterwards but

what pausanias clearly did not know was the real role assigned to his fellow conspirators those

trusted intimates of alexander their business was not the removal of philip it was to silence him

he knew too much once he had served his purpose he was expendable after his death the propaganda

machine could go smoothly into action the elimination of pausanias was an essential stage

in the plot circumstantial evidence he writes does not amount to proof positive but men have been

hanged on weaker cumulative testimony than that assembled here the motive was overwhelming the

opportunity ideal end quote whenever there are these giant earthquake moments in history it just

seems wrong for us to not know more about them because the import would seem to demand that there

be more information about them but then i remember the kennedy assassination which happened two years

before i was born and look at how much you think you know but you don’t know about that so imagine

something more than two thousand years ago i’ve always loved aby bosworth an alexandrian historian

i like his view that alexander was you know let’s not romanticize him too much

but bosworth points out about this period something that we all need to take into account

and it does highlight how difficult a historian’s job is trying to piece this stuff together

and the need to use all sorts of things like coinage and archaeology and a bunch of other

other disciplines to supplement the meager bits of information sometimes or the contradictory stuff

and he writes about this period right after philip’s death quote the first few days of alexander’s reign

must have been among the most critical of his career unfortunately no connected account survives

of them there are scraps of epitome and random flashbacks from later history but most of the

crucial details are irretrievably lost there is infinite scope for speculation and imaginative

reconstruction but the sources themselves allow very little to be said we must be prepared to

admit our ignorance however galling that may be end quote these are the kind of unknowables by the

way that make this a hardcore history addendum show and not a full hardcore history program

because a lot of the data points are missing forget about the stuff between the data points

you don’t know major things like whether or not olympius can accurately be placed at philip’s

assassination was she there was she an eyewitness there are historians who say no that she was back

in her homeland at this time and that she didn’t come back to macedonia until philip was good and

safely out of the way good and dead maybe for reasons of their own personal security others

though generally following different ancient sources say that she hardly would have missed

a wedding between her daughter and her brother with her son there at an event that was in part

staged to show that everything is just hunky-dory with the royal house you know before the big

persian expedition she’s a prop in that propaganda show isn’t she she’s got to be there but you don’t

know another thing you don’t know about it and it’s key to what’s going on behind the scenes now

is how many children philip ii actually had richard a gabriel says they only record

the official kids of the official wives in the macedonian tradition but then says philip was a

rampant i believe the word he used was rampant womanizer and he quotes justin i think it was

not the greatest of all sources but who says that philip had sons all over the place

and just because they’re not official in the macedonian system that didn’t matter

the amount of royal blood mattered whether it was official or not less important especially

if you are a tool of a powerful macedonian clan that wants to push you know for their

chance to have the boss of bosses job and we’ll overlook any problems with this contender

heck he’s one of philip’s kids who cares if he’s a bastard

so alexander’s first several weeks or month month and a half hard to know what happened

but eventually he emerges as the king he’s 20 years old by the way uh some of the powerful

barons that might have pushed back on him so quickly being acclaimed king are just conveniently

out of the way including atlas the guy who said i hope we have a full-blooded true blood macedonian

heir and you know precipitated that drunken fight which led to the need to have the wedding that

philip was just killed at atlas is conveniently back at the bridgehead preparing things for the

big asian expedition and alexander starts his purges these are not abnormal when the kingship

changes hands in macedonian history it’s often bloody it’s almost like there’s a godfather

list people to be hit when the godfather died when my father dies carry out your orders

and when philip is killed people start getting killed because of it alexander’s official line

once he becomes king by the way is that pausanias did not act alone this was a conspiracy

at his father’s funeral at the grave site he executes people a couple of people he’s related

to you know on his father’s side anyway people who potentially could have been put forward i

mean people who might have had a claim to the kingship but alexander says they were involved

in the plot to kill his dad boom they’re gone and here’s the weird part they might have been

but this becomes very stalin-esque this becomes you know stalin had the kirov excuse kirov’s

assassination is the thing that makes all these purges and and killings uh justified um alexander

had his dads and it allows him to cover up uh the traditional macedonian purges where lots of people

are going to get whacked including atlas he’ll get it he gets it by like slow messenger they

have their own version of like heat seeking drone missiles or something but they just take forever

to get to their targets like the speed of a horse alexanderson’s an assassin uh it’s a couple

probably weeks to get to asia minor and uh we are left wondering how the assassination happened this

often happens in the ancient writings they’ll tell you that something happened but they won’t tell

you how in the case of a mode of death they did use poison they did stuff like that but this sounds

like one of those um traditional sort of uh man-to-man hits back before guns were around

knives were very popular and if you think about the ways the gangsters would do it like the 1920s

uh they grab your hands sometimes in a handshake hold you really tight and then use a pistol on

you from close range they would do the knife equivalent sometimes in the ancient world so

be easy to imagine atlas who was probably in his 60s at this time goes out to greet the

macedonian messenger they probably vaguely know each other maybe some kind of an embrace and then

a knife just in the right place now remember it was atlas’s niece cleopatra such a common name

that it’s confusing who will then change it to eurydice another super common name and confusing

she married philip right that was again the thing that caused the most recent rift in the family

and she has born one maybe two children another one of those things that’s galling because we

don’t know for sure how many children did cleopatra have in a short time and were they

male or female i’m not going to take a position experts differ there was supposed to be a female

her name europa there was in other sources supposed to be a male his name craterus uh you could have

either one or the other or both i don’t know neither one of them are going to make it very

long in this world though because they are both under the age of two and they and their mother

are about to get whacked now you may say why are you spending so much time on alexander the greats

purges as he initially comes to power it’s a logical question elizabeth carney answers it

when she says because olympius participated in them one of her claims to infamy historically

speaking is that she’s the one who eliminates philip’s new wife newest wife remember philip’s

newest wife is his seventh i should point out she eliminates philip’s newest wife

and his one or two children that are either male or female or both

this is one of the events that olympius is most known for and it colors her entire historical

reputation so as you might imagine elizabeth carney writing an entire book on olympius has

the luxury of spending some time on the question and devote several pages to the possibilities

and the first possibility is that it never happened at all and we need to bear this in

mind right we talked about this historical equivalent of fake news or whatever thousands

of years limited sources unreliable sometimes i mean may never have happened

if it did happen what was going on there was it some outbreak of you know like raging hormones

and jealousy and all this sort of stuff from one wife to another the real soap opera stuff

right you stole my husband and i’m gonna get you no elizabeth carney points out that these are high

falutin diplomatic marriages um with kings who go out and sleep with anyone they want i mean this is

not a question of of sexuality and all that especially probably not by

her age in the ancient world this is about power and in some cases about personal security and

those two things are related and the way you know this is that had cleopatra you know philip’s last

wife gotten to olympius and alexander first the shoe very well could have been on the other foot

elizabeth carney says that this very likely was a do unto others before they did unto you sort of

others before they did unto you sort of thing you hit their family atlas’s family before they get you

atlas of course the uncle of cleopatra and he dies too

one of the things that carney points out though is that people die a lot in these

macedonian power transitions as we said and by the standards of the time and place this may have been

a relatively lightweight purge right merciful purge this side of the family cleopatra was always

going to get cut off and any of her offspring were too it is unusual uh it won’t be as unusual after

this time period for one woman to be eliminating another woman and a female child likely female

child europa that that’s unusual but if these were macedonian males it would have been real

politik and typical macedonian stuff uh because it’s a female it’s blamed on jealousy and whatnot

but elizabeth carney says and she seems to come down if i’m reading her right on the on the idea

that it did happen but it happened for the same kind of calculating she says olympius was always

a very calculating person that it comes down to the same sort of calculation that philip himself

her husband now in the ground would have made she’s a hardcore realist and she got cleopatra

and the atlas side of the family before they got her and her son

and how it actually happened is once again the debatable stuff i mean did she carry out

the killings herself did she order them how was it done a much later unreliable source famously

says that she had uh the the other wife of philip and the infant or infants dragged over a a heap of

burning coals like a giant barbecue which again colors her historical reputation whether or not

she did that the killing of the infant too is very hard for everyone and elizabeth carney goes into

that quite a bit and how that would have been perceived during the time period and all this

kind of stuff carney writes that other than the novelty of the woman-on-woman violence

it might not have rattled people that much and she writes quote

several factors indicate that contemporaries were not particularly surprised or bothered by

olympius’s actions the mere absent of the incident for most accounts is suggestive

it was not an attention grabber unlike other acts of violence committed by alexander or olympius

the sources do not mention them again at least in terms of olympius dynastic murders were a dime a

dozen before and after these particular deaths and some of those murdered were children philip’s

mother had been accused albeit almost certainly unjustly of dynastic murders one suspects she

writes that many thought that atlas and cleopatra could hardly have expected anything else once

philip was dead they had committed themselves to what proved to be the losing side in a dynastic

struggle and past reigns demonstrated what happened to those who made such a poor choice

end quote she goes on to theorize that it’s possible that the death was by hanging

uh reasons for which we will describe later but like a self-hanging like a suicide where

you know they put up a rope or they hand uh the former bride of philip a rope and sort of suggest

the same way ernst rome in the night of the long knives in nazi germany was supposed to have been

given such a choice you know here you go do what you know you have to do kind of thing and no real

word on what happened to the infant another one of the unreliable ancient sources says that um

olympius killed the infants in front of and there were two in that story i think killed the infants

in front of the mother and then she either died when she saw that out of grief or whatever or

killed herself after that you can see why olympius gets such a fearsome rep historically speaking

the next year and a half or so of what’s going on in their lives is going to be alexander

putting together humpty dumpty again his father’s creation which was held together in a rickety sort

of sense with a bunch of people who didn’t want to be involved in this asian expedition under

macedonian leadership but what were they going to do right a combination of philip’s energy his

genius and later in life his gravitas and let’s be honest backed by the best army around kept

everybody in line and when he died all those people who would have liked to have seen him

dead whether or not they paid the bill for the murder incorporation tab you know um took the

opportunity to throw off the macedonian yoke in the next year and a half or so is alexander trying

to put the yoke back in humpty now i’m a fan of alexander and many of these details i’m going to

leave out here will be in that eventual show whenever the hell i do it uh but let’s not

ignore the fact that alexander doesn’t just inherit the great army of its day which you know

anybody could probably do pretty well with uh he also inherits the leadership of that army

we’d said earlier that he was like genghis khan or napoleon that he had the great set of marshals

and generals around him they really fall into two major groups let’s call them because other people

have the old guard and the new guard the old guard are dad’s generals atlas was one of those guys

there’s a bunch of them and they’re all famous and they’re good and they are hard-bitten and they’re

old by this time remember this is not young by today’s age standards this is a world where these

ages are quite a bit older than they are today uh these guys are in their 50s and 60s think of

how much fighting they’ve already done and think about how they they came from a time before all

this glitz when macedonia was ruling this whole part of the world alexander was born into that

world right i wonder how they felt about the 20 year old wunderkind right especially before he

was proven as anything like a wunderkind not just that these guys are not like the modern generals

in the military his job it is to salute and like robots do what they’re told by their superior

you know we we said these are like bosses of other crime families now they may listen to the

boss of bosses right now but if the situation were to turn against their interest that could change

these are barons that’s a better way to look at them guys like atlas are barons and the king has

their allegiance for now alexander has the help of one of these really formidable guys who’s

probably in his 60s by this time a guy named antipater antipater is supposed to have sided

with alexander during the transition of power when things might have been kind of hairy and then

all of a sudden he has one of these great barons backing him and the other great barons are away

and you know this antipater is kind of friends of the family he’s he’s loyal to philip and he shows

