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When the embassies had been dismissed, Alexander threw himself into preparations for the burial of Hephaestion. He showed such zeal about the funeral that it not only surpassed all those previously celebrated on earth but also left no possibility for anything greater in later ages. He had loved Hephaestion most of the group of Friends who were thought to have been high in his affections, and after his death showed him superlative honour. In his lifetime, he had preferred him to all, although Craterus had a rival claim to his love; [2] so, for example, that when one of the companions said that Craterus was loved no less than Hephaestion, Alexander had answered that Craterus was king-loving, but Hephaestion was Alexander-loving.1 At their first meeting with Dareius's mother, when she from ignorance had bowed to Hephaestion supposing him to be the king and was distressed when this was called to her attention, Alexander had said: "Never mind, mother. For actually he too is Alexander."2 [3]

As a matter of fact, Hephaestion enjoyed so much power and freedom of speech based on this friendship that when Olympias was estranged from him because of jealousy and wrote sharp criticisms and threats against him in her letters, he felt strong enough to answer her reproachfully and ended his letter as follows: "Stop quarrelling with us and do not be angry or menacing. If you persist, we3 shall not be much disturbed. You know that Alexander means more to us than anything." [4]

As part of the preparations for the funeral, the king ordered the cities of the region to contribute to its splendour in accordance with their ability, and he proclaimed to all the peoples of Asia that they should sedulously quench what the Persians call the sacred fire, until such time as the funeral should be ended. This was the custom of the Persians when their kings died, [5] and people thought that the order was an ill omen, and that heaven was foretelling the king's own death. There were also at this time other strange signs pointing to the same event, as we shall relate shortly, after we have finished the account of the funeral.4

1 That is, Craterus loved Alexander as the king, Hephaestion loved Alexander for himself. On the relations between Craterus and Hephaestion cp. Plut. Alexander 47.5-7.

2 Cp. chap. 37.5-6.

3 Hephaestion's usage here suggests the pluralis majestatis. He can hardly mean anyone but himself.

4 A similar account of Hephaestion's funeral was probably given by Curtius and is now lost from the manuscript of book 10. The references in Justin 12.12.12, Plut. Alexander 72, and Arrian 7.14 are briefer, and locate it before, not after, the Cossaean campaign.

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