Prof. Badians views about the incident of Eumenes – Xennias


280px Macedonian Army Pezetairos Prof. Badians views about the incident of Eumenes   XenniasThere are some conflicting views over the incident where Eumenes of Kardia with his cavalry and light arms faced the Macedonian commander, Neoptolemus, leading Macedonian phalanx. In order to avoid battle, Eumenes sent Xennias, a man whose spoke the Macedonian dialect to negotiate with the commander of the phalanx.

About the above incident prof. Ernst Badian states the following


“Now, Xennias’ name at once shows him to be a Macedonian. Since he was in Ambiance entourage he was presumably a Macedonian of superior status, who spoke both standard Greek and his native language. He was the man who could be trusted to transmit Ambiance’ message. This clearly shows that the phalanx had to be addressed in Macedonian, if one wanted to be sure (as Ambiance certainly did) that they would understand. And almost equally interesting – he did not address them himself, as he and other commanders normally address soldiers who understood them, nor did he sent a Greek. The suggestion is surely that Macedonian was the language
of the infantry and that Greek was a difficult, indeed a foreign language to them. We may thus take it as certain that, when Alexander used Macedonian in addressing his guards, that too was because it was their normal language, and because (like Ambiance) he had to be sure he would be understood”.


Error #1. Badian’s conjecture that “Xennias” is a Macedonian” is blatantly wrong. He may be a Macedonian but we are not certain. Xennias is a good Greek name and this particular name was found as well in other Greek regions except Macedon, like Thessalia and Epirus.

Error #2. Contrary to Badian’s assertion, Eumenes was able to communicate with his Macedonians soldiers. In Plutarch ‘Eumenes’ XVII2 Eumenes finds it quite easy to address Macedonians and also in return the Macedonian mob to be delighted by Eumenes’ speech.

Error #3. Sending a man to address the phalanx in Macedonian doesnt mean in anyway that Eumenes couldnt speak/understand Macedonian dialect himself. If we were to believe Badian’s conjecture then we should believe also from the following text that the Macedonian commander Antigenes didnt speak..Macedonian also.


“…..41. A short time before the battle Antigenes, the general of the Sliver Shields, sent one of the Macedonian horsemen toward the hostile phalanx, ordering him to draw near to it and make proclamation. This man, riding up alone to within earshot opposite the place where the phalanx of Antigonus’ Macedonians was stationed, shouted: “Wicked men, are you sinning against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander?” and added that in a little while they would see that these veterans were worthy both of the kings and of their own past battles. At this time the youngest of the Silver Shields were about sixty years old, most of the others about seventy, and some even older; but all of them were irresistible because of experience and strength, such was the skill and daring acquired through the unbroken series of their battles. When this proclamation had been delivered as we have said, there arose from the soldiers of Antigonus angry cries to the effect that they were being forced to fight against their kinsfolk and their elders, but from the ranks of Eumenes there came a cheer and a demand that he lead them against the enemy as soon as possible.

XIX 39.5 (Loeb Edition volume IX)

Using Badian’s logic we should conclude that neither the Macedonian commander of Argyraspids Antigenes could communicate in Macedonian dialect, hence he sent one of his soldiers to address the Macedonian phalanx. Rather self-contradicting with Badian’s perception of the infantry’s ‘language’ to be Macedonian. If so it would be quite irrational one of the supreme commanders of Macedonian army, the leader of Argyraspids to be unable communicating with his troops.

Want more of this? See these Posts:

  1. Biographies – Eumenes of Cardia
  2. Prof. Dr Ivan Kochev – Sofia University, newspaper “Kontinent” – 17.10.1997
  3. Prof. W. Clarysse: Macedonian nobility in Alexandria spoke a Doric Dialect and had Doric Names
  4. Views of the Bulgarian Exarchate about the population of Macedonia
  5. “History of Macedonia” by Prof. R. Malcolm Errington
Nick Nikolas says:

ΔΩΔΩΝΑΙΕ, Συγγνωμη ἄν σε παρεξηγησα.

Το TLG ειναι υπερανω φαντασιας. 10.000 και πλεον κειμενα σε ηλεκτρονικη μορφη. Σε λιγα δευτερολεπτα εχεις προσβαση σε ολα αυτα το κειμενα, ἄν ψαχνεις κατι. Ειναι το κατι αλλο. Ειναι το μεγαλλιτερο δωρο που εχει δωση ανθρωπος στον Ελληνισμο. Ουτε θεος δεν εχει δωση τετοιο δωρο στον Ελληνισμο. Δια αυτον τον λογο υποστηριζω οτι η MARIANA McDONALD θα επερπε να λαβη την δεκατη τριτη θεσι στους θεους του Ολυμπου.

