For Alexander’s army and tactics, beside the regular histories (Droysen, Niese, Beloch, Kaerst), see D. G. Hogarth, Journal of Philol., xvii. 1 seq. (corrected at some points in his Philip and Alexander).
The modifications in the army system were closely connected with Alexander’s general policy, in which the fusion of Greeks and Asiatics held so prominent a place. He had himself, as we have seen, assumed to some extent 6. Fusion of Greeks and Asiatics. the guise of a Persian king. The Macedonian Peucestas received special marks of his favour for adopting the Persian dress. The most striking declaration of his ideals was the marriage feast at Susa in 324, when a large number of the Macedonian nobles were induced to marry Persian princesses, and the rank and file were encouraged by special rewards to take Eastern wives. We are told that among the schemes registered in the state papers and disclosed after Alexander’s death was one for transplanting large bodies of Asiatics into Europe and Europeans into Asia, for blending the peoples of the empire by intermarriage into a single whole (Diod. xviii. 4, 4). How far did Alexander intend that in such a fusion Hellenic culture should retain its pre-eminence? How far could it have done so, had the scheme been realized? It is not impossible that the question may yet be raised again whether the Eurasian after all is the heir of the ages.
High above all the medley of kindreds and tongues, untrammelled by national traditions, for he had outgrown the compass of any one nation, invested with the glory of achievements in which the old bounds of 7. Divine Honours. the possible seemed to fall away, stood in 324 the man Alexander. Was he a man? The question was explicitly suggested by the report that the Egyptian priest in the Oasis had hailed him in the god’s name as the son of Ammon. The Egyptians had, of course, ascribed deity by old custom to their kings, and were ready enough to add Alexander to the list. The Persians, on the other hand, had a different conception of the godhead, and we have no proof that from them Alexander either required or received divine honours. From the Greeks he certainly received such honours; the ambassadors from the Greek states came in 323 with the character of theori, as if approaching a deity (Arr. vii. 23, 2). It has been supposed that in offering such worship the Greeks showed the effect of “Oriental” influence, but indeed we have not to look outside the Greek circle of ideas to explain it. As early as Aeschylus (Supp. 991) the proffering of divine honours was a form of expression for intense feelings of reverence or gratitude towards men which naturally suggested itself—as a figure of speech in Aeschylus, but the figure had been translated into action before Alexander not in the well-known case of Lysander only (cf. the case of Dion, Plut. Dio, 29). Among the educated Greeks rationalistic views of the old mythology had become so current that they could assimilate Alexander to Dionysus without supposing him to be supernatural, and to this temper the divine honours were a mere form, an elaborate sort of flattery. Did Alexander merely receive such honours? Or did he claim them himself? It would seem that he did. Many of the assertions as to his action in this line do not stand the light of criticism (see Hogarth, Eng. Hist. Rev. ii., 1887, p. 317 seq.; Niese, Historische Zeitschrift, lxxix., 1897, p. 1, seq.); even the explicit Statement in Arrian as to Alexander and the Arabians is given as a mere report; but we have well-authenticated utterances of Attic orators when the question of the cult of Alexander came up for debate, which seem to prove that an intimation of the king’s pleasure had been conveyed to Athens.
