By Harold Lamb
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Extra resources for Alexander of MacEdon
Ptolemy, a year older than he, was quicker to learn and quicker to jest. His mother had been Arsinoe, a Greek prostitute-companion who dyed her hair in the eastern fashion. Although she never confessed it, Ptolemy believed that Philip himself had sired him by Arsinoe. So Ptolemy secretly thought himself equal if not superior to Alexander, yet placed beneath Alexander because his mother was not acknowledged. Nearchus, on the other hand, had been born away from the mountains, in Crete. He had voyaged on ships from island to island, although he did not talk about it.
When she dismounted from her chariot, her supple body draped in sheer silk, whipped about her by the wind, the boys stared. Few married women ventured out of doors with face and body so exposed, Alexander did not notice but Ptolemy observed that the queen brought with her two handsome slave girls who laughed at the gray stone figures of the nymphs standing along the entrance terrace. To Aristotle, who came out perforce to greet her, she deferred prettily, tsaying that she was old-fashioned as this deserted shrine, being brought up in the Mysteries, without a notion of science.
It seemed so. They might be royal Kinsmen but they were set to sorting out and classifying all the varied species of things, from coral to the constellations of the stars. Until they had finished measuring and identifying things they would not be ready to cope with ideas. Into this enormous task Alexander threw himself as if it had been a challenge. It seemed to him that the Greek assistants expected him to fail and that Aristotle himself was secretly amused by his pupil’s clumsy efforts. Alexander resented the silence of the philosopher who would never reveal the Mysteries he had ascertained for himself.