Kataphlechthēnai

temple_of_artemis

Ἐγεννήθη δ’ οὖν Ἀλέξανδρος ἱσταμένου μηνὸς Ἑκατομβαιῶνος, ὃν Μακεδόνες Λῷον καλοῦσιν, ἕκτῃ, καθ’ ἣν ἡμέραν ὁ τῆς Ἐφεσίας Ἀρτέμιδος ἐνεπρήσθη νεώς· ᾧ γ’ Ἡγησίας ὁ Μάγνης ἐπιπεφώνηκεν ἐπιφώνημα κατασβέσαι τὴν πυρκαϊὰν ἐκείνην ὑπὸ ψυχρίας δυνάμενον· εἰκότως γὰρ ἔφη καταφλεχθῆναι τὸν νεών, τῆς Ἀρτέμιδος ἀσχολουμένης περὶ τὴν Ἀλεξάνδρου μαίωσιν. ὅσοι δὲ τῶν μάγων ἐν Ἐφέσῳ διατρίβοντες ἔτυχον, τὸ περὶ τὸν νεὼν πάθος ἡγούμενοι πάθους ἑτέρου σημεῖον εἶναι, διέθεον, τὰ πρόσωπα τυπτόμενοι καὶ βοῶντες ἄτην ἅμα καὶ συμφορὰν μεγάλην τῇ Ἀσίᾳ τὴν ἡμέραν ἐκείνην τετοκέναι. Φιλίππῳ δ’ ἄρτι Ποτείδαιαν ᾑρηκότι τρεῖς ἧκον ἀγγελίαι κατὰ τὸν αὐτὸν χρόνον, ἡ μὲν Ἰλλυριοὺς ἡττῆσθαι μάχῃ μεγάλῃ διὰ Παρμενίωνος, ἡ δ’ Ὀλυμπίασιν ἵππῳ κέλητι νενικηκέναι, τρίτη δὲ περὶ τῆς Ἀλεξάνδρου γενέσεως. ἐφ’ οἷς ἡδόμενον ὡς εἰκὸς ἔτι μᾶλλον οἱ μάντεις ἐπῆραν, ἀποφαινόμενοι τὸν παῖδα τρισὶ νίκαις συγγεγεννημένον ἀνίκητον ἔσεσθαι.
(Plutarch, Bios Alexandrou 3.3-5)

Be that as it may, Alexander was born early in the month Hecatombaeon, the Macedonian name for which is Loüs, on the sixth day of the month, and on this day the temple of Ephesian Artemis was burnt. It was apropos of this that Hegesias the Magnesian made an utterance frigid enough to have extinguished that great conflagration. He said, namely, it was no wonder that the temple of Artemis was burned down, since the goddess was busy bringing Alexander into the world. But all the Magi who were then at Ephesus, looking upon the temple’s disaster as a sign of further disaster, ran about beating their faces and crying aloud that woe and great calamity for Asia had that day been born. To Philip, however, who had just taken Potidaea, there came three messages at the same time: the first that Parmenio had conquered the Illyrians in a great battle, the second that his race-horse had won a victory at the Olympic games, while a third announced the birth of Alexander. These things delighted him, of course, and the seers raised his spirits still higher by declaring that the son whose birth coincided with three victories would be always victorious. (tr. Bernadotte Perrin)

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