THE DIVISION OF THE REALM
THE day after Alexander's death there was a sad
assembly in the palace. All the Macedonian generals
sat there in silence and dismay, gazing at the empty
golden throne, upon which Perdiccas had solemnly laid
the royal signet ring.
Who was to take the place of the king whose military
genius and great conquests had won for him the title of
"Great"? It is true that Alexander had a
half-  brother, named Arridæus, but he was weak-minded.
The only other heir was an infant son, born shortly
after his father's death.
The generals gravely talked the matter over, and
finally said that Arridæus and the child should be
publicly named successors of the dead king, while four
of their own number should be appointed guardians of
the princes, and regents of the vast realm.
This decision was considered wise, and the kingdom of
Alexander was divided into thirty-three provinces, each
governed by a Macedonian officer, who was to hold it in
the name of Arridæus and of the child.
In dying, Alexander had foretold that his funeral would
be followed by bloodshed, and this prediction came
true. The generals who had met so solemnly around the
empty throne soon became dissatisfied at being only
governors, and each wanted to be king in his own right,
of the land intrusted to his care.
Perdiccas, having received Alexander's signet ring from
his dying hand, was, of course, their leader, and took
under his own protection the infant king and the
Persian mother Roxana.
He fancied that it would thus be an easy matter to keep
the power in his own hands, and to govern the vast
realm as he pleased. But Antipater, governor of
Macedon, no sooner heard that Alexander was dead, than
he placed the idiot Arridæus on the throne, proclaimed
him king, and began to rule as if he were the only
The other Macedonian generals daily claimed new rights,
which Perdiccas was forced to grant in order to
them; but when it was too late, he found out how
mistaken he had been, and regretted that he had yielded
to their demands.
The various governors, never satisfied with the honors
given them, were not only suspicious of each other, but
particularly jealous of Perdiccas, the head of the
realm. In their envy, they rose up against him; and
for many years Perdiccas was forced to hold his own
against them all, while trying to make his way back to
Macedon, where he wanted to place Alexander's son upon