Philip II and Olympias

CODEX Entry 5111: Philip II and Olympias


Olympias was Philip II’s fourth wife and was believed to be a member of an orgiastic snake-worshiping cult of Dionysus. Her family claimed descent from Neoptolemus, son of Achilles and Deidamia. She met her husband during initiation into ‘The Mysteries of Cabeiri’ at the Sanctuary of the Great Gods, on the island of Samothrace. After a confrontation with Phillip’s fifth wife, she went into voluntary exile in Epirus along with Alexander, staying at the Molossian court of her brother Alexander I. Philip however sought to isolate her completely by offering his and Olympias’ daughter Cleopatra in marriage to Alexander I. She is believed to have then arrange for Philip to be murdered by one of his bodyguards, Pausanias, while attending the wedding, and Olympias, returned to Macedonia and ordered the execution of Phillip’s new wife, Eurydice and her child in order to secure Alexander‘s position as king of Macedonia.