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Cleitus the Black ( ) (ca. 375 BC-328 BC) was an officer of the Macedonian army led by Alexander the Great. He was son of Dropides and brother of Alexander's nurse, Lanike. Cleitus saved Alexander's life at the Battle of the Granicus in 334 BC, when Alexander was personally under attack by Rhoesaces and Spithridates. Cleitus chopped off Spithridates' arm before the Persian satrap could bring it down on Alexander. Despite this, Cleitus would meet his demise at the hands of Alexander in a drunken quarrel in 328 BC.

The death of Cleitus took place at a conference of generals at what is now the town of Samarkandmarker. Most of the members were rather drunk, and Alexander announced a reorganization of commands. Specifically, Cleitus was given orders to take 16,000 of the defeated Greek mercenaries who formerly fought for the Persian King north to fight the steppe nomads in Central Asia.

Cleitus knew that he would no longer be near the King and would be a forgotten man. Furious at the thought of commanding what he saw as second-rate men, fighting nomads in the middle of nowhere, he spoke his mind. To make matters worse, when Alexander arrogantly boasted that his accomplishments were far greater than that of his father, Phillip II, Cleitus responded by saying that Alexander was not the legitimate king of the Macedonians, and that all of his achievements was due to his father. Alexander called for his guards, but they did not want to intervene in a quarrel between friends.

Alexander threw an apple at Cleitus's head and called for a dagger, but colleagues of the two men removed the dagger and hustled Cleitus out of the room. Nevertheless, Cleitus managed to return to the room to utter more insults against Alexander. (It is possible that Cleitus had not left the room). But sources agree that at this point Alexander got hold of a spear, and threw it at Cleitus, killing him on the spot. Alexander would later regret killing his friend.

The death of Cleitus at Alexander's hand is depicted in a scene of Oliver Stone's film Alexander, starring Colin Farrell, released on November 24, 2004. Gary Stretch plays Cleitus. The scene was intended to be the "turning point" in the campaign, when the Macedonian generals began to insist (more quietly than Cleitus) that Alexander return home. The film, however, erroneously depicts the death of Cleitus as taking place in Indiamarker.

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