History : Sep-Oct 2018
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC HISTORY 35 Philotas had a reputation for bravery and hard work as well as being a generous and loyal friend. Some thought him arrogant and were suspicious, and perhaps envious, of his accom- plishments. Philotas didn’t always agree with Alexander and had been a vocal critic at times, especially of the way the king had been hailed as a god in Egypt. Some of Alexander’s generals, led by Craterus, heard whispers that Philotas could be plotting against Alexander. They ordered spies to keep tabs on him, but the only account of treasonous talk they found came from a Greek prostitute. She told them that Philotas bragged to her about how he and Parmenio were respon- sible for Alexander’s victories. Craterus reported his findings to Alexander, who did not give much credence to pillow talk. He trusted Philotas and also did not want conflict with Parmenio, whom he had long trusted. In 330 b.c. whispers revealed another treasonous plot of Philotas, except this time assassination was involved. While wintering with his army at Phrada (modern-day Farah in Afghanistan), Alexander learned that a man named Dymnus, a member of the hetai- roi, planned to murder him. An informant, the brother of Dymnus’s lover, had twice told Phi- lotas of the plot, but Philotas had done nothing. Finally, the informant went directly to Alexander to expose Dymnus. Before he could be arrested, Dymnus killed himself, leaving many mysteries unresolved. Alexander, convinced of his guilt, had Dymnus’s corpse publicly displayed to warn potential trai- tors. Having grown suspicious of his friend, Al- exander then called on Philotas to answer why he had not reported the plot to his leader. Philotas denied being part of a plot to kill Alexander, arguing that the allegations had seemed trivial, the result of a lover’s quarrel. Writing his Histories of Alexander the Great around the first century a.d., Roman author Quintus Curtius Rufus reported how Philotas threw his arms around Alexander and begged him“to have regard to his past life rather than to a fault, ORONOZ/ALBUM COIN OF A KING Struck in the fourth century b.c. in Babylon, this silver tetradrachm (below) bears the strong profile of Alexander the Great.