The man who would be king: Alexander between Gaugamela and Persepolis

Hugh Bowden*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Studies of Alexander’s adoption of Persian court practices tend to focus on two periods, his adoption of aspects of Persian dress in Parthia in 330 and the ‘experiment with proskynesis’ in Bactria in 327. There are, however, hints in the works of Alexander historians that he had started this process earlier. Plutarch notes that after Gaugamela, Persian rule was considered overthrown, and Alexander ‘was proclaimed king of Asia’. Accounts of Alexander’s activities in Babylon and Susa may suggest that he was engaging with kingship rituals there. While Alexander’s activities in Babylon have been the subject of some scholarly attention (e.g. Kuhrt 1990), his time in Susa has received less attention, although from the time of Dareios I, Susa had been one of the most important focus of Achaemenid royal power. This chapter re-examines the evidence for Alexander’s activities in Babylonia and Elam, in particular in the period immediately after Gaugamela, to argue that Alexander was already at that stage presenting himself as the new ruler of the Achaemenid empire and adopting aspects of Achaemenid court practice and that his Macedonian companions, old as well as young, were supportive of this.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAlexander the Great and Propaganda
PublisherTaylor and Francis Inc.
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781351627603
ISBN (Print)9781138079106
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2021


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