As for the lineage of Alexander , on his father ' s side he was a descendant of Heracles through Caranus , and on his mother ' s side a descendant of Aeacus through Neoptolemus ; this is accepted without any question . And we are told that Philip , after being initiated into the mysteries of Samothrace at the same time with Olympias , he himself being still a youth and she an orphan child , fell in love with her and betrothed himself to her at once with the consent of her brother , Arymbas . Well , then , the night before that on which the marriage was consummated , the bride dreamed that there was a peal of thunder and that a thunder-bolt fell upon her womb , and that thereby much fire was kindled , which broke into flames that travelled all about , and then was extinguished . At a later time , too , after the marriage , Philip dreamed that he was putting a seal upon his wife ' s womb ; and the device of the seal , as he thought , was the figure of a lion . The other seers , now , were led by the vision to suspect that Philip needed to put a closer watch upon his marriage relations ; but Aristander of Telmessus said that the woman was pregnant , since no seal was put upon what was empty , and pregnant of a son whose nature would be bold and lion-like . Moreover , a serpent was once seen lying stretched out by the side of Olympias as she slept , and we are told that this , more than anything else , dulled the ardour of Philip ' s attentions to his wife , so that he no longer came often to sleep by her side , either because he feared that some spells and enchantments might be practised upon him by her , or because he shrank from her embraces in the conviction that she was the partner of a superior being . But concerning these matters there is another story to this effect : all the women of these parts were addicted to the Orphic rites and the orgies of Dionysus from very ancient times ( being called Klodones and Mimallones ) 1 and imitated in many ways the practices of the Edonian women and the Thracian women about Mount Haemus , from whom , as it would seem , the word " threskeuein " 2 came to be applied to the celebration of extravagant and superstitious ceremonies . Now Olympias , who affected these divine possessions more zealously than other women , and carried out these divine inspirations in wilder fashion , used to provide the revelling companies with great tame serpents , which would often lift their heads from out the ivy and the mystic winnowing-baskets , 3 or coil themselves about the wands and garlands of the women , thus terrifying the men .
However , after his vision , as we are told , Philip sent Chaeron of Megalopolis to Delphi , by whom an oracle was brought to him from Apollo , who bade him sacrifice to Ammon and hold that god in greatest reverence , but told him he was to lose that one of his eyes which he had applied to the chink in the door when he espied the god , in the form of a serpent , sharing the couch of his wife . Moreover , Olympias , as Eratosthenes says , when she sent Alexander forth upon his great expedition , told him , and him alone , the secret of his begetting , and bade him have purposes worthy of his birth .
Ἀλέξανδρος ὅτι τῷ γένει πρὸς πατρὸς μὲν ἦν Ἡρακλείδης ἀπὸ Καράνου , πρὸς δὲ μητρὸς Αἰακίδης ἀπὸ Νεοπτολέμου , τῶν πάνυ πεπιστευμένων ἐστί . λέγεται δέ Φίλιππος ἐν θρᾴκῃ τῇ Ὀλυμπιάδι συμμυηθείς αὐτός τε μειράκιον ὢν ἔτι κἀκείνης παιδὸς ὀρφανῆς γονέων ἐρασθῆναι καὶ τὸν γάμον οὕτως ἁρμόσαι , πείσας τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτῆς Ἀρύμβαν . ἡ μὲν οὖν νύμφη , πρὸ τῆς νυκτός ᾗ συνείρχθησαν εἰς τὸν θάλαμον , ἔδοξε βροντῆς γενομένης ἐμπεσεῖν αὐτῆς τῇ γαστρὶ κεραυνόν , ἐκ δὲ τῆς πληγῆς πολὺ πῦρ ἀναφθέν , εἶτα ῥηγνύμενον εἰς φλόγας πάντῃ φερομένας διαλυθῆναι . ὁ δὲ Φίλιππος ὑστέρῳ χρόνῳ μετὰ τὸν γάμον εἶδεν ὄναρ αὑτὸν ἐπιβάλλοντα σφραγῖδα τῇ γαστρὶ τῆς γυναικός · ἡ δὲ γλυφὴ τῆς σφραγῖδος , ὡς ᾤετο , λέοντος εἶχεν εἰκόνα . τῶν δὲ ἄλλων μάντεων ὑφορωμένων τὴν ὄψιν , ὡς ἀκριβεστέρας φυλακῆς δεομένων τῷ Φιλίππῳ τῶν περὶ τὸν γάμον , Ἀρίστανδρος ὁ Τελμησσεὺς κύειν ἔφη τὴν ἄνθρωπον , οὐθὲν γὰρ ἀποσφραγίζεσθαι τῶν κενῶν , καὶ κύειν παῖδα θυμοειδῆ καὶ λεοντώδη τὴν φύσιν . ὤφθη δέ ποτε καὶ δράκων κοιμωμένης τῆς Ὀλυμπιάδος παρεκτεταμένος τῷ σώματι · καὶ τοῦτο μάλιστα τοῦ Φιλίππου τὸν ἔρωτα καὶ τὰς φιλοφροσύνας ἀμαυρῶσαι λέγουσιν , ὡς μηδὲ φοιτᾶν ἔτι πολλάκις παρʼ αὐτὴν ἀναπαυσόμενον , εἴτε δείσαντά τινας μαγείας ἐπʼ αὐτῷ καὶ φάρμακα τῆς γυναικός , εἴτε τὴν ὁμιλίαν ὡς κρείττονι