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High Generals of Ancient Macedonian Part III

Hephaestion led a grand military career with many achievements. He was respected, especially as one of Alexander the Great’s personal bodyguards. When Alexander set off to conquer Asia, which took ten years, it was Hephaestion that was given many important duties, which included errands concerning diplomacy and building new settlements. In this article, you will encounter the end of Hephaestion, as well as the introduction of Perdiccas , another general in Alexander the Great’s army.

Beyond his soldier façade, Hephaestion was also a rather decent diplomat and engineer. He additionally had many conversations with great philosophers Xenocrates and Aristotle.

By Alexander’s side, Hephaestion also lent his support when he desired to combine the lives of Greeks and Persians. Formally, Alexander also appointed him chiliarch of the empire, which gave him the title of being second-in-command. Alexander brought Hephaestion into the royal family as well when he gave him his sister Drypetis from his second wife Stateira. Both of the women were daughters of the Persian ruler Darius III. Sadly, his sudden death in Ecbatana sent Alexander into a whirlwind. He was consumed with grief and even eight months later (when Alexander grew ill and then died), he was still commemorating monuments in honor of his dearest friend Hephaestion.

Perdiccas

Perdiccas served as one of Alexander the Great’s generals and following the death of the king in 323 BC, he assumed the position as regent of all of Alexander’s empire. According to written texts passed on throughout time, we learn that Perdiccas was the son of Orontes, who was a descendant of the independent princes of a province called Orestis.

When it comes to a turning point in the general’s life, the conquest of Thebes (in 335 BC) gained him recognition, as he was the commander of a battalion that consisted of heavy phalanx infantry. During this battle, he received severe wounds. Afterwards, he earned a significant command during the campaigns of Alexander, which took many men across India.

The unexpected death of Hephaestion catapulted Perdiccas into the role of successor as commander of the Companion cavalry, as well as a chiliarch (another way of saying a ‘vizier’ or advisor). 324 BC also marked his marriage to the daughter of a satrap in Media , a Persian woman by the name of Atropates. His ceremony took place in Susa.

After the passing of Alexander, his generals gathered and agreed that it would be best if Philip III of Macedon (who happened to be the illegitimate son of Alexander’s father Philip II and also an epileptic) and the unborn child of Alexander’s wife Roxana should hold the position of joint kings. Perdiccas took on the role of appointed guardian and regent of the empire. In order to strike fear and gain respect amongst the people, he needed to set an example. It was his wish to act on the behalf of the two kings. By this time, Roxana had given birth to a son named Alexander. As a result, Perdiccas found it necessary to arrest and kill the infantry commander, Meleager.

To learn the fate of Perdiccas, Part IV of “High Generals of Ancient Macedonian” will shed light on the demise of this ancient high general.