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Was Alexander the Great murdered by his closest friend, Ptolemy?


The latest theory on the murder of Alexander the Great considers Ptolemy to be his actual killer.

Alexander the Great was the ruler of one of the biggest empires in the ancient world. However, he died before his 33rd birthday, leaving behind a legend. He was careful and apparently avoided many assassination attempts during his life. Who could possibly be the person who murdered him? Was it Ptolemy, a man who had gained Alexander’s trust

Ptolemy I Soter was born in 367 BC. He was perhaps the half-brother of Alexander and son of Philip II of Macedon with the beautiful Arsinoe. To avoid problems, Philip may have arranged the marriage of Arsinoe with a Macedonian nobleman named Lagus.

Regardless of a certain familial link, Philip treated Ptolemy as his own son. He took him to the capital at a young age and gave him as good of an education as he offered Alexander. Ptolemy was also sent to the school of Aristotle, where he was considered a talented student. It is unlikely that Philip would have invested so much attention and invited him to live in his palace, if Ptolemy had not been his child. Everything in Ptolemy’s life suggested that he would be a very successful person, but, at least for a time, he had to stay in the shadow of Alexander.

Ptolemy was considered a great warrior and very well-educated in the art of fighting. He soon became not only the closest friend of Alexander, but also his personal guard called ”somatophylakes”. He was a few years older than Alexander, tall and fit.

He perhaps wasn’t as visionary as Alexander, but Ptolemy knew how to assert his authority over other people and he wanted to go back to Egypt. He was especially fascinated with the golden treasures near the Nile River. He also knew that he was just as special as Alexander – the need for power burned in his veins.

The king of the Macedonian Empire died in 323 BC in Babylon, and it is very likely that he was murdered. After the death of Alexander, the hell of fighting for power began. People who were old friends and companions of Alexander like: Antipater, Arrhidaios, Seleukos, Perdiccas and Ptolemy, asked for what they hoped to receive from the Empire that they had fought for. Ptolemy was said to resettle the empire. He was appointed satrap of Egypt. Ptolemy decided that he wanted to receive Cyranaica. The new king of the Empire became Philip III Arrhidaeus and the infant Alexander IV.

It seems that Ptolemy could have been the one who wanted the death of Alexander the most. Tired with the ambitions of the Macedonian King, and full of frustration created by being unable to live his life as he wanted, he may have taken Alexander’s life.

Ptolemy created a dynasty which ruled Egypt for 300 years. He governed Egypt between 323 and 283 BC. The influence of his reign on the architecture and religion of the country was impressive. He continued what Alexander had started, but also expanded the architectural works and started to create cities full of white and golden buildings. Apart from the classical Macedonian and Egyptian buildings, his builders had a unique new style of urbanization. Ptolemy did his best to protect the heritage of his ancestors in Egypt and he fully felt himself to be a son of Amun.

Ptolemy never forget about his old companion, rival, and perhaps, brother. He announced the building of a great mausoleum for Alexander. It was finished by his son, Ptolemy II. It is known as ”Soma” and was placed in the heart of Alexandria. The mausoleum became the most important site for pilgrimages for centuries.



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