As a rule in the historical tradition, over time the larger cast of characters behind a series of events, the king and his court, is distilled down to the person of a single actor, the king, while his ministers and lieutenants are consigned to oblivion. Alexander the Great is by and large an exception to this rule. His Companions play important roles in his reign and campaigns, his character is developed to a great extent in his relations with them, and they rise to prominence in their own right as his successors; they form an indispensable part of the memory of Alexander. This is certainly true of the account of Alexander in the Chronographia of John Malalas, the seminal work of the Byzantine chronicle tradition. The men surrounding Alexander are referred to repeatedly, in marked contrast to the other historical personages who feature in the Chronographia. The terms that Malalas uses of Alexander’s Companions, however, are unusual, and require some interpretation. And the prominence of his Companions in this narrative seems intended to contribute to an essentially, but subtly negative depiction of Alexander by recalling the most disreputable incidents in Alexander’s career, which usually involved his Companions.

You do not currently have access to this content.