Olympias: Mother to Alexander the Great and Second Wife of Phillip II of Macedon

Video

Kelly Macquire
by
published on 30 November 2021

Olympias, born with the name Myrtle, was the daughter of Neoptolemus, the king of Epirus, which was a Greek kingdom southwest of Macedonia and became the second wife of Philip II of Macedon, and is probably best known as the mother of Alexander the Great. The young Olympias was both beautiful and had a fiery nature. Plutarch says that although Olympias was young, and an orphan, Philip fell in love with her and betrothed himself to her.

Once Alexander was born, Olympias’ primary goal in life was to make him king, and so she doted on him, and told him of his lineage which connected him with the Trojan hero Achilles. She made sure he was educated well with her relative Leonidas of Epirus tutoring and mentoring the young Alexander, before bringing in the Athenian philosopher Aristotle to finish his education.

Before Alexander the Great embarked on his arduous campaigns of conquest, Olympias told him that his father was not Philip, but the god of the sky and king of the Greek pantheon, Zeus, and that he should act courageously according to his divine birth. This was the last time Alexander saw his mother but they were in constant correspondence, often with Olympias offering Alexander advice, and Alexander ignoring it.

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— CHAPTERS —
0:00​ Introduction
0:55 The Early Life of Olympias
2:14 Olympias, Wife of Philip II of Macedon
4:19 Alexander the Great Takes the Throne
6:08 Later Life and Death of Olympias
7:38 Outro

— WANT TO KNOW MORE? —
Olympias https://www.worldhistory.org/Olympias/
Philip II of Macedon https://www.worldhistory.org/Philip_II_of_Macedon/
Alexander the Great https://www.worldhistory.org/Alexander_the_Great/
Samothrace https://www.worldhistory.org/Samothrace/
Plutarch https://www.worldhistory.org/plutarch/

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Alexander the Great: Life and Reign of the King of the Macedonian Empire https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_E7JX-rVdFk
The History of Philosophy: Origins of Ancient Philosophy Around the Globe https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsdgFJBXb2w
Zenobia the Warrior Queen of the Palmyrene Empire https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzBbpCG7gvM

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The music used in this recording is the intellectual copyright of Michael Levy, a prolific composer for the recreated lyres of antiquity, and used with the creator's permission. Michael Levy's music is available to stream at all the major digital music platforms. Find out more on:
https://www.ancientlyre.com
https://open.spotify.com/artist/7Dx2vFEg8DmOJ5YCRm4A5v?si=emacIH9CRieFNGXRUyJ9
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJ1X6F7lGMEadnNETSzTv8A

— THUMBNAIL IMAGE —
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Roman_-_Medallion_with_Olympias_-_Walters_592_-_Obverse.jpg
Walters Art Museum - https://art.thewalters.org/detail/35838
CC BY SA 3.0 - https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ / GNU Free Documentation License - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_Free_Documentation_License

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About the Author

Kelly Macquire
Kelly is a graduate from Monash University who has completed her BA (Honours) in Ancient History and Archaeology, focussing on iconography and status in Pylos burials. She has a passion for mythology and the Aegean Bronze Age.

Cite This Work

APA Style

Macquire, K. (2021, November 30). Olympias: Mother to Alexander the Great and Second Wife of Phillip II of Macedon. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://www.worldhistory.org/video/2688/olympias-mother-to-alexander-the-great-and-second/

Chicago Style

Macquire, Kelly. "Olympias: Mother to Alexander the Great and Second Wife of Phillip II of Macedon." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified November 30, 2021. https://www.worldhistory.org/video/2688/olympias-mother-to-alexander-the-great-and-second/.

MLA Style

Macquire, Kelly. "Olympias: Mother to Alexander the Great and Second Wife of Phillip II of Macedon." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 30 Nov 2021. Web. 04 Jul 2022.

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