Alexander the Great’s Mother exercised unprecedented power who defied the ancient world’s rules for women, and charted her—and her son’s—rise to power through wits, ambition, and might.
Olympia, wife of Philip II, king of Macedonia, and mother of Alexander the Great, was the first woman to participate actively in the political events of the Greek peninsula.
Olympias was born around 375 BCE, the daughter of Neoptolemus I of Epirus, a Greek king, and an unknown mother. Her family was a powerful one in ancient Greece; they claimed to be descended from the Greek hero Achilles, the main character in Homer’s “Iliad.” Olympias was also known by several other names: Polyxena, Myrtale, and Stratonice. Historians believe she chose the name Olympias to celebrate her husband’s victory in the Olympic Games.
Olympias made it her life’s main mission to ensure that Alexander would one day be King. Olympias was a devoted mother to her young son and constantly reminded him of his ancestral lineage to Achilles, which would have a powerful impact on Alexander.
Sources National Geographic
Thought & Co
Carney, Elizabeth Donnelly. “Olympias: Mother of Alexander the Great.” Routledge, 2006.