), son of Sopolis, was one of the Macedonian youths who, according to a custom instituted by Philip, attended Alexander the Great as pages.
It was during the residence of the king at Bactra in the spring of B. C. 327, that a circumstance occurred which led him, in conjunction with some of his fellow pages, to form a conspiracy against the life of Alexander
. Among the duties of the pages, who were in almost constant attendance on the king's person, was that of accompanying him when hunting, and it was on one of these occasions that he gave offence to the king by slaying a wild boar, without waiting to allow Alexander
the first blow. Highly incensed at this breach of discipline, the king ordered him to be chastised with stripes, and further punished by being deprived of his horse. Hermolaus, a lad of high spirit, already verging on manhood, could not brook this indignity : his resentment was inflamed by the exhortations of the philosopher Callisthenes, to whom he had previously attached himself as a pupil, and by the sympathy of his most intimate friend among his brother pages, Sostratus.
The two youths in concert at length formed the scheme of assassinating the king while he slept, the duty of guarding his bed chamber devolving upon the different pages in rotation. They communicated their plan to four of their companions, and the secret was inviolably kept, though thirty-two days are said to have elapsed before they had an opportunity of executing their project.
But all things having been at length arranged for a certain night, during which Antipater, one of their number, was to keep watch, the scheme was accidentally foiled, by Alexander
remaining all night at a drinking party, and the next day the plot was divulged by another of the pages, to whom it was communicated, in hopes of inducing him to take part in it. Hermolaus and his accomplices were immediately arrested, and subsequently brought before the assembled Macedonians, by whom they were stoned to death.
It appears, however, that they had been previously submitted to examination by torture, when, according to one account, they implicated Callisthenes also in their conspiracy; according to another, and on the whole a more probable one, they maintained that the plot had been wholly of their own devising. [CALLISTHENES.] Some authors also represented Hermolaus as uttering before the assembled Macedonians a long harangue against the tyranny and injustice of Alexander
. (Arr. Anab. 4.13
; Curt. 8.6
; Plut. Alex. 55