Alexander the Great Spouse: Roxana and the Two Other Wives
Alexander the Great spouse was Roxana. Aside from marrying Roxana, Alexander married two other women from Persia: Barsine and Parysatis. In this article, you will learn why Alexander needed to marry several women and how Alexander the Great family lived after his death.
Discover their experiences of living a life with the great king.
Alexander the Great and His Spouses
Alexander the Great’s spouse was named Princess Roxana. Other than Roxana, some historians characterized Alexander’s personal relationships with his other wives: Stateira II, also known as Barsine, and Parysatis II. Among all his spouses, Roxana was Alexander’s first, the most loved, and his favorite.
Alexander the Great spouse, Roxana
Although Alexander the Great got a hold of Bactria and Sogdia, Oxyartes and the war chiefs proceeded to resist the Macedonian army. They built a defense that became known as the Sogdian Rock. However, they were eventually defeated by Alexander the Great.
Alexander attended a gathering in a house of a Sogdian noble named Chorienes. Roxana was introduced to Alexander through this gathering as chief Oxyartes’ daughter.
Roxana (also spelled as Roxanne) was a Sogdian or a Bactrian princess and the wife of the king of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedonia, Alexander the Great. She was the daughter of Oxyartes, and she was captured and eventually married by Alexander in 327 BCE at the time of his conquest of Asia.
Aside from being the wife of the Macedonian king, Roxana was known for her Persian beauty. Some historians state that she was said to be the most beautiful woman in all of Asia. Her Persian name Roshanak, which means “little star,” “light,” and “illuminating,” speaks of how beautiful she was.
When Roxana and Alexander married each other in 327 BC, Roxana was possibly in her late teens or early twenties. Meanwhile, it was also believed that Alexander fell in love with Roxana the first time he saw the Bactrian princess.
Their marriage received disapproval from Macedonian generals. The marriage of Roxana and Alexander became convenient and useful for politics, and it made the Sogdian army more obedient to Alexander and lessened the possibilities of a rebellion. The latter was because at the time the Sogdian army was more loyal and less rebellious to Alexander the Great after their defeat.
After Alexander’s Death
When Alexander died unexpectedly died in 323 BC, Roxana was still pregnant with their son, and the subject of leadership started to become a problem because no successor was left to replace Alexander’s leadership. Eventually, Alexander’s generals created an agreement to proclaim Alexander the Great’s half-brother, Philip II Arrhidaeus, as king.
Along with this agreement was for Alexander’s half-brother to rule until the child of Alexander was born. The generals agreed that if Roxana gave birth to a boy, he would be declared king, and a guardian would be designated for him.
When Alexander there were some rumors that Roxana ordered the murder of Alexander’s other wives: Stateira II (Barsine), as well as her sister Drypetis, and Parysatis, Alexander’s third wife. Unfortunately, Roxana and her son were thrown into prison in Amphibolis and then later on poisoned and died.
Alexander and Stateira II
Alexander married Darius’ daughter, Stateira II, who is sometimes called Barsine. They got married after Alexander defeated his father at the Battle of Issus. At the Susa wedding, in 324 BC, she became Alexander the Great’s second wife, and during the same ceremony, Alexander also married Parysatis, Stateira II’s cousin, who became his third wife.
Stateira II was the eldest daughter of Stateira (same name as her daughter) and Darius III of Persia. When the Persians were defeated by Alexander’s army during the Battle of Issus, the Stateira family was captured. It was believed that during this time, many Persian women were brutally treated, but Stateira’s family members were treated well, and they were the only Persians who were allowed to retain their social status.
Stateira and her family obeyed Alexander’s army for the next two years. Sisygambis acted as her guardian after her mother died around early 332. Darius attempted to ransom his family many times, but Alexander refused to free the women.
Darius presented Alexander with an offer, which is giving Alexander permission to marry Stateira and giving up the land properties that he owns. Alexander declined this offer and said that permission to marry Stateira from Darius is unnecessary for he can choose to marry Stateira without his permission. Alexander also said that he already has custody of the land properties that Darius presented.
Around 330 BC, Alexander left Stateira and her family in Susa and instructed that Stateira should be educated in Greek. Alexander married Stateira and made her his second wife around 324 BC. The two got married in a mass wedding held by Alexander known as The Susa weddings. Ninety Persian noblewomen got married to Macedonian soldiers in this mass wedding. Alexander also married the daughter of a previous Persian ruler; her name was Parysatis.
The Susa Weddings
In 324 BC, Alexander the Great administered a mass wedding known as the Susa weddings in the Persian City of Susa. He intended to unite the Greek and Persian cultures by marrying a Persian woman and celebrating a mass wedding with all his officers for whom he arranged marriages.
During this time, Alexander was already married to Roxana, and since Macedonian and Persian customs and traditions allowed men to marry several women, Alexander married Stateira II and Parysatis at the same time.
The weddings were celebrated in the Persian style: The chairs were set for the bridegroom’s leadership; after the ceremonial toast, the bride entered and took a seat by her groom, and then the groom held her hands and kissed her.
The king was the first to be married at the Susa weddings, and he had shown more than his comradeship and approachability. After the bridegrooms received their wives, they went away to their own homes, and Alexander gave dowry to everyone.
