The Death of Alexander the Great: Succession Crisis

In 323 BC, Alexander died in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar II, in Babylon at the age of 32.

Given the propensity of the Macedonian aristocracy to assassination, allegations of foul play have been made about the death of Alexander. Diodorus, Plutarch, Arrian and Justin all mention the theory that Alexander was poisoned. Plutarch dismisses it as a fabrication, while both Diodorus and Arrian say that they only mention it for the sake of completeness. The accounts are nevertheless fairly consistent in designating Antipater, recently removed from the position of Macedonian viceroy, and at odds with Olympias, as the head of the alleged plot.

On Alexander's deathbed, he was asked to whom he bequethed his Kingdom. Alexander’s reply was garbled, he may have said ‘Craterus’, his most senior general. However Craterus was not around at the time, Alexander’s other generals interpreted his reply as ‘Krat'eroi’ (“to the strongest”).

Alexander’s generals, known as the Diadochi, squabbled amongst themselves over who was the rightful heir to the throne. Originally at least 9 of the Diadochi vied for control of different parts of the Empire in a series of conflicts known as the Wars of the Diadochi.