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The Treasures of Alexander the GreatHow One Man's Wealth Shaped the World$

Frank L. Holt

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199950966

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199950966.001.0001

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(p.181) Appendix 2 Summary of Reported Assets

(p.181) Appendix 2 Summary of Reported Assets

Source:
The Treasures of Alexander the Great
Author(s):

Frank L. Holt

Publisher:
Oxford University Press

In this tabulation of wealth acquired by Alexander, amounts are listed as X if unknown, and X + a figure when only part of the total is known.

A. From Inheritance and Homeland Revenues1

60–70 Talents in royal treasury

1,000 Talents/year from Philippi mines

X + 200 Talents/year from taxes, rents, estates, and other mines

B. From War and Diplomacy

(p.182) (p.183) When: Where/Who

Type

Amount

335: Thessaly

Taxes, Revenues

X Talents2

335: Thrace

Plunder, Slaves

X Talents3

335: Thrace

Plunder, Slaves

X Talents4

335: Illyria

Slaves

X Talents5

335: Thebes

Plunder, Slaves (30,000)

X + 440 Talents6

335: Gryneium

Plunder, Slaves

X Talents7

335: Ilium (Troy)

Gold Crown

X Talents8

334: Granicus

Plunder, Slaves

X Talents9

334: Sardis

Plunder

X Talents10

334: Miletus

Slaves

X Talents11

334: Caria

Gifts of Food

X Talents12

334: Phrygia

Gold Crown

X Talents13

333: Gordium

Plunder

X + 1,100 Talents14

333: Aspendus

Fine, Horses

X + 100 Talents15

333: Soli

Fine

150 Talents16

333: Issus

Plunder, Slaves

X + 3,000 Talents17

333: Damascus

Plunder, Slaves (30,000)

X + 3,100 Talents18

332: Aradus

Gold Crown

X Talents19

332: Tyre

Plunder, Slaves

X Talents20

332: Gaza

Plunder, Slaves

X Talents21

332: Memphis

Plunder

X + 800 Talents22

331: Cyrene

Gifts

X Talents23

331: Siwah

Gift of Salt Crystals

X Talents24

331: Tyre

Two Gold Crowns

X Talents25

331: Gaugamela

Plunder

X Talents26

331: Arbela

Plunder

X + 3,000–4,000 Talents27

331: Babylon

Plunder, Gifts

X Talents28

331: Susa

Plunder

X + 40,000–50,000 Talents29

330: Persepolis city

Plunder, Slaves

X Talents30

330: Persepolis palaces

Plunder

X + 120,000 Talents31

330: Pasargadae

Plunder

6,000 Talents32

330: Uxians

Plunder

X Talents33

330: Elis, Achaea

Fine

120 Talents34

330: Ecbatana

Plunder

21,000–26,000 Talents35

330: Mardians

Gifts

X Talents36

330: Aria

Slaves

X Talents37

329: Nabarzanes

Gifts

X Talents38

329: Branchidae

Plunder

X Talents39

329: Sogdiana

Horses

X Talents40

329: Seven Sogdian cities

Plunder, Slaves

X Talents41

329: Scythian King

Gifts

X Talents42

329: Zerafshan Valley

Plunder, Slaves

X Talents43

328: Ariamazes

Plunder, Slaves

X Talents44

327: Sisimithres

Cattle, Provisions

X Talents45

327: Bajaur

Cattle (230,000), Slaves (+40,000)

X Talents46

327: Ora

Elephants

X Talents47

327: Taxiles

Gifts

X Talents48

326: Taxila

Gifts

X Talents49

326: Hydaspes River

Elephants, Horses

X Talents50

326: Abisares

More Gifts, Elephants

X Talents51

326: Porus

Elephants

X Talents52

326: Sangala

Horses, Slaves (+70,000)

