Now, Philotas was ignorant of the plot thus laid against him, and in his frequent interviews with Antigone would utter many angry and boastful speeches and many improper words against the king.
But Alexander, although strong testimony against Philotas came to his ears, endured in silence and restrained himself either because he had confidence in Parmenio's good will towards him, or because he feared the reputation and power of father and son. Meanwhile, however, a Macedonian named Limnus, from Chalaestra, conspired against Alexander's life,
and invited Nicomachus, one of the young men, whose lover he was, to take part with him in the undertaking.
Nicomachus would not accept the invitation, but told his brother Cebalinus of the attempt, and he, going to Philotas, ordered him to conduct them into the presence of Alexander, on the ground that there were matters of great importance about which they must see him. But Philotas, for whatever reason (and the reason is not known), would not conduct them in, alleging that the king was engaged on other matters of more importance. And he refused their request twice.
They now became suspicious of Philotas and applied to someone else, by whom they were brought before Alexander. In the first place they told him about the plot of Limnus, and then threw out veiled insinuations against Philotas, on the ground that he had neglected their petitions on two occasions. This greatly incensed Alexander; and when he found that Limnus had defended himself against arrest and had therefore been killed by the man sent to fetch him, he was still more disturbed in mind, thinking that the proof of the plot had escaped him.
And since he felt bitter towards Philotas he drew to himself those who had long hated the man, and they now said openly that the king took things too easily when he supposed that Limnus, a man of Chalaestra, had set his hand to a deed of so great daring on his own account; nay, they said, he was only an assistant, or rather an instrument sent forth by a higher power, and enquiry into the plot should be made in those quarters where there was most interest in having it concealed.
After the king had once given ear to such speeches and suspicions, the enemies of Philotas brought up countless accusations against him. Consequently he was arrested and put to the question, the companions of the king standing by at the torture, while Alexander himself listened behind a stretch of tapestry. Here, as we are told, on hearing Philotas beset Hephaestion with abject and pitiful cries and supplications, he said: ‘So faint-hearted as thou art, Philotas, and so unmanly, couldst thou have set hand to so great an undertaking?’
After Philotas had been put to death, Alexander sent at once into Media and dispatched Parmenio also, a man whose achievements with Philip had been many, and who was the only one of Alexander's older friends, or the principal one, to urge his crossing into Asia, and who, of the three sons that were his, had seen two killed on the expedition before this, and was now put to death along with the third.
These actions made Alexander an object of fear to many of his friends, and particularly to Antipater, who sent secretly to the Aetolians and entered into an alliance with them. For the Aetolians also were in fear of Alexander, because they had destroyed the city of the Oeniadae, and because Alexander, on learning of it, had said that it would not be the sons of the Oeneadae, but he himself who would punish the Aetolians.