Pausanias of Orestis

Pausanias of Orestis (Greek) was a member of Philip II of Macedon's somatophylakes, his personal bodyguard. He assassinated Philip in 336 BC, possibly at the instigation of Philip's wife Olympias, or even his son Alexander the Great. He was immediately captured and killed. The most popular story explaining the murder comes from Cleitarchus and Diodorus Siculus, who expanded upon its mention by Aristotle.

According to these sources, the general Attalus blamed Pausanias for the death of his nephew. Philip and Pausanias had once been lovers, but the affair ended, and Philip started a new affair with Attalus's nephew - also named Pausanias. The former Pausanias, feeling spurned, insulted his romantic rival in public. To secure his honor, Attalus's kinsman committed suicide by recklessly putting himself into danger in battle, while at the same time protecting the king. Devastated, Attalus sought to punish Pausanias of Orestis, and did so by getting the man drunk, and then submitting him to a gang-rape. For any number of reasons, Philip did not punish Attalus. Pausanias of Orestis was promoted to the rank of somatophylax, probably as a consolation.

It has been supposed then that Pausanias's motive in killing Philip was at least in part a personal anger for not having been granted justice against Attalus. However Diodorus who supports the attribution of a personal motive to pausanius dates the events which led to the assault on Pausanias to the time of the Illyrian Pleurias and the last known campaign taken by Phillip against the Illayrians took place in 344BC. This would mean that Pausanias waited eight years to act against Phillip for his lack of justice.

Pausanias killed Philip at the wedding ceremony of Attalus and Cleopatra, and as he tried to flee to the city gate, tripped on a vine-root and speared by Attalus (Not Parmenios son-in-Law), Leonnatus, and Perdiccas, who were also bodyguards and friends of Alexander. Alexander had Pausanias's corpse crucified, but as soon as he had left Macedon, Olympias built a memorial to the slain man. The murder was certainly premeditated, as horses were found near where Pausanias had fled. At the murder trial, two other men, Heromenes and Arrhabaeus, were found guilty of conspiracy with Pausanias, and executed. Leonnatus, who threw the spear that killed Pausanias, was demoted, possibly under suspicion he was trying to prevent him from being interrogated.

Modern Dramatic Productions

20th Century dramatizations of Alexander's life sometimes include Pausanias's rape, Philip's assassination at his hands, or both; these dramatizations usually agree with the story presented by Aristotle, if not also Diodorus Siculus.

Oliver Stone's 2004 film Alexander contains a brief reference to the rape, but suggests that Philip himself took part in the act. The assassination is more in line with the original sources, featuring Pausanias as a somatophylax, his getaway attempt, and his accomplices.

Mary Renault's novel Fire from Heaven suggests the possibility of Persian bribery to influence Pausanias, yet maintains that the rape was probably the strongest motive to actually push Pausanias towards the act of killing. This version gives insight into Pausanias's psyche following the rape and leading up to the assassination. This is also supported by Alexanders retort to Darius after the

Rossen's 1956 Alexander the Great makes textual references to the rape, but does not show it. Pausanias does carry out the assassination.

Ancient Sources

* [http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Plutarch/Lives/Alexander*/3.html Plutarch: Life of Alexander]
** [http://www.1stmuse.com/frames/assasination.html Philip's Assassination, Plutarch]
* [http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Diod.+16.94.1 Diodorus Siculus, 16.94]

Modern Commentary

* [http://pothos.org/alexander.asp?paraID=53&keyword_id=9&title=Death%20of%20Philip:%20Murder%20or%20Assassination? Death of Philip: Murder or Assassination?]
*Alexander The Great, J.R. Hamilton
*Alexander Of Macedon 356-323 B.C., Peter Green


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