Cleopatra Eurydice to be the last of the seven wives of king Philip the Macedon. She was a member the a noble family from the lower/coastal Macedon. Part then and also many later believed that Philip’s marital relationship with Cleopatra intimidated Alexander’s royal inheritance. 

Cleopatra and her household were family member newcomers come the Argead court. However, her descent was hosted in high esteem. Cleopatra’s brothers Hippostratus had actually been a member that Philip’s hetairai till he fell fighting the Illyrians in 344-343 B.C.E. She uncle Attalus, the just surviving male of she family, shows up in the sources only when Philip started to take into consideration marrying Cleopatra. 

Case that Attalus

Attalus’ late appearance in the sources means that it was Cleopatra marrying Philip the elevated Attalus and not the latter affecting the marriage. Thus, we have actually Philip marrying Cleopatra because that love, not for appealing to one otherwise irregularity Attalus or various other Macedonian nobility. Consequently, to appeal to his brand-new wife, Philip appointed Attalus together a high ranked command in his army.

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Philip married Cleopatra in 337. Of note is the incident resulted in by Attalus’ remarks throughout the wedding symposium. Cleopatra’s uncle, embolden by the match, congratulated the king top top marrying a mam of pure Macedonian blood, capable of creating rightful heirs quite than bastards. Alexander, present there and also insulted, shouted in ~ Attalus when then avoiding drunken Philip’s attempt at shooting him with a spear. In the aftermath, Alexander went to Illyria while his mommy retreated in Epirus. 

Depiction: Alexander attacks Attalus, Cleopatra/Eurydice’s uncle after ~ the latter insulted him at the wedding symposium; credit: Ancient history Magazine.

Attalus’ insult at the crown prince, if true, to be a political and also diplomatic gaffe on Attalus’ part. A year later, the assassination the Philip and also Alexander’s accession had actually Attalus ~ above the brand-new king’s undesirable list. Meanwhile, during a year the marriage, Cleopatra boring Philip a daughter, Europa, and also an ill-documented son, Caranus. ~ above marriage, she got the name Eurydice in honor of Philip’s mother. 

Cleopatra/Eurydice’s place after Philip’s Assassination

After she husband’s assassination, Cleopatra was in a much less weak and also vulnerable place than well-known belief. That’s because Alexander’s position as a new king was no as firm together what most believe. Together such, Cleopatra was component of Alexander’s setup for increase his rule over the Macedonians, especially over the nobility of the lower Macedon. Part of that arrangement was a levirate marriage definition Alexander marrying Cleopatra, previous wife that his deceased father. 

Sons marrying your fathers’ widows to be not unusual in Macedonian royalty. Archelaus and Ptolemy had actually previously excellent so. As soon as such marital relationship was established, the new king might easily eliminate what descendant his new spouse had with his dad without resulting in widespread discontent. This had been the case with both Archelaus II (r. 395-394) and Ptolemy Aloros (r. 368–365). Upon engaging in levirate marriage, Archelaus eliminated Aeropus conversely, Ptolemy eliminated his half-brother Alexander II. 

Pausanias of Orestis kills Philip II.Cleopatra and Attalus in Alexander’s Scheme

Alexander never forgot the humiliation Attalus do him at the marriage symposium. Top top accession, he instantly sent Hecataeus to sign up with Attalus’ ranking in Thrace wherein he would have the option to death the odious commander. Attalus’ figure was a clear obstruction to Alexander marrying his mother-in-law. 

Yet, this situation enabled for Alexander pretending to consider marrying Cleopatra fairly than in reality marrying her. ~ all, Alexander’s quarrel with Attalus was with him alone, not Cleopatra. Not only that yet Alexander himself in reality treated Cleopatra with genuine respect. Specifically, as soon as he eliminated Cleopatra’s statue from the Philippeum in ~ Olympia he transferred it to one more place of respect in the surrounding Heraion. 

Illustration that Aristotle teaching Alexander; the case after Philip II’s murder compelled a careful political technique by the new king.

Pretending come marry Cleopatra/Eurydice may have actually been Alexander’s ultimate setup after all. By only courting Cleopatra, Alexander can still appease the an effective Macedonian noble houses. This, an unified with his open refusal to marry the daughters the his generals, Antipater and also Parmenio, maintained the lower Macedonian nobility content and also in check. 

Olympias’ Intervention

Cleopatra’s duty in Alexander’s elaborate and also cautious setup threatened politics his own mommy Olympias. The highly perceptive mother imagines just how a marriage in between Cleopatra and Alexander would diminish her imperial power. Upon marital relationship with Cleopatra, Alexander can easily have his mother retreat in Epirus, in the very same way, Philip II had actually done a if ago. 

In this situation, Olympias decided, on her own, to death Cleopatra. Because that this, she had to wait for Alexander to communicate away native the court. She walk not need to wait long. When Alexander was away managing the rebellious Thebans and also the competitor Amyntas IV and his followers, Olympias made she move. This happened sometime during September 335 B.C.E.

According come Justin, Olympias “forced Cleopatra, for whom Philip had actually divorced her, to cave herself, having an initial murdered she daughter in she mother’s arms, and also it to be from the sight of her rival hanging there that Olympias gained the vengeance she had sped up by murder” (IX. VII. XII).

Pausanias speak a various story that requires an infant son rather of a daughter. According to the latter, Olympias eliminated Cleopatra and also her infant son by dragging them over a copper vessel filled with fire. (Pausanias VIII. VII. VII.).

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When Alexander heard the news on Olympias assassination the Cleopatra/Eurydice, the “was upset at Olympias for her savage therapy of Cleopatra if he to be away”. (Plutarch. Alexander. X. VII). By killing Cleopatra/Eurydice in such a way, Olympias had presented no consideration for Alexander’s plans prior to her very own interests. Together for the deceased’s children, it’s straightforward to imagine Olympias executing either a daughter or both of them. However, the as much easy to imagine Alexander executing lock on his own.

Because of conflict accounts, the welcomed narrative argues Olympias death Cleopatra’s infant daughter as argued by Justin, when Alexander obtaining rid of Cleopatra’s infant boy (if there was such a son) to protect against claimants to the throne. 


Bosworth, A. B. (2015). Cleopatra-Eurydice, Olympias, and a Weak Alexander. Eastern & West in the human being of Alexander the Great.