Και αντι αυτου, την εχουν κατατρεξη οι εκδωτικοι οικοι και τα μικροσυμφεροντα της Ελλαδας και ολου του κοσμου.

dodoni says:

Καλημέρα Nick Nikolas.
Ευχαριστώ για τις χρήσιμες πληροφορίες και για τον υπερσύνδεσμο. Δεν είμαι συνδρομητής στο TLG.
Σαφέστατα είμαι σκεπτικιστής όσον αφορά τον Πλούταρχο και τις πηγές του. Και σαφέστατα συμφωνώ μαζί σου για ποικίλους λόγους με τα θέματα που έθιξες περί ανδρισμού Σωκράτη και Αλεξάνδρου, λόγου χάρη. Και είναι γνωστή, πιστεύω, η έννοια των όρων φιλα προσκυμενος και φιλω σε οσους έχουν έστω βασικές γνώσεις ελληνικής. Και ποτέ δεν υπαινίχθηκα κάτι τέτοιο.
Νομίζω οτι με παρεξήγησες ίσως.
Ευχαριστώ πολύ.

Nick Nikolas says:

Εις τον θυσαυρο της Ελληνικης γλωσσας , το γνωστο TLG του πανεπιστημιου της Καληφορνιας, υπαρχουν εργασιες του Πλουταρχου και αριθμουν 147, Εις αυτες τις 147 εργασιες υπαρχουν περισσοτερες απο 600 αναφορες στο ονομα Αλεξανδρος σε ολλες τις πτωσεις του ονοματος. Εκ των εξακοσιων οι περισσοτερες αφορουν τον τρωα Αλεξανδρον υιον του Πριαμου. Ενας αλλος μεγαλος αριθμος αφορα τον υιο του φιλιππου, τον γνωστο μεγαλεξανδρο.
Εδω εχω μια διευθυνσι του TLG.
Δεν γνωριζω αν εισαι συνδρομιτης εις το TLG. Θελω να πιστευω οτι καθε Ελληνας που αγαπαει την πατριδατου οφειλη να γινη συνδρομιτης στο TLG.

Σου παραθετω πως αρχιζει το βιβλιο που μου αναφερεις.

