Philip of Macedon

Alexander the Great, it goes without saying, was a man not much given to modesty. In 334 BC, as he was preparing to embark on his invasion of Asia, his mother, the sinister witch-queen Olympias, whispered in his ear ‘the secret of his birth’, revealing that he was in fact the son of a god, of Zeus himself — and Alexander believed her. Three years later, in Egypt, he travelled hundreds of miles out of his way to consult the desert oracle of Siwah and the priest, it is said, ‘left him in no doubt that he was indeed the son of Zeus’. By 324, with a record of victory behind him second to none, he went the whole hog, and openly demanded divine honours, before promptly dying the following year.


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