The Graham Phillips Website

It began when Alexander started to behave like a Persian king, expecting his courtiers to prostrate themselves before him – a royal greeting that was alien to Macedonian culture. This was so unlike the familiar Alexander that when he first ordered his entourage to bow down to him, his court scribe Callisthenes thought he was joking and refused.  Everyone realized Alexander was deadly serious when he had the man arrested and killed.  The king was also growing increasingly paranoid.  He had his cavalry commander Philotas executed on the merest suspicion of disloyalty and ran his replacement Clitus through with a spear for daring to criticize him.

Alexander’s officers quickly learned to keep quiet, but the rank and file of the Macedonian infantry came close to mutiny in the late summer of 326 BC.  They had conquered much of the western Punjab, but the Indian campaign was taking it toll.  In the stifling monsoon heat, when the king ordered the army deeper into the subcontinent they refused to go.  The infantry commander Coenus confronted Alexander with his troops’ verdict that it was a pointless war, and Alexander reluctantly backed down. 

Alexander enters Babylon
Alexander and Darius
A 2000-year-old mosaic from Roman Pompeii shows Alexander defeating the Persian king Darius.  Until the he defeated the Persians Alexander was a soldiers’ king, greatly respected by his troops.
Alexander’s spectacular military achievements were due in part to the open dialogue he had always encouraged with his men.  He treated them with respect and in return received their unswerving devotion in battle. A seasoned infantry officer of around fifty-five, Meleager shared a deep admiration for his commander-in-chief.  However, once he had defeated the Persian Empire Alexander began to change.
A painting by the seventeenth-century artist Charles Le Brun portrays Alexander depicting himself as a god as he enters Babylon in 323 BC.  Alexander’s inflated ego and arrogance after his defeat of the Persian Empire alienated him from his own men.
However, a few weeks later Coenus died under mysterious circumstances.  Whether or not this was Alexander’s doing is unknown, but when Meleager replaced Coenus as chief infantry general, in September 326 BC, he must have considered his promotion a mixed blessing.  How long would he survive?

When he returned to the Persian city of Susa (see >map) Alexander began to purge the Macedonian army in retaliation for their conduct in India.  He demobilized half the Macedonian infantry, ordered them home and replaced them with a contingent of Persians.  Incredibly, three quarters of Alexander’s soldiers were now Persian and when the Macedonian infantry protested, he threatened to deploy the Persians against them and had thirteen officers executed for mutiny.  Meleager survived the purge but he must have felt his position, even his life, to be under threat.  Alexander needed what remained of his Macedonian infantry until he reached Babylon, but he had plans to replace them all. It seems that Meleager had every reason in the world to wish Alexander dead.