The Meaning of Arrian, Anabasis 7. 9. 5

 

300px Meister der Alexanderschlacht 002 The Meaning of Arrian, Anabasis 7. 9. 5The Meaning of Arrian, Anabasis 7. 9. 5
By N. G. L. Hammond

Part of The Journal of Hellenic Studies, Vol. 119. (1999)

The Meaning of Arrian, Anabasis 7. 9. 5

As I understand it, Alexander was refemng to the climax of Philip’s achievements, namely his appointment as Hegemon of what has usually been called ‘The League of Corinth’ or ‘The Hellenic League’, and his glorious position as commander of the expedition against Persia. The two were separate in time, as the aorist participle indicates The correctness of Alexander’s words is clear from other sources of information. ‘Hegemon’ is the mot juste, as we see in the inscription which recorded the undertakings of the members of Common Peace at the formation of the League; for these included the undertaking to go to war ‘as the Common Council may decide and as the Hegemon may order’ καθότι [άν δοκήι τώι κοινώι συνεδ]ρίωι καί ο Ηγεμών παραγγέλληι Tod, GHI 177 lines 20-2). At the time of the inscription the offices of the League had been created but the League was at peace. Any decision to go to war was to be made in accordance with a decree of the Common Council and the war was to be conducted ‘on the orders of the Hegemon. Those orders were not qualified. The Hegemon was evidently to be ‘commander with full powers.

In 332 during the war against Persia the decree of the Hellenes‘ enjoined the exile of Chian rebels and the orders of Alexander, then being Hegemon, were issued outright (Tod, GHI 192 το δόγμα τών Έλλήνων).

The expression ήγεμων άυτοκράτωρ calls for some comment. According to Diodorus 16.89.1 Philip wished to become πασης της Ελλαδος ηγεμων. He was duly appointed στρατηγος αυτοκρατωρ της Ελλαδος according to Diodorus 16.89.3 and FGrH 255 (5) from the Oxyr. Pap. 12; and Alexander had the same title in Diod. 17.4.9. In these passages the standard Greek word στρατηγος was used instead of ηγεμων.

‘Hellas’ has many meanings in our sources. They range from a small area in Thessaly to all lands occupied by Hellenes, and even lands to be occupied in the future thanks to Philip (Isoc. 5.122 fin.). It was used to mean Central Greece as opposed to the Peloponnese in the speech at Opis (Arrian 7.9.4-5; cf. D.19.303 Ελλαδα και Πελοπονησσον)

When Philip was appointed Hegemon of ‘the rest of Hellas’, της αλλης Ελλαδος, the excluded part of Hellas has to be his own kingdom, Macedonia. This interpretation is true to the facts; for he was Hegemon of all the Hellenes of the Common Peace (these included islands in the Ionian Sea and in the Aegean Sea in Tod, GHI 177 lines 25-36), and he was King of Macedonia which was not a member of the Common Peace.’
As an analogy we may note a passage in Aeschines 2. 2, which described the voting in a conference of ‘the Lacedaemonians and their allies and the other Greeks’ in 371. Amyntas III, the father of Philip, not in person but through a deputy, voted ‘with the other Greeks’ (μετα των αλλων Ελληνων) in favour of Athens recovering Amphipolis. Here Macedonia was a Greek state, part of Hellas.‘ So too in his reply to Darius 111 Alexander wrote that Darius’ ancestors came ‘into Macedonia and into the rest of Hellas’ (Aman 2.14.4 εις Μακεδονιαν και την αλλη Ελλαδα).

My explanation of Anian 7.9.5 differs from the explanations which are proposed by those who rely upon what I believe to be mistaken translations. For instance, the excluded part of the phrase συμπασης της αλλης Ελλαδος has been taken to be ‘the Peloponnese’. While this is implicit in Brunt’s punctuation and translation, it has been made explicit by Bosworth. ‘As the text stands, the contrast is with the Peloponnese, explicitly named in the previous clause’.” But the exclusion of the Peloponnese from the Hellenic League, whether in its original formation or in the deployment of its forces in Asia, is an absurdity-as Bosworth himself observed.

We need not follow his explanation of how this phrase came into the text as ‘an incompetent abridgement of a longer account’. For, as we have seen, ‘the Peloponnese’ is the last of the geographical areas in which Philip operated and has nothing to do with his appointment as Hegemon.

My explanation that the excluded part of ‘Hellas’ was Macedonia is unacceptable to those who hold that ‘the Macedonians were not even Greek, they were as barbarous in Greek eyes as the Persians’. This is the view of Brunt, who based it mainly on some passages to which he refers in Anian (2.7.4; 3.22.2; 5.27.4; and 5.27.8 in particular).

In them Arrian inevitably contrasted the two main contingents in Alexander’s army the Macedonian Companion Cavalry and Phalanx infantry and the cavalry and infantry of the Hellenic League. There is one passage, to which Brunt refers, in which Arrian drew a contrast between the Macedonian Phalangites and the Greek mercenaries of Darius III (2.10.7). It too was an inevitable contrast. Arrian expressed it forcefully in the phrase τοῖς γένεσι τῷ τε Ἑλληνικῷ καὶ τῷ Μακεδονικῷ [email protected] ta rivalry between ‘the tribes-the Hellenic tribe and the Macedonian tribe’.
We may compare with Arrian’s words the distinction which Herodotus drew between the Lacedaemonians and the Athenians: the Lacedaemonians were members of the Doric γενος and the Athenians of the Ionic γενος the one being a part of the Hellenic Εθνος and the other of the Pelasgic Εθνος which we may translate as ‘race’ (1.56.2).” In these passages the Mercenaries of Darius, the Macedonian Phalangites, the Lacedaemonians and the Athenians were all members of what we describe nowadays as ‘the Greek race’

Want more of this? See these Posts:

  1. Ancient writers about Macedonia – Arrian
  2. World Encyclopaedias about Macedonia – Encyclopaedia of World History 6th Edition 2001
  3. The Name Game – The future of EU expansion? It all depends on what the meaning of the word “Macedonia” is
  4. Ancient writers about Macedonia – Arrian
  5. Macedonians among Greek Mercenaries of Darius
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