For other uses, see Harpalus (disambiguation)
Harpalus (disambiguation)
-Greek Antiquity:*Harpalus courtier of Alexander the Great and embezzler of the Persian treasure.*Harpalus astronomer of 5th-century BC*Harpalus supposed engineer of Xerxes in the Hellespont*Harpalus statesman of Perseus of Macedon...

Harpalus son of Machatas
Machatas may refer to:*Machatas of Elimeia an upper Macedonian prince early 4th c.BC*Machatas of Europos an upper Macedonian proxenos of Delphians late 4th c.BC*Machatas from Acarnania*Machatas of Aetolia ambassador 3rd c.BC...

 was an aristocrat of Macedon
Macedonia or Macedon was an ancient kingdom, centered in the northeastern part of the Greek peninsula, bordered by Epirus to the west, Paeonia to the north, the region of Thrace to the east and Thessaly to the south....

 and boyhood friend of Alexander the Great in the 4th century BC. Being lame in a leg, and therefore exempt from military service, Harpalus did not follow Alexander in his advance within the Persian Empire
Achaemenid Empire
The Achaemenid Empire , sometimes known as First Persian Empire and/or Persian Empire, was founded in the 6th century BCE by Cyrus the Great who overthrew the Median confederation...

 but received nonetheless a post in Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

. Alexander reportedly contacted him with a demand of reading material for his spare time. Harpalus sent his King theatrical plays by
Aeschylus was the first of the three ancient Greek tragedians whose work has survived, the others being Sophocles and Euripides, and is often described as the father of tragedy. His name derives from the Greek word aiskhos , meaning "shame"...

, Sophocles
Sophocles is one of three ancient Greek tragedians whose plays have survived. His first plays were written later than those of Aeschylus, and earlier than or contemporary with those of Euripides...

 and Euripides
Euripides was one of the three great tragedians of classical Athens, the other two being Aeschylus and Sophocles. Some ancient scholars attributed ninety-five plays to him but according to the Suda it was ninety-two at most...

, the history of Philistus
Philistus , son of Archomenidas, was Greek historian of Sicily. Philistus was born at Syracuse about the beginning of the Peloponnesian War. He was a faithful supporter of the elder Dionysius, and commander of the citadel. Cicero who had a high opinion of his work, calls him the miniature Thucydides...

 and ode
Ode is a type of lyrical verse. A classic ode is structured in three major parts: the strophe, the antistrophe, and the epode. Different forms such as the homostrophic ode and the irregular ode also exist...

s by Philoxenus
Philoxenus or Philoxenos is the name of several prominent ancient Greeks:*Philoxenus of Cythera, an ancient Greek dithyrambic poet*Philoxenus of Leucas, a legendary glutton*King Philoxenus, an Indo-Greek king...

 and Telestes.

Harpalus was also a charming rogue who twice absconded with large amounts of money. The first time he was forgiven and reinstated, only to abuse his trust again. In 324 BC Harpalus found refuge in Athens. He was imprisoned by the Athenians after a proposal of Demosthenes
Demosthenes was a prominent Greek statesman and orator of ancient Athens. His orations constitute a significant expression of contemporary Athenian intellectual prowess and provide an insight into the politics and culture of ancient Greece during the 4th century BC. Demosthenes learned rhetoric by...

 and Phocion
Phocion was an Athenian statesman and strategos, and the subject of one of Plutarch's Parallel Lives....

, despite Hypereides
Hypereides or Hyperides was a logographer in Ancient Greece...

' opposition, who wanted an immediate uprising against Alexander. Ecclesia after a proposal of Demosthenes decided the guarding of Harpalus' money, which were entrusted to a committee led by Demosthenes himself. When the committee counted the money, they found 350 talents, although Harpalus had declared that he had 700 talents. Nevertheless, Demosthenes and the other members of the committee decided not to disclose the deficit. When Harpalus escaped and fled to Crete
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traits...

, the orator faced a new wave of public uproar. Areopagus
The Areopagus or Areios Pagos is the "Rock of Ares", north-west of the Acropolis, which in classical times functioned as the high Court of Appeal for criminal and civil cases in Athens. Ares was supposed to have been tried here by the gods for the murder of Poseidon's son Alirrothios .The origin...

 conducted an inquiry and its findings charged Demosthenes with mishandling 20 talents. In Demosthenes' trial in Heliaia
Heliaia or Heliaea was the supreme court of ancient Athens. Τhe view generally held among scholars is that the court drew its name from the ancient Greek verb , which means , namely congregate. Another version is that the court took its name from the fact that the hearings were taking place...

, Hypereides, who was the main prosecutor, predicated that Demosthenes admitted having taken the money, but said that he had used it on the people's behalf and had borrowed it free of interest. The prosecutor rejected this argument and accused Demosthenes of being bribed by Alexander. Demosthenes was fined with 50 talents and imprisoned, but after a few days he escaped by the carelessness or connivance of some citizens and wandered in Calauria
Poros is a small Greek island-pair in the southern part of the Saronic Gulf, at a distance about 58 km south from Piraeus and separated from the Peloponnese by a 200-metre wide sea channel, with the town of Galatas on the mainland across the strait. Its surface is about and it has 4,117...

, Aegina
Aegina is one of the Saronic Islands of Greece in the Saronic Gulf, from Athens. Tradition derives the name from Aegina, the mother of Aeacus, who was born in and ruled the island. During ancient times, Aegina was a rival to Athens, the great sea power of the era.-Municipality:The municipality...

 and Troezen
Troezen is a small town and a former municipality in the northeastern Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Troizinia, of which it is a municipal unit....

. It remains still unclear whether the accusations against him were just or not. In any case, the Athenians soon repealed the sentence and sent a ship to Aegina to carry Demosthenes back to the port of Piraeus
Piraeus is a city in the region of Attica, Greece. Piraeus is located within the Athens Urban Area, 12 km southwest from its city center , and lies along the east coast of the Saronic Gulf....


According to Pausanias
Pausanias (geographer)
Pausanias was a Greek traveler and geographer of the 2nd century AD, who lived in the times of Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius. He is famous for his Description of Greece , a lengthy work that describes ancient Greece from firsthand observations, and is a crucial link between classical...

, "shortly after Harpalus ran away from Athens and crossed with a squadron to Crete, he was put to death by the servants who were attending him (in 323 BC), though some assert that he was assassinated by Pausanias, a Macedonian". The geographer also narrates the following story: " The steward of his money fled to Rhodes, and was arrested by a Macedonian, Philoxenus, who also had demanded Harpalus from the Athenians. Having this slave in his power, he proceeded to examine him, until he learned everything about such as had allowed themselves to accept a bribe from Harpalus. On obtaining this information he sent a dispatch to Athens, in which he gave a list of such as had taken a bribe from Harpalus, both their names and the sums each had received. Demosthenes, however, he never mentioned at all, although Alexander held him in bitter hatred, and he himself had a private quarrel with him."

Harpalus is featured in the historical novel Fire From Heaven
Fire From Heaven
Fire from Heaven is a 1969 historical novel by Mary Renault about the childhood and youth of Alexander the Great. It reportedly was a major inspiration for the Oliver Stone film Alexander. The book was nominated for the “Lost Man Booker Prize” of 1970, "a contest delayed by 40 years because a...

by Mary Renault
Mary Renault
Mary Renault born Eileen Mary Challans, was an English writer best known for her historical novels set in Ancient Greece...

. In it, he is entrusted by his teacher Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

with the task of observing and recording the lives of wild animals. Renault speculates that this would explain some of the fantastic accounts in Aristotle's zoological writings as Harpalian hoaxes.
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