X Talents53

326: Beas

Plunder

X Talents54

325: Agalasseis

Slaves

X Talents55

325: Sopeithes

Gifts

X Talents56

325: Phegeus

Gifts

X Talents57

325: Sibians

Gifts

X Talents58

325: Acesines

Slaves

X Talents59

325: Sambastae

Gifts

X Talents60

325: Porticauns

Plunder, Slaves

X Talents61

325: Malli/Sudracae

Gifts

X Talents62

325: Malli/Sudracae

Plunder, Slaves

X Talents63

325: Musicanus

Gifts, Elephants

X Talents64

325: Oxycanus

Plunder, Elephants

X Talents65

325: Sambus

Slaves, Plunder, Elephants

X Talents66

325: Musicanus

Plunder, Slaves

X Talents67

325: Oreitae

Plunder

X Talents68

325: Patali

Herds, Grain

X Talents69

324: Orxines

Gifts

X + 3,000 Talents70

324: Susa

Gifts of Crowns

15,000 Talents71

324: Nesaean Plain

50,000 Horses

X Talents72

324: Ecbatana

Gifts

X + 10 Talents73

323: Babylon

Gifts, Gold Crowns

X Talents74

Uncertain

Purple Cloth

X Talents75

C. From Tribute in Conquered Territories76

  • 333: 1,474 Talents

  • 332: 3,288 Talents

  • 331: 3,288 Talents

  • (p.184) 330: 5,335 Talents77

  • 329: 6,271 Talents

  • 328: 6,564 Talents

  • 327: 7,453 Talents

  • 326: 9,161 Talents

  • 325: 9,161 Talents78

  • 324: 13,841 Talents

  • 323: 13,841 Talents

Summary

Alexander inherited the relatively small but not inconsequential revenues of Macedonia. Over the course of his reign, reported by Arrian as twelve years and eight months, Alexander accrued as an estimate: 60 + 12.67(1000) + 12.67(X + 200) = 15,264 + 12.67(X) talents. War and diplomacy brought the king plunder and gifts that we may only glimpse in our sources, remembering as we must that many incidents probably went unnoticed and most that are mentioned have no figures attached to them.79 Of twenty-four reported instances of populations enslaved, ranging up to 70,000 souls per incident, only the profits from Thebes are recorded.80 From available data (using the lower of any disputed figures), we may calculate the amount from plunder and gifts to be 69(X) + 216,820 talents. Annual tribute from conquered territories added considerably to these assets. Taking the figures for Persian revenues provided by Herodotus in the fifth century BC, we may calculate the annual tribute collectible by Alexander as his army gained control of various satrapies. Making allowances for wartime conditions during Alexander’s march, these estimated amounts intentionally fall short of those received by Darius I in Herodotus’s ledger. Taking this cautious approach, Alexander may have accrued in tribute an estimated 79,677 talents, not counting livestock and other such revenues as the “satrap’s table” and supply requisitions that remained in the satrapies. This is more likely a very low rather than high estimate. According to Justin 13.1.9, for example, Alexander’s annual tribute by 323 BC amounted to 30,000 talents (“in annuo vectigali tributo tricena milia”). This is more than double the 13,841 listed previously. Because Justin’s figure includes European and other revenues not accounted for in the lower estimate, Georges Le Rider argues in its favor.81 Helmut Berve and others have been more guarded about Justin’s statement.82 Since 30,000 is one of those formulaic enumerations, and because it is safer to underestimate than to sensationalize, the lower figure is preferable.

In sum, the information passed down to us may be quite conservatively expressed as 311,761 + 81.67(X) talents, where some Xs may have been as high (p.185) as 40,000 talents (Babylon). It seems, therefore, a reasonable guess that Alexander’s conquests enriched the king by at least 300,000 talents (1.8 billion drachmas) and perhaps as much as 400,000 talents (2.4 billion drachmas). The lower figure will be assumed here, remembering that it reflects more than just precious metals. (p.186)

Notes:

(1.) See chapter 2 for sources and discussion of the amounts in this category.

(2.) Justin 11.3.2.

(3.) Arrian 1.1.13–1.2.1.

(4.) Arrian 1.4.5 and 1.2.7.

(5.) Arrian 1.6.10.

(6.) Arrian 1.7–10 and 2.15.3; Diodorus 17.8–14; Plutarch, Alexander 11–12; Justin 11.3.6–4.8; Polybius 38.2.13–14 and 5.10.6–8; Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae 148e; Aelian, Varia Historia 13.7.

