A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology

Smith, William

A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology. William Smith, LLD, ed. 1890

(Ἀρχέλαος), king of MACEDONIA from B. C. 413 to 399. According to Plato, he was an illegitimate son of Perdiccas II. and obtained the throne by the murder of his uncle Alcetas, his cousin, and his half-brother (Plat. Gory. p. 471; Athen. 5.217d.; Ael. VH 12.43), further strengthening himself by marriage with Cleopatra, his father's widow. (Plat. Gory. p. 471c.; Aristot. Pol. 5.10, ed. Bekk.) Nor does there appear to be any valid reason for rejecting this story in spite of the silence of Thueydides, who

had no occasion to refer to it, and of the remarks of Athenaeus, who ascribes it to Plato's love of scandal. (Thuc.2.100; Athen. 11.506a. e.; Mitford, Gr. Hist. ch. 34, sec. 1; Thirlwall, Gr. Hist. vol. v. p. 157.) In B. C. 410 Pydna revolted from Archelaus, but he reduced it with the aid of an Athenian squadron under Theramenes, and the better to retain it, in subjection, rebuilt it at a distance of about two miles from the coast. (Diod. 13.49; Wess. ad loc.) In another war, in which he was involved with Sirrhas and Arrhabaeus, he purchased peace by giving his daughter in marriage to the former. (Aristot. Polit. l.c.; comp. Thirlwall, Gr. Hist. vol. v. p. 158.) For the internal improvement and security of his kingdom, as well as for its future greatness, he effectually provided by building fortresses, forming roads, and increasing the army to a stronger force than had been known under any of the former kings. (Thuc. 2.100.) He established also at Aegae (Arr. Anab. i. p. 11f.) or at Dium (Diod. 17.16; Wess. ad Diod. 16.55), public games, and a festival which he dedicated to the Muses and called "Olympian." His love of literature, science, and the fine arts is well known. His palace was adorned with magnificent paintings by Zeuxis (Ael. VH 14.17); and Euripides, Agathon, and other men of eminence, were among his guests. (Ael. VH 2.21, 13.4; Kühn, ad Ael. V. H. 14.17; Schol. ad Aristoph. Ran. 85.) But the tastes and the (so-called) refinement thus introduced failed at least to prevent, even if they did not foster, the great moral corruption of the court. (Ael. ll. cc.) Socrates himself received an invitation from Archelaus, but refused it, according to Aristotle (Aristot. Rh. 2.23.8), that he might not subject himself to the degradation of receiving favours which he could not return. Possibly, too, he was influenced by disgust at the corruption above alauded to, and contempt for the king's character. (Ael. VH 14.17.) We read in Diodorus, that Archelaus was accidentally slain on a hunting party by his favourite, Craterus or Crateuas (Diod. 14.37; Wess. ad loc.); but according to other accounts of apparently better authority, Craterus murdered him, either from ambition, or from disgust at his odious vices, or from revenge for his having broken his promise of giving him one of his daughters in marriage. (Aristot. Pol. 5.10, ed. Bekk; Ael. VH 8.9; Pseud._Plat. Alcib. ii. p. 141.)