that loyalty by helping philip’s son and olympius they were supposed to be on good terms initially

the reason for bringing antipater’s name into all this though is that they’re not going to be on

good terms for long this is going to turn out to be probably the most negative personal

relationship in olympius’s life in terms of consequences the reason things go south between

she and antipater are often tied to alexander leaving along with a giant chunk of the army most

of the mercenaries and a lot of greek allies when he launches his dad’s mission his dad’s plan

for an invasion of asia himself with his dad’s army

throws a spear when he’s disembarking from the boat onto the asian side into the sand

calls the entire area spear one territory and we’re off to be dealt with later in the inevitable

alexander show this will continue by the way for 10 to 11 years as alexander continues until

his army makes him stop an army who adored him and saw him as almost a god king and finally he

said we can’t go any farther we have snakes and elephants and monsoons and we don’t even remember

what home looks like and our armor’s falling off us can we stop now and alexander basically

called him a bunch of ingrates what do you want meanwhile antipater and his mother are both in

macedonia antipater is the guy who alexander picked to run the show when i’m gone somebody

has to hold down the fort antipater gets the job friend of the family if you got to pick one of

these unreliable macedonian barons this guy looks like the most reliable right this this family’s

been the most reliable to me the boss of bosses i’ll put you in charge antipater uh he doesn’t

really have it seems like an official position for his mother but do you think olympius is just

gonna sit there and say nothing a lot of wives probably would but this is why she makes the

history books because she she doesn’t say nothing she says a lot of stuff and antipater’s got to

deal with alexander’s mom probably not used to dealing with women like this at all who get up in

your grill and question some of the things you do the funny part about it is you can’t really believe

any of the letters that the alexander romance and some of these sources have that supposedly

show correspondence but you can see that there was correspondence to alexander from both of those

people complaining about each other so his mom would write letters to alexander when he’s off

in asia saying you know antipater is uh exceeding his authority he’s acting like a king he’s in

danger of you know becoming a monarch himself and all he’s complaining complaining complaining

and antipater is writing to alexander complaining about his mom and the interference and she’s you

know she’s uh exceeding her authority and getting involved in things she shouldn’t

speaking of getting involved in things she probably shouldn’t one of the stories about

mother and son olympius and alexander that always makes the rounds as evidence someone

points out of the mama’s boy oedipal complex version or view of alexander has to do with

worries over alexander’s sexuality as he gets older now the reason this comes into play at

this point in the story is because before this great invasion of asia this king who’s been a king

you know year and a half something like that almost two years um he has no wife and he has no

heir and his generals are telling him listen it would be really smart you’re going to be

at the tip of the spear here fighting lots of battles in this big country uh you should have

an heir and alexander shows no real enthusiasm for this and the story um is famous of alexander’s

mother hiring him a thessalian courtesan that thessaly’s in northern greece and a courtesan

of course is a prostitute although in this day and age these might have been people of some status

and wealth and standing too especially if you’re getting one for a prince peter green writes quote

both he meaning philip alexander’s dad both he and olympius according to theophrastes were worried

by among other things the boy’s lack of heterosexual interests they feared he might be

turning out a girlish invert and even went so far as to procure a beautiful thessalian courtesan

named calyxenia i believe it is to help develop his manly nature olympius herself we are told

frequently begged him to have intercourse with this woman which does not suggest any great

enthusiasm on his part but then what son would take kindly to a maternally selected mistress

end quote good point there a little weird at least nowadays nevertheless without

heir or wife in 334 bce alexander takes off on his adventure in asia never to return home again

leaving his mother in antipater back at home and this is where the data points get sparse right

they sort of go away with alexander she’s doing a couple of things it’s thought back at home

the first thing is she is obviously the equivalent of the king’s eye in persia that’s the famous

position where the persian king would have an official who stayed in the governor’s palaces

and watched the governors for the king watched to make sure that they do what the king wanted

watched to make sure you know go to the marketplace listen to the scuttlebutt listen to

any rumors being fine and constantly report back to the king she was certainly doing this for alexander

as we said earlier she’s the person the one person probably in this world whose interests

completely line up with alexander’s and the one person he can almost totally trust her her power

rests on him right his his life and success is what makes her power manifest and so she has the

same interest he does let’s protect alexander and his interest so she’s watching antipater

for alexander no doubt about that but she’s also doing things in uh elizabeth carney it’s a great

book by the way it’s not a child’s book but if you like uh olympius it’s the only one i found

just on olympius uh pick that up but she points out that women in the ancient world did things

that are sometimes under the radar but that are these really important parts of the story

like diplomacy it’s such a personal relationship thing in this time period although i’ve known

diplomats who will say it’s still about personal relationships even today

go look if you just want to see how recently it was how it could even manifest look at the

correspondence between the the various royal families of europe before the first world war

broke out and how much they were writing these intimate letters to their cousins and whatnot

but bringing up major things like treaties and agreements and diplomacy and everything else right

unofficial diplomatic stuff from the back channels if you will well in most periods in human history

most places had it on a like a personal level right who’s in your rolodex i know that guy i’ll

go talk to him whatever it might be right a lot of these people would send their children

to foreign courts and then they would come back home later and then if you needed to do diplomacy

with those courts you’d send the child that grew up there right uh if alexander or philip had a

problem with anyone in a pirate you send olympias right she’s from there she knows everybody i grew

up with all those people i’ll go talk to them that’s personal diplomacy it sounds like she was

doing a lot of that and that’s the kind of stuff that maybe antipater would be like she’s you know

exceeding her authority they also found her signature or her daughter’s signature on some

official shipments of food and stuff so it’s theorized that maybe during a time of food

shortage she either signed the invoice or maybe even out of her own funds paid for food to be

brought in that’s another thing that might look like it undercut antipater’s you know competence

or whatever i’ll complain about that to alexander in my next letter but even as alexander continues

and goes from victory to victory in the east there’s almost like something from his mother

that follows him and once again who the heck i cannot i can’t stress that enough this is part

of a story a story that may be based i’d love to be able to compare the original to what it’s become

and how much of this stuff is true when when multiple sources talk about it you start to put

a little bit more maybe there’s something to this um something goes wrong with alexander over the

the slightly more than a decade that he has left in this life while he’s becoming the great

something’s going on in his head and there’s been debate ever since about what this is

the easiest thing to probably point to is he looks like some of the other great conquerors

in history who would engage and embark on a lucky lucky is the wrong word but but a string of

unbroken successes improbable amounts of success to where they start to think of themselves as

something more than human a man of destiny uh somebody smiled on by the gods or whatever right

the story about alexander always contains this question of whether or not philip was his real

father and if philip wasn’t his real father the implication was that it was zeus we told you about

the lightning striking the womb thing all that’s part of later writings but it’s all part of this

idea that alexander began to wonder and and there was a wonderful historian i read who tried to

point out that this isn’t that unusual in the greek macedonian way of seeing things because

that’s after all what the achilles is and and the heracles are these are people whose deeds

prove to be so superhuman that you can then sort of go well obviously they’re they’re part god

right that’s how you know that you’re a demigod or something and if you’re in alexander

and you’re doing these amazing things well gosh we’ve seen it in more modern times where

it seems to be a known hazard of the great conqueror business that you might become megalomaniacal

and you might start to think there’s something divine going on here and olympius’s impact on

this story is that you know it’s unlikely that hitler’s mom was whispering in his ear that there

was something super special about him napoleon’s mom either the tradition holds that that’s not the

case with alexander his mother was whispering in his ear at the very least remember that you are a

descendant of achilles but it might be a little bit bigger even than that one of the things another

historian that i read pointed out i hadn’t even thought about this but it’s right uh that in a

patrilineal society like macedonia where everybody always calls attention to their their father’s

family line alexander constantly called attention to his mothers and constantly sort of associated

himself with achilles rather than his dad’s line and heracles zeus however which is sort of you

know it all devolves to zeus in the end zeus however began to fascinate him as his conquest

went on and in the alexander story famously he’s going to go to all these oracles when he conquers

egypt uh he finds the famous oracle there and he’s going into these oracles and the stories are

that he’s asking these oracles you know it’s philip my dad and the implication is if philip isn’t his

dad zeus is now all by itself i’m not even sure that thinking that you are the son of a god or

something is all that terrible depends on how it works out right maybe you’re a a wonderful person

who thinks they’re the son of a god but in alexander’s case it’s wrapped up with all the

other traditional stuff that’s going on the megalomania the mental instability uh historians

and writers ever since have been trying to put a label on it and figure it out there’s so much

unknown space in which to theorize you get pretty wide variation of ideas i have a whole book

devoted to the idea that if you plug in rampant alcoholism for x the unknown quantity in the

story boom everything else makes sense well that’s just an argument but there’s no doubt

about it that if you could bring olympias from her home or the or the or the ruling area of

macedonia in a giant concord jet land her in babylon where alexander is 10 years after she

last saw him if she could have a conversation with her son i wonder if she would recognize him

the alcohol situation is a factor there’s no doubt about it i mean his best friend and

probable lover hefestian will die from drinking and not only does he almost die from drinking

initially he’s told to lay off the drinking for like a few days and he can’t even do that and when

he drinks some more he dies alexander’s response to this was to drink more i mean these are people

who are dying sometimes i mean imagine having chug-a-lug contests where sometimes one of the

participants dies i just imagine the other participant turning around lowering his giant

cauldron of wine and going i win it’s pretty hardcore right uh the only thing i could say uh

that sort of mollifies it a little bit is that the persians that alexander took over

their ruler kind of is a big drinker and is supposed to be a big drinker like that too a heroic

drinker you want to be the king of the persians you better be able to drink sir just saying

even now i think okay rampant alcoholic who thinks he’s the son of a god

you could still work with that couldn’t you it’s when you get to another of the known

um pitfalls of this uh great conqueror sort of lifestyle that it all falls apart for him maybe

the uh the paranoia and the suspicion and he begins to start killing the people around him

he begins to to think everyone’s a threat and maybe those letters from his mom years ago

that were saying antipater’s trying to take over antipater’s doing too much antipater this and

maybe he could rebuke her back then just say lay off i know i know he’s trying to conquer the world

i’ll get back to you maybe now when you become more suspicious and as the mental instability

takes hold uh and all these other problems he’s got some war wounds that are maybe taking a toll

on him sort of too he’s not the man he was probably um maybe you start listening to your

mom’s letters a little bit more you you already were thinking everyone around you’s plotting and

now she’s saying this stuff about antipater and she’s been saying it for like 10 years certainly

where there’s smoke there’s fire in 323 alexander decides to sack antipater

sends him a note from babylon saying uh bring me some more replacement troops and come on over here

i want to see you with everybody getting whacked around alexander all of a sudden antipater who

is in his 60s 70s maybe even now uh he thinks this is a trap traditionally he’s and anybody

would think mafia crime family again alexander wants you to come on over to this uh clam house

and have a little something to eat just want to talk to you um so antipater doesn’t go anywhere

he doesn’t drop his command and leave macedonia and go to see alexander he doesn’t respond to

the summons so eventually he does send his son cassander though cassander’s about alexander’s

age by the way and he’s important to the story very important um elizabeth carney pointed out

something that you kind of remember knowing but it didn’t sink in until she said it was how many

of these people had known each other their whole lives what’s more in the macedonian court many of

these people’s parents knew each other as toddlers and in a lot of cases even their grandparents

played together on the schoolyard alexander and cassander were two of the people in that very tiny

class taught by aristotle and when you look at that class when the students in that class are

named they all become like alexander’s generals and his advisors and his bodyguards

earlier we had mentioned the old guard of the generals phillips you know people his dad’s

generals he has his own contemporaries who become generals and become great leaders of armies after

