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They bade him sacrifice to the gods on a grand scale and with all speed, but he was then called away by Medius, the Thessalian, one of his Friends, to take part in a comus.1 There he drank much unmixed wine in commemoration of the death of Heracles, and finally, filling a huge beaker, downed it at a gulp. [2] Instantly he shrieked aloud as if smitten by a violent blow and was conducted by his Friends, who led him by the hand back to his apartments.2 His chamberlains put him to bed and attended him closely, [3] but the pain increased and the physicians were summoned. No one was able to do anything helpful and Alexander continued in great discomfort and acute suffering. When he, at length, despaired of life, he took off his ring and handed it to Perdiccas.3 [4] His Friends asked: "To whom do you leave the kingdom?" and he replied: "To the strongest."4 He added, and these were his last words, that all of his leading Friends would stage a vast contest in honour of his funeral.5 [5] This was how he died after a reign of twelve years and seven months.6 He accomplished greater deeds than any, not only of the kings who had lived before him but also of those who were to come later down to our time.

Since some historians disagree about the death of Alexander, and state that this occurred in consequence of a draught of poison, it seems necessary for us to mention their account also.7

1 Justin 12.13.7. These events are described from the royal journal more circumstantially by Plut. Alexander 75.3, and Arrian. 7.24.4-25.1. Medius belonged to a noble family of Larisa and had accompanied Alexander as a personal friend, not in a military capacity (Berve, Alexanderreich, 2, no. 521). Aelian Varia Historia 3.23 gives a day-by-day account of Alexander's drinking and resting during the last three weeks of his life, crediting this to Eumenes of Cardia, the keeper of the journal, but gives the month wrongly as Dius.

2 Justin 12.13.8-9. Arrian. 7.27.2 gives this story of the sudden stab of pain as a variant version, and Plut. Alexander 75.3-4 specifically denies it. Diodorus here explains the "cup of Heracles" mentioned by Plutarch. There was an annual festival of the death of Heracles on Mt. Oeta, with which Medius, as a Thessalian, was familiar. Its date has been unknown (M. P. Nilsson, Geschichte der griechischen Religion, 1, 1941, p. 120), but this anecdote may indicate that it occurred in the Macedonian month of Daesius.

3 Curtius 10.5.4; Justin 12.15.12. Curtius's narrative resumes at this point.

4 So also in Arrian. 7.26.3. In Book 18.1.4, Diodorus says "To the best," agreeing with the "optimus" of Curtius 10.5.5, and the "dignissimus" of Justin 12.15.8. It is true, of course, that κράτιστος may mean "best" as well as "most powerful."

5 Curtius 10.5.5; Arrian. 7.26.3.

6 Alexander died on the 28th of Daesius (Plut. Alexander 76.4, so also the Babylonian records, but Aristobulus (Plut. Alexander 75.4) said the 30th; it was a hollow month, without any 29th, and Alexander died about sundown; this was the 10th of June), and it has been argued above that the assassination of Philip and the accession of Alexander must have taken place in the same month (Book 16.94.3, note). This would give Alexander thirteen years of reign, and this figure is actually given by the Oxyrhynchus Chronologer (P. Oxy. 1.12. v. 31-32). Since Daesius was the eighth Macedonian month, the "seven months" of Diodorus and the "eight months" of Arrian. 7.28.1 represent exclusive and inclusive counting from the first new year after Alexander's accession. Cp. Beloch, Griechische Geschichte, 3.2.59.

7 Justin 12.13.10; Arrian. 7.27.1.

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