Alexander also offered gifts to all the Macedonians who already married Asian women; a list of over 10,000 names was drawn up. When Alexander married the daughters of Artaxerxes and Darius, he began to be identified as Persian, and his political position became more secure and powerful.
Alexander and Parysatis II
In 324 BC, Parysatis married Alexander the Great. She was the youngest daughter of Artaxerxes III. When her father died in 338 BC, Parysatis and her sisters continued to live at the Persian court; they were invaded and accompanied by the Persian army.
The day Alexander married Stateira II was also the same day he married Parysatis. They both married Alexander at the Susa wedding, which lasted for five days. After their marriage, there was no further information about Alexander’s second wife.
When Alexander died, Roxana ordered the killing of her husband’s other wives to protect her position and prevent any threat they may cause to her and her child.
Alexander the Great desired to generate loyalty and unity among the Macedonians and Persians, and this was the main reason why he conducted marriages from east to west. Aside from him being married, he also ordered his officials to marry Persian princesses.
Why Did Alexander Destroy the Persian Empire?
Alexander destroyed the Persian Empire that ruled the Mediterranean world for over two centuries; they extended the borders of India through Egypt and to the northern borders of Greece. Aside from his world-class army and skilled and loyal generals, Alexander, being a genius leader and battlefield strategist, brought them to victory.
Alexander the Great destroyed Zoroastrianism. The Zoroastrians (followers of prophet Zarathustra) tell stories about Alexander’s religious order of persecutions; he killed their priests and destroyed their holy book, Avesta. Being a Greek, Alexander the Great religion was focused on ancient Greek gods and practices that he sometimes considered himself a demi-god.
What Happened to Alexander the Great’s Family?
In 323 BC, Roxana’s son was born and was named Alexander IV. Because of some intrigues, Olympias, the mother of Alexander the Great decided to take care of Roxana and her son in Macedonia. However, Cassander, one of Alexander the Great’s generals’ son was trying to merge powers for his own interest.
In 316 BC, Cassander executed Olympias and ordered Roxana and her son to be thrown in prison. The year after, General Antigonus condemned Cassander for all his actions. After four years, Cassander and Antigonus signed an agreement about the acknowledgment of the son of Alexander the Great, Alexander IV, as a king under the custody of Cassander.
The Macedonians disagreed with this guardianship so they asked for the release of Alexander IV. Unfortunately, in 310 BC, Roxana and her son were poisoned and died, and it was believed that Cassander ordered one of his men to kill Alexander the Great’s wife and son.
Alexander the Great and his family died at an early age; Alexander died at the age of 32, Roxana at 30, and their son Alexander IV at 13.
Did Alexander the Great Marry His Sister, Cleopatra?
No, Alexander the Great did not marry his sister, Cleopatra of Macedonia, also known as Cleopatra of Epirus. Cleopatra was Alexander’s only full sibling. She was a Macedonian princess, the daughter of Olympias of Epirus and Philip II of Macedonia who later became queen of Epirus. She was married to his uncle Alexander I.
Who Was Alexander the Great?
Alexander the Great, also known as Alexander of Macedonia or Alexander III, was born in 356 BCE and died in 323 BCE. Alexander was the son of Olympias and Philip II. When he was still in his youth, he was tutored by Aristotle and was trained for battle by his father to become a powerful imperialist.
Alexander the Great then became popular for being a genius political strategist and brilliant military man of his time. In his 15 years of invasion, given all his military tactics and strategies, there were no records of who defeated Alexander the Great.
Unfortunately, Alexander reigned only shortly after because he died at the age of 32 from a sudden and mysterious disease.
Alexander the Great empire was the biggest established empire that the ancient world had ever seen. Alexander established a strong loyalty from his men. He dreamed of unity: a new realm. Though he died early, his influence had a huge impact on Asian and Greek culture as inspiration for a new historical period – the Hellenistic Period.
Alexander the Great was honored as one of the most influential and powerful leaders the ancient world has ever had, and below were the reasons why was Alexander the Great, great.
Alexander was a genius; he was tutored by Aristotle in his youth. His father Philip II was also a great leader like him. Alexander knew how to defeat the rebellion. He captured the Persian Empire. Alexander was a globalist.
We’ve discovered a lot about Alexander the Great’s spouses, as well as Alexander himself. Let’s check if we’ve covered everything we need to know about Alexander the Great’s spouses and their experiences living with a powerful man.
- Roxana or Roxanne was the first wife and the most loved by Alexander the Great.
- Having thought that Alexander had married two others, they were a threat to her and her child’s rights and authority, Roxana ordered the murder of Alexander’s other two wives.
- Stateira II, also known as Barsine, and Parysatis were Alexander the Great’s second and third wives, respectively; they married Alexander at the same time during the Susa weddings.
- Alexander the Great married several women to generate unity and loyalty among the Persians and Macedonians, as well as to increase his power and supremacy.
- Alexander the Great did not marry his sister Cleopatra of Macedonia; she married Alexander I, his uncle.
The fascinating beauty and charm of Alexander the Great’s spouses captured his heart and brought pleasure, power, and authority for him to live significantly. Now, you know all about Alexander the Great spouse and their backgrounds.