his time too and these are all guys that went to school with him cassander’s one of those guys

but they don’t really like each other that much apparently and cassander shows up in alexander’s

court ostensibly i guess to beg for his dad’s job but in this case that’s almost the same thing as

begging for his life and in a famous story once again take it or leave it cassander walks in and

sees something that the macedonians around alexander have become accustomed to but cassander

hasn’t seen it yet he sees the persians bowing on the ground to alexander it’s how they treat their

kings you know you see the same thing in egypt that’s how they treated the pharaohs right get

right down on the ground like a god but the macedonians didn’t do that stuff right they thought

it wasn’t democracy what they had in macedonia but it was this sort of egalitarian where we acclaim

the leader it was a much more down-to-earth sort of leadership by comparison and cassander is

supposed to have seen the persians doing this in front of alexander to alexander and laughing at

it or making fun of it and in the story alexander and this is a sign probably of the megalomania

although maybe he would have done this back in the old days alexander grabs him by the hair and

starts smashing his head against the wall scaring cassander so badly that we’re told i think it was

plutarch who said that you know decades later long after alexander’s dead and gone uh cassander

couldn’t even pass a statue of the man without going weak in the knees and i think plutarch

said taking quite a while to recover cassander was hardly the only person though scared at this time

alexander had everybody on edge it’s like the third reich at the end or i mean all these rulers

get a little unstable at the end and they see plots everywhere um there are a lot of people who

may at this time have thought that it was worth taking a chance on trying to get rid of alexander

because if you didn’t get rid of him he was likely to get rid of you and cassander is one of the

people implicated as a potential participant in alexander’s death by the way not only is

antipater’s oldest son cassander here cassander’s brother another son of antipater is alexander’s

cup bearer the one who you know just to make sure that this cup does not get out of my hands and

nobody spikes it with anything that guy is antipater’s other son now the only time you care

about the ancestry of a king’s cup bearer it’s a little like an offensive lineman in football you

only care about their name apparently when something goes wrong well the only time the

poor cup bearer gets mentioned is when something goes wrong or depending on you know what the cup

bears involved with and who they’re involved with when something goes right on june 10th june 11th

323 bce a 32 year old alexander the great dies and no one to this day can say definitively why

theories abound in all directions from the natural to the unnatural

from the common sense and obvious to the wild guy had a lot of reasons he might have died though and

disease is an obvious one of medical professionals have been looking and examining the the evidence

from hundreds of years later that writers have kept about this kind of stuff and they will

proclaim definitively it was just disease or that disease and i’ve heard everything

typhus cholera malaria west nile virus all of it then there’s the uh sort of common sense ones i

mean you can look at it and go this is a guy with some major war wounds that probably began to take

its toll uh the the drinking is uh long term and uh chronic and and still at very high levels i mean

that will take a toll mixing it all together it could be an accumulation of things weaken his

immune system and the west nile virus gets him revenge of the persian empire through the mosquito

but there has always been a tradition modern and ancient included by most of the sources

that alexander was assassinated poisoned that cassander brought the poison that the cup bearer

son of antipater fed it to alexander that the poison might have been mixed by aristotle himself

appalled by alexander’s descent into tyrannical madness and that maybe cassander’s job wasn’t to

go there and plead for his dad’s job and life but to assess alexander’s sanity and willingness to

be reasonable because remember antipater and those people are all back in greece they’re getting

letters and hearing stories but maybe you send your son and say get a look for yourself and if

he’s not reasonable take him out olympius certainly thinks antipater and company did it and

she will eventually proclaim this publicly and you have to be careful because the propaganda from this

period following alexander’s death is heavy duty and it comes from all sides so saying he killed

alexander would be a huge propaganda tool but you can tell by the way it helps take something you

know there was always a lot of gasoline soaked wood in the olympius antipater relationship

this is when it turns into a vendetta a real clan blood feud between uh the official name for them

are the um antipatrids which are the family of antipater but think about it like a you know

the gambinos the bananos the antipatrids and olympius’s clan which includes two distinct

ones really her clan back home remember she’s she’s maybe become the regent of her homeland

during this time period because her poor brother who married cleopatra alexander’s sister gets

himself killed in a war in italy and apparently the kids are too young so cleopatra or olympius

or both are maybe running the show back in the old epirus melosian homeland and now with pretty

much no male family members around to succeed she’s kind of the front and center face of the

royal family back in macedonia or what was the royal family and this is where you just get the

feeling that uh all the people around alexander are feeling really bad that he didn’t take that

good advice marry uh one woman or what the heck you know take a page out of his dad’s playbook and

marry two make sure one of them’s a full-blooded macedonian uh get a few kids going before you

leave for your expedition in asia by the time you die here in 323 bce at 32 it’s 32 right um

you’d have a couple of kids back in macedonia if you get lucky

an heir maybe 12 years old maybe 13 years old by this time i didn’t do the math

now we all know how the macedonian history goes the likelihood of a child you know having the

throne kept long enough for them to succeed it uh is a long shot in macedonia but the older you are

the better the chance you’ll make it and let’s be honest any kid of alexander is going to have

an a bloodline that’s incomparable right so maybe that that’s a get out of jail free card from

typical macedonian history you’re the son of alexander you’re the grandson of philip ii and

let’s be honest you know who will be there guarding you until she dies of old age or

something else olympius because the interest with alexander’s heir will line up with his mother the

same way that alexander’s interested and this will be the role she’ll play for the rest of her life

the guardian of the air but if alexander didn’t have any heirs back in macedonia before he left

for asia what am i talking about well there’s not much uh there is a a non-official wife so

a mistress she’s often called and the child’s often called the illegitimate son of alexander

his name is heracles he’s three or four years old by this time and he’s off somewhere in like

bactria which is in modern afghanistan or a real real real upper part of persia he’s a long way

away and his mother’s a barbarian for goodness sake or at least the macedonians would think so

or at least half barbarian in any way this kid does not get anywhere near the attention you

would think he would get until power brokers feel like they can use him and then he all of

a sudden i guess in some sources appears on the scene i’ve read some historians who question

whether he really existed at all uh but there is something real that everyone can point to

alexander’s got an official wife in persia and she’s pregnant when alexander dies

she apparently quickly kills alexander’s other wives keeping the bloodline pure the macedonians

and persians both are into that sometimes but if you’re worried about a 13 or 14 or 12 year

old heir back in macedonia the one he didn’t have surviving long enough to get to the throne

what chance does a kid who isn’t even born yet have what’s more it could be a female

might not make it to term this is the ancient world after all

the bottom line though is that there’s no logical easy answer to what do we do now

once alexander dies and if you think about it it’s it’s really kind of a crazy moment

in history these are always my favorite things and naturally there’s never enough information

did it really go down the way most of the sources kind of say it went down which is

that when alexander dies there is no plan as we said he’s supposed to the story says that when

he’s asked on his deathbed to whom he leaves the empire you know if you’re basically an emperor

alexander who’s the next emperor and he says to the strongest very macho macedonian homeric answer

maybe something you could justify in a darwinian may the best man win kind of competition for the

throne but disastrous for his people when you’re talking about this as a successor to the entire

policy right why don’t you fight it out and we’ll see that’s going to lead to more deaths for

macedonian soldiers than philip and alexander’s wars put together the macedonian infantry didn’t

suffer as terribly as you might think because they were so victorious and so dominant

i had a professor once that said if you want to know the way to defeat the best army in any age

in history split it up and make it fight itself you saw that in roman history by the way the

nastiest most dangerous opponents the legionaries ever faced or other legionaries in civil wars

um that’s what’s going to happen in the next this is crazy to even say over the next 44 or 45

years that’s how long it will take for the to the strongest thing to be settled

they’re known as the wars of the alexandrian successors or the wars of the successors of the

wars of the diatokai that’s the greek word for successors the rest of olympius’s life by the way

will be spent as a player in this geopolitical struggle that will happen in phases it’s not

like 44 45 years of continual war there’ll be multiple phases that happen and there are so

many players it is to me anyway easily the most complicated struggle in the ancient world it is

very tough to keep track of as they say in sports the players without a scorecard a dizzying array

of personalities a very weird um crabs in a bucket type dynamic where the most august scary

and impressive people are eliminated early because everyone who’s less competent and

less impressive bands together to take them down olympius will be one of those people by the way

she is a very scary player in the early phases of this so she’s gotten rid of as quickly as

anybody can do it but she’s very hard to deal with because she represents ghosts impressive ghosts

the power of olympius which stemmed from her relationship to philip for a while and then

from her relationship to alexander after that will now stem from the power that those

former figures still possess it will it will flow through her i mean i think about her like

this priestess but now the authority and gravitas and reputation of philip and alexander combined

are emanating through her and it affects the infantry of alexander’s army let me explain

when alexander dies the story is that uh you know everybody kind of looks at each other this

is a cult of personality empire right it’s really concentrated into one person he makes all the

decisions he’s i mean every he’s the heart the soul and the brain of this place and when he

goes away a bunch of the macedonian nobility go into a room and start debating what you know

here’s what we’re going to do now the best way to think about this maybe is that this is as close as

you can come they’re in babylon where alexander dies by the way this is as close as you can come

to the old macedonian smoke-filled room where the aristocrats and the heads of the families decide

who it’s going to be have to be in our jed for the last long period of time but you know we’ll

figure this out as elizabeth carney points out though they’ve had two kings and haven’t had to

do this for a long time and the last time they did something like this macedonia was a not important

at all kingdom north of greece a bunch of barbarians according to the greeks and the

greeks could actually from the southern states could actually interfere in in who got to be the

macedonian king and now she points out they’re having one of these meetings

to determine half the known world’s fate it’s a little bit different isn’t it

what’s more they’re operating in a really weird uh one historian called it a a potentially

terrifying period of time here after alexander’s death there’s a problem sometimes when you read

history and the black words on the white page fail to convey uh the parts of history sometimes

that are the most human right the reason it can’t be a science the emotional stuff

and there’s two kinds of emotional stuff there’s there’s you’re having an emotional moment yourself

and that’s very different than society is having an emotional moment all at the same time and i

try to think of emotional analogies which is both a a very cool and stupid concept at the

same time because you know there’s really no analogies when you think about what might happen

but you try to say okay if people in this time period are operating in a stunned sort of state

of mind i try to think of like after 9 11 when you walked around and everybody had this there’s no

good english word for it i always use like 20 adjectives to try to explain it where i’m sure

one really good long german word would hit it right on the head like they always do

stunned uh surprised uh disbelief a real sense of disbelief then there’s like a brain fog if it’s

anything like the 9 11 thing uh there’s a real sense of trepidation about what happens now

and it’s not hysteria it’s not mania but it’s not stable it’s a time where you could see the

emotional state of mind of everybody is on edge and as every major historian points out from the

sources we have which are not great you get this feeling like civil war could happen at any moment

like you have gasoline soaked wood here and it wouldn’t take much and the reason why is because

the elites in the macedonian army the cavalry are the ones in the back smoky filled room thinking

they’re going to figure this out the infantry of the macedonian army are the salt of the earth

types they’re not going to be so much salt of the earth types later when they get rich and

they turn mercenary but during this time period they’re still like the farmer people of macedonia

you know the people who have a real loyalty to the royal house who have a there’s a more mythical

sort of feel to it patriotism is the wrong word in the era before nationalism arose but it’s a

little like patriotism their their allegiance is to the family of alexander i mean think about it

if you have had two virtual demigod kings in a row from that line i mean why would you want to

change horses in midstream alexander and philip and now you want to do something else and by the

way i didn’t mention that something else the agreement eventually worked out with all these

crabs in a bucket in this back room trying to broker some deal is that they’re gonna wait to

