Hellenic Civilization

Author: Chares of Mytilene  | Date: 1915

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Chares XII 53–55 Botsford Sihler New York 1915

Marriage En Masse

[331 B.C.]

After Alexander had taken Darius a prisoner, he celebrated a marriage feast for himself and his companions. Ninety-two chambers were set aside for the occasion. A house was built large enough to accommodate one hundred couches. Every couch therein was adorned with wedding trappings worth twenty minas1. Each couch was made of silver, and Alexander’s own had golden feet. To the banquet he invited all his friends, who were placed opposite to him and the other bridegrooms. Placed in their appropriate order also were all the land and naval forces and all the ambassadors who were present as well as all the other strangers staying at his court.

The reception room was furnished in the most costly and magnificent style. Beneath sumptuous tapestries were carpets of purple and scarlet and gold. To make the edifice secure, it was supported by columns twenty cubits high, plated over with gold and silver and inlaid with precious stones. The columns were encircled with costly tapestries embroidered in gold with figures of animals and suspended on gold and silver curtain rods. The pavilion was four stadia in circumference.

At the sound of a trumpet the marriage feast took place. The marriage banquet lasted five days. Gifts poured in from a great number of foreigners and Greeks as well as from some Indian tribes. Some wonderful conjurors were present. After them Alexis of Tarentum, the rhapsodist, gave a performance. Then came harpists who played without singing. Heracleitus of Tarentum and Aristocrates the Theban sang with harp accompaniment, as did Dionysius of Heracleia and Hyperbolas of Cyzicus with the pipe.

Henceforth those who had previously been called Dionysus-flatterers were called Alexander-flatterers because they had been so lavish with their gifts, which had pleased Alexander no end. In addition, tragedians and comic actors gave performances. The crowns sent by the ambassadors and other guests wese estimated at fifteen thousand talents2.

1The Greek mina was worth about $20. Thus each couch had trappings worth $400.00.

2A talent was equal to 60 minae, or about $1200. The gifts were worth some $18,000,000.

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Chicago: Chares of Mytilene, Hellenic Civilization, ed. Chares and trans. Sihler in History in the First Person: Eyewitnesses of Great Events: They Saw It Happen, ed. Louis Leo Snyder and Richard B. Morris (Harrisburg, Pa.: Stackpole Co., 1951), Original Sources, accessed July 2, 2022, http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=6VNKEXQLFPE5RVG.

MLA: Chares of Mytilene. Hellenic Civilization, edited by Chares, and translated by Sihler, Vol. XII, in History in the First Person: Eyewitnesses of Great Events: They Saw It Happen, edited by Louis Leo Snyder and Richard B. Morris, Harrisburg, Pa., Stackpole Co., 1951, Original Sources. 2 Jul. 2022. http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=6VNKEXQLFPE5RVG.

Harvard: Chares of Mytilene, Hellenic Civilization, ed. and trans. . cited in 1951, History in the First Person: Eyewitnesses of Great Events: They Saw It Happen, ed. , Stackpole Co., Harrisburg, Pa.. Original Sources, retrieved 2 July 2022, from http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=6VNKEXQLFPE5RVG.