Harpalos
(d. 323 BC)

Childhood friend and master of the treasury of Alexander the Great, Harpalos was entrusted the responsibility of the riches won in the battles against the Persians.

Harpalos could not resist all this wealth, though, and when Alexander was away fighting in India, he embezzled part of the treasury and spent it on a luxurious life style together with his mistress Pythionike. When she died, he spent a fortune on her funeral and had a monument built in her honour.

On Alexander's return, Harpalos had disappeared with 6000 talents and a few troops to Athens. The Athenian assembly gave him asylum, and let him deposit his treasure in the temple of Athena on the Acropolis.

Alexander demanded that Athens give him Harpalos, but the city defended the man. When Harpalos realised that Alexander was going to get to him in one way or the other, or that one of the Athenians was going to betray him, he escaped to Crete, where he was murdered in 323 BC.

After his escape it was discovered that half the sum of his treasure had disappeared from the Acropolis. The Areopage made an investigation, and it was found that several politicians had accepted bribes to help Harpalos flee Athens, amongst others Demosthenes.

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