see about the child that roxanne alexander’s wife is pregnant with because if it’s a boy

we will hold the kingship for they’ll have a regency right and we told you already 18 years

these guys are gonna hold this for this keep the throne warm for 18 years okay well that’s a certain

kind of decision right there isn’t it and the infantry who are made up like we said of these

people who are loyal to the royal house and they pretty much have their own idea who the throne

should go to and they present him to the cavalry apparently in one of these making them an offer

they can’t refuse kind of deals and he’s dressed this this person is dressed in alexander’s clothes

supposedly one source you know has him in the armor his name just added by this group of infantry

by the way is philip so if you dressed in alexander’s clothes your name is philip well

they’re trying to tell you something it’s philip aridaeus though it’s alexander’s brother who has

that sort of indeterminable mental condition as one historian said the only reason that this is

the only person you have to turn to is because anybody that alexander was afraid of is gone by

now so he wasn’t afraid of this guy why because he’s no threat although i read someone else that

said the fact that the infantry knew him and he was in babylon with them he was sort of a mascot

apparently is the way it’s portrayed you know the team mascot um but the fact that the infantry knew

him and wanted him for this role may have been an indication that that’s not really true in history

so who knows the uh two sides the infantry the salt of the earth type start clashing with the

cavalry violence almost breaks out or does and the cavalry leaves babylon the infantry stays in

babylon and then the cavalry puts babylon under siege you have an explosive moment here and then

the deal is brokered the deal is that there will be no compromises on either side that both sides

get what they want so there’s going to be two kings the unborn child of roxanne who does turn

out to be a boy and alexander the great is alexander the third so they’ll name this one

alexander the fourth and alexander’s half-brother son of philip and a thessalian dancing girl i

believe is going to be the other king and neither one of them can rule without a regent so a regent

is appointed and away we go elizabeth carney tries to get into the head a little bit of olympus

on an emotional level when she finds out her son is dead she has no body she has nothing and

you know most mothers would be very bereaved in this situation her situation’s worse because

alexander was her guarantee of safety not just for her but for her immediate loved ones altogether

the reason her enemy antipater couldn’t touch her when alexander was alive he’s still in macedonia

she’s nearby if she’s not in macedonia i think she keeps going back and forth between macedonia

and her homeland in melosia but all of a sudden i mean antipater can do whatever he wants to her

except for one thing he’s got to be careful because all throughout the rest of her life

her life the salt of the earth macedonian soldiers not so much the cavalry but but the people on the

ground the everyday joes in the ranks they’re going to show an immense amount of loyalty to her

and the loyalty of the troops during this time period in this next successor war is key because

at times they will turn on their commanders in this in the upcoming wars there’ll be incidents

of them deciding to i mean in one in one famous case the baggage of the infantry in a in a conflict

is captured and so to get their baggage back they hand the general over it’s going to be a very

interesting time period for all of these different generals um who essentially have pieces of the

wehrmacht that they’re that they’re fighting with against other pieces of the wehrmacht but sometimes

the pieces in the wehrmacht have a mind of their own and olympius is one of those people that will

prove to be a dangerous person to do anything against because your own wehrmacht troops might

turn against you this is an interesting thing for the generals to try to have to deal with it’s a

dynamic in this crisis and interestingly enough it’s not just olympius that commands this sort of

loyalty from the backbone of the macedonian army and probably the farmers and the folks back home

in macedonia it’s not just her it’s all the close family of philip ii and of course she’s not the

only close family of philip ii she’s also not the only one able to channel power in the here and now

through ghosts philip ii olympius’s long dead husband now the great philip ii alexander’s dad

you know he had seven wives right he didn’t just have olympius and those wives produced

offspring didn’t they obviously they didn’t have any of the male offspring survive to become

competitors of alexander because well that’s what purges are for right alexander would have gotten

those guys but the women are no threat to him so they usually didn’t get touched which means

when it comes to what those salt of the earth backbone of the macedonian army and probably the

macedonian folks back home if they have a loyalty to the royal family at this point that mainly

means women which provides a level of power boost that is unusual what’s unusual about the next part

of this story it to me it is the best part of this story because it’s so rare it’s rare to see women

exerting themselves on the on the global geopolitical stage especially before modern times

but they’re out there there’s incidents there’s even incidents of multiple women doing it at the

same time but they’re rare i’ve never and you know i’m i’m ignorant on so many subjects and

i’m sure it happened in chinese history because everything happened in chinese history once upon

a time um but i’ve not encountered another era where you have so many powerful august women

in the story operating on both sides by the way and often at odds with each other in a in a full-on

geopolitical diplomatic power sense as as now and you might be able to make a case that it’s because

of the way the conditions developed and one of the conditions is all these men that might have

otherwise assumed this role are gone and if philip ii and alexander the great’s memory

confers power on the people left over in the family and those people are women well you see

a unique opportunity for these women to figure out a tool to use that power after alexander dies

you have a mass rush of all these various macedonian royal clans marrying into each other

for diplomatic purposes right covering their ass hedging their bets this is a it’s a dangerous time

right which of these successors might win what what might happen to us who are we what if you

support the wrong guy for the boss of bosses and then afterwards the other guy they’re going to

remember that right elizabeth carney called this period the brisk post alexander elite macedonian

marriage market which i thought was interesting now the reason it concerns us though is there’s

a couple of these potential marriage partners from the royal clan who are game changers right

they could end this story of who gets to succeed alexander right now right there doesn’t have to

be the equivalent of an ancient world war for 44 45 years to settle it we could settle it right now

you know in 322 or something uh year after alexander dies we’ll settle it right now

all you got to do is have one of these crabs in a bucket one of these successor warlords has to

just get the edge and it’s all over and it’s got to be a pretty good edge because the other crabs

in the bucket will pull you down if if you just get a slight bit more power than they have you’ve

got to win the game you got to hit the jackpot if this is like a murderous version of the bachelorette

you’ve got to get the hand of the bride that can confer legitimacy on you who’s out there that

could do that and think about how much power that gives the person who can do that

well there are multiple potential people who could marry into one of these successors clans

and get them closer to the royal house but there’s almost a hierarchy right this person will get you

this close to the royal house but this person will get you two steps closer to the royal house

you want to get the jackpot you got to marry alexander the great sister don’t you

he’s only got one full-blooded sibling cleopatra the one who married her uncle who’s gone off and

died in italy now leaving her a widow boom here she is available the bachelorette

and of course olympias and her daughter cleopatra work as a team here sort of so it’s the olympias

cleopatra limited partnership here and they desperately need to utilize this power of

having the ability to confer upon you a spouse and then of course subsequent children

whose father was philip ii whose brother was alexander the great whose mother is olympias i

mean come on that is your game changer right there you want to be the crab that crawls out of the

bucket you marry cleopatra and she knows it but this power also makes her dangerous to others

i mean if you happen to be the successor warlord who gets her hand in marriage well fantastic for

you but what does that mean for all your competitors all the warlords who didn’t get

her hand in marriage so over her over her lifetime she’s going to either court or be courted by many

of the major players in this story all the big wigs are going to try to get her hand in marriage

she’s the obvious prize here but if you can’t have her hand in marriage she’s the obvious target too

at least you have to block her because she’s another one of those people that you can’t just

kill right sometimes you just want to kill these people if you’re one of these successors but there

are certain people that have sort of a cloak of invincibility around them and it’s the ghosts

protecting them philip ii and alexander you go off and kill them uh your troops might kill you

now that’s not just speculation because some of the other women in this story have an incident very

similar to that happen to them this is where the other women come into the piece um philip ii had

multiple wives remember we talked about one of these wives as as an example of how tough you

know philip shouldn’t have a problem with olympus right he has that warrior that illyrian warrior

princess as a wife one of his other ones the wonder woman lady fights with sword shield helmet

remember we talked about her well you know she had children with philip imagine how august a child of

that woman trained in combat maybe even leading troops melded with philip’s dna think of how

august those kids would be well here they come into the story and they’re female as we said earlier

it’s hard to keep track of the names and the players in this story without a scorecard this

is the case by the way for any long wars the 30 years war is the same way where there’s so much

time for so much stuff to occur that it’s impossible to keep track of it all it’s a

multi-generational soap opera kind of as we said i was trying to think of the way to simplify this

the best and the best way to say it is that alexander’s half-sister the woman who we just

talked about who is the daughter of wonder woman and philip ii her name is kanani it looks like

cyan if you ever see it written also trained in the ways of the warrior illyrian princesses right

so she’s a killer a hand-to-hand killer apparently too very cultured i mean she’s philip ii’s

daughter she’s the king’s daughter so she’ll just kill you in a cultured sort of manner um she’s

involved in what some historians call a scheme it looks much more like a a grab for power in this

post-alexandrian world and let’s remember power this might not be because they’re power hungry

power is synonymous with safety here and the best way to get eliminated is to be shut out of power

by your enemies what happens though is that this kanani daughter of wonder woman and philip ii

makes a bold play to seize one of the sources of power and authority in this very unstable

post-alexandrian world and this is all happening in the wake of alexander’s death so a year two

three this is the initial you know initial power moves of this whole thing there’s two places that

power emanates from officially in this world right now and it’s the two kings alexander’s infant son

alexander the fourth with the persian or bactrian mom i think he’s still in asia at this point but

he’s an infant right he’s a prop in the power struggles for now but then you have philip

the mascot king the one with the disability of some sort he’s almost certainly being used as a

puppet by the warlords you know who are the regents right we’re ruling for the king who’s right here

and he’s indisposed at the moment but what happens if somebody steals the puppet from the warlords

right the the person who’s making it possible for you to keep the army loyal and happy and

thinking that he’s running the show and really you’re running the show through him if you’re one

of the warlords how do you how do you prevent somebody from stealing the puppet well that’s

what this scheme is this daughter of philip the second and wonder woman is bringing her daughter

adea uridic is going to be what she’s known as eventually bringing her daughter and she’s going

to try to marry her daughter to one of the kings right she can’t have the infant king he’s not

marriageable anyway but philip merodeus doesn’t have a wife now if you’re trying to pull this

scheme off though you can’t go to the warlords you can’t go to the people who have the puppet now

that you’re going to steal the puppet from and say hey let me steal the puppet do i have your blessing

you got to bypass them well how do you bypass them you go right to the source of power

the macedonian army and the infantry the salt of the earth types so the warlord general types

the successors they get word that this is underway that this scheme is ongoing and that this woman

kanane is on the way and i’ve read sources that say she has a small bodyguard with her others that

she’s got a decent size entourage others that she’s got a whole army behind her so i don’t know

which of those is true but she’s she’s protected the general sent out someone to intercept her

before she could get to the infantry because lord knows the infantry will probably say yes to this

deal um and the intercepting force somehow blocks her for a little bit of time and in that little

bit of time she’s killed sources differ on what happened here everything from assassinated to uh

violence breaking up between the various bodyguards that leads to her being killed in the fray

to a full-blown um story again from one of the less reputable sources that she’s giving a speech

she sounds fully like philip’s daughter in this warrior princess like she’s getting up in the face

of her assassins and pleading her case and yelling at them and she’s in the middle of a speech in one

of these stories to the troops that are there there are macedonian troops they’re witnessing

all this and while she’s in the middle of the speech she’s she’s stabbed or killed and and cut

down in the middle of the conversation no matter which of those stories is true it apparently

happens in a way that either the macedonian troops see it at the time watch it live or hear about it

soon after and they’re outraged you can’t kill philip ii’s daughter who the hell are you

and and these warlords who are counting on these military forces to stay loyal to them

are about to be thrown to the crocodiles by these same troops because they killed one of philip

ii’s daughters in front of them the only way they manage to avoid disaster is to give in to what

