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Who's Who & What Happened When? November 23, 2004
by Mark Rose

A quick guide to the main characters in Alexander's life, and a basic chronology

We don't know how Oliver Stone is going to slice and dice history in his film, but the real story is complicated enough in terms of people, events, and dates. To help you navigate the story, here is ARCHAEOLOGY's guide to the most important characters and outline of the chronology of Alexander's life.

Alexanderking of Epiros, brother of Olympias and uncle of Alexander
Amyntasson of Perdiccas III and heir to Macedonian throne (usurped by Philip in 359), married to Cynnane, Philip's daughter (through Illyrian woman Audata); both executed for an alleged plot against Alexander

Macedonian general, father of Demetrios Poliorcetes
AntipaterMacedonian nobleman and Alexander's regent
Arrhidaeus (Philip)son of Philip (and Thessalian woman Philinna), born in 358/357; Plutarch blames Arrhidaeus' disability on a botched poisoning attempt by Olympias; married Adea Eurydice (daughter of Amyntas and Cynnane); both killed through machinations of Olympias
AttalusMacedonian nobleman, uncle of Philip's last wife, Cleopatra (Eurydice), and brother-in-law of Philotas; killed by Parmenion on Alexander's orders.
Bagoaseunuch in court of Darius III, became influential with Alexander
Barsinedaughter of Persian nobleman Artabazus, chief courtier of Darius, and wife of Rhodian mercenary captain Memnon; became mistress of Alexander and mother of his son Herakles (both later killed by Cassander)
BessusPersian governor of Bactria under Darius III, whom he later killed
Callisthenesnephew of Aristotle, opposed Alexander's assumption of divine status and later executed for supposed complicity in plot led by Hermolaus
Cassanderson of Antipater; suggested as possible poisoner of Alexander (an unlikely thought); certainly responsible for the deaths of Olympias, Roxane and Alexander IV, and Barsine and Herakles; used his marriage to Thessalonike, Alexander's half-sister, to legitimize his claim to Macedonian throne
Cleopatra (1)niece of Attalus married Philip II, precipitating breach with Olympias and Alexander; death of Cleopatra and infant daughter contrived by Olympias after Philip assassinated; Cleopatra is called Eurydice in one ancient source and is called that in Oliver Stone's movie as well
Cleopatra (2)daughter of Philip and Olympias, Alexander's full sister; married to uncle, Alexander of Epiros
Clituscommander of Alexander's cavalry; saves Alexander at Granicus, but killed by him in drunken rage at Maracanda in 327
Craterusperhaps Alexander's best general
Darius IIIPersian king
DymnusMacedonian who plotted against Alexander
EumenesGreek secretary, and general, of Alexander
Hephaestiongeneral and closest of Alexander's friends; married Drypetis, daughter of Darius
Hermolauspage in Alexander's court; conspired to kill Alexander, but the plot was exposed and he was tortured to death
Leonnatusbodyguard and relative (through Philip's mother) of Alexander
Lysimachusbodyguard of Alexander
MemnonRhodian mercenary in Persian service who began successful counterattack in Aegean and fostered rebellion among Greeks, but died of natural causes
Nearchuscommander of the fleet and Alexander's personal friend
Olympiasmother of Alexander and Cleopatra (2); arranged death of Cleopatra (1) (Philip's last wife) to protect Alexander's claim to the throne; after Alexandr died encompassed deaths of Arrhidaeus and Adea Eurydice to protect claim of Alexander IV, son of Alexander and Roxane; killed by order of Cassander in 315
OxyartesBactrian nobleman who surrenders to Alexander in 327, father of Roxane
Parmenionchief Macedonian general until 330, father of Philotas; executed on Alexander's orders
PerdiccasMacedonian general and friend of Alexander; missed opportunity to seize the throne after Alexander's death
Philotasson of Parmenion and a cavalry commander. Aware of Dymnus' plot against Alexander, he did not expose it and was executed for complicity.
PolyperchonMacedonian infantry officer
PtolemyMacedonian officer and friend of Alexander; diverted Alexander's funeral procession to Egypt; eventually established himself as king there (ancestor of Cleopatra, last to rule of his dynasty)
Roxanedaughter of Bactrian nobleman Oxyartes; married by Alexander and mother of his son Alexander IV, both killed ca. 310 by Cassander
Sisigambismother of Darius III; captured by Alexander and treated with respect by him
SpitamenesBactrian nobleman who leads revolt against Alexander
Stateira (1)wife of Darius III; captured by Alexander
Stateira (2)daughter of Darius III; captured by Alexander and married by him; likely killed by Roxane and Perdiccas after Alexander's death
ThaisAthenian courtesan and mistress of Ptolemy; instigated burning of Persepolis

Events & Dates
359Philip II becomes king of Macedonia
358/57birth of Arrhidaeus son of Philip, later called Philip Arrhidaeus
357Philip marries Olympias, sister of Alexander, king of Epiros
356birth of Alexander
338Macedonians defeat Greek coalition led by Thebes and Athens at Chaeronea
336assassination of Philip; Alexander becomes king
336/35executions of Amyntas (Alexander's cousin) and Attalus (uncle of Philip's last wife, Cleopatra) on Alexander's orders
335revolt of Thebes; Alexander captures the city and orders its complete destruction, its citizens killed or enslaved
334Alexander invades Asia Minor; victory at over Persians at Granicus; Sardis, Miletus, Halicarnassus captured
333campaign in Asia Minor (Gordion), victory at over Darius at Issus in November (Darius' family captured)
332sieges of Tyre and Gaza
332/31Alexander visits temple of Ammon in the Siwa oasis
331foundation of Alexandria in Egypt
331Alexander defeats Darius at Guagamela on October 1; captures Babylon and Susa
330burning of Persepolis; Darius killed; Philotas executed for conspiring against Alexander, Parmenion then killed
329revolt of Spitamenes
328capture of Sogdian Rock; Alexander kills Clitus at Maracanda
328/27death of Spitamenes; Alexander marries Roxane
327Alexander requires abasement of all who approach him, outraging some among the Macedonians; conspiracy of the pages against Alexander
326battle with Indian king Porus; troops refuse to continue eastward
326/25army travels down Indus River to coast
325return to Persia
324mass wedding at Susa of Macedonians to Persian women (Alexander marries Stateira and another princess); death of Hephaestion
323Alexander dies at Babylon on June 10

© 2004 by the Archaeological Institute of America