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“No,” he cried out to the heavens, “No! It can’t be! It simply can’t be… my beloved…”
Alexander III — Alexander the Great, King of Greece, Conquerer of Persia and all of Asia — knelt on the dry and dusty Mesopotamian earth, the lifeless body of his beloved comrade Hephaistion clutched tightly to against his breast. They had been the closest of friends since boyhood, as if they had shared a single spirit essence between two bodies. Ever dutiful, Hephaistion loyally followed him on campaign all the way into the heart of Persia. And yet now, here in Ecbatana, he was gone.
The man who had once united the entire world now wailed plaintively towards the Gods, towards the heavens. With every word that he knew, he cursed at those selfish immortals that reigned over mankind from their throne on Mount Olympus. He tore at his white linen chiton, beat his breast and pulled at his handsome golden locks of hair.
Of all his battle-hardened soldiers who had followed him to the furthest corners of the earth, only one had the courage and audacity to dare approaching him. Ptolemaios — one of King Alexander’s seven personally selected bodyguard and (if rumors were to be believed) his half-brother — stepped forward and put his hand on the king’s shoulder to comfort his old friend.
“My king,” he whispered in a calm but firm voice, “The men shouldn’t see you like this… You are a God to them. The Oracle at Siwa said so herself.”
Alexander grew silent. It was an uncomfortable silence — one that chilled Ptolemaios to the bone.
“Yes ,” Alexander eventually said, “Siwa. We will send messengers to the Oracle at Siwa to see if great Zeus-Ammon will grant him divine status as well.”
Ptolemaios looked down to his friend Alexander, who was still cradling his beloved Hephaistion’s now lifeless corpse in his arms. Looking back up, he stared with contempt at the temple to the healing god Askelpios, who had turned a deaf ear towards Alexander’s pleas to heal Hephaistion.
“Very well sir,” Ptolemaios said, “And what of the temple?”
“Raze it! Do not leave a single stone unturned! gaziantep gay If Asklepios could not save my Hephaistion, then either this temple need not exist, or we simply should not give him our prayers. In either case, destroy it.”
There was a cold rage in Alexander’s eyes. Ptolemaios had never seen him this furious before, and frankly, it sent a shiver down his spine. Ptolemaios just nodded, and turned to his men. They already knew what had been said. As the first stones began to fall, Alexander looked back to his trusted bodyguard and confident.
“And we shall destroy the town too,” Alexander said, “Leave no one alive.”
The temple was on fire now, its once rich fineries and ornate wood carvings ablaze. As a darkened cloud of smoke rose up from the rubble, Alexander fondly recalled the many nights he had spent with Ptolemaios in their youth in Macedonia, and then those many months on campaign at Granicus, at Issus, at Gaugamela, and ultimately in Persia itself. Noone — not even his friend Ptolemaios — noticed the single tear sliding down Alexander’s handsome cheek.
In his palatial estate in Macedonia, young Alexander relaxed beside the pool, leisurely eating grapes that his beloved and doting mother Olympia had laid out for him. His well-oiled nude body lay exposed to the warm Mediterranean sun. Life was very good for him now. At the young age of twenty, he had just ascended to the throne of Macedonia following the assassination of his father Philip II at the hands of his former bodyguard Pausanias. There were rumors about that, of course, but Alexander quickly put them to rest by having his men kill Pausanias on the spot.
The young king perked up as he heard footsteps coming towards him. Unsure if it was another servant or a potential assassin, Alexander rose up, only to see his old friend Hephaistion approaching. Without even thinking, he walked over to embrace his comrade. The two had been close since their youth, having met in Mieza where they both had studied under the great philosopher Aristotle, and Alexander was often wont to compare their friendship to that of the heroes Achilles and Patroclus from Homer’s Iliad.
It was an apt metaphor, for they were both handsome specimens of youth and manhood. The two were close in age, and like his close comrade, Hephaistion was lithe and muscular, with fine features and golden locks of hair. His fair complexion and handsome smile could charm any of the ladies of Greece… and quite a few of the men as well. There closeness with one another was something of an open secret amongst the soldiers, and many of the women complained that they preferred the company of one another over any common hetaera.
Alexander lovingly embraced Hephaistion, pressing his naked and well-oiled body against him. He could feel his manhood grow stiff and hard at the sight of his friend. Hephaistion returned the favor and began to strip out of his now soaked red chiton. He hugged Alexander, wrapping him firmly in his muscular arms. Soon the two of them were nude and rolling about on the ground, locked in a close embrace as the kissed one another.
Taking his rapidly growing manhood in his hand, Alexander flipped his companion over on his belly and positioned himself at his anus. Pressing firmly, he stuck his rigid member up into his friend, moving like some sort of unforgiven piston as he made love to him. This was the way of Greece. This was the way of Alexander and his friendship.
That night, the two of them fell asleep outside, huddling together naked as they stared at the stars in the night sky. As they had some many nights before, Alexander and Hephaistion repeated the myths of the heroes whom had earned their place amongst the gods through personal greatness. Immortality. That was the greatest gift that those fickle Olympians could bestow upon a mortal man.
“Hephaistion,” Alexander said as he looked deeply into his lover’s eyes, “What do you want more than anything?”
Hephaistion thought for a moment.
“The world,” he whispered, “I would like to see the entirety of the world, in all of its beauty and splendor.”
“Then I shall give it to you,” Alexander laughed as he hugged his oldest and best friend.
A month later, Alexander and his men had set up camp in Babylon. None dared to speak of the change that had overcome their beloved king since the death of his friend and lover Hephaistion. Not one amongst his men wanted to recall that day when they desecrated the temple of Asklepios and put the entire town to the sword. Nonetheless, they were greatly relieved when the messenger returned from Egypt bearing news.
“He has just returned from Siwa with news,” Ptolemaios said as he led the nearly breathless messenger into Alexander’s private tent.
Alexander promptly bid the young man to speak. The messenger was hesitant, but he dared not refuse a request from the great king
“The Oracle,” he said taking a deep beath, “Has said that Hephaistion cannot be worshipped as a god.”
Alexander was heartbroken, and then filled with a murderous rage.
“What,” he said.
“But there is more,” Ptolemaios interrupted, and gestured for the messenger to continue.
“Hephaistion cannot be worshipped as a god,” he continued, “But he can yet achieve immortality as a divine hero.”
For the first time in a month, that great darkness which hung over Alexander was lifted. Hephaistion could live forever after all. And with that thought, a smile crossed Alexander’s sweet lips. He bid for the messenger to leave, and then turned to his comrade Ptolemaios.
“So Hephaision will live forever after all,” Alexander beamed, “Have the men prepare for our invasion of Arabia. Once we have conquered that land, we shall erect a statue in his honor. And the inscription shall read ‘To the Hero Hephaistion.'”
“Very well sir,” Ptolemaios said as he stepped out of the tent to rally the troops once more.
But it was not to be. Alexander would grow sick and die there in Babylon, future conquests of Arabia and the lands beyond never to be realized. Yet Hephaistion and his bond with Alexander would not be forgotten by the march of history. As future generations told the tale of Alexander — Alexander the Great — their love become famous (or sometimes infamous). And, as the Oracle at Siwa had predicted, Hephaistion did achieve some form of immortality after all.
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