Sources, Bibliography, and Credits



Good history starts with the primary (original) evidence, and develops theories based on that. One doesn't begin with a pet theory and cherry-pick evidence to support it; that's called "proof-texting" and it's rotten scholarship.

Nonetheless, historians can still view the same evidence but reach different (sometimes radically different) conclusions. We aren't blank slates, but bring our unique experiences and expertise, which naturally shades and colors how we interpret the evidence. That's why, when it comes to Hephaistion (or anything else regarding Alexander), scholars can hold quite divergent views. We cite our evidence, make our arguments, and hope to convince one another. For those who'd like a more thorough discussion of the material I've presented on this site, please see the modern bibliography below with articles, including full citations.

But we must start a page on sources with the PRIMARY (ancient) evidence.  All these are available in English via the Loeb Classical Library, or Penguin or Oxford paperbacks. Links below go to the translations I most prefer.

There are more ancient histories and biographies about Alexander than for virtually any other ancient secular figure. That said, we have no writings by Alexander himself, although he did write letters, et al. None survive. The most we can point to are a couple public inscriptions of political decisions. Furthermore, all the histories we have date 300 or more years after Alexander's life and reign. They may use earlier histories, but those earlier histories no longer exist. Plus, ancient history and biography usually had a moralizing point or political axe to grind (and sometimes both).

In short, don't believe everything you read. Just because it's old doesn't make it true or unbiased.

Always ask yourself, who wrote this? When? Why? And what sources did that author use? And what biases might the source's sources have had? LAYERS AND LAYERS.


Our Original Sources (roughly in order of their writing)

Diodorus's Universal History, books 16-20; Greek, 1st century BCE
Plutarch's Life of Alexander (in Age of Alexander); Greek, 1st/early 2nd century CE
Curtius's Histories of Alexander; Latin, 1st [maybe 2nd] century CE
Arrian's Anabasis (+ Indica); Greek, 2nd century CE
    (Side note: I prefer this translation, not as keen on the commentary as I disagree in places, but the maps are super useful!)
Justin's Epitome of Pompeius Trogus's
Historiae Philippicae; Latin, probably 2nd Century AD, although Pompeius (his source) was a contemporary of Livy

In addition, material on Alexander (and Hephaistion) can be found in Plutarch's Moralia ("The Fortune of Alexander" + "Sayings of Kings," and other scattered), Athenaeus's Supper Party (Deipnosophistae) (scattered), Polyaenus's Stragtegems (4.2-3), as well as mention here and there in authors from Diogenes Laertus to Pliny the Elder to Aelian.  Again, all of these (except some of Aelian) are available in English, even if sometimes in rather archaic English.

OVERVIEW

HISTORY

Family
Life & Career
Death

WAS HE ALEXANDER'S LOVER
?

SOURCES
Ancient Sources
Modern Bibliography
Who Am I? / Credits
MAIN INDEX

Modern Bibliography

The sources listed below all discuss or have entries on Hephaistion himself. A wide number of additional sources detail the Macedonian army units in which he served, Macedonian logistics, and/or Macedonian court policy. Bibliographies within these sources can be scrutinized for additional articles and monographs.

Carney, Elizabeth D. "Alexander the Great and the Macedonian Aristocracy." Diss. Duke University, 1975.
Carney has gone on to publish far more on Macedonian women, but Hephaistion was discussed in her doctoral dissertation, years ago.

Davidson, James.  The Greeks and Greek Love: a Radical Reappraisal of Homosexuality in Ancient Greece. Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2007 (
Bryn Mawr review)
Not a long entry (pp. 462-73), but a more complete discussion of Hephaistion's relationship with Alexander than found in some biographies about Alexander. He goes further in his conclusions about Alexander's sexual preferences than I'm comfortable with; I see it as murkier. But he is more positive towards Hehaistion's abilities overall than Heckel (below).

Heckel, Waldemar. Alexander's Marshals. (rev. ed. of '92) Routledge, 2016. (Bryn Mawr review
_____. The Marshals of Alexander's Empire. Routledge, 1992.
(Bryn Mawr review
)
_____.
Who's Who in the Age of Alexander the Great. Blackwell, 2006. (Bryn Mawr review)
The first is a much-revised version of the second. He focuses more on a select group than the broad review of the first, in part because, in between, he produced the third, which is a modern, long-needed, English-language redo of Helmut Berve's encyclopedic Alexandereich, although Waldemar doesn't cover quite as many people. In all three, he addresses Hephaistion, but he and I disagree in our assessments of Hephaistion's capabilities and personality. Nonetheless, his research is still a gold standard to be aspired to.

Heckel, Waldemar. "Hephaistion, the Athenian."
Zeitschrift fur Papyrologie und Epigraphik 87 (1991): 39-41.
The article that -- together with my own epigraphical search for evidence of the names Hephaistion and Amyntor in Macedonia -- first made me wonder if Hephaistion's family might have had Greek, and specifically Athenian, connections.

Müller, Sabine. "Hephaistion." In Waldemar Heckel, Johannes Heinrichs, Sabine M
üller, and Frances Pownall, eds. Lexicon of Argead Macedonia. Frank and Timmes, 2020.
If you are a Macedonian enthusiast, this encyclopedia is a must-have.
_____. Alexander der Grosse: Eroberungen - Politik - Rezeption. Kohlhammer, 2019.

