Alexander the Great

The Classical world in Venetian colours.

The Family of Darius before Alexander, by Paolo Veronese, c.1565-67, National Gallery, London © Bridgeman Images.

Darius III, the last king of the Achaemenid Empire, was defeated at the Battle of Issus, in southern Anatolia, by Alexander the Great of Macedonia in 333 BC.

Darius fled the scene of his defeat, but his mother Sisigambis, his wife Stateira I and daughters, Stateira II and Drypetis, were captured and feared their conqueror’s revenge in the form, possibly, of sexual violence. But, according to the Roman chronicler Plutarch, Alexander assured them that he sought ‘no intimacy with them’ and that he would treat ‘these illustrious prisoners according to their virtue and character’.

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