Saturday, January 11, 2020

M/M: Call Me By Your Name: Alexander the Great and Hephaestion, Quintus Curtius Rufus, Hist. Alex. III.xii.15-17

Iamque iustis defunctorum corporibus solutis, [Alexander] praemittit ad captivas qui nuntiarent ipsum venire, inhibitaque comitantium turba, tabernaculum cum Hephaestione intrat. Is longe omnium amicorum carissimus erat regi, cum ipso pariter eductus, secretorum omnium arbiter, lbertatis quoque in admonendo eo non alius plus habebat, quod tamen ita usurpabat ut magis a rege permissum quam vindicatum ab eo videretur. Et sicut aetate par erat regi, ita corporis habitu praestabat. Ergo reginae, illum esse regem ratae, suo more veneratae sunt. Inde ex captivis spadonibus quis Alexander esset monstrantibus, Sisigambis advoluta est pedibus eius, ignorationem numquam antea visa regis excusans. Quam manu allevans rex: "Non errasti," inquit, "Mater, nam et hic Alexander est."

--Quintus Curtius, Historiae Alexandri Magni, III.xii.15 - 17

After the battle's casualties were buried with proper dignity,  Alexander sent a message to announce to the Persian captives that he would visit them. He entered the captive queen's tent without his retinue, only bringing Hephaestion with him. Hephaestion was by far Alexander's best friend, a boyhood companion who was raised in the same household as the king. He was Alexander's closest confidant, and had the most liberties in monitoring and criticizing the man's behavior, a feat that seemed to be more encouraged by Alexander himself than Hephaestion's own impulse. And although they were the same age, Hephaestion had a more kingly presence than Alexander. Therefore when the queen saw Hephaestion, she assumed he was the king and bowed before him in the Persian manner. When one of the captive court's eunuchs pointed out to her who the real Alexander was,  Queen Sisigambis threw herself at Alexander's feet, apologizing that she did not know which was which. Alexander took the queen by her hand and lifted her back to her feet, saying, "You weren't wrong, Queen Mother;  this man is also Alexander."



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