_____. "The Career of Hephaistion – A Reassessment." In Tim Howe and Frances Pownall, eds. Ancient Macedonians in Greek and Roman Sources: From History to Historiography. Swansea, 2018, 77-102.
_____. "Der doppelte Alexander der Große.  Hephaistion als alter ego."
Amaltea 3 (2011), 115-138
_____. "In Abhängigkeit von Alexander: Hephaistion bei den Alexanderhistoriographen." Gymnasium 118.5 (20
11): 429-56.
_____. "'But how beautiful a myth it was' -- Hephaistion zwischen Okziden und Orient in Oliver Stone's Alexander." In Antike und Mittelalter im historischen Spielfilm 1: Personen under Persönlichkeiten, A. Borstelmann, ed. Hannover (2011).
_____. "Ptolemaios und die Erinnerung an Hephaistion." Anabasis 3 (2013): 75-92.
Müller is the other Hephaistion expert out there. She finished after I did, and has cited some of my work in her articles on Hephaistion. She's made several useful corrections to some of my theories and caused me to rethink a couple things. Obviously, being German, the bulk of her work is not in English, but critical to those interested in Hephaistion. Some is available online, but not all.

Reames, Jeanne. Playing for Keeps: Hephaistion and Krateros at the Court of Alexander the Great. (in process)
_____. "Becoming Macedonian: Name Mapping and Ethnic Identity, the Case of Hephaistion." Karanos 3 (2020): 11-37. And the digital project associated with it.
_____.
"The Cult of Hephaistion." In Paul Carledge and Fiona Greenland, eds. Responses to Oliver Stone's 'Alexander.' Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 2010: 183-217.
_____.
"Crisis and Opportunity: the Philoas Affair ... Again."  In Jeanne Reames and Timothy Howe, eds.
Macedonian Legacies. Regina Books, 2009: 165-8.
Reames-Zimmerman, Jeanne. 
"The Mourning of Alexander the Great." Syllecta Classica 12 (2001): 98-145.
_____.
"An Atypical Affair? Alexander the Great, Hephaistion, and the Nature of Their Relationship." The Ancient History Bulletin 13.3 (1999): 81-96.
The first is currently in process. All five of the articles were reworkings of chapters from my dissertation "Hephaistion Amyntoros: Éminence Grise at the Court of Alexander the Great," which is not listed here because I consider it out of date.  But the above articles summarize well enough the gist of my arguments for those who'd like all the citations and ancient evidence for what I've written on this site.

Treves, P. "Hyperides and the Cult of Hephaistion." The Classical Review 53 (1939): 56-7.
Included largely for completeness, as it concerns his post-mortem cult, not his life or career.

Last, there are entries on Hephaistion in encyclopedic collections ranging from W. Smith's ancient (1849) A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography (v. ii) and
Pauly-Wissowa's Realencyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft (1800s), to H. Berve's Alexandereich (1926), to the much more recent Oxford Classical Dictionary, 4th ed. (2012, entry written by A.B. Bosworth).


Jeanne ReamesBio and Credits

It's important to know the author of educational websites. I am Dr. Jeanne Reames, associate professor of history at the University of Nebraska, Omaha, director of our Ancient Mediterranean Studies Program and former history graduate program chair. I studied Argead Macedonian history under Eugene N. Borza at the Pennsylvania State University. You can find my CV with all my publications HERE, and I've appeared on The History Channel's Ancient Empires: Alexander, and was the series historical consultant for Netflix's Alexander: The Making of a God. I also have a pair of novels on the young Alexander before he became "the Great": Dancing with the Lion: Becoming, and Rise (2019). The website for the novels. Buy the novels on Amazon.

Feel free to Contact Me. But be aware that I have a full-time job as a professor, so I can be slow to respond.

I also can be found on various social media (BlueSky, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook), but Tumblr is where I answer questions (350+ and counting) on Alexander, Hephaistion, ancient Macedonia, ancient history, and writing historical fiction. So that's probably the best place to find me.

For the images used here, they were either taken by me (Aristotle, and the solo Getty head of Hephaistion from an image supplied to me by the Getty), or by my colleague and friend Anthony Aftonomos, used with his permission (sarcophagus Hephaistion), or they're from the Wikipedia commons (Getty Alexander and Hephaistion together, and both LeBrun paintings), or the Pothos.org Alexander site (sketch of Hephaistion's funeral pyre, based on Diodorus). The photo of me was taken by Ryan Soderlin for UNO.

All written material on this site is copyrighted to Jeanne Reames, and much has been published in other [more academic] venues, as noted above. Please cite it properly for papers or other publications. It may not be reproduced in full or in part anywhere publicly on the web -- including in translation -- without my express consent. That's not difficult to get, but if I'm not asked, I will require you and/or your host provider to remove it. Use of the material here for non-profit academic/teaching purposes (such as classes, but not including pedagogical publications for sale) is automatically granted without a need to ask. That's why I wrote it in the first place; just please cite me.