Forever Young. The strange youth of the Macedonian Kings

Antonio Ignacio Molina

Abstract

Traditionally, the belief has been that the Hellenistic kings began to shave their beards following the example of Alexander the Great. This paper proposes a new vision of this idea, given that explains the shaven face of Alexander through the youngness of the Macedonian kings. In our opinion, the sovereigns of Macedonia were presented many times by their fathers or regents like eternal teenagers in order to remain in power for as long as possible. Thus, the only way for any member of the Argead dynasty to achieve complete autonomy and to be fully free was to be seated on the throne. The same happen during the lifetime of popular generals (Parmenion) or advisers (Aratus). The royal portrait created by the Diadochoi was a symbol of power through which they could govern, never was an imitation of a real one. However, this royal portrait was inspired by Macedonian models that presented the Argead prince as inexpert and weak when they were unbearded.

Keywords

Argead Dynasty; Hellenistic kings; Alexander the Great; Iconography; Power; Beard

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