(7.) Diodorus 17.7.8–9.

(8.) Arrian 1.12.1, from Menoetius.

(9.) Arrian 1.13–16; Diodorus 17.19–21; Plutarch, Alexander 16; Justin 11.6; Codex Sabbaiticum 29. Years later, Alexander freed the Athenian prisoners: Arrian 3.6.2; Curtius 3.1.9 and 4.8.12.

(10.) Arrian 1.17.3–8; Diodorus 17.21.7; cf. Curtius 3.12.6; Plutarch, Alexander 17.1.

(11.) Arrian 1.19.6; Diodorus 17.22.5.

(12.) Foods and delicacies provided daily by Queen Ada: Plutarch, Alexander 22.7–8 and Moralia 127b, 180a, 1099c.

(13.) Arrian 1.24.5, given by envoys from Phaselis.

(14.) Curtius 3.1.20.

(15.) Arrian 1.26.3 (50 talents toward the army’s wages) and 27.4 (amount raised to 100 talents).

(16.) Arrian 2.5.5 (200 talents) and 2.12.2 (50 talents remitted); Curtius 3.7.2 (200 talents).

(17.) Arrian 2.11.9–10; Plutarch, Alexander 20.11; Curtius 3.8.12 and 3.11.20–21; Diodorus 17.32.3 and 35.1–36.5; Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 1798, fragment 44.

(18.) Plutarch, Alexander 24.1–2; Arrian 2.15.1; Curtius 3.13.1–17; Athenaeus 13.607f.

(19.) Arrian 2.13.8, given by Straton.

(20.) Arrian 2.24.4–5 reports 30,000 captives; Diodorus 17.46.3–4 lists 13,000 prisoners sold; Curtius 4.4.16–17 agrees with Diodorus.

(21.) Arrian 2.27.7; Curtius 4.6.30.

(22.) Curtius 4.7.4.

(23.) Diodorus 17.49.2; Curtius 4.7.9.

(24.) Arrian 3.4.3, from the priests of Ammon.

(25.) Diodorus 17.48.6 and Curtius 4.5.11 mention one crown sent by the Corinthian League; the second is attested from Athens in IG2 1496.

(26.) Arrian 3.15.4 and 6, including elephants and camels.

(27.) Arrian 3.15.5; Diodorus 17.64.3; Curtius 5.1.10, cf. 4.9.9.

(28.) Diodorus 17.64.3; Curtius 5.1.17–23; Arrian 3.16.3.

(29.) Diodorus 17.66.1–2; Curtius 5.2.11–15; Plutarch, Alexander 36; Arrian 3.16.7; Justin 11.14.9.

(30.) Diodorus 17.70; Curtius 5.6.4–8; Plutarch, Alexander 37.3.

(31.) Arrian 3.18.10–12; Diodorus 17.71–72; Curtius 5.6.9 and 5.7.1–11; Plutarch, Alexander 37.5–38.8; Strabo 15.3.6 and 9; Justin 11.14.10; Athenaeus 13.576d; Itenerarium Alexandri 67.

(32.) Curtius 5.6.10; Arrian 3.18.10.

(33.) Arrian 3.17, including an annual tribute of 30,600 animals; Diodorus 17.67; Curtius 5.3.

(34.) Curtius 6.1.20.

(35.) Curtius 6.2.10; Diodorus 17.74.5; Polybius 10.27.11; Aelian, Varia Historia 7.8.

(36.) Diodorus 17.76.5–8; Curtius 6.5.18–21.

(37.) Arrian 3.25.7.

(38.) Curtius 6.5.22–23.

(39.) Curtius 7.5.28–35; Plutarch, Moralia 557b; Ammianus Marcellinus 29.1.31; Strabo 11.11.4.

(40.) Arrian 3.30.6.

(41.) Arrian 4.2.1–4.3.5; Curtius 7.6.10 and 7.6.16–23.

(42.) Arrian 4.15.2.

