Alexander was born on 20 July 356. He was the son of Philip’s fourth wife, the Princess Olympias, from Epirus, to Macedonia’s west. He may not have been the eldest son for he had a brother, Arrhidaeus. His mother, Philinna of Larissa (in Thessaly), had married Philip a year or more before Olympias.1 Arrhidaeus, though, appears to have been mentally deﬁcient and that incapacitation meant that Alexander was the heir to the throne. From the outset, Alexander was destined for greatness. On the day he was born:
The stories did not stop there.3 Apparently, the night before Olympias married Philip , she dreamed that there was a terriﬁc thunderstorm, during which a thunderbolt smashed down from the sky and landed in her womb. A blinding ﬂash of lightning followed what must have been an uncomfortable experience for her. Philip also had a dream that he took a wax seal and sealed up his wife’s womb. When he had done this, he saw the ﬁgure of a lion on the seal. A seer then prophesied that Olympias was pregnant and would give birth to a lion of a man as far as bravery and power went.