that now dead daughter of philip wanted they have to go ahead and let this granddaughter of philip

this adaya yuridike lady marry the mascot king marry the puppet and as i think it was ab bosworth

who coined the phrase and it’s not very nice uh the marriage of the amazon to the idiot but it

gives you a sense of what’s going on here an easily controllable not very august uh personality

who was being controlled by these powerful marshals is now going to be controlled by this

powerful personality called adaya yuridike and if you took an ancient greek playwright brought

them in the time machine and let them write for one of today’s tv daytime soap operas that’s how

i see this whole whole situation unfolding because it looks like this is revenge from another one of

philip’s wives against olympius from the grave through her descendants something wonderfully

greek about that this adaya yuridike is going to be an instant thorn in the side of olympius though

remember she’s she’s the granddaughter of her husband she’s going to be an instant thorn in

the side because what if she’s able to make you know philip aridaeus the the mascot king what if

she can make him legitimate enough so no one’s going to wait around 17 years for olympius’s

grandson to come of age in other words could she turn the puppet king into a real king the only

king that she dominates it’s wonderful but i said earlier that this period is one of the ones i use

as evidence for why history ruins fiction for me because we already have a wonderful story here

kind of unbelievable wild you know uh and then in typical alexandrian fashion the story gets kicked

up two notches notch number one apparently alexander the great had a day yuridike’s father

killed when she was a kid one of his purges you know potential competitor so if she didn’t like

the other side of the family to begin with she really doesn’t like him now the other thing and

i find this to be the one where i would send this script back to the screenwriter and said sorry you

went too far here nobody’s gonna buy that um she’s apparently something like 16 years old

her age is tough to determine in dividing the spoils though robin waterfield said 16

wow and 16 really doesn’t mean anything in a neutral playing field historically speaking right

because we all know people got married younger what was romeo and juliet and she’s like 13 14

something like that but we’re not talking about somebody who just gets married and then ends up

in somebody’s you know royal family or whatnot we’re talking about somebody who almost immediately

asserts her prerogatives and tries to rest as much control as she can grab over the situation here

and she’s not playing with a bunch of little court functionaries she’s doing this in a room full of

these generals and marshals that are so great i said that only like napoleon’s group of generals

and marshals and genghis khans i mean it’s it’s rarefied air and some of these guys are like

multiple times her age there’s a bunch of these dudes in their late 60s all the way up to their

mid-70s still in the field fighting by the way they don’t make people like this anymore um we

should point out guys who were fighting with alexander’s dad the day alexander was born

and some 16 year old is going to come in there who wasn’t even a part of the story five minutes ago

and start telling them how it’s going to be this is insane and i wouldn’t believe it

when i do my multi-part you know the 45 57 episodes whatever it’s going to be on my cable

channel i’m going to find some actress from that region because i feel like there’s in my head

anyway i have a very specific kind of fire in mind that that that’s native to the region i

guess you could say you know greece northern greece albania bulgaria maybe maybe sicily

um and then go find yourself like a 16 year old from there who it sounds like something out of

the hunger games doesn’t it too much to be believed because this 16 year old is not going

to stay in the shadows at all now the year she marries philip erodeus though is 321 bce this is

two years after alexander the great dies and it is the year that the whole post-alexander deal on

how we’re going to run things goes murderously sideways the deal made in the wake of alexander’s

death you know under pressure in haste it never seems like that had much of a chance of lasting

especially with all these ambitious powerful people uh involved it would have required a lot

of good behavior on a lot of people’s parts to understand the setup because it’s kind of important

um essentially what all these people did in deciding how they were going to run alexander’s

empire after he died was to run it like the persians ran theirs and really if you want to

look at it similar to the way the macedonians ran macedonia before they got all big and powerful

all these great successors these generals these marshals these high administrators these bodyguards

of alexander would all be given territories you know think al capone the south side’s his territory

ptolemy ptolemy gets egypt and so all these people rule these areas and they rule them kind of like

kings and i keep calling them warlords because they fit the definition of the term at the same

time one historian reminds us that these are at this time period people who are practically kings

themselves fabulously wealthy immensely famous lots of troops uh swear allegiance to them i mean

these are these are kings in their own right you start if you’re a king after a while uh wanting

to be treated like a king and not really wanting to bow the knee to any boss of bosses but this

system has one that’s the deal it is like a persian system where all of the satraps are kings

in their own territory but there is someone called the king of kings and that was the high commander

well that person’s uh title in this system is regent and they they rule with the royal power

in the name of the two kings who are not capable of ruling at the moment this person just happens

to get this job because he was at alexander’s bedside as alexander lay dying and alexander

gives the signet ring to this guy his name is perdicus by the way and he’s one of the successors

and he’s an impressive figure and as we had mentioned earlier in this dynamic some of the

impressive figures are the ones most of the other people agree we don’t want them around

now this signet ring that alexander gives to perdicus is not the equivalent of giving him

the crown it’s not saying i leave the empire to you it’s more like if we go back to our analogy

of um you know philip and sons asian conquest expedition llc or whatever the family business

it’s like giving him the keys to the office so he can open up in the morning for everyone else

so perdicus will basically use that though against the other successors and say hey you know he

didn’t give you the office keys did he so perdicus becomes the first regent and then he

starts acting if you’re looking at this from the point of view of his successor opponents he starts

acting like a king or wanting to look like a king or starting to want to act like he could be the

next alexander and so you know they had to take him down olympius plays a role in this which is

why some historians have always blamed her for being at the root cause of this entire world war

you don’t get very many women in geopolitical history in the ancient world and then they

finally write about her and they accuse her of starting a multi-generational world war

come on and probably for reasons of jealousy and revenge and you know spite all those typical

female qualities even good historians use words like scheming and meddling and things like that

where you’re going was she really meddling or were there geopolitical concerns going on here that

explain it in a better way than meddling do we accuse alexander of meddling in other kingdoms

affairs being the regent though gives this proticus guy the inside track to being the

next alexander and olympia starts positioning herself back in macedonia to be on his side

because she needs anybody who’s going to be someone who can protect her and and protect

her interest from antipater right now that alexander’s dead this nice feud she has with

antipater you know you can you can light the torch to that gasoline soaked wood that you’ve

been soaking down for more than a decade now who’s going to protect you from antipater well she’s

working on that she actually you know schemes or medals in affairs in greece right after alexander

dies to stir up trouble just to keep antipater busy which is of course just going to make him

a little bit more angry right and then uh perdicus this first guy who gets the regency uh he becomes

the first crab dynamic victim in the bucket one of the crazy things about the war of the

successors and it will be hard to find anything quite like it is that it combines this element of

geopolitical cutthroat machiavellian type world affairs at the highest level you know

in that geopolitical world right that that mediterranean western asia northern africa world

with very close personal relationship dynamics that’s why the soap opera thing works so well

americans love to point out and talk about the element of the american civil war that that’s

fascinating about how the generals on both sides knew each other and often served together in wars

and had close relationships uh it is it’s a dynamic element that adds a humanness and a

relationship between enemies that you normally don’t have when the enemies are foreign right i

know those guys yeah well you get this to a degree you’ll never see anywhere else in this in this

upcoming series of wars because all of the leaders of these countries know each other

intimately families were probably close may have been toddlers together uh may have been in the

aristotle school together certainly served together many in the greatest event that they can find

anywhere in their history books till they go back to mythical times with gods right they conquered

the east together as comrades maybe saved each other’s lives and now they’re ordering hits on

each other what’s more these officer corps in all these versions of the wehrmacht the macedonian army

that’s now spread out from albania to afghanistan from egypt to india um all these upper officer

corps know each other which causes huge issues you’ll get people making statements and saying

things like well i’m not going to fight against craterus i won’t fight against him or troops that

end up liking the general that they’re about to fight against that they know personally and who’s

very popular more than the person they’re fighting for and switching sides what this really is is it’s

a world war that’s going to encompass the entire former empire of alexander but that is really at

its core a macedonian civil war and all these millions of people in these territories most of

whom have already suffered by being conquered by the macedonians are going to get swept up into it

the reason olympia sometimes gets accused of starting the war

is that this perdicus guy the regent the guy who has the inside track to succeeding alexander

is already kind of riding high and scaring everybody he’s scaring everybody to the point

where he has to make a marriage arrangement with his you know competitors to try to make them feel

better so he’s going to marry antipater’s daughter right or olympia’s enemy antipater

that’s not good for olympia’s by the way he’s going to marry antipater’s daughter and that

will help you know patch over their differences so he’s betrothed to this woman whose name is nasia

and olympia sends cleopatra the bachelorette to go in and block her and offer marriage to her

instead this would completely discombobulate everything in his book dividing the spoils

author robin waterfield describes olympia’s scheme or meddling this way quote olympius was still

nervous about antipater once he had finished settling affairs in southern greece he was bound

to punish her for her support of the greek rebellion she came up with a bold ploy knowing

that nasia this is antipater’s daughter was betrothed to perdiccas and was even now on her

way to pasidia for the wedding she simultaneously sent cleopatra to sardis which is nearby and wrote

to eumenes suggesting that perdiccas might like to marry her daughter instead she needed perdiccas

to be antipater’s enemy not his son-in-law she needed antipater to be distracted by war in asia

and unable to turn his attention to epirus her homeland the plan worked perfectly he writes

he continues quote olympius’s overall intention now and in the following years was to see her

grandson alexander the fourth gain the macedonian throne even though the chances of his attaining

his majority must have appeared very bleak offering cleopatra alexander’s sister to perdiccas was a

major plank in the scheme she wanted to see perdiccas arrive in macedon married to alexander’s

sister welcomed by alexander’s mother with two kings and alexander’s corpse in his train and at

the head of the army with which alexander had conquered the east under such circumstances

antipater would have had no future barring unforeseeable accidents perdiccas would have

been the sole ruler of the empire until alexander the fourth came of age with olympius by his side

end quote apparently perdiccas is tempted by this whole thing but he goes ahead with the

wedding marries antipater’s daughter anyway but then starts sending messages to cleopatra

basically insinuating that he’s still interested and maybe they could work this deal and that kind

of thing and that becomes known to the other big powerful generals and marshals to them

many histories portray this as like the moment of reveal when perdiccas’s true intentions are

are made known to everyone i don’t know if it’s quite that big of the the reveal moment but

essentially it shows hey i’m going for it all he’s the first to trigger the famous crabs in a

bucket dynamic i’ve overused and talked about this whole program he will um have several powerful

marshals band together to take him down he will also fight with ptolemy another one of the

successors whose whose territory is egypt ptolemy is one of my favorite ones he was a bodyguard of

alexander’s he was a member of the the small class of boys who uh learned from aristotle

he is the one who gets egypt for his territory he’s also the one who in 321 bce steals alexander

the great’s preserved corpse while it’s on its way in a uh in a big display a convoy showing off

the god king to all the people along the royal road all the way back to macedonia where it can

be buried in its native soil and instead ptolemy in the greatest heist in all human history steals

it brings it back to egypt it will become a tourist attraction for generations and peter green

calls it a quasi-magical good luck charm and legitimizer of power he says in the macedonian

system in order to be considered a legitimate successor to the previous king you have to bury

the previous king and only ptolemy has the body at this point what a great heist it’s like al capone

seizing all that bootleg liquor from a competitor

uh and essentially offering him the kingdom right i give you cleopatra it’s jackpot you win

is that with all these other powerful generals against perdiccas uh he gets whacked it happens

to him in egypt when he’s fighting ptolemy the guy who stole alexander’s body uh apparently

officers come into perdiccas’s tent and knife him or or get him with a sword he’d already had

all kinds of debacles he had an army desert to the other side uh he had a river crossing that

went disastrously awry and maybe two thousand men drowned or were eaten by crocodiles and so

the army probably had a lot of reason to not be happy with him so when these officers knifed him

uh sometimes you’ll read in the history books it’ll say that uh he was killed by his own troops

and if your officers knife you that’s still technically true but it has a different connotation

and in this case uh some of the histories record that ptolemy is sitting across the river with his

army waiting for word that this deed has been carried out that sure sounds like a mafia hit

though doesn’t it it’s ruthless but i keep reminding myself ruthlessness is pretty much

par for the course in the power politics game from the beginning of history till like yesterday

there’s nothing different about the ruthlessness it’s always a little shocking how ruthless we

human beings can be sometimes but nothing new there what makes this successor’s period so

fascinating and interesting and twisty and weird and different and maybe potentially upsetting

is that all this ruthlessness is happening between people who know each other so well

as we said earlier there’s a web of connection between these people some of their families go

back generations some of them were toddlers together some of them were in class together

with aristotle almost all of them with the exception of a few were on the the big eastern

campaign to conquer the world with alexander i mean these are people who are closely connected

on a personal level so it’s not like you’re being ruthless against a bunch of people you don’t know

that personal angle is very strange and you wonder this is the way i always think i wonder if

