chapter  11
Perdikkas son of Orontes
Pages 36

Perdikkas deserves to be considered the first of the Diadochoi.1 To him Alexander had given his signet ring and, with it, all the uncompleted projects, all the unresolved and festering problems of an empire too quickly subdued and ruled, primarily, by force. For the King’s own reputation, it was a good thing, dying young. Posterity knew only his youthful brilliance, lamenting that time alone had defeated him. But his death was the signal for rebellion-to the Greeks in Europe and the Upper Satrapies, to the conservative Makedones who wished to return to the state of Philip II. While the King lived, they dared not oppose him; but now they rejected his policies when they were carried on by other men. In order to continue Alexander’s work Perdikkas would have to be another Alexander, and this he was not. Hesitant in situations that required decisive action, he lost ground to his political foes who cast him in the role of usurper. Thereafter, he moved too quickly, desired too much, and risked all on a single throw of the dice. Confounded in every undertaking by the jealousy of his colleagues and maligned

1 Schachermeyr, Babylon 16: “In Perdikkas hat Alexander eine Persönlichkeit erkannt, die ihm an Temperament, Begabung und Ehrgeiz, wie überhaupt an Format, irgendwie noch am nächsten zu stehen schien.” Miltner 1933b: 52: “Perdikkas, dessen besondere Vertrauensstellung bei Alexander uns Gewähr sein darf, daß er Alexanders Absichten verstand und teilte, hatte zuerst in Babylon versucht, die völlige Reichseinheit . . . zu gewährleisten . . . .” Tarn, CAH VI, 462: “Perdiccas, of the princely line of Orestis, was brave and a good soldier; he was probably loyal to Alexander’s house, and meant to keep the empire together; but he saw that someone must exercise the actual power, and he meant it to be himself. He was, however, unconciliatory and inordinately proud, and probably difficult to work with.”