chapter  iv
30 Pages

The so-called 'Boyhood Friends' of Alexander

Plutarch, Alex. 10. 4, names four exaipoi of Alexander the Great who were banished for their part in the so-called ’Pixodaros affair': Harpalos, Nearchos, Ptolemy son of Lagos, Erigyios; Arrian (3. 6. 5), in a less precise context, adds Laomedon, Erigyios’ brother. Modern scholars have had a tendency to refer to them as Alexander’s 'boyhood friends', that is, his contemporaries. J. R. Hamilton went so far as to argue that their banishment left Alexander 'isolated' at the Court.2 And, because there is meagre evidence for the ages of these men, the preconception that they were coeval with Alexander has on occasion led to the rejection of what evidence there is. Hence the statement of Ps.-Lucian (Macrob. 12), that Ptolemy died at the age of 84 two years after the accession of his son Philadelphos (i.e., winter 283/2), is discarded because it would force us to place his birthdate in 367/6. Beloch comments: 'Wie weit diese Angabe glaubwiirdig ist, mag dahingestellt bleiben; nach Plut. Alex. 10 und Arr. Anab. Ill 6, 5 wiirden wir Ptolemaios eher fur etwa gleichen Alters mit Alexander gehalten haben; dafiir spricht auch die untergeordnete Stellung, die er am Anfang des asiatischen Feldzuges noch inne hatte' (iii2 2. 126). But we have here two false assumptions: first, that the eTotipoi of Alexander were men of his own age-group; second, that youth alone could account for Ptolemy's low rank in the early years of the campaign.