Ptolemy felt any sort of emotional weirdness about if he was i should say disclaimer Ptolemy

might not have done it but the theory is telling me probably did do it he certainly may have had

other successors uh saying yeah go do it um but i mean would he have felt any emotional

pangs of um sentiment at all and if he did you’d go okay that’s interesting if he didn’t that would

be interesting too i can hear one of my history teachers saying you’re putting your own cultural

relevance into this they were raised in a different environment they wouldn’t have thought

about it the way you thought about it well if that’s true and they were able to be that kind

of ruthless to people they knew and sometimes cared about deeply well that’s interesting too

isn’t it nonetheless perdicases death is part of the first round of culling of these successor

bigwigs and he’s hardly the only one there will be a number of major figures taken out

in this conflict so in 320 bce they have to have a conference where they all get together again

because they got a lot of vacancies and some of the key jobs right because the people are dead now

and so they have this conference in 320 in syria i believe where they’re going to reapportion the

jobs fill these positions confirm other people in their positions whatever now it’s at this point

that we see another uh entrance onto the history books and you get the sense that she forced her

way on this this is not something the historians were dying to find out again it’s unavoidable and

it may explain things a day a yuridic is here again she’s apparently at this conference she

comes with her husband if they’re going to be deciding you know the power situation apparently

you know she’s either going to be there or they’re the you know figment of legitimacy

that everyone’s hiding behind but she goes out with these bigwigs she’s what 17 now she asserts

the authority of the the throne demands more rights over the regency that kind of thing and

once again you’re sitting here going wow then something happens with her you want to talk about

powerful women and remember with things like this this long ago you have to read between the lines

so you’re going to get separated data points and you have to say to yourself like an algebra problem

if she could do this what might we deduce about her right she apparently does something and it’s

unclear again that uh that prompts all kinds of troubles and and reactions she somehow gets in

front of a large crowd of soldiers and starts inciting them at this conference

there is apparently some sort of cash flow issue uh the soldiers haven’t been paid or do some money

and they’re angry about it we’ve already pointed out occasions where the macedonian infantry the

rank-and-file can get kind of fiery it’s not just the ladies in this story from the region that can

get that way the macedonian infantry can get a little fiery and she’s playing that up she’s

inciting them one historian i read said it got to the point where they’re the the troops were

almost ready to start lynching their officers or the marshals or whatnot there were two temporary

uh people who took perticus’s job just until they decided something at the conference and both of

them were unable to handle a day of eurydice if you believe the sources sort of threw up their

hands and didn’t know what to do so when i say connect the data points and realize what’s going

on in between who the hell can’t handle a 17 i mean you say to yourself how is she already such

an issue enter onto the scene antipater olympius’s old enemy the vendetta the head of the vendetta

clan the whole thing right he shows up once again we imagine in his late 70s here probably

and he sort of quells the situation and it’s not easy one historian said it was a um a blend of

firmness and conciliation that helped get the troops in line again and antipater sort of puts

a muzzle or a straitjacket on a day of eurydice for the moment you know throws her off a twitter

whatever it is whatever the ancient equivalent is but it doesn’t sound like it was easy and the

fact that he’s got to do this once again shows you that she’s a very interesting character right

i sort of get the feeling like you know he’d love to have her killed in a different world

it would just solve everything but his hands are tied right she’s got the cloak of invulnerability

right now and she apparently knows it she’s going to use it antipater is going to be given

the top job basically at this conference he’s going to be the guy that succeeds perdicus which

is exactly the opposite of what olympius was hoping for right so much of the machinations that

she’s been involved with since her son’s death have been designed to prevent this guy from

becoming powerful and here he is basically now at the top of his of his game in his late 70s

approaching his early 80s he will come back to macedonia in 320 bce 319 bce bringing both kings

with him philip erodeus the mascot king and alexander’s probably would you say toddler now

alexander the fourth with his mother alexander’s persian bactrian wife essentially um antipater

also now will hold this office of regent he basically has all of the trappings of legitimacy

that you could possibly have to be the one who um you know gives orders in alexander’s stead

except for alexander’s body ptolemy is of course coveting that at home talking to it maybe when no

one’s looking but with antipater coming back to macedonia with this sort of power and authority

it’s hard not to see this as one of the lowest points in olympius’s life and maybe she’s in great

physical danger here too remember not only uh did she already have a lot of water under the bridge

probably in the relationship with this guy but she can plausibly be accused of setting in motion

the wave of destruction and wars and everything that’s been going on since alexander died so i

mean he’s got a lot of reasons to want to see her gone it’s a time when a person who had devoted

their entire life to a particular deity might expect a little divine intervention and perhaps

if you look at things from a magical point of view it’s possible that that’s exactly what she gets here

in 319 bce a relatively short time after he arrives back in macedonia after being given

you know the trappings of perdiccas’s position and legitimacy antipater dies

is now obviously there’s no talk of conspiracy or worries about poison and whatnot here when

you’re 78 79 80 81 years old whatever he was uh people aren’t surprised it’s another reason if

you’re a person who wants to go tell olympius don’t think your god did this he was an old man

he was bound to kick off eventually she might come back with a very plausible reply and say yeah but

how do you explain the next part then the next part is that as antipater lay dying his son

cassander was supposed to be at his side when last we saw cassander alexander the great was beating

his head against the wall and he was forever traumatized and couldn’t walk by a statue of

the great figure without going weak in the knees even decades later we’re told cassander who might

have been the guy that delivered the poison to the cup bearer that killed alexander if poison did

kill alexander cassander’s by his dad’s bedside and clearly expects to be the one who his dad

gives his power and authority to and the reason you can deduce that is because when his dad doesn’t do

this cassander gets pissed runs off and immediately starts the second round of the successor wars

about 45 minutes after the last round ended you can see why people sometimes like to think of them

as continuous conflicts now here’s the thing had cassander gotten the gig from his dad it would

have been a disaster for olympius and her people and that was sort of the one you would think was

going to get the job so antipater might have been old and that might have been expected but

the idea that antipater would hand the regency over not to his son cassander but to a person

who would end up being close enough to olympius to be on her side well what are the odds of that

sometimes it pays to have friends in high places she might think i’ve read some really good

histories though that have really good rational explanations for why antipater might not have

given the job to cassander the first one and the most plausible being he may not have seen it as

his job to give it was the syndicate right the other bosses who gave me this job and and they’re

the ones who’ll decide who’ll replace me i read one guy who had a great line about wisdom because

when you look at the only successor who’s really going to come out ahead in all these uh crabs in

a bucket dynamic kind of thing it’s going to be ptolemy the guy with alexander’s body and sometimes

there’s almost a karmic sort of explanation given why he’s the one that chose not to participate

in alexander’s so-called funeral games right stayed out of the crabs in the bucket dynamic

therefore he survived right what’s the line from war games the only way to win is not to play

ptolemy didn’t play and maybe antipater by not giving his power and authority to his son

was basically asserting that listen son stay out of this mess and you’ll prosper

but if i give this ring to you they’re going to see this as an attempt to create a dynasty

you’re going to get all those powerful generals combining to take you down the way they took down

let’s just avoid this and we’ll give the job to good old loyal polyprecon or polypercon

this is going to be this guy this poor polyprecon guy’s a moment on the world stage he seems like a

trustworthy not very august general in a in a room full of really great generals one historian

in a not very nice way said he was a jackal amongst lions the lions being the great marshals

wasn’t a bad general though it’s just he’s going to end up fighting these other generals and they’re

really good so all of his shortcomings will be exposed and this is where um you know if you’re

having that argument with olympia’s trying to explain to her that this is not your god favoring

you you would come back with yeah well if your god was trying to help you out why would he

saddle you with the polyprecon guy as your general because that’s where olympia’s real

downside’s going to happen in his fighting who’s he going to be fighting cassander what’s he going

to be fighting over which of the two kings gets to be the only king you know that deal when

alexander died we’re going to have two kings and they’re both going to be legitimate we’re going

to raise them up blah blah blah yeah well that ends here uh there’s going to be one king and

it’s going to be figured out who it is over the next couple of years it’s either going to be the

mascot king philip aridaeus or it’s going to be the let’s call him the toddler king alexander the

fourth maybe he’s five years old now so maybe not toddler anymore the representatives of uh the

mascot king are obviously a day of eurydice they will hook their wagon both sides need military

support they will hook their wagon to cassander’s cause so he’s kind of their champion and we don’t

know yet whether a day of eurydice figures that cassander is her puppet or whether cassander

figures she’s his on the other side you have the little kid alexander the fourth you have his

mother alexander’s persian bactrian wife you have olympius and you have this polypercon guy

he’s going to be the guy that goes and wrestles with cassander all over this theater militarily

and some of cassander’s allies and basically lose that’s what happens they lose everywhere else but

there’s going to be a battle that actually physically involves both of our female champions

here on opposite sides uh i can tell you with only a little bit of shame that the entire reason

i’ve told you this entire story the entire reason i would justify the 57 part series on the cable

network that i’d like to do is for this battle and this scene and unfortunately the ancient sources

tell you it happened give you like a sentence or two but they leave out all the juicy drama and

color that could be in there uh so i’ll try to fill it in with what little we know what little

we know is already fascinating there’s an ancient historian uh durris of samos

he called this battle the first war between women certainly he is mistaken because with all of human

history there’s just too much out there where you can say reasonably with an odds uh the odds out

there probably happened before and i always safely say it probably happened in china before it’s a

safe bet but in 317 bce at one point again there’s a lot we don’t know dating may be suspect

but a day ridic he might have come back to macedonia and attempted to sort of just dismiss

uh the guy that antipater left everything to sorry polypropylene we don’t need you anymore

your services are no longer required we’re giving it to cassander and philip erodeus is going to be

the new king or whatever she said that’s so pissed off olympius that olympius uh gets an army together

most of them the local levies from her her homeland and she may have been ruling her

homeland directly at this point by the way she’ll get her levies together she has some

macedonian troops uh both sides i should point out have macedonian staffs of command officers

so they’re not operating alone there’s a group of people deciding on strategy and all that

but there will be an encounter at the a pirate macedonian border between these two women

at the heads of their armies basically sort of let’s let’s call them the faces of both sides

on one side is a day a eurydice with an army with quite a few macedonians on paper this should be

the victorious force because they have the deciding factor right these what do we call the

ancient wehrmacht units these people who conquered the world or at least the military system that

produced them led by officers lots of veterans it’s a fearsome force a day a eurydice is dressed

