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While the Olympic Games were being celebrated, Alexander had it proclaimed in Olympia that all exiles should return to their cities, except those who had been charged with sacrilege or murder.1 He selected the oldest of his soldiers who were Macedonians and released them from service; there were ten thousand of these. [2] He learned that many of them were in debt, and in a single day he paid their obligations which were little short of ten thousand talents.2

The Macedonians who remained with him were becoming insubordinate, and when he called them to an assembly, they interrupted him by shouting.3 In a fury, he denounced them without regard to his own personal risk; then, having cowed the throng, he leaped down from the platform, seized the ringleaders of the tumult with his own hands, and handed them over to his attendants for punishment.4 [3] This made the soldiers' hostility even more acute, so that the king appointed generals from specially selected Persians and advanced them into positions of responsibility. At this, the Macedonians were repentant. Weeping, they urgently petitioned Alexander to forgive them, and with difficulty persuaded him to take them back into favour.

1 Curtius 10.2.4-7; Justin 13.5.2-5. Diodorus refers to this later with greater detail as one of the causes of the Lamian War (Book 18.8.2-7). The time was midsummer of 324 B.C.

2 This story appears in differing versions. Curtius 10.2.9-11 tells only of the payment of the debts, without specifying either the number or the identity of the beneficiaries; 10,000 talents were made available, and 130 were left over. Justin 12.11.2-3 says that 20,000 talents were distributed, an act equally welcome to debtors and creditors. Plut. Alexander 70.2 uses the same total as Curtius (9870), but says that these were the debts of the guests at the mass marriage in Susa. Curtius expresses astonishment that the soldiers were so in debt. (From whom, as a matter of fact, would ten thousand soldiers borrow a talent each?) At all events, Arrian. 7.12.1 states specifically that the soldiers were Macedonian and each received a gift of a talent.

3 The mutiny at Opis, continued from chap. 108.3.

4 Curtius 10.2.30; Justin 12.11.8. Arrian. 7.8.3 says that he merely pointed out the ringleaders.

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  • Cross-references to this page (1):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), EXSI´LIUM
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (6):
    • Plutarch, Alexander, 70.2
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 7.12.1
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 7.8.3
    • Curtius, Historiarum Alexandri Magni, 10.2.30
    • Curtius, Historiarum Alexandri Magni, 10.2.4
    • Curtius, Historiarum Alexandri Magni, 10.2.9
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