συνούσης ἀφοσιούμενον . ἕτερος δὲ περὶ τούτων ἐστὶ λόγος , ὡς πᾶσαι μὲν αἱ τῇδε γυναῖκες ἔνοχοι τοῖς Ὀρφικοῖς οὖσαι καὶ τοῖς περὶ τὸν Διόνυσον ὀργιασμοῖς ἐκ τοῦ πάνυ παλαιοῦ , Κλώδωνές τε καὶ Μιμαλλόνες ἐπωνυμίαν ἔχουσαι , πολλὰ ταῖς Ἠδωνίσι καὶ ταῖς περὶ τὸν Αἷμον Θρῄσσαις ὅμοια δρῶσιν , ἀφʼ ὧν δοκεῖ καὶ τὸ θρησκεύειν ὄνομα ταῖς κατακόροις γενέσθαι καὶ περιέργοις ἱερουργίαις , ἡ δὲ Ὀλυμπιὰς μᾶλλον ἑτέρων ζηλώσασα τὰς κατοχάς καὶ τοὺς ἐνθουσιασμοὺς ἐξάγουσα βαρβαρικώτερον ὄφεις μεγάλους χειροήθεις ἐφείλκετο τοῖς θιάσοις , οἳ πολλάκις ἐκ τοῦ κιττοῦ καὶ τῶν μυστικῶν λίκνων παραναδυόμενοι καὶ περιελιττόμενοι τοῖς θύρσοις τῶν γυναικῶν καὶ τοῖς στεφάνοις ἐξέπληττον τοὺς ἄνδρας . οὐ μὴν ἀλλὰ Φιλίππῳ μὲν , μετὰ τὸ φάσμα πέμψαντι Χαίρωνα τὸν Μεγαλοπολίτην εἰς Δελφοὺς , χρησμὸν κομισθῆναι λέγουσι παρὰ τοῦ θεοῦ κελεύοντος Ἄμμωνι θύειν καὶ σέβεσθαι μάλιστα τοῦτον τὸν θεόν ἀποβαλεῖν δὲ τῶν ὄψεων αὐτὸν τὴν ἑτέραν , ἣν τῷ τῆς θύρας ἁρμῷ προσβαλών κατώπτευσεν ἐν μορφῇ δράκοντος συνευναζόμενον τῇ γυναικὶ τὸν θεόν . ἡ δὲ Ὀλυμπιάς , ὡς Ἐρατοσθένης φησί , προπέμπουσα τὸν Ἀλέξανδρον ἐπὶ τὴν στρατείαν , καὶ φράσασα μόνῳ τὸ περὶ τὴν τέκνωσιν ἀπόρρητον , ἐκέλευεν ἄξια φρονεῖν τῆς γενέσεως , ἕτεροι δέ φασιν αὐτὴν ἀφοσιοῦσθαι καὶ λέγειν οὐ παύσεταί με διαβάλλων Ἀλέξανδρος πρὸς τὴν Ἥραν ; ἐγεννήθη δʼ οὖν Ἀλέξανδρος ἱσταμένου μηνὸς Ἑκατομβαιῶνος , ὃν Μακεδόνες Λῷον καλοῦσιν , ἕκτῃ , καθʼ ἣν ἡμέραν ὁ τῆς Ἐφεσίας Ἀρτέμιδος ἐνεπρήσθη νεώς ᾧ γʼ 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 .
It is agreed on by all hands , that on the father ' s side , Alexander descended from Hercules by Caranus , and from Aeacus by Neoptolemus on the mother ' s side . His father Philip , being in Samothrace , when he was quite young , fell in love there with Olympias , in company with whom he was initiated in the religious ceremonies of the country , and her father and mother being both dead , soon after , with the consent of her brother , Arymbas , he married her . The night before the consummation of their marriage , she dreamed that a thunderbolt fell upon her body , which kindled a great fire , whose divided flames dispersed themselves all about , and then were extinguished . And Philip , some time after he was married , dreamt that he sealed up his wife ' s body with a seal , whose impression , as be fancied , was the figure of a lion . Some of the diviners interpreted this as a warning to Philip to look narrowly to his wife ; but Aristander of Telmessus , considering how unusual it was to seal up anything that was empty , assured him the meaning of his dream was that the queen was with child of a boy , who would one day prove as stout and courageous as a lion . Once , moreover , a serpent was found lying by Olympias as she slept , which more than anything else , it is said , abated Philip ' s passion for her ; and whether he feared her as an enchantress , or thought she had commerce with some god , and so looked on himself as excluded , he was ever after less fond of her conversation . Others say , that the women of this country having always been extremely addicted to the enthusiastic Orphic rites , and the wild worship of Bacchus ( upon which account they were called Clodones , and Mimallones ) , imitated in many things the practices of the Edonian and Thracian women about Mount Haemus , from whom the word threskeuein seems to have been derived , as a special term for superfluous and over-curious forms of adoration ; and that Olympias , zealously , affecting these fanatical and enthusiastic inspirations , to perform them with more barbaric dread , was wont in the dances proper to these ceremonies to have great tame serpents about her , which sometimes creeping out of the ivy in the mystic fans , sometimes winding themselves about the sacred spears , and the women ' s chaplets , made a spectacle which men could not look upon without terror .
Philip , after this vision , sent Chaeron of Megalopolis to consult the oracle of Apollo at Delphi , by which he was commanded to perform sacrifice , and henceforth pay particular honour , above all other gods , to Ammon ; and was told he should one day lose that eye with which he presumed to peep through that chink of the door , when he saw the god , under the form of a serpent , in the company of his wife . Eratosthenes says that Olympias , when she attended Alexander on his way to the army in his first expedition , told him the secret of his birth , and bade him behave himself with courage suitable to his divine extraction .