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Alexander IV
Megas Basileus
King of Macedonia
Reign323/322–309 BC
PredecessorPhilip III
Pharaoh of Egypt
Reign323/322–309 BC
PredecessorPhilip III
SuccessorPtolemy I
Horus name
Hunu weser pehty[1]
The youthful one, powerful of strength[1]
F9 F9
Nebty name
Mery netjeru, redi en.ef iaut en it.ef[1]
Beloved of the gods, to whom the office of his father was given[1]
Golden Horus
Heqa nakht em ta (er)-djer-ef[1]
Victorious ruler in the entire land[1]
Prenomen  (Praenomen)
Haa ib re, setep en imen[1]
Who (continually) rejoices over the mind Re, chosen by Amun[1]
Ra makes the heart rejoice, elected by Amun
King of Persia
Reign323/322–309 BC
PredecessorPhilip III
SuccessorSeleucus I
Born323 or 322 BC
DiedLate summer 309 BC (aged 13 or 14)
FatherAlexander III of Macedon
MotherRoxana of Bactria
ReligionAncient Greek religion

Alexander IV (Greek: Ἀλέξανδρος; 323/322– 309 BC), sometimes erroneously called Aegus in modern times,[3] was the son of Alexander the Great (Alexander III of Macedon) and Princess Roxana of Bactria.


Alexander IV was the son of Alexander the Great (a Macedonian Greek) and Alexander's wife Roxana (a Sogdian).[4][5][6] He was the grandson of Philip II of Macedon. Because Roxana was pregnant when Alexander the Great died on 11 June 323 BC and the sex of the baby was unknown, there was dissension in the Macedonian army regarding the order of succession. While the infantry supported Alexander the Great's half-brother Philip III (who had some unknown cognitive disability present throughout his life[7]), the chiliarch Perdiccas, commander of the elite Companion cavalry, persuaded them to wait in the hope that Roxana's child would be male. The factions compromised, deciding that Perdiccas would rule the Empire as regent while Philip would reign, but only as a figurehead with no real power. If the child was male, then he would be king. Alexander IV was born in late 323 or early 322 BC.


After a severe regency, military failure in Egypt, and mutiny in the army, Perdiccas was assassinated by his senior officers in May or June 321 or 320 BC (problems with Diodorus's chronology have made the year uncertain[8]), after which Antipater was named as the new regent at the Partition of Triparadisus. He brought with him Roxana and the two kings to Macedon and gave up the pretence of ruling Alexander's Empire, leaving former provinces in Egypt and Asia under the control of the satraps. When Antipater died in 319 BC he left Polyperchon, a Macedonian general who had served under Philip II and Alexander the Great, as his successor, passing over his own son, Cassander.

Civil war

Cassander allied himself with Ptolemy Soter, Antigonus and Eurydice, the ambitious wife of king Philip Arrhidaeus, and declared war upon the Regency. Polyperchon was allied with Eumenes and Olympias.

Although Polyperchon was successful at first, taking control of the Greek cities, his fleet was destroyed by Antigonus in 318 BC. When, after the battle, Cassander assumed full control of Macedon, Polyperchon was forced to flee to Epirus, followed by Roxana and the young Alexander. A few months later, Olympias was able to persuade her relative Aeacides of Epirus to invade Macedon with Polyperchon. When Olympias took the field, Eurydice's army refused to fight against the mother of Alexander and defected to Olympias, after which Polyperchon and Aeacides retook Macedon. Philip and Eurydice were captured and executed on December 25, 317 BC, leaving Alexander IV king, and Olympias in effective control, as she was his regent.

Cassander returned in the following year (316 BC), conquering Macedon once again. Olympias was immediately executed, while the king and his mother were taken prisoner and held in the citadel of Amphipolis[9] under the supervision of Glaucias. When the general peace between Cassander, Antigonus, Ptolemy, and Lysimachus put an end to the Third Diadoch War in 311 BC, the peace treaty recognized Alexander IV's rights and explicitly stated that when he came of age he would succeed Cassander as ruler.


Tomb III in Vergina, which probably belonged to Alexander IV

Following the treaty, defenders of the Argead dynasty began to declare that Alexander IV should now exercise full power and that a regent was no longer needed, since he had almost reached the significant age of 14, the age at which a Macedonian noble could become a court page. Cassander's response was definitive: to secure his rule, in 309 BC he commanded Glaucias to secretly assassinate the 14-year-old Alexander IV and his mother. The orders were carried out, and they were both poisoned. There is controversy about the exact year of Alexander IV's death because of conflicting sources, but the consensus of ancient Macedonian scholars N.G.L. Hammond and F.W. Walbank in A History of Macedonia Vol. 3 was that Alexander was killed late in the summer of 309 BC, shortly after his alleged half-brother Heracles. However, classical historian Peter Green contends that Heracles was killed after Alexander IV's assassination.[10]

One of the royal tombs discovered by the archaeologist Manolis Andronikos in the so-called "Great Tumulus" in Vergina in 1977/8 is believed to belong to Alexander IV.[11]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Leprohon (2013). Doxey, Denise M. (ed.). The Great Name: Ancient Egyptian Royal Titulary. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature. p. 176. Retrieved 29 September 2022.
  2. ^ Lepsius, Karl Richard (1849). Denkmäler aus Ägypten und Äthiopien IV. pp. 1a.
  3. ^ The error was caused by a modern misreading, ΑΙΓΟΥ for ΑΛΛΟΥ, of the text of Ptolemy's Canon of Kings. See e.g. Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Alexander the Great s.v. Alexander 'Aegus'. Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 549. and Chugg, Andrew Michael (2007). The Quest for the Tomb of Alexander the Great. Lulu. p. 42. ISBN 9780955679001. At Google Books.
  4. ^ Ahmed, S. Z. (2004), Chaghatai: the Fabulous Cities and People of the Silk Road, West Conshokoken: Infinity Publishing, p. 61.
  5. ^ Strachan, Edward and Roy Bolton (2008), Russia and Europe in the Nineteenth Century, London: Sphinx Fine Art, p. 87, ISBN 978-1-907200-02-1.
  6. ^ Livius.org. "Roxane." Articles on Ancient History. Page last modified 17 August 2015. Retrieved on 29 August 2016.
  7. ^ Habicht, Christian (1998). Hellēnistikē Athēna (1. ekdosē ed.). Ekdoseis Odysseas. p. 69. ISBN 960-210-310-8.
  8. ^ Anson, Edward M (Summer 1986). "Diodorus and the Date of Triparadeisus". The American Journal of Philology. 107 (2). The Johns Hopkins University Press: 208–217. doi:10.2307/294603. JSTOR 294603.
  9. ^ Anson, Edward M. (2014-07-14). Alexander's Heirs: The Age of the Successors. John Wiley & Sons. p. 116. ISBN 978-1-4443-3962-8.
  10. ^ Green, Peter. Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic Age. p44, 2007 Ed.
  11. ^ "Royal Tombs: Vergina". Macedonian Heritage. Archived from the original on 10 December 2017. Retrieved 9 July 2013.

Further reading

Alexander IV of Macedon Argead dynastyBorn: 323 BC Died: 309 BC Regnal titles Preceded byPhilip III King of Macedon 323–309 BC Succeeded byCassander King of Persia 323–309 BC Succeeded bySeleucus I Nicator Pharaoh of Egypt 323–309 BC Succeeded byPtolemy I Soter King of Thrace 323–309 BC Succeeded byLysimachus King of Asia Minor 323–309 BC Succeeded byAntigonus I Monophthalmus