2. Son of Parmenion, was one of the most distinguished officers in the service of Alexander
He appears to have already enjoyed a high place in the friendship and confidence of that monarch before his accession to the throne (Plut. Alex. 10
) ; and in the first military enterprises of the young king against the Thracians, Triballi, and Glaucias, king of Illyria, Philotas bears a conspicuous part (Arr. Anab. 1.2
In the organization of the army for the expedition to Asia, Philotas obtained the chief command of the whole body of the έταῖροι
, or native Macedonian cavalry, a post of such importance as to rank probably second only to that of his father Parmenion.
But besides this special command, which he held without interruption, from the first landing in Asia until after the defeat and death of Dareius, we frequently find him entrusted with a more extensive authority, and placed in command of several independent bodies of troops.
In this manner we find him rendering important services not only in the battles of the Granicus and Arbela, but at the sieges of Miletus and Halicarnasss, in the march through Cilicia, and again at the passage of the Pylae Persicae (Diod. 17.17
; Arr. Anab. 1.14
, iii 11, 18; Curt. 5.4
. §§ 20, 30, 6.9.26).
The estimation in which Alexander
held his military talents is sufficiently attested by these facts : nor does it appear that any thing had occurred up to this time to interrupt the familiar and friendly intercourse between them : though according to Plutarch (Aler.
48) information had been secretly given to the king at a much earlier period that Philotas was holding seditious language, if not entertaining treasonable designs, against him (see also Arrian, Arr. Anab. 3.26.1
). On the advance into Bactria (B. C. 330) Philotas was left behind with a detachment to pay funeral honours to his brother Nicanor, while Alexander
himself pushed forward in pursuit of Bessus (Curt. 6.6.19
), but he soon rejoined the main army.
It was not long after this, during the halt in Drangiana, that the events occurred which led to his destruction.
It appears certain that a plot had been at this time organised by a Macedonian named Dimnus, against the life of Alexander
, though what was really its extent or nature it is now impossible to determine. Information of this conspiracy was accidentally brought in the first instance to Philotas by one CEBALINUS; but he treated the whole matter with contempt on account of the character of the parties concerned, and neglected for two days to apprize the king of the intelligence. Alexander
having subsequently become acquainted with this fact was indignant with Philotas for his carelessness, and the enemies of the latter, especially Craterus, took advantage of the opportunity to inflame the resentment of the king, and persuaded him that Philotas could not possibly have concealed so important a communication, had he not been himself implicated in the plot. Alexander
yielded to their suggestions, and caused Philotas to be arrested in the night.
The next day he was brought before the assembled Macedonian army, and vehemently accused by the king himself, who asserted that Parmenion was likewise an accomplice in the meditated treason. No proof, however, of the guilt either of Philotas or his father was brought forward, for Dimnus had put an end to his own life, and Nicomachus, who had originally revealed the existence of the conspiracy, had not mentioned the name of Philotas among those supposed to be concerned in it.
But in the following night a confession was wrung from the unhappy Philotas by the torture, in which, though he at first denied any knowledge of the plot of Dimnus, he admitted that he had previously joined with his father in entertaining treasonable designs against the king; and ultimately, overcome by the application of fresh tortures, he was brought to acknowledge his participation in the conspiracy of Dimnus also. On the strength of this confession he was the next again brought before the assembled troops, and stoned to death after the Macedonian custom (Curt. 6.7
; Arr. Anab. 3.2
; Plut. Alex. 48
; Diod. 17.79
; Justin 12.5
It is difficult to pronounce with certainty upon the guilt or innocence of Philotas, especially as we know not what authorities were followed by Curtius, the only author who has left us a detailed account of his trial; but there seems little doubt that he fell a victim to the machinations of his rivals and enemies among the Macedonian generals, at the head of whom was Craterus, whose conduct throughout the transaction presents itself in the darkest colours. That Alexander
should have lent so ready an ear to their representations, will ever be a reproach to the memory of the great king : but it is clear that his mind had been already alienated from Philotas by the haughty and arrogant demeanour of the latter, and the boastful manner in which he assumed to himself a large share in the merits of Alexander's
exploits. Similar defects of character had also it appears rendered Philotas unpopular with the army, and thus disposed the Macedonians to listen readily to the charges against him (Curt. 6.8.3
; Plut. Alex. 48
). Nor is it unlikely that in common with Cleitus and others of the elder Macedonians, he looked with disapprobation upon the course that Alexander
was taking after the death of Dareius; but of his direct participation in any plots against the king's life, there is certainly no sufficient evidence. Among the tales subsequently circulated was one that represented him as holding communications with Callisthenes, which were interpreted as having reference to the assassination of Alexander
. (Arr. Anab. 4.10