Ancient History Competition 17

Manolis is rested and back on track after a wonderful, sunny Easter in Greece. So, he sent me this new and exciting quiz.

He invaded a town in time of truce, surrounded the theater in which an assembly was taking place, shot everybody down, then killed all adult males and sold the women and children as slaves in order to get money for his mercenary army. An ancient historian says of him: “He was a cruel and unjust robber”.

Who was he?

Economic historian and numismatic consultant


  1. After we’ve spent almost all day researching this kind of tough question, we’ve decided to make a random guess: We think it might be Alcibiades.

  2. It wasn’t Alcibiades. Not that he was a saint, but his career was not stained by such an action.

    Constantina, may I give Conny & Carolin a hint? This man belongs to the 4th century BC.

  3. More hints please. There are many skillful politicians and generals, thank god, in Greece, especially afrer the Peloponnesian War, that had the spirit of what Thucydides calls ἀκόλαστη δεξιότης…

  4. Well, so we thought anyway :)
    We’ll think about it and try to come up with another answer (maybe)

  5. I’m going to guess Ptolemy Soter (though I think it’s a gross generalization, and totally unfair considering all of his innumerable excellent accomplishments.)

  6. More hints… Hmmm, let me see… Don’t think of Athens or Sparta. Think of Thessaly. (I think I just gave it away…)

  7. Even though we are not totally convinced (and we thought it’s too obvious) we propose Philipp II of Macedon :)

  8. No, it wasn’t Ptolemy Soter or Philip II. Let me give you a further hint: he was tyrant, as was his father.

  9. Then it can only be Jason of Pherai!

  10. Ahhh, so close…
    Constantina, I believe it’s time to reveal the answer. Will you tell them?

  11. Last guess:
    Alexander of Pherai?!

  12. Yes! At last, I can start thinking of a new quiz. By the way, this quiz is nothing less than a victory of Ancient Greek history over Roman History! (Constantina, don’t censor this comment!)

  13. Oh yes, finally! We already had nightmares :)
    But why is this quiz a victory of Greek history over Roman history? We would actually prefer Roman because we’re not very good in Greek history (as you might have realized)
    Could you please tell us which ancient historian called him a robber? We couldn’t find the source.
    We’re looking forward to the next quiz!

  14. It’s a victory because Constantina prefers questions about Rome, whereas I prefer questions about Greek history. But she will prevail in the end, I can’t argue with the person who’s running the blog, I’m just a guest here!
    The historian is Xenophon (Hellenica 6.4.35).

  15. Thanks! We must have looked for the wrong word then.

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