Source of the quote used in the release announcement

Field of Glory II is a turn-based tactical game set during the Rise of Rome from 280 BC to 25 BC.
Post Reply
grumblefish
Master Sergeant - Bf 109E
Master Sergeant - Bf 109E
Posts: 459
Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2007 5:46 pm

Source of the quote used in the release announcement

Post by grumblefish » Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:37 pm

The release announcement for Immortal Fire ( http://slitherine.com/news/2461/Field.o ... is.OUT.NOW! ) presents the following quote:

"Bury my body and don't build any monument. Keep my hands out so the people know the one who won the world had nothing in hand when he died – Alexander the Great"

Does anyone have a citation for this quote? It looks like a misquote to me. I am only finding it on random websites and in a self-help book, and I cannot find an actual citation to a classical source. I have checked the accounts of Alexander's last words/acts in Plutarch, Arrian, Diodorus Siculus, Curtius, and Justin, but none of them give this quote.

The full version of the quote used by Slitherine seems to run as follows:


"Alexander, after conquering many kingdoms, was returning home. On the way, he fell ill and it took him to his death bed. With death staring in his face, Alexander realized how his conquests, his great army, his sharp sword and all his wealth were of no consequence. He now longed to reach home to see his mother’s face and bid her his last adieu. But, he had to accept the fact that his sinking health would not permit him to reach his distant homeland. So, the mighty conqueror lay prostrate and pale, helplessly waiting to breathe his last.

He called his generals and said, “I will depart from this world soon, I have three wishes, please carry them out without fail.” With tears flowing down their cheeks, the generals agreed to abide by their king’s last wishes. “My first desire is that,” said Alexander, “my physicians alone must carry my coffin.”

After a pause, he continued, “Secondly, I desire that when my coffin is being carried to the grave, the path leading to the graveyard be strewn with gold, silver and precious stones which I have collected in my treasury.” The king felt exhausted after saying this. He took a minute’s rest and continued. “My third and last wish is that both my hands be kept dangling out of my coffin.”

The people who had gathered there wondered at the king’s strange wishes. But no one dared bring the question to their lips. Alexander’s favorite general kissed his hands and pressed them to his heart. “O king, we assure you that your wishes will all be fulfilled. But tell us why do you make such strange wishes?”

At this Alexander took a deep breath and said: “I would like the world to know of the three lessons I have just learned. Lessons to learn from the last three wishes of King Alexander…

I want my physicians to carry my coffin because people should realize that no doctor can really cure anybody. They are powerless and cannot save a person from the clutches of death. So let not people take life for granted.

The second wish of strewing gold, silver and other riches on the way to the graveyard is to tell people that not even a fraction of gold will come with me. I spent all my life earning riches but cannot take anything with me. Let people realize that it is a sheer waste of time to chase wealth.

And about my third wish of having my hands dangling out of the coffin, I wish people to know that I came empty-handed into this world and empty-handed I go out of this world.”

With these words, the king closed his eyes. Soon he breathed his last. . . .
"


In the ancient source material I have read, though, Alexander just indicates he wants to be buried, and he says that the empire should go to the worthiest person. Perhaps it is in some text like the Deipnosophistae? Or perhaps it is just an outright misattribution, or a modern fabrication.
Last edited by grumblefish on Tue Dec 05, 2017 9:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Philippeatbay
Staff Sergeant - StuG IIIF
Staff Sergeant - StuG IIIF
Posts: 275
Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2014 11:19 pm

Re: Source of the quote used in the release announcement

Post by Philippeatbay » Tue Dec 05, 2017 9:21 pm

I'm pretty sure it's bogus, and I doubt that there is a credible ancient source for it. I note with great amusement that a Google search always turns up the same wording, which suggests that the ultimate source is in English, rather than a Greek text that gets translated several different ways. Internet urban legends aren't interesting enough to be worth researching.

Remember that there are no surviving contemporary accounts for the events of Alexander's life (and death). Whatever records of what was written or said was quickly suppressed or swamped by half a dozen spin machines as the Hellenistic world descended into civil war and struggled to manufacture straws to grasp to claim legitimacy. There's a journal of the events of the days leading up to his death that gets quoted by ancient sources and that is probably fairly close to what happened, but even that has probably been tampered with.

Alexander famously said that his empire should go to the strongest, and it only gets retranslated as worthiest in English. But if you know ancient Greek you'll realize that what he was probably trying to say is that the his empire should go to Craterus ('stronger') who was decide what was to happen. This immediately got censored and distorted because Craterus was the last person anybody wanted to have calling the shots on the disposal of the Alexander's legacy. The result was several murders and two civil wars that made Game of Thrones look tame by comparison. It all ended at Ipsus when Antigonus died waiting to be rescued by his son Demetrius (who never showed up).

grumblefish
Master Sergeant - Bf 109E
Master Sergeant - Bf 109E
Posts: 459
Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2007 5:46 pm

Re: Source of the quote used in the release announcement

Post by grumblefish » Tue Dec 05, 2017 9:41 pm

Philippeatbay wrote:Alexander famously said that his empire should go to the strongest, and it only gets retranslated as worthiest in English. But if you know ancient Greek you'll realize that what he was probably trying to say is that the his empire should go to Craterus ('stronger') who was decide what was to happen. This immediately got censored and distorted because Craterus was the last person anybody wanted to have calling the shots on the disposal of the Alexander's legacy.
Well, Krateros and kratisto have distinct pronounciations, and Craterus wasn't even present when Alexander died, so I don't buy that he was really trying to leave his empire to Craterus. Also, like you said... why give the empire to Craterus? Seems like a poor choice. I don't hate the guy, but I wasn't shedding any tears when he got killed by Eumenes (but perhaps that's because Plutarch makes Eumenes seem cool). If he gave his empire to anyone, I say he gave it to Perdiccas because he handed Perdiccas his ring. Although, I don't really understand the significance of Perdiccas receiving the ring.

