Can A 50 Year Old Man Get A Girl Pregnant Olympias – The Mother of Alexander the Great

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Olympias – The Mother of Alexander the Great

Olympias was born around 371 BC in the Molossian kingdom of Epirus on the borders of modern Albania. She was about fourteen years old when she met King Philip of Macedonia at a mysterious cult festival in Samothrace. It is said that Philip fell in love with her immediately, but this is probably an overly romantic version of reality.

Philip was a very wise and successful ruler who had united the various Macedonian tribes into a recognizable kingdom. He had led his kingdom to victories against other Greeks, especially Thebes, Sparta and Athens. He had already started an effective empire that filled the vacuum left by the thirty-year Peloponnesian War between Sparta and Athens in the 5th century BC. After Sparta defeated Athens, the two city-states had exhausted themselves to the point where the Macedonians could move around Greece, incorporating the city-states under Macedonian rule.

Philip’s political consciousness led him to enter into several political marriages. Macedonian kings practiced polygamy, so Olympias was not Philip’s only wife, but she was his only queen. Philip married seven times, in the order of marriages: Phila, Audata, Philina, Olympias, Nicesipolis, Meda, and finally Cleopatra in 337 BC. Significantly, Olympias succeeded in becoming queen because Philip had an older marriage, which it would be reasonable to assume would have been more established. Olympias must have made some impression on Philippa to achieve queen status.

Olympias became pregnant with Alexander soon after she married, and he was born in 356 BC. She had another child, later Cleopatra. She was an ardent worshiper of the god Dionysus, and ancient writers suggest that she was interested in using snakes in the worship of her favorite god. The writer Plutarch says that once Philip saw her sleeping with a snake in bed and after that time he distanced himself from his wife. Plutarch says that Philip then took other wives, which made Olympias jealous. The final breaking point came when Attalus, one of Philip’s men, toasted Philip at his wedding feast, mentioning Attalus’ girlfriend Cleopatra, saying that they should all pray for Cleopatra to produce a legitimate heir to the throne. Alexander showed his anger and threw a cup at Attalus. Philip sided with Attalus. Alexander and Olympias went from Macedonia to Epirus.

Olympias did not help in such incidents and in a sense added fuel to the fire. Her intense and dangerous nature meant that in a superstitious time she could seem more in tune with the gods than with mortals. She is said to have told Alexander that he was the son of Zeus, not Philip, and that Alexander modeled himself after the hero Achilles, who himself had a goddess.

Olympia understood how power worked in the 4th century BC. It was a time when politics was dominated by men and women gained power through the men around them. Aspasia, wife of the 5th-century Athenian politician Pericles, had gained authority through her husband (and may have written some of his speeches), and centuries later the younger Agrippina tried to gain power (disastrous for her) through her son Nero.

Arridea, the son of another wife, is said to have been poisoned by Olympias. This son was older than Alexander and therefore in line to the throne before Alexander. Archideus survived the poisoning, but was brain damaged and unable to gain power. Cleopatra, the younger wife, fulfilled Attalus’ wish for a son and Philip’s heir, and she gave birth to a son. Plutarch says that shortly after the birth of Philip’s youngest son, he was killed by the disgruntled Macedonian Pausanias. Plutarch suggests that Olympias used Pausanias to kill Philip in revenge for his marriage to Cleopatra. It was probably a joint venture between Olympias and Alexander to allow Alexander to take over before his rival was old enough to fight his own corner. As soon as Philip was removed, Alexander became king of Macedonia at the age of twenty. Olympias had Cleopatra and her young son executed.

Alexander spent most of his reign on campaign, spreading his empire eastward into India. Olympias kept in touch with Alexander, but she had no political influence. This changed when her brother died and she became regent of Epirus in 330 BC. Alexander died in 323 BC and the Macedonian kingdom was ruled by a regent. This situation was unstable as the regency shifted between Alexander’s former generals and eventually led to civil war.

Olympias entered this war in an attempt to secure power for her grandson, Alexander IV. She supported Polypercon as regent of Macedonia, but Cassander, son of the previous regent, vied with Polypercon for power and eventually emerged victorious. Olympias had killed many of Cassander’s supporters in an attempt to weaken him. When he came to power, Olympia surrendered to his power. He promised her safety. As soon as he could, he framed her for the murders she had committed against his allies. Cassander executed Olympias in 316 BC.

Olympia lived with dangerous people and was a dangerous woman herself. Her single-minded ruthlessness allowed Alexander to become one of the most successful leaders and empire builders in history. It also led to her own execution.

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