(1.) Εὐμενῆ δὲ τὸν Καρδιανὸν ἱστορεῖ Δοῦρις (FGrH 76 F 53) πατρὸς μὲν
ἁμαξεύοντος ἐν Χερρονήσῳ διὰ πενίαν γενέσθαι, τραφῆναι δ’ ἐλευθερίως
(2.) ἐν γράμμασι καὶ περὶ παλαίστραν• ἔτι δὲ παιδὸς ὄντος αὐτοῦ, Φίλιππον
παρεπιδημοῦντα καὶ σχολὴν ἄγοντα τὰ τῶν Καρδιανῶν θεάσασθαι παγ-
κράτια μειρακίων καὶ παλαίσματα παίδων, ἐν οἷς εὐημερήσαντα τὸν
Εὐμενῆ καὶ φανέντα συνετὸν καὶ ἀνδρεῖον, ἀρέσαι τῷ Φιλίππῳ καὶ ἀναλη-
(3.) φθῆναι. δοκοῦσι δ’ εἰκότα λέγειν μᾶλλον οἱ διὰ ξενίαν καὶ φιλίαν πατρῴαν
(4.) τὸν Εὐμενῆ λέγοντες ὑπὸ τοῦ Φιλίππου προαχθῆναι. μετὰ δὲ τὴν ἐκείνου
τελευτὴν οὔτε συνέσει τινὸς οὔτε πίστει λείπεσθαι δοκῶν τῶν περὶ Ἀλέξ-
ανδρον, ἐκαλεῖτο μὲν ἀρχιγραμματεύς, τιμῆς δ’ ἧσπερ οἱ μάλιστα φίλοι
(5.) καὶ συνήθεις ἐτύγχανεν, ὥστε καὶ στρατηγὸς ἀποσταλῆναι κατὰ τὴν Ἰνδι-
κὴν ἐφ’ ἑαυτοῦ μετὰ δυνάμεως, καὶ τὴν Περδίκκου παραλαβεῖν ἱππαρχίαν,
ὅτε Περδίκκας ἀποθανόντος Ἡφαιστίωνος εἰς τὴν ἐκείνου προῆλθε τάξιν.
(6.) διὸ καὶ Νεοπτολέμου τοῦ ἀρχιυπασπιστοῦ μετὰ τὴν Ἀλεξάνδρου τελευτὴν
λέγοντος, ὡς αὐτὸς μὲν ἀσπίδα καὶ λόγχην, Εὐμενὴς δὲ γραφεῖον ἔχων καὶ
πινακίδιον ἠκολούθει, κατεγέλων οἱ Μακεδόνες, μετὰ τῶν ἄλλων καλῶν
τὸν Εὐμενῆ καὶ τῆς κατὰ τὸν γάμον οἰκειότητος ὑπὸ τοῦ βασιλέως εἰδότες
(7.) ἀξιωθέντα. Βαρσίνην γὰρ τὴν Ἀρταβάζου πρώτην ἐν Ἀσίᾳ γνοὺς ὁ Ἀλέξ-
ανδρος, ἐξ ἧς υἱὸν ἔσχεν Ἡρακλέα, τῶν ταύτης ἀδελφῶν Πτολεμαίῳ μὲν
Ἀπάμαν, Εὐμενεῖ δ’ Ἄρτωνιν ἐξέδωκεν, ὅτε καὶ τὰς ἄλλας Περσίδας διέ-
νειμε καὶ συνῴκισε τοῖς ἑταίροις.
(1.) Οὐ μὴν ἀλλὰ καὶ προσέκρουσε πολλάκις Ἀλεξάνδρῳ καὶ παρεκινδύ-
(2.) νευσε δι’ Ἡφαιστίωνα. πρῶτον μὲν γὰρ Εὐΐῳ τῷ αὐλητῇ τοῦ Ἡφαιστίω-
νος οἰκίαν κατανείμαντος ἣν οἱ παῖδες ἔτυχον τῷ Εὐμενεῖ προκατειληφό-
τες, ἐλθὼν ὑπ’ ὀργῆς πρὸς τὸν Ἀλέξανδρον ὁ Εὐμενὴς ἐβόα μετὰ Μέντορος,
ὡς αὐλεῖν εἴη κράτιστον ἢ τραγῳδεῖν τὰ ὅπλα ῥίψαντας ἐκ τῶν χειρῶν,
ὥστ’ Ἀλέξανδρον αὐτῷ συναγανακτεῖν καὶ λοιδορεῖσθαι τῷ Ἡφαιστίωνι. (5)
(3.) ταχὺ μέντοι μεταπεσὼν αὖθις εἶχε τὸν Εὐμενῆ δι’ ὀργῆς, ὡς ὕβρει μᾶλλον
(4.) πρὸς ἑαυτὸν ἢ παρρησίᾳ πρὸς Ἡφαιστίωνα χρησάμενον. ἔπειτα Νέαρχον
ἐκπέμπων μετὰ νεῶν ἐπὶ τὴν ἔξω θάλασσαν, ᾔτει χρήματα τοὺς φίλους•

Το ονομα Βαγωας στο βιβλιο αυτο δεν αναφερετε, Υπαρχει καποια αναφορα σε αλλο βιβλιο του Πλουταρχου αλλα δεν αναφερει οτι ευνουχος ων ο Βαγωας ειχε ερωτικες σχεσεις με τον Δαρειο για να υπονοηθη οτι μετα τον Δαρειο ειχε και με τον Μεγαλεξανδρο ερωτικες σχεσεις.
Και πως ειναι δυνατον ενας ευνουχος να εχει ερωτικες σχεσεις; Ο Δαρειος του αφερεσε τα γενετικα οργανα για να μην του πειραζη τις γυναικες. Ανευ γενετικων οργανων τι ερωτικες σχεσεις δυναται τις να εχη;

