Everything You Wanted to know about Alexander’s Brother Arrhidaeus

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Alexander the Great had an elder brother called Arrhidaeus from a different mother. Only a few months elder, Arrhidaeus was Philip II’s eldest son and later also became the successor of Alexander after his early demise.

By Sailko (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Here we share everything about Alexander’s brother Arrhidaeus aka Philip III of Macedonia

Arrhidaeus Was The son of Philip II and Philinna of Larissa

Born in 356 BC to King Philip II and his partner Philinna, Arrhidaeus was few months elder to his half-brother Alexander. His mother belonged to the Larissa, the largest city of the Thessaly area in Greek. While Plutarch mentions her as a commoner, some historians claim her to be a female dancer. This is the reason why Alexander and not Arrhidaeus became the crown prince of Philip II. It is believed that Philip II married Philinna in 357 or 358BC

Alexander’s brother Arrhidaeus was Half-Witted and Mentally Not Stable

Alexander’s brother Arrhidaeus was mentally deficient and epileptic. As he grew older his learning difficulties became all the more evident. According to Plutarch, he was poisoned mainly by Queen Olympias so that she could wipe out all the potential rivals of Alexander to the Macedonian throne. However, modern historians express their doubt on Plutarch’s claims.

This Son of Philip II Remained Inactive During Alexander’s Regime

During the thirteen years of Alexander’s reign from 336 to 323 BC, Arridaeus remained inactive in politics. He remained more or less isolated. It is not even known where he spent his 13 years during his brother Alexander’s campaign but it is assumed that he stayed back in Macedonia where the commander general Antipater of the Macedonia looked after him.

He Succeeded Alexander after His Death and Became the king of Macedonia

Post the death of Alexander in 323 BC, a group of generals sat together to decide the next king. They were divided into two groups – one preferred Arrhidaeus, the other group led by Perdiccas wanted to wait for Alexander’s child as his wife Roxanne was pregnant when he died. Further to avoid any civil war, the group decided to anoint Arrhidaeus (Alexander’s closest relative) as his successor. This is how he became the king and was thereafter known as Philip III.

Also Read: Who was the Father of Alexander – Zeus or Philip II?

King Philip III was king first under Perdiccas and then under Antipater

Although he became a king, Macedonia was mainly ruled by Perdiccas who became strong and things took drastic turn when Olympias expressed her desire to marry her widowed daughter Cleopatra, the Queen of Epirus to him. How this alliance would made him Alexander’s brother-in-law and also the closest relative. Next, there was a civil war initiated by Antipater and other generals. Perdiccas was killed by one of his own officers. Antipater took over him.

Also Read: Everything You Wanted to know about Queen Olympias – Alexander’s Mother

Philip III was killed on the Orders of Alexander’s Mother Olympias

When Antipater died, he nominated his friend instead of his son Cassander to take his role as the regent of Macedonia. This lead to another civil war post which Cassander became the regent. Meanwhile, Olympias made an alliance with her cousin, the Aeacides, king of Epirus and invaded Macedonia. The people of Macedonia refused to fight against the mother of Alexander and accepted her as the ruler. Next, Philip III was arrested. Now that a lot of the people saw Philip III as a person to be used against Olympias. She killed him in 317 BC and forced his wife to do suicide.

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