Philippeatbay
Staff Sergeant - StuG IIIF
Staff Sergeant - StuG IIIF
Posts: 275
Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2014 11:19 pm

Re: Source of the quote used in the release announcement

Post by Philippeatbay » Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:01 pm

Kratero got changed into Kratisto by the propagandists. Craterus was leading the last replacement army from Macendon to Babylon, and he was best suited to speak for/represent the Macedonian electorate that wouldn't be able to show up in Babylon. Macedonian 'elections' were supposed to be the entire adult male population under arms deciding who would be the next king. The situation at Alexander's death was a constitutional anomaly in that everybody who normally had a voice in the succession would be usually within a few dozen miles of the point of assembly, and for the first time in history the army was spread across thousands of miles. Antipater was the senior officer and in situ regent of Macedonia, but he was very old and not going anywhere (if nothing else he had his hands full keeping an eye on the Greek city states who were about to revolt and start the Lamian war). Craterus not only commanded a lot of Macedonian soldiers, but he could speak for the troops back home in Pella. But giving him a say in what was going to happen was the last thing Perdiccas and his faction wanted, so they conveniently changed/remembered Alexander's last words as 'to the strongest' and not 'to Craterus' (which sounds just like 'to the stronger').

grumblefish
Master Sergeant - Bf 109E
Master Sergeant - Bf 109E
Posts: 459
Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2007 5:46 pm

Re: Source of the quote used in the release announcement

Post by grumblefish » Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:29 pm

Philippeatbay wrote:Kratero got changed into Kratisto by the propagandists. Craterus was leading the last replacement army from Macendon to Babylon, and he was best suited to speak for/represent the Macedonian electorate that wouldn't be able to show up in Babylon. Macedonian 'elections' were supposed to be the entire adult male population under arms deciding who would be the next king. The situation at Alexander's death was a constitutional anomaly in that everybody who normally had a voice in the succession would be usually within a few dozen miles of the point of assembly, and for the first time in history the army was spread across thousands of miles. Antipater was the senior officer and in situ regent of Macedonia, but he was very old and not going anywhere (if nothing else he had his hands full keeping an eye on the Greek city states who were about to revolt and start the Lamian war). Craterus not only commanded a lot of Macedonian soldiers, but he could speak for the troops back home in Pella. But giving him a say in what was going to happen was the last thing Perdiccas and his faction wanted, so they conveniently changed/remembered Alexander's last words as 'to the strongest' and not 'to Craterus' (which sounds just like 'to the stronger').
Macedonia had an elective monarchy? Do you have a source for that? My understanding is that it was a hereditary monarchy, which is why Phillip II became king, why Alexander became king, why Alexander's son became king (with regents), and why the Argead dynasty had held the kingship for centuries. Absent some succession crisis, the nobles aren't getting together and holding some election amongst themselves.

I totally disagree with pretty much everything you said in the above post, but I don't think this is the thread for it. I also won't pretend to know everything about Macedonia and the Hellenistic period, because I much prefer 5th through early-mid 4th c. BCE Hellenic history. If you want to make a thread about Macedonian history and teach us something, go for it. Perhaps start with the source that says Alexander referred to Craterus despite his absence, despite having so many other nobles present, and despite making no earlier indication we know of that Craterus should be king rather than his very own son (in the tradition of the Argead dynasty which had reigned for centuries).

Anyway, hoping someone knows the source of this quote.

NikiforosFokas
Master Sergeant - Bf 109E
Master Sergeant - Bf 109E
Posts: 450
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2016 4:59 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Source of the quote used in the release announcement

Post by NikiforosFokas » Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:56 pm

There is no source about this. It is a hoax which firstly been know as a chain letter email.
For Byzantium!!

grumblefish
Master Sergeant - Bf 109E
Master Sergeant - Bf 109E
Posts: 459
Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2007 5:46 pm

Re: Source of the quote used in the release announcement

Post by grumblefish » Wed Dec 06, 2017 4:23 am

NikiforosFokas wrote:There is no source about this. It is a hoax which firstly been know as a chain letter email.
Thanks, you are probably right. I was thinking it might be a paraphrase of a story from a medieval source, but I've stopped looking. I guess it was some modern author who played loose with the truth to make some sort of weak philosophical point.

NikiforosFokas
Master Sergeant - Bf 109E
Master Sergeant - Bf 109E
Posts: 450
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2016 4:59 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Source of the quote used in the release announcement

Post by NikiforosFokas » Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:05 pm

You are welcome :) .
For Byzantium!!

Post Reply

Return to “Field of Glory II”