Ειναι απαραδεκτο να εχουν καταφερει μερικοι-μερικοι ανθελληνες να περασουν μυνηματα δικατους ανθελληνικα. Τον Αλεξανδρο εγω προσωπικα δεν τον υμνω διοτι ο πατεραστου διεπραξε υβριν εις την Πελοποννησον, και οτι ο ιδιος δεν τα βρηκε με τους Σπαρτιατες, για τους οποιους κανεις δεν μπορει να αμφισβυτηση τον πατριωρισμο τους. Αλλα δεν μπορω να δεχτω ορισμενα πραγματα ανευ αποδειξεων. Το φιλεω δεν εννοει εχω ερωτικη σχεσιν. Το φιλα προσκυμενος δεν εννοει ειμαι ερωτευμενος. Εχουν διαστρευλωσει τα πραγματα γνωριζοντας οτι εμεις ειμαστε αναξιοι να τα ψαξωμεν. Απαιτω να μου πουν απο ποιο προτωτυπο κειμενο εχουν παρει τις πληροφοριες τους. Απαιτω να μου πουν απο ποιο προτωτυπο κειμενο εχουν παρει πληροφοριες οτι ο Σωκρατης ηταν οχι και τοσο ανδρας και εγω θα τους αποδειξω οτι ο Σωκρατης ηταν τοσο ανδρας οσο κανεις απο αυτους.
Το ΑΛΦΑΒΗΤΙΚΟ ΕΥΡΕΤΗΡΙΟ ΟΝΟΜΑΤΩΝ & ΓΕΝΙΚΩΝ ΠΛΗΡΟΦΟΡΙΩΝ οφειλει να μας δωση βιβλιογραφια για το καθε τι.

Επισης, και ο Πλουταρχος οφειλει να παραθεση βιβλιογραφια. Ο Πλουταρχος εζησε πολυ αργοτερα απο τον Αλεξανδρον και τον Δαρειο. Οφειλει να μας πει πως αυτα τα πραγματα εγιναν γνωστα σε αυτον. Οι παλαιοι συνηθιζαν να αναφερουν τις πηγες τους. Π. Χ. ο Θεοπομπος λεγει. Νοστία κώμη ἈρκαδίαςἜφορος τὸ ἐθνικὸν Νεστάνιος ἔφη, ὥστε κατ’ αὐτὸν Νεστανίαν λέγεσθαι.

Η απουσια αναφορας στην πηγη ειναι αν μη τι αλλο παρα πολυ υποπτος.

dodoni says:

You are, obviously, saying that I counted them wrong. I apologize.
Here is the prototype :
The book is “Eumenes” by Ploutarch. Of course there are references on Alexander the Great.
Douris, which Ploutarch uses as his sourse, was a historian of Alexander.
I can’t understand what you mean.
And I still can’t understand what you mean by “The historian Plutarch could not unless….”
Thank you very much.

Nick Nikolas says:


dodoni says:

There are 28 references on Alexander the Great.
I can’t understand what you mean by “The historian Plutarch could not unless….”
For the critisism as an easy believer I don’t have the same opinion.

Nick Nikolas says:

Is there any Plutarch mentioning anything about Alexander the Great? The historian Plutarch could not unless….

Something about the historian Plutarch. Humans by nature are story makers and the historian Plutarch by nature is an easy believer.

dodoni says:

From Plutarch “Eumenes” we know that Eumenes was in the service of king Philippos II (Alexander’s Father) and “After the death of Philip, he continued in the service of Alexander, with the title of his PRINCIPAL SECRETARY, but in as great favour as the most intimate of his familiars, being esteemed as wise and faithful as any person about him, so that he went with troops under his IMMEDIATE COMMAND as GENERAL in the expedition against India, and succeeded to the post of Perdiccas, when Perdiccas was advanced to that of Hephaestion, then newly deceased.”
Plutarch, Eumenes (Translated by John Dryden)
It is absurd to think that Eumenes wasn’t able to communicate directly with Macedonians all these years as principal secretary and general.

Nick Hodges says:

Professor Daskalakis in his book the Hellenism of Macedonia makes the following comments regarding the struggle between Eumenes and Antigonus after Alexander”s death when Eumenes was greeted by his troops by clashing their shields and spears together and shouting in . The phrase in the does not mean Macedonian language or dialect. It means that the Macedonian warriors were shouting out and getting their weapons ready in challenge to their adversaries who were looking on a short distance away and wanted to rouse up their battle fury.
If the Macedonians had a national language to use to express their enthusiasm, particularly before a battle in the presence of their commander, they would have employed this in far away Asia when they were fighting under Alexander and his generals. But mo mention is made of it either by Plutarch or any other historian og Alexander the Great. If the Macedonians had such a language , then would they have waited to make use of it many years after Alexander”s death, in the course of a civil war for which, as later events showed, they were not enthusiastic; nor in favor of a general who was not a Macedonian at all, but a colonial Greek from the Thracian peninsula.
It therefore seems obvious that Plutarch, who never thought of doubting the Hellenism of the Macedonians, is referring neither to a language nor to a dialect in this account but some sort of special Macedonian war cries.