like one of them in armor with weapons helmet the whole she’s dressed like a soldier like a man

and her illyrian heritage is always remarked upon her mother uh certainly fought and was

trained to fight may have commanded troops as i said may have killed a rival queen in single

combat and her mother the illyrian who married married philip ii well goes without saying she

was trained as well i find this sort of interesting because this is a what is she about 20 years old

now i don’t know when her birthday is but let’s say 20 years old a day a eurydice she’s essentially

going to go out there and and say to the men that she is every bit as able to compete in their area

of power as they are right it’s the same attitude that we have today right no job should be uh

unavailable uh i’m just as good as you are i can do just as good of a job as you can right

olympius is on the other side and she’s going to take a totally sort of a different stand

this is all interpreted through me so i hope you’ll you’ll give me a grain of salt here but

i’ll explain my thinking um she doesn’t come out dressed as a warrior she’s not going to compete

and try to be an equal to the men in their area of power she has her own area of power where she

already has an advantage in fact she’s got a power that nobody can touch out there and i love it

because it’s something where you know i can talk about these people believe in magic or this or

that all i want and make it sound like isn’t that silly but olympius is going to do something at

this battle that is magical and it’s not silly in fact the consequences of it are fearsome and

the repercussions are huge and if you don’t think it’s magic um or you don’t think that that’s a

word that that meets the definition of what we’re about to see here maybe you have another but here’s

my thinking when these two armies meet there’s going to be um quite a bit of time where they

face off against each other this is pretty common in a in a field battle a set piece battle from

these eras now they’re not all set piece battles you have encounter battles you have battles that

happen between cavalry forces but when you have these kind of battles between sides that have

troops that stand shoulder to shoulder in ranks it often takes a long time to set up

think about a parade ground with tens of thousands or more people you’re trying to get into the right

positions and then maybe the last minute you go i don’t want these guys there move them 100 yards

down that way and then move the guys i mean there’s finagling sometimes you have light troops

and skirmishers all around sort of conducting activities obscuring views and whatnot but

generally these two lines of people will have sometimes hours to stare at each other across a

sort of a no man’s land farther than the distance an arrow can be shot that’s sort of the point

right you’re just out of range but you can watch each other this is something modern

soldiery really doesn’t ever get to do in fact in combat you’re lucky to ever see an enemy sometimes

in modern you know any 20th century and afterward sort of combat because the ranges are so far

here you get to watch and have a look at and monitor your enemy for quite a long time it’s

why you see so many displays intended to intimidate the other side because you have time to do that

commanders often dressed quite conspicuously it’s a trade-off you become a target for the

enemy when they can easily identify you but you want your own troops to be able to easily identify

you because one of the worst things that can happen is for a rumor to spread that you’re dead

or something and then everything collapses and oh geez sorry almost happened to william the

conqueror at the battle of hastings in 1066 famously so oftentimes both sides even from

across the no man’s land can pick out and identify figures you know on the other side and this is key

because the reason a day a eurydice is so conspicuously dressed is so that

they will know you know who they’re up against right this is the queen i have philip erodeus with

me the king philip’s son right we’re the legitimate side on the other side is olympius we are told

dressed like a follower of dionysus maybe like a priestess of dionysus and she plays that side up

she’s not wearing armor um we’re not told exactly what a follower of dionysus and dressed up like

that means appears as a follower of dionysus in my movie i know what it means diadem around the hair

flowing gown there will be snakes of course because i mean personally i think if you get one

snake you probably get a package deal so i’m just watching a bunch of snakes i want my wand with ivy

wrapped around it dripping honey whatever but she is showing up to these people as a

channeler she’s a she’s a necromancer of sorts right she conjures the dead and she hasn’t had

an occasion where she’s had to do that she’s like one of those um you know fast draw gunmen in the

west where because of their reputation you know how fast they have killed all these men or whatever

you know who they are uh you don’t ask you don’t give them any trouble you just let their reputation

get them what they want but every now and then some young kid comes into the town and demands

that this guy show him that he’s really as fast as everyone says this is the time where olympius has

to conjure ghosts because she needs them now and she needs them in a physical sense in this battle

if you don’t believe in magic what do you think this is before the battle starts or just as the

battle starts and the two sides are about to face off a day a uridic ease macedonian forces

lay down their weapons or they put up their spears or they send officers out who say we will

not fight against the mother of alexander the great and the wife of philip the second and the

son of alexander the great we don’t know how they and i’m using air quotes my hands one of my one of

my old ancient copies of of an ancient translation says um changed allegiances so exactly how it

happened isn’t known but what is known is olympius was able to channel the ghosts in a way that

magically forced the other side to not fight her folks we’re talking about a set piece battle here

almost certainly tens of thousands of troops on each side a massive affair of humanity out there

and when they notice olympius on the other side dressed as a follower of dionysus

even though they have a queen in their ranks with a son of philip the second they refuse to fight

what is that is that not magic you want an analogy there’s a famous story about napoleon

and you know napoleon’s the one who they said um that he was apparently worth his presence on the

battlefield was worth i’m going from memory here i think they said 40 000 men his presence on the

battlefield was worth 40 000 men now they were not talking about his strategic brilliance or his

tactical ability all that was already baked into the pie that was taken into account right the fact

that as a commander making plans he would be wonderful when they said his presence is worth

40 000 men they meant because of the magic the emotional and inspirational ability it had on

his troops the the lift it gave them the sense that their destiny was now

latched to his destiny and his destiny was clear right in alexander’s case he’s a god right

um in napoleon’s case well it’s as close as you can get to a god in that era

there’s a famous story about napoleon that after he loses in his exile for the first time

he will famously come back to france unexpectedly with a small bodyguard he will land and as he

advances toward paris he picks up more and more troops along the way and at one point the king

desperate to stop him sends out forces you know to sort of end it kill him whatever it takes uh

with an officer who i believe going from memory here was one of napoleon’s generals

and they stop him and there’s this face-off where they’ve got the guns pointed at him at least in

the movie version of it anyway um you know stand there stop you’re under arrest whatever it is

napoleon walks out in front of his own bodyguard troops and says if you want to kill your emperor

you know here i am some wonderful dramatic move and his forces sort of dissolve into puddles of

emotional tears drop their guns lift him up you know and the march to paris is on viva emperor

you know the the magic that’s magic folks what that is the ability to all of a sudden um just

morph a mass human emotional response into a way that completely changes the dynamics of a situation

in in a way that is inexplicable in any other sense how do you explain these macedonian forces

who by all rights should have destroyed olympius’s the pirate levies laying down their arms giving

her the battle well you can have a number of logical explanations for that but i’m just thinking

olympius is going to go and say what my irish catholic uh great aunt would always say to me

when i thought i would win these logical arguments with her it’s a question of faith

dionysus saves her ass again and delivers into her hands her enemies philip aridaeus is captured

almost immediately a day a eurydice soon afterwards and they fall into olympius’s hands

which as you already probably know is the worst place they can be in fairness to her if the shoe

had been on the other foot she probably would have been doomed as well but the shoe’s not on

the other foot and because of that philip aridaeus and a day erudite are doomed and she mistreats

them for a couple of days or a certain period of time the ancient sources say

before sending i have different sources on this thracians they’re always poor thracians are always

implicated as like the executioners are the ones who you get to do dirty work especially if it

involves killing a king uh that you might not think a macedonian would handle too well you know

you you might think they might balk at it so instead you send the thracians in there to go

do that olympia supposedly sends thracians into stab philip aridaeus the mascot king to death

death by a blade being the way that these kind of kings were supposed to die

and then famously sending three items to a day a eurydice diadora siculus says it was a uh a noose

a sword and some hemlock hemlock’s poison basically and this may have been what she did

years ago to one of philip’s wives too it’s it’s basically saying you know choose the way you want

to do this but you know what you have to do and instead we’re told that she after denouncing

olympius and supposedly olympius was going to be nicer to her although you know if you believe it

uh but she kept saying the kingdom’s supposed to be mine not yours and so she got mad at her

uh but instead of giving uh olympius the satisfaction of killing her with one of the

things olympius gave her she hangs herself with her girdle we’re told olympius and her forces um

then sweep into macedonia right the queen is back and she instantly kills like a hundred of cassandra

supporters boom that’s some bad publicity as peter green points out and we’ll kind of get

her in trouble with a backlash that’s going to come back to haunt her pretty much right away

that’s not all that olympius did by the way she also gets her hands

on one of cassandra’s brothers kills him she may have she’s accused certainly of

going to another of cassandra’s brothers the guy who was alexander’s cup bearer

and desecrating his grave and maybe scattering the bones out in the open which would have been

really sacrilegious a real religious offense to greek and macedonian sensibilities if she did it

it’s kind of a public statement though about what she thinks of that family the vendetta continues

right and your bones will not rest in peace elizabeth carney had a very interesting line

when she pointed out that this is exactly the sort of activity that you would think was designed to

bring cassandra back to macedonia right drop everything in greece and come back and deal

with this right before she kills more of your supporters but then she points out that when

he does just that neither olympius nor the guy who looks a little like her puppet general at

this point palipicon neither one of them seems ready for it cassandra’s conducted all these

campaigns relatively brilliantly uh does so here there’s a point where there’s a point where uh

the forces of olympius try to block him like palipicons out there with troops and they all

try to block him and he blocks both of them and he goes right for olympius’s forces almost as if

he knows the uh you know napoleon is worth 40 000 men sort of an equation and realizes to heck with

these little forces of troops i can deal with later get olympius she’s the dangerous one right

we said in this story that the most impressive most dangerous people are the ones who are going

to get eliminated from these 44 45 year old conflict uh first olympius is seen by cassandra

for what she is she’s the only woman you could think of that’s in a position where she’s running

macedonia she’s got to go he will drive her forces uh into a town on the coast that is not

ready for any kind of siege the sources differ some saying she has almost no troops with her

others saying she’s got a substantial force so who the heck knows the chronology is disputed here

amongst the experts some who think everything kind of collapses very quickly others who think

there’s like a year and a half long prolonged siege where people are starving you know you can

see the bones through the rib cage i mean that kind of starvation and the chronology is messed

up right including when all this goes down that we’re about to talk about now uh but between 317

and 315 how about we we make it safe that way um olympius is walled up kind of under siege in the

city she has to surrender she either gets caught while trying to escape by sea and has to surrender

or she has a deal where she turns over the city and everybody agrees okay we surrender uh either

one of those cases the deal seems to be the same her life is supposed to be spared cassandra is

supposed to spare her life and and some other prominent figures lives too he will renege on

all of those agreements this is part of what makes cassandra the kind of character he is

uh you simply can’t trust him at all and here’s the thing before you judge him too harshly you

have to go if the shoe were on the other foot you know would olympius have done this she very well

might have so all these people are rather ruthless uh olympius gets treated a little unfairly for her

ruthlessness because it’s viewed through the female lens where if she was just another guy

like cassandra which she kind of is sometimes um might be a little bit different in this case the

magic is protecting olympius apparently even now though because cassandra’s got to figure out a way

to kill her he can’t really do it in the back room the way she killed uh philip ordeos and those

people while she had them in custody he might lose his head if he did that so he does something

that’s another typical macedonian thing and tries to make it sort of public so that everybody’s in

on this decision he gets the macedonian army uh under very interesting dubious sorts of perhaps

tactics to uh put a death sentence on her he has people testify about what she did during these

purges and all these kinds of things and then there’s a bunch of stories and i’m sorry i don’t

know one from another in terms of what’s better in talking about what happened after the assembly

condemns olympius to death elizabeth carney going over a bunch of the ancient writers versions of

this says quote at this point the accounts diverge they differ about the context of her death

