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Alexander and Hephaistion




Alexander the Great (356 - 323 BC)

He conquered this world but he was conquered by his lover Hephaistion -- he, who was his childhood friend and second in comand after him. His famous words, "Hephaistion is Alexander" have been immortalised.

Hephaestion (356 BC - 324 BC)

Hephaistion was even more handsome than Alexander and even a better warrior than him.

When Hephaistion was killed in a war, Alexander declared him God. He couldn't bear his loss and died within six months.

Such was the love between the Greatest emperor ever on earth and a brave soldier.


Alexander the Great was born in an era when, inspite of the pressure on men to get married having become strong, man-man love was still viewed withgreat respect. In fact with much more respect than man-woman love. Like other contemporary societies of the era, in ancient Greece too, the entire society was based on this sacred love, especially the men's spaces.

The Classical Greek society was a warrior society, and therefore, whereas other contemporary societies were slowly trying to restrain man-man love, the ancient Greeks had given this love an extremely high place -- just like the other warrior cultures, especially warrior tribes, all over the world have done. Like all these cultures, the ancient Greeks considered it the most sacred and purest love of all. The army of Theba, which was unparalleled in the world, consisted of only pairs of male lovers. Lovers who fought together in the war and were willing to die for each other. The great philosopher of Classical Greece, Aristotle had very aptly stated that the most important relationships of men -- whether they were social, sexual or love relationships -- were only with other men.

Alexander the Great was born in 356 BC in the Macedonian Royalty. This was probably, at least historically, roughly a few hundred years after, in India, Ram and Hanuman's bond was taking place. He went to study in an ancient style academy (Gurukul in Hindi), just like other adolescent boys of his times, and his teacher was none other than Aristotle the Great himself, who, in turn, was the disciple of the Great Plato.

Patroclus and Achilles -- an ancient Greek Warrior lover pair, who were celebrated not only in Greece but far and wide -- had always been the ideal of Alexander. Like other normal youths of ancient Greece, Alexander too fell in love with another male youth. This youth was his lover till the end -- in fact, they were inseparable lovers till they died. Always, ready to die for each other. His lover friend was known as Hephaestion. It has been a popular saying in the ancient world, long after Alexander and Hephaestion had been dead, that Alexander the Great was defeated only by one thing in this world -- and it was Hephaestion's thighs. In ancient Greece, men used to have sex with each other by thrusting their penis between their partner's thighs. The society was averse to anal sex between men -- to be penetrated anally was seen as unmanly, something which was seen to be the characteristic of the Third Gender males, known as Catamites.

Hephaestion and Alexander had been educated together at Aristotle's academy. Hephaestion too, was not only extremely brave like Alexander the Great, but he was also so intelligent that he used to have intellectual debates with his teacher, Aristotle.

Hephaestion and Alexander, both were extremely handsome, manly guys, but it is said that out of the two, Hephaestion was even more good looking than Alexander, it if was at all possible. Later on, Hephaestion became an important Military General in Alexander's army.

Alexander the Great was so brave that when his army used to attack, he used to be in the foremost position. It was because of this that he suffered several times during wars -- some of them were very serious.

There is a famous incident that illustrates their deep love for each other. When the two of them went to meet the Queen of Persia in her camp, after defeating her army, she could not recognise, who, between the two of them was emperor Alexander the Great. She was extremely worried about whom to greet first. She did not want to anger the Emperor. Because Hephaestion was more domineering in appearance, she mistakenly greeted him as "Alexander the Great". But she was immediately told of her mistake. Now, the Queen started quivering in panic. Upon this, Alexander is said to have laughed and said, "Worry not mother (Queen), for he too is Alexander." Words that have been engraved in history, forever.

They were so close to each other that they used to tear open and read each other's letters. Of course, they spent most of their time together, as they lived as well as worked together. Many people were jealous of their intimacy, and one such person was Alexander's mother Olympus. In a letter, Hephaistion questioned Olympus upfront, "Why don't you quit quarrelling with me? In any case, it doesn't bother me. You know quite well, that the only thing that matters to me is Alexander."

When Alexander the Great set out to win the world from Greece, he came to India too, after conquering Persia. Here, he had a war with Porus, where he defeated Porus and thereupon, established his reign over most of North Western India, which is now in Pakistan. During this time, several Greeks came to India and had an everlasting impact on its culture -- especially in areas like the Punjab.

Now Alexander wanted to conquer the plains of Ganga. Then, this area was under the Magadh empire. This empire was considered to be very powerful, and it was no mean thing to challenge it. Upon that, Alexander was now out of luck, and his soldiers started to fall ill. This made Alexander decide to return to Greece, without marching towards the plains of Ganga.

As Alexander was returning to Greece, on the way, in Persia, suddenly, Hephaestion was killed in a war. It is said that the woe of the greatest emperor in the world was undescribable. It is said that Alexander laid on the corpse of Hephaestion, embracing him, and cried for more than a day. He simply wouldn't let go of him. In the end, the officers had to drag him from there.

After losing his lover, life became meaningless for Alexander. Hephaestion was his soul. Now, he had no wish to live any longer. And slowly, Alexander became very, very ill. And within six months of his lover's death, in 323 BC, in Babylon, at the age of 33, Alexander too, left this world to reunite with his soulmate.

Thus, Alexander the Great too, just like his childhood ideals Patroclus and Achilles, laid down his life for his warrior lover.

In those days, it was common for men to build memorials in memory of their departed male lovers. Alexander too, planned to erect several monuments in memory of his beloved Hephaestion, all over his great empire. However, he died before materialising these. But before he did, he did something special for his friend. He pronounced him God — as was the right of the king in those days. And thus, he paid his tribute to his departed lover.

This was a world which cherished love and friendship between men. In today's modern world, even friendship between men is seen as a waste of time, and a hindrance in his duties towards the family. In today's world, a male friend of a man does not have any social recognition. He is not considered part of the family or a relation which is validated and given a place by the society. Male bonds do not have any social recognition.

After the death of Alexander the Great, his entire empire became disintegrated. But Alexander left his mark on this world — for ever. On its history, its culture and on its religions. And it gave this world a precious love story... a story, which today this world may have forgotten, but one day this very story will be very useful in helping men break their shackles. By reminding them of their nature, that they have lost. Just like the story of Ram and Hanuman.

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