(43.) Arrian 4.6.5–7; Curtius 7.9.22.

(44.) Curtius 7.11.28–29.

(45.) Curtius 8.4.19.

(46.) Arrian 4.25.4.

(47.) Arrian 4.27.9.

(48.) Arrian 4.22.6 and 5.3.5 (nearly 200 talents of silver, 3,000 oxen for sacrificing, more than 10,000 cattle, 30 elephants); Curtius 8.12.11 (many sheep, about 3,000 bulls, 56 elephants); Diodorus 17.86.4–7; Plutarch, Alexander 59.1–5; Metz Epitome 52.

(49.) Arrian 5.8.3, from Indian rajas such as Abisares and Doxareus.

(50.) Arrian 5.15.2 and 18.2, captured in battle.

(51.) Arrian 5.20.5 and 5.29.4.

(52.) Arrian 5.21.2 and 5.24.4, requisitioned by Alexander to attack Sangala.

(53.) Arrian 5.24.5, enumerating 17,000 Indians killed, over 70,000 captured, and the confiscation of 300 wagons with 500 horses.

(54.) Diodorus 17.94.3–5.

(55.) Diodorus 17.96.3.

(56.) Diodorus 17.92.1; Curtius 9.1.27–30.

(57.) Diodorus 17.93.1.

(58.) Diodorus 17.96.2.

(59.) Curtius 9.4.5.

(60.) Diodorus 17.102.4.

(61.) Curtius 9.8.13; Diodorus 17.102.5.

(62.) Curtius 9.8.1–2; Arrian 6.14.1.

(63.) Curtius 9.4.25; Arrian 6.7.3.

(64.) Arrian 6.15.6.

(65.) Arrian 6.16.2.

(66.) Curtius 9.8.15; Arrian 6.16.4.

(67.) Arrian 6.17.1.

(68.) Diodorus 17.104.4–7; Curtius 9.10.7; Strabo 15.2.4–8; Arrian 6.21.4–5.

(69.) Curtius 9.8.28–29.

(70.) Curtius 10.1.22–38, who lists as gifts to Alexander and the hetairoi tamed horses, fancy chariots, furniture, jewels, heavy gold vases, purple clothing, and 3,000 talents of coined silver. Because the eunuch Bagoas was slighted by Orxines, the former accused the latter of looting these valuables from the tomb of Cyrus.

(71.) Athenaeus 12.539a: crowns bestowed by ambassadors during the wedding feasts.

(72.) Arrian 7.13.1, following the theft of most of the herd.

(73.) Athenaeus 12.538b: Gorgus the armorer proclaimed this gift to Alexander of 3,000 gold coins, plus the armor and siege equipment needed to capture Athens.

(74.) Arrian 7.23.2; Diodorus 17.113.1.

(75.) Demanded in a letter from Alexander to Chios and other Ionian cities, according to Phylarchus: Athenaeus 12.539f–540a.

(76.) Herodotus 3.89–98, converting different weight standards and not including unspecified values for spices, horses, or grain.

(77.) One could add the tribute of 30,600 animals/year imposed on the Uxians: Arrian 3.17.6.

(78.) One could add references to tribute imposed by Alexander on various tribes and towns in India: Arrian 5.29.5 and 6.14.2; Curtius 9.1.14 and 9.7.14.

(79.) On the “invisibility” of plunder, see Paul Millett, “The Political Economy of Macedonia,” in A Companion to Ancient Macedonia, ed. Joseph Roisman and Ian Worthington (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 490.

(80.) If, for the sake of argument, the average number of slaves per reported incident is taken to be 15,000, then 24(X) would equal 360,000 persons. If we further guess that these are the major incidents, but that a similar number of less notable cases occurred, we might add, say, 24(1,000) for an estimate of 384,000 mostly women and children enslaved. This is likely to be too low rather than too high.

(81.) Le Rider, Alexander the Great: Coinage, Finances, and Policy (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 2007), 80.

(82.) Berve, Das Alexanderreich auf prosopographischer Grundlage, vol. 1 (1926; repr., Salem: Ayer, 1988), 312, note 1, citing also Beloch.