Introducing General Perdikkas

  2133609418_f31e86632e-003   WHO WAS PERDIKKAS?veroxybd.com

There isn’t a lot written about Alexander’s Companion and general Perdikkas who was one of the Successors.  From what I did read (in histories) he seemed like a self-serving individual who grasped onto the power in order to better his own status. In his career he was known to have made several tactical errors that cost Macedonian lives. And in fact, his final act, a forced crossing of the crocodile-infested Nile River, cost him his own life.

Perdikkas was the son of Orontes, one of the tribal lords of the Macedonian province of Orestis. He distinguished himself during the conquest of Thebes (335 BC) where he was severely wounded.  He was 4 years older than Alexander and had been a Companion since Alexander’s youth serving as one of the generals in the campaigns of Asia. After Hephaestion’s unexpected death, he was appointed as commander of the Companion cavalry and chiliarch. At the marriage nuptials encouraged by Alexander at Susa, Perdikkas married the  daughter of Atropates, a Persian satrap. During the campaigns in India he held an important command.

300px-Alexander_deathbed_Hellenic_Institute_codex_5

When Alexander died in Babylon in 323 BC Perdikkas seized the opportunity to interpret Alexander’s dying words to mean that he should serve as the supreme commander of the army.  When we first meet Perdikkas in SHADOW OF THE LION: BLOOD ON THE MOON he is 37 years old.  His actions, claiming the power, were rejected by a number of the generals who felt that Alexander meant his beloved commander Krateros should be declared supreme commander, however Krateros had been sent back to Macedonia shortly before. Perdikkas then took over as official guardian of the royal family and had Alexander’s idiot half-brother Arridaios named joint-king along with Alexander’s newborn son and legitimate heir, Iskander (Alexander IV). He was intolerant of anyone who opposed his position and further alienated himself by brutally killing any of these opponents.

Once they royal family had left Babylon en route back to Macedonia, Perdikkas furthered his quest to seize control of the throne by agreeing to marry the Regent’s daughter Nikaea.  However, true to form, when he was also offered the hand of Alexander’s sister Kleopatra, he broke off his marriage to Nikaea and sent her home.  Perdikkas knew that because of Arridaios mental deficiency and Iskander’s part-Persian heritage, he would stand a good chance of seizing the throne himself. When the other generals and the Regent learned of this they set out to stop him.

Funeral3-002

As Perdikkas marched south in pursuit of Ptolemy who had hijacked Alexander’s funeral carriage and taken the body to Egypt, Perdikkas actions created friction in the army who complained against his severe orders.  When he ordered troops to cross the crocodile infested river that was the final disaster of his career.  After seeing hundreds of their companions drowned and killed by these vicious river beasts, a group of his officers plotted to kill him. Led by Peithon and Seleukos, a group of  generals raided Perdikka’s tent and stabbed him to death.  He was 39 years old.

Selous_Game_Reserve_024

prd_013621

There is no monument for Perdikkas.  No bust of him has been found (at least there is no record that I have found) so there is no physical image of him.  He left behind his legacy of corruption and the tragic consequences of his quest for power.

 

 

INTRODUCING ROXANE

Sodiana_Bactria_Mapir-leasing.ru

640px-Lataband_Road_mountainsAuthor’s note: I’m going to present a series of introductions to the main characters in SHADOW OF THE LION, first those in “Blood on the Moon” and later those who appear in volume 2 “The Fields of Hades”.

3a6ab311a45c316185e17dc6fe1fed4f

Roxana (also spelled Roxane): Her Sogdian name was ROSHANAK which meant “Little Star”. Her father was a Sogdian nobleman and warlord named Oxyartes. His fortress was atop the formidable Rock of Ariamazes in Sogdiana near the Oxus River, known as “The Sogdian Rock” in the Hindu Kush mountains, today’s northern Afghanistan.  Roxana was about fifteen years old when Alexander’s elite troop of mountaineers scaled the heights of the Rock and stormed the fortress.

hqdefault

It is said that Alexander fell in love at first sight when he met this spirited Soghdian girl who was described as ”the most beautiful lady in all Asia”. All agreed that Alexander was entranced by her. He was 29 and had never been married. An obvious candidate had been Barsine, widow of Memnon of Rhodes, who had been his concubine since the Battle of Issus, but instead he chose Roxana. They had a lavish wedding and symbolized their union before the guests with the Persian custom of cutting a loaf of bread with a sword and each eating half as bride and groom. Of course his marriage was political move as Oxyartes was one of the most powerful chieftains in Sogdiana.  Roxana was a fierce-tempered mountain woman. Her three brothers were warriors and were later conscripted into Alexander’s army. One of them, Itanes, became the commander of a special squadron.

roxanna-achaemenid-princess-003

Alexander’s marriage to Roxana was a noble step, his first marriage was meant to secure Soghdiana as part of his empire, so perhaps this was more of a reality and not romance when he married her. His father, Philip II always took wives from the tribes he conquered. And to maintain the Soghdians’ loyalty marrying a local princess was a logical step. The marriage provoked his generals. Alexander had begun to adopt Persian customs, including the proskynesis (bowing in obeisance to the king), and the men were outraged and bitter toward Persian royalty.

Roxana1

After the marriage, Roxana followed Alexander to India where she gave birth to a child that died soon after. She accompanied Alexander to Babylon and when he died on June 10, 323 BC she was again pregnant. So was Alexander’s second wife, Stateira, the daughter of Shah Darius. In a fit of jealousy, and with General Perdikkas’ help, Roxana allegedly murdered her female rival.

Unlike most of the other Persian noblewomen who were quickly swept from sight after the Macedonians repudiated the marriages that had been arranged for them by Alexander, Roxana managed to survive, but she and her newborn son were never truly accepted. The child, Alexander IV (in the novel named Iskander) born a month after Alexander’s death, was of Soghdian blood, not a true-born Macedonian. Because the generals insisted there should be a Macedonian on the throne, they made Alexander’s mentally challenged half-brother Arridaios, joint kings with Alexander’s infant heir.

Roxana’s life after Alexander’s death was not an easy one. Despised by most of the generals and known for her angry outbursts, she was isolated and mostly friendless.  In the novel, I created a fictional character, Nabarzanes the Persian Court Advisor, as a sympathetic character who she could rely on.  Her life became a struggle as she tried to survive the maelstrom of Macedonian politics and intrigues of the Macedonian court. She could trace her bloodlines to an Assyrian queen and was used to a rich, indulged lifestyle, known for her temper, selfishness and arrogance. Alexander’s generals considered her a mere campaign wife.  After the death of General Perdikkas who manipulated the joint-kings in hopes of gaining his own hold on the throne, Roxana and her child were placed in the guardianship of Polyperchon, one of the officers who had served Alexander in Soghdiana.

Roxana_with_Alexander_IV_Aegus_the_son_of_Alexander_the_Great

For a woman who had grown up in the mountains of the Hindu Kush, traveled to exotic India and lived in the posh palaces of Persia and Babylonia, it must have been a strange experience for Roxana when she and her child were finally transported to Macedon to be placed in the care of the aging regent, Antipater.