its perpetrators and its method pausanias simply says that cassandra turned olympius over to those

macedonians who were irritated with her so that she could be stoned to death justin complaining

that the macedonians had forgotten the wealth power and security that her husband and son had

brought them reports that when olympius saw armed men approaching her she went out to meet them

dressed in royal attire and supported by two maids this action surprised her would-be assassins

and reminded them of her former majesty and the names of all the kings she called to mind

and they did not kill her instead cassandra had to send other men to stab her rather than trying

to avoid the sword and its wounds or crying out quote end quote like a woman justin claims

that olympius faced death in the manner of brave men in keeping with the glory of her ancient

lineage so that quote you could see alexander even in his dying mother end quote elizabeth carney

continues quote by going out to meet her killers justin’s olympius defined her death and rendered

it as a kind of forced suicide since she in effect chose it and chose to make it a public death

end quote she then goes on to reports deodorus’s view though and his is a more confusing point of

view she says but may be closer to the mark and it’s interesting she points out that cassandra

might have been trying to get olympius condemned by you know this large group of sort of hand-picked

people in a hand-picked situation so that he had the cloak of legitimacy around it

but prevent her from being able to ever mount a defense and carney says it was possible that it

was coming to a situation where she was going to have a chance now to give you know her two two

cents into this whole thing and her side of the story and that cassandra panicked because if she

could basically think about it gandalf wise if she could utter the spell everybody might be transfixed

right and so he has her uh done away with quietly by relatives of those that she killed in the purge

as a way to prevent any chance that she could work her magic again with the macedonian troops

or population carney then points out that if it seems a little storytelling like if it seems like

it’s already been written by this storyteller and it’s just too uh it’s too good to be true

you know send the script back to the screenwriter carney points out there may have been a reason for

this in the same way that christianity in europe in the middle ages provides a a framework giving

people an idea of how to act these homeric stories and legends and traditions gave these people an

idea of how to act so if it seems like it’s right out of the iliad that may be because that’s how

they saw these circumstances in terms of how you should act carney points out that it’s not just

olympius’s death but also a day of your ridicues that follows this same sort of homeric sort of

feel this storytelling thing where they seem like heroes in the iliad and she writes quote

in effect homer and tragedy gave them a script one that was genuinely meaningful to them but

also something they could manipulate to their own ends olympius her daughter cleopatra the

bachelorette and a day a eurydice may have done much the same olympius believed herself to be

a linear descendant of both achilles and priam the heroic tradition gave her a model for how

she ought to die and she may well have followed it surely she would have thought that her uh

grandeur and authority and honor demanded it the irony is that olympius did not die the private

appropriately gendered death that she had granted her female enemies men killed her with swords

perhaps even in public she died the death of a male hero end quote when olympius has taken out

her grandson alexander the fourth loses his greatest and most powerful defender and officially

falls under the protection of cassander so you can see how that’s going to go he’s just licking

his lips trying to decide how long he has to wait before he can get away with you know maybe just

being king himself and then doing away with this kid i never liked his dad anyway bashed my head

against the wall you know he who laughs last laughs the loudest cassander will be responsible

for killing alexander the great’s son alexander the great’s wife alexander the great’s mother

and of course if you believe that one branch of the conspiracy theories he

may have been involved in killing alexander the great himself

the only close relative of alexander the great he didn’t seem to want to kill all the time

was alexander the great’s sister cleopatra the bachelorette he may have

gone after her hand in marriage at one point because she’s so damn eligible right

so much legitimacy she’s just wouldn’t she be a prize can you imagine that marriage talk about

the bad blood at that wedding when those two sides of those two families end up getting married

those two families end up in the same place at the same time and then have one of their

massive drinking contests while armed no trouble at all but cleopatra will be the close relative

of alexander the great that cassander doesn’t kill she’s almost too dangerous to kill

but she’s also too dangerous to leave out there running around she will find herself

for at least the last decade of her life under a sort of i read one account that

said sort of a plush or an honorable house arrest where one of these successor generals

just sort of locks her up like rapunzel you can’t let her out she’s like the typhoid mary of

matrimony she could get out marry some successor and all of a sudden you know you’ve destabilized

the entire strategic world and hundreds of thousands of people could pay the price for

that right there’s a history and she may have been trying to do just that at some point near

the end of her life right get out and marry somebody right everybody’s worst fears confirmed

she will be probably quietly assassinated around 308 bce ish when maybe everybody’s attention had

turned and the price for doing something like that had diminished somewhat it’s worth noting that

the potential value of all of alexander the great’s close relatives was so high

that none of them would be allowed to live there is no happily ever after in his direct line

or anybody really closely connected to him

and listen just to be silly for a minute i don’t doubt that there’s enough residual magic left

that if cassander and these other successors missed one that if some provable direct

descendant of alexander the great’s family were to show up today i think they could win the top

job in greek or modern federation of macedonia politics it’s macedonia actually my point is is

i still think there’s enough residual power today that if somebody showed up with the right pedigree

and could prove it um they’ll still be running the show in that region

it just goes to show that even after 2300 years the magic’s not all gone yet

because the show you just heard wasn’t long enough and the plan was for that show to be

about an hour and 15 minutes so you see about what my failure rate is time wise

but because that wasn’t long enough let’s add a little tag to it and forestall some emails

directed at me because i can already hear you you know from inside my head right now and so rather

than send me those emails let me answer a few of those questions or deal with a few of those

comments right now first for the many of you who are sitting there going does this mean there’s

not going to be another supernova in the east episode no it means nothing like that part of

the reason we have a hardcore history addendum feed is so that we can keep the other one sort of

purer with what you’re waiting for while we can still take historical vacations or do different

things uh interview shows whatever it might be something that doesn’t fit on the other feed this

was a chance to take a little historical vacation to one of my favorite times and places a place i

didn’t have to read tons of books just to get enough foundational information to discuss things

halfway rationally i can already hear the many of you who are saying that it is irresponsible

of a person in my position to cast with actors and actresses philip and olympius and not cast

alexander it is something i wrestled with while i debated how much time i was wasting trying to

find the right person for philip and then you think okay you got to do alexander now too but

oh my god if philip was tough i mean philip’s one of those guys i could throw somebody out there you

could go yeah that’s kind of interesting alexander’s a guy you throw your actor out there

you get a punch in the nose people feel passionate about that and part of the reason it’s so tough

to avoid the punch in the nose is that alexander as we said you can view him so many different ways

that the choice of who you want to play him is sort of implicitly saying which way you choose

isn’t it so i fooled around with it just like i did to cast philip’s dad by the way i was also

looking for someone that would have just a good dynamic also with charles bronson and angelina

jolie i mean you think who fits who creates a wonderful weird stew there that just fits

well the alexander circumstance so don’t punch me in the nose uh i have this terrible problem i

don’t know very many actors and actresses i have an even worse problem i don’t know any good

actors and actresses from that part of the world the balkans because that’s who probably should

really play him so cut me some slack there and i’m old and a lot of the people i remember who

are going to be from age 20 to age 32 33 the alexander lifespan there that that’s the age

that actor has to play so imagine him in that age so you got to go back in the time machine get the

actor from them but heck i’m getting 35 year old charles bronson or something so the time machine’s

working nicholas cage i know that’s bizarre i kept coming back to him when i kept looking at

the other people that i was looking at maybe for the role because nobody’s right but i have this

weird view of alexander and i need somebody who can sort of go from the one guy before he becomes

uh the guy everyone’s bowing to in asia before he converts to the megalomania and i just thought god

you need a certain range and he has to look the right nicholas cage could be from that region

or it would blonde his hair up a little it looked like he did when he was in those new wave movies

in the early 80s he and charles bronson together in the scenes uh with that tension between them

i think would be wonderful and he and angelina jolie i mean i don’t even have to make up any

script or it already seems like it’s kind of oedipal and weird doesn’t it anyway uh you know

send your angry emails to dan carlin at punch in the nose dot face eugene oregon blah blah blah

i should also point out that uh the emails that will come to us as they always do

with the pronunciation of the word macedonia versus macedonia i’m just going to forestall

that because we’ve talked about it endlessly and a bazillion other people have to this is a long

running thing folks i remember 30 years ago i got my first history book that actually didn’t even

give you the option uh and and used a k instead of a c and it was over those step people i like

so much the tribe this the scythians um we always call them scythians because that’s how it was

spelled finally one of these historians just said screw that and put a k there because that’s the

way i mean they wouldn’t know what the word scythian meant probably even in greece today

you know i mean it’s it’s not that’s not how they pronounce it that’s part of a change in

in the latin language that was done in the in the late 19th century mostly i mean it’s this is not

this is not some conspiracy thing it’s not hidden um but it it created a divide between people that

learned it one way and don’t want to change and that’s fine and people who want to get back to a

pronunciation more like the original or more like it is in most of the world today let’s be honest

most people say macedonia or macedonia or macedonia i mean most people don’t say macedonia

and most people didn’t say macedonia back then either nobody did of course the problem is is that

we’re all hypocrites on this because while i want to be you know as close and faithful to the

original as possible you’re not going to see me substituting for julius caesar julius caesar

although when you think about it that is a pretty badass name for some space alien

you know who’s conquering things left and right right oh no julius caesar is coming you know i

i guess my point is is that i won’t i’m not going to say kikero instead of cicero

but macedonia seems um the right thing to do just like scythian seems the right thing to do so it’s

a judgment call potato patato it’s not a mistake it’s intended um you can find out stuff about

this all over the internet though it’s been going on for at least 30 years finally i was listening

to the playback and i did not think that i did a good enough job on this program i’m usually pretty

good about it of telling you exactly which book you know we said which author it often was and

which historian but we didn’t tell you which books we were specifically uh using information

from or whatnot um we were pretty good about the elizabeth carney book olympus which as i said you

ought to go pick that up if you like that stuff she did a great job she’s become the the go-to

person on that issue at least in english and every book you see that talks about olympus even in a in

a tangent kind of way references her i used two different peter green books um one was a alexander

of mackadon 356 to 323 bca historical biography this is the updated it’s been updated and revised

several times this one came out i think in the mid early to mid-1990s um but the original work

was a 1970 work and then of course for those of you who are the hellenistic junkies the tome

for um people who are interested in the period alexander to actium the historical evolution of

the hellenistic age the word comprehensive does not do it justice and the whole politics

and strategy and and all that kind of stuff is just one little chunk of what it deals with

we also use robin waterfield’s dividing the spoils the war for alexander the great’s empire

a great book i mean he does as good of a job as i think you can do simplifying this stuff and

bringing out a bunch of the really interesting aspects because it can get dry if you don’t

dive in and and show the relationships between these people and the things that really

makes it really interesting i think he does a great job of that

we quoted ab bosworth and that was from his book conquest and empire the reign of alexander the

great bosworth of course one of my he’s an australian historian one of my favorite um

in terms of he just his view of alexander the great is fascinating

and and perhaps perhaps the right one i mean i sometimes i read his stuff and i go wow you know

that’s that could really be the way the guy was finally we used uh richard a gabriel’s book uh

philip ii of macedonia greater than alexander for some of the stuff as well and you know we

always put this stuff in the show notes which are on our website at dan carlin.com we link these

books directly to a place like an you know major online bookseller where you can buy them you know

right away one click whatever it is we encourage you to do so we like books and we like these

people or we wouldn’t have used them so if you’re thinking about buying them we’ll go to the website

and check them out and uh and maybe that would be just the christmas gift for yourself for next

year’s christmas why wait

wrath of the cons punic nightmares apache tears and of course ghosts of the ost front just a few

of the classic hardcore history titles available from dan carlin.com every true fan has heard these

favorites hey they make great gifts too

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