The Classical Quarterly (New Series)

Research Article

Diodorus Siculus and Hephaestion's Pyre1

Paul Mckechniea1

a1 University of Auckland

Chapters 114 and 115 of Diodorus Siculus Book 17 give rise to impressive difficulties, considering their relative brevity. At the beginning of Chapter 113 Diodorus has announced the opening of the year 324/3 (Athenian archon, Roman consuls, 114th Olympic Games)—the last year of Alexander the Great's life. Alexander by then has already, at the end of the previous year (112.5), taken the fateful step of entering Babylon: wounded in his soul by Chaldaean prophecy, Diodorus says, but healed by Anaxarchus and the philosophical corps of the Macedonian army. The new year, 324/3, begins with Alexander dealing with diplomatic missions from three continents; and then, at the beginning of Chapter 114, Diodorus brings in the funeral of Hephaestion.


1 I wish to thank Mr R. J. Lane Fox, who as referee for the Classical Quarterly has waived anonymity and allowed me to acknowledge his suggestions—both those I have accepted and those I have persisted in questioning. A draft of this paper was presented to the University of Auckland Department of Classics and Ancient History Staff-Student Research Seminar in April 1994: I wish to thank those present on that occasion and particularly Dr W. R. Barnes, Prof. V. J. Gray and Miss L. Bligh for their comments and suggestions. None of the above is responsible for any errors which remain in this paper.