After the battle of Issus in 333 B.C., the family members of the defeated Darius, King of Persia, became his prisoners. Alexander with Hephaeston, who was taller than him, went to the tent of the prisoners. The Queens threw themselves at the feet of Hephaeston, thinking he was the King. When they were told of the mistake, Darius' mother begged pardon for not recognising him and Alexander treated the Royal maidens "of surpassing beauty" as if they were his sisters, returning all their belongings.
The design of this tapestry is taken from the painting in the Louvre by Charles Le Brun (1619-1690) of 1661, painted as part of a set intended to glorify Louis XIV. The Royal Gobelins Tapestry Manufactory made eight sets of tapestries after these paintings between 1664 and 1688. Flemish tapestries of this subject tend to be based on the engravings of this series made before 1679 and circulated throughout Europe.
The atelier of Jean Bussière (1719-1781) was acknowledged as one of the nine biggest in Aubusson with 127 weavers among them, and is further recorded on a chinoiserie landscape tapestry signed by him and illustrated in D. and P. Chevalier and P.-F. Bertrand, Les Tapisseries d'Aubusson et de Felletin, Lausanne, 1988, p. 129.