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At this same time, Alexander stumbled into a base action which was quite foreign to his goodness of nature.1 One of the king's Friends named Dimnus2 found fault with him for some reason, and in a rash fit of anger formed a plot against him. [2] He had a beloved named Nicomachus and persuaded him to take part in it. Being very young, the boy disclosed the plan to his brother Cebalinus,3 who, however, was terrified lest one of the conspirators should get ahead of the rest in revealing the plot to the king, and decided himself to be the informer. [3]

He went to the court, met Philotas and talked with him, and urged him to tell the whole story to the king as quickly as he could. It may be that Philotas was actually a party to the plot4; he may merely have been slow to act. At all events, he heard Cebalinus with indifference, and although he visited Alexander and took part in a long conversation on a variety of subjects, said no word about what had just been told him. [4] When he returned to Cebalinus, he said that he had not found a suitable occasion to mention it, but would surely see the king alone the next day and tell him everything. Philotas did the same thing on the next day also, and Cebalinus, to insure himself against someone else betraying the plot and putting him in danger, dropped Philotas and accosted one of the royal pages, telling him all that had happened and begging him to report it to the king immediately. [5]

The page brought Cebalinus into the armoury and hid him there,5 went on in to the king as he was bathing and told him the story, adding that he had Cebalinus concealed in the vicinity. The king's reaction was sharp. He arrested Dimnus at once and learned everything from him; then he sent for Cebalinus and Philotas. [6] The whole story was investigated and the fact established. Dimnus stabbed himself on the spot,6 but Philotas, while acknowledging his carelessness, nevertheless denied that he had had any part in the plot and agreed to leave judgement concerning him to the Macedonians.

1 For the story of the conspiracy and its consequences cp. Curtius 6.7-7.2.34; Justin 12.5.1-3; Plut. Alexander 48-49.7; Arrian 3.26.

2 The name is given by Curtius as Dymnus, by Plutarch as Limnus.

3 In Curtius and Plutarch, Nicomachus did not approve of the plot and assisted in exposing it. Here also, both Cebalinus and Nicomachus seem not to have been punished.

4 Plutarch also; cp. also Plut. De Fortuna aut Virtute Alexandri 2.7.339e-f.

5 The page, whose name is given by Curtius as Metron, happened to be in charge of Alexander's weapons.

6 Others report that Dimnus killed himself (Curtius 6.7.29-30) or was killed resisting capture (Plut. Alexander 49.4).

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  • Cross-references to this page (3):
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (6):
    • Plutarch, Alexander, 48
    • Plutarch, Alexander, 49.4
    • Plutarch, De Alexandri magni fortuna aut virtute, 2
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 3.26
    • Curtius, Historiarum Alexandri Magni, 6.7
    • Curtius, Historiarum Alexandri Magni, 6.7.29
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