A new life entered the lands conquered by Alexander. Human intercourse was increased and quickened to a degree not before known. Commercial enterprise now found open roads between the Aegean and India; the new 8. Intercourse and Discovery. Greek cities made stations in what had been for the earlier Greek traders unknown lands; an immense quantity of precious metal had been put into circulation which the Persian kings had kept locked up in their treasuries (cf. Athen, vi. 231 e). At the same time Alexander himself made it a principal concern to win fresh geographical knowledge, to open new ways. The voyage of Nearchus from the Indus to the Euphrates was intended to link India by a waterway with the Mediterranean lands. So too Heraclides was sent to explore the Caspian; the survey, and possible circumnavigation, of the Arabian coasts was the last enterprise which occupied Alexander. The improvement of waterways in the interior of the empire was not neglected, the Babylonian canal system was repaired, the obstructions in the Tigris removed. A canal was attempted across the Mimas promontory (Plin. N.H. v. 116). The reports of the βηματισταί, Baeton and Diognetus, who accompanied the march of Alexander’s army, gave an exacter knowledge of the geographical conformation of the empire, and were accessible for later investigators (Susemihl, Gesch. d. griech. Litt., I. p. 544). Greek natural science was enriched with a mass of new material from the observations of the philosophers who went with Alexander through the strange lands (H. Bretzl, Botanische Forschungen d. Alexanderzuges, 1903); whilst on the other hand attempts were made to acclimatize the plants of the motherland in the foreign soil (Theophr., Hist. Plant. iv. 4, 1).
The accession of Alexander brought about a change in the monetary system of the kingdom. Philip’s bimetallic system, which had attempted artificially to fix the value of silver in spite of the great depreciation of gold consequent upon the 9. Coinage. working of the Pangaean mines, was abandoned. Alexander’s gold coinage, indeed (possibly not struck till after the invasion of Asia), follows in weight that of Philip’s staters; but he seems at once to have adopted for his silver coins (of a smaller denomination than the tetradrachm) the Euboic-Attic standard, instead of the Phoenician, which had been Philip’s. With the conquest of Asia, Alexander conceived the plan of issuing a uniform coinage for the empire. Gold had fallen still further from the diffusion of the Persian treasure, and Alexander struck in both metals on the Attic standard, leaving their relation to adjust itself by the state of the market. This imperial coinage was designed to break down the monetary predominance of Athens (Beloch, Gr. Gesch. iii. [i.], 42). None of the coins with Alexander’s own image can be shown to have been issued during his reign; the traditional gods of the Greeks still admitted no living man to share their prerogative in this sphere. Athena and Nike alone figured upon Alexander’s gold; Heracles and Zeus upon his silver.
See L. Müller, Numismatique d’Alexandre le Grand (1855); also Numismatics: § I. “Greek Coins, Macedonian.”
II. After Alexander.—The external fortunes of the Macedonian Empire after Alexander’s death must be briefly traced before its inner developments be touched upon. There was, at first, when Alexander suddenly died in 323, no overt 1. History of the “Successors.” disruption of the empire. The dispute between the Macedonian infantry and the cavalry (i.e. the commonalty and the nobles) was as to the person who should be chosen to be the king, although it is true that either candidate, the half-witted son of Philip II., Philip Arrhidaeus, or the posthumous son of Alexander by Roxana, opened the prospect of a long regency exercised by one or more of the Macedonian lords. The compromise, by which both the candidates should be kings together, was, of course, succeeded by a struggle for power among those who wished to rule in their name. The resettlement of dignities made in Babylon in 323, while it left the eastern commands practically undisturbed as well as that of Antipater in Europe, placed Perdiccas (whether as regent or as chiliarch) in possession of the kings’ persons, and this was a position which the other Macedonian lords could not suffer. Hence the first intestine war among the Macedonians, in which Antipater, Antigonus, the satrap of Phrygia, and Ptolemy, the satrap of Egypt, were allied against Perdiccas, who was ultimately murdered in 321 on the Egyptian frontier (see Perdiccas , Eumenes). A second settlement, made at Triparadisus in Syria in 321, constituted Antipater regent and increased the power of Antigonus in Asia. When Antipater died, in 319, a second war broke out, the wrecks of the party of Perdiccas, led by Eumenes, combining with Polyperchon, the new regent, and later on (318) with the eastern satraps who were in arms against Pithon, the satrap of Media. Cassander, the son of Antipater, disappointed of the regency, had joined the party of Antigonus. In 316 Antigonus had defeated and killed Eumenes and made himself supreme from the Aegean to Iran, and Cassander had
- For details see separate articles on the chief generals.