Ptolemy and the Will of Alexander

Brian Bosworth

in Alexander the Great in Fact and Fiction

Published in print September 2000 | ISBN: 9780198152873
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191715136 | DOI:
Ptolemy and the Will of Alexander

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One of the more enigmatic documents from antiquity is the so-called Liber de Morte, the colourful account of Alexander the Great's death and testament which concludes the extant versions of the Alexander Romance. This detailed and vibrant story develops the ancient rumours that Alexander was poisoned by a conspiracy among his senior marshals, led and orchestrated by Antipater's son, Cassander. Over a dozen supposed conspirators are mentioned by name, and a handful of dignitaries, among them Perdiccas and Ptolemy, are categorically exonerated. The story moves on to the drafting of Alexander's will over a day and a night, whereby Alexander makes provision for the succession, in the first place for the son he anticipates from Rhoxane, and partitions out his empire with appointments strikingly different from the actual satrapal division which took place at Babylon. The document had a strong subliminal message: Ptolemy was the true heir to the legacy of Alexander and deserved the kingship.

Keywords: Alexander the Great; death; will; Ptolemy; conspiracy; Liber de Morte; Cassander; Perdiccas; kingship

Chapter.  15926 words. 

Subjects: Classical History

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