Monday, November 22, 2010

Alexander the Great

I am soo happy because I finally got a laptop which I am writing on right now. Now to the real post.

In 356 B.C.E Alexander III, or the Great, was born to Olympias and Philip II of Macedonia and in 336 B.C.E, 20 years later, Philip was assassinated by his bodyguard at his daughter’s wedding. Alexander acted ruthlessly following his father’s assassination, killing all who opposed his rule.

Two years later in 334 B.C.E Alexander proved his bravery when he took his army across the Hellespont to liberate the Greek cities under Persian rule in Asia Minor. This plan was previously announced by his father, but the astounding campaign of his conquest was entirely his own ambitions. Alexander claimed descent in his father’s side from the Greek hero Hercules (Heracles) and from his mother, descent from the hero of the Trojan War Achilles. Later in Egypt his claims were raised a notch higher, when a priest at Alexander saw himself as spreading Greek desert shrine of Ammon hailed him the “son of Zeus”.

Alexander’s army served him loyally. His elite cavalry, the Companions, were a tight-knit group with whom Alexander fought, ate, and drank with like equals. On the battle field Alexander led from the front, something that wasn’t done. He could be supremely reckless of his own safety, yet he was also thoroughly professional in organizing and motivating his cavalry and infantry in battle.

Alexander saw himself as spreading Greek civilization by the sword. He founded Greek cities; the most famous is Alexandria in Egypt. He sought to Hellenize - to make Greek – the Persians whom he conquered. In 330 B.C.E Alexander established himself successor to the Persia throne. His adoption of the mantle of the Persian Empire created troubles for his Macedonian followers. The Persian traditions were not known of to Macedonians. They were also jealous when new Persian followers found favor with Alexander. Discontent came to a series of mutinies which Alexander violently suppressed.

Alexander was both ruthless and powerful. He killed in cold blood. In 323 B.C.E at the age of 33 he moved to Babylon, where in June he fell ill and died of fever (or possibly poison) leaving no clear successor.

1 comment:

  1. Well done! History tends to see Alexander the Great as this amazing tactitian (which he was) and gloss over the fact that he was really a pretty ruthless and entirely self centered ruler. Can you imagine the terror when the people he set out to conquer saw this gigantic dustcloud that heralded the coming of his army? Puddle-producing terror....


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