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As Arrhidaeus grew older it became apparent that he had mild learning difficulties.
Plutarch was of the view that he became disabled by means of an attempt on his life by Philip II's wife, Queen Olympias, who wanted to eliminate a possible rival to her son, Alexander, through the employment of pharmaka (drugs/spells); however, most modern authorities doubt the truth of this claim., both to protect his life and to prevent his use as a pawn in any prospective challenge for the throne.
A conflict then arose between Perdiccas, leader of the cavalry, and Meleager, who commanded the phalanx: the first wanted to wait to see if Roxana, Alexander's pregnant wife, would deliver a male baby, while the second objected that Arrhidaeus was the closest living relative and so should be chosen king.
Meleager was killed, and a compromise was engineered: Arrhidaeus would become king, with the name of Philip, and he would be joined by Roxana's yet-unborn child as co-sovereign should that child prove a male.
Cassander reciprocated by leaving her in full control of the country when he left to campaign in Greece.
The Macedonian troops refused to fight Olympias, the mother of Alexander.
Philip and Eurydice had no choice but to escape, only to be captured at Amphipolis and thrown into prison.
In Renault's version, the villainous Cassander slows down his advance on Macedonia to give Olympias enough time to kill Arrhidaeus and Eurydice.
Arrhidaeus is also a main character in Annabel Lyon's novel The Golden Mean.
After Alexander's death in Babylon in 323 BC, the Macedonian army in Asia proclaimed Arrhidaeus as king; however, he served merely as a figurehead and as the pawn of a series of powerful generals.