Pausanias of Orestis
Assassinates Attalus by Jeff Provine
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Day in Alternate History. Please note that the opinions expressed in
this post do not necessarily reflect the views of the author(s).
In 336 B.C.,
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Philip II had carved out a grand empire stretching south from his original
kingdom of Macedon. He unified the often-warring city-states of Greece by
diplomacy and military might. With command of impressive resources and
crack-trained men, he hoped to launch an invasion of Persia, an empire
that had grown old and frail.
It was not just an attack of opportunity, however. He meant to secure
the Greeks forever against another eastern invasion and establish a new,
Greek-led world order.
While all of his empire-building went on, Philip also had a private life,
taking up Pausanias of Orestis, a member of his bodyguard, as a lover. As
time progressed, Philip's attention went to a different, younger Pausanias,
ousting the elder. The forsaken Pausanias tormented the younger with
taunts, eventually driving the young man to suicide. While no direct law
had been broken, there were those who felt that this bullying should be
punished, and the lead was taken by the younger Pausanias's friend and
Philip's father-in-law, General Attalus.Attalus threw a grand dinner
party, inviting Pausanias and making certain that the man drank past any
sense of sobriety. He and the rest of his party then descended upon
Pausanias in brutal rape. Pausanias awoke to the horror and demanded King
Philip punish his general. Philip would not. He needed Attalus, vicious as
he was, to be a loyal commander as he was sending him along with General
Parmenion to establish a foothold for the invasion of Asia. Beside,
Attalus was his father-in-law, and family matters trumped even those of
former lovers. In consolation, Philip promoted Pausanias to the highest
rank of his bodyguard and thus of Macedonian nobility.
"The Alexandrine empire would have broken up...the
Greeks, it has been said, got every gift in the world save the ability to
get along with each other. " - reader's commentsThe rank was not
enough to calm Pausanias' anger. He had been insulted and felt that
vengeance must take place. In seeking guidance from a soothsayer,
Pausanias was told that he would become the most famous man in the world.
Many said that the soothsayer was the pay of Persians or a conspiracy of
Greeks, pushing Pausanias to kill the king and end a potential invasion.
Cryptic words did not give Pausanias such an idea, however; he decided he
would become famous by exacting perfect revenge.
At the wedding of Alexander of Epirus and Philip's daughter Cleopatra,
Pausanias struck. All attention was on Philip, who was boastfully
attending the wedding without his guard around him, supposedly to impress
the Greek diplomats attending. While all backs were turned, Pausanias
stabbed Attalus, whom he had beguiled into not leaving for Asia until
after the wedding, with a poisoned needle. The general knew it was an
attack, but the wound was small enough that no one would believe him that
Pausanias had done anything. Attalus fell ill and died.
"Of course it would have broken up. Empires do.
Indeed, in this scenario, it does. But the timing is important. SAuppose,
for example, it lasts long enough for someone to make Heron's steam engine
into a practical device? there could be an Industrial Revolution 1,700
years early. " - reader's commentsAfterwar, Pausanias would ask to
take Attalus' place as general. Philip would grant the request, feeling
that debts were then fully paid. The invasion of Persia would go forward
as planned in 335 BC, with Pausanias leading at Philip's side, taking all
that would have been Attalus' glory. He would routinely be named a hero in
battle, and his legend would install him as the most famous warrior in the
world for a generation. The young prince Alexander would follow, playing
key importance in cavalry maneuvers, but never to the degree of Pausanias.
Over the next ten years, Philip would establish a great Greek empire
stretching from the Adriatic Sea to India. While Philip would then settle
into rule, his son Alexander would march west to become known as The
Conqueror, scooping up the lands of the Carthaginians of Africa and
upstart Romans in Italy.
With Alexander's son Alexander IV coming to the throne in 299 BC, a strong
chain of succession was established that would carry Greek unity for
generations. Ideals of trade, art, and mathematics would spread throughout
the world, such as the philosopher Archimedes determining the principles
of Calculus in 211 BC and the inventor Heron of Philipi creating the first
workable steam engine in 35 AD. Eventually the Greek Empire would fall
from decadence, eastern rebellion, and barbarian incursion (most notably
the Germans of the north), but it would forever leave its stamp on the
world as a golden age.
says in reality Pausanias became the most famous man in the world by
killing the most famous man in the world, his king and former lover Philip
II. While Philip left his guards behind, Pausanias attacked him. In the
ensuing chaos, he fled, attempting to escape by the city gate. He tripped,
which slowed him enough to be speared by royal guard. The inquiry into
assassination uncovered the rest of a conspiracy with two more high-ranking
Macedonians executed as Alexander worked to secure his succession to the
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Jeff Provine, Guest Historian of
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