Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great: The Invisible Enemy
Alexander the Great
Fighting has been an unavoidable part of human history since humans evolved. Regardless of the aim, no battle can be successful without a good leader. In history, among the best military leaders was Alexander the Great. He was born in Pella, 20th July 356BC. As a young person, Alexander was a strong and fearless boy and brought up as a warrior (Farmer, 216).
Alexander fought for twelve years in the Pearsian Gulf, Egypt and in the Middle East whereby his conquests left a legacy that had a positive and lasting impacts in the way of life of the peoples.
Besides his conquests, Alexander inherited his father’skingdom of Macedonia at the age of twenty years, becoming one of the youngest king ever to be in the world. He worn many wars because of his ability to inspire, lead and motivate his armies. His intention was on constructing a united kingdom, which was not easy during his time, but he succeeded in building a united kingdom.
It is for this reason that the development of ancient Macedonia is associated with Alexander the Great because he built cities along the trade routes through the wealth he obtained from the Persian treasury, whereby the economic system remained unchanged till the industrial revolution.
Being a great leader, his legacy is still remembered for his ability to conquer many empires. He started his fighting campaign with 37000 men, of which 5000 were calvary. He used this army to fight his first war against the Persian Empire, which almost cost his life. After winning this war, he was able to control half of western Asia. Afterward, he also attacked Syria, Palestine and Egypt and conquered them and acquired the title of Pharaoh of Egypt. He was such a strong leader in the world history who never turned back against his enemies. His conquests still remain in the world history as the most successful leader in fighting and winning wars.
Moreover, regardless of his motives, ideas or views, Alexander enabled the extension of the Greek ideas and language to the non-Greek world of Asia. His destruction of the Persian created chances for Greek authorities, intellectuals, soldiers, engineers, merchants and his successors participate in the new political unity grounded on the principle of the monarch. His successors utilized force to introduce military monarchies, which dominated the Hellenistic monarchies world after his death. Furthermore, Autocratic authority became a regular characteristic of the Hellenistic monarchies, which was a section of Alexander’s political legacy (Heckel, 89). Nevertheless, it is clear that the Romans were inspired by Alexander’s vision because they were the real inheritors of his legacy. Not only did Alexander left a political legacy, but a cultural legacy that ended up in the Greek Language, architecture, literature and art that spreads into other regions of Asia. Moreover, the new cities that were created by Alexander becamethe spring board for the spread of the Greek culture. His legacy built the clash and fusion of distinct cultures that formed the basic features of the Hellenistic world.
As a king, Alexander proved his leadership qualities through obtaining massive empires and leaving behind a legacy that had a lasting impact in future evolutions. Though his empires disintegrated after his death, he had already built a multi-cultural empire, which would ultimately have a significant effect on the Roman civilization. Besides, from the period of antiquity till to the present, he is demonstrated as a military genius. His achievements in the art of war are still shocking. Peoples such as Napoleon, Caesar, and Hannibal studied about Alexander military approaches and acknowledged that without the knowledge they acquired from Alexander, they would have not been capable of achieving what they did (Shecter, 410). It is clear that his achievement was a base for others to follow his footsteps. His armies usually counted on him to lead them in times of battle and he never failed them. As a matter of fact, he had a unique character whereby when he usually arrived before his enemies anticipated.
In conclusion, Alexander the Great was a great leader and still one of the most bewildering great figures in history. Most of the historical figures do not stand out in similar level as Alexander. He was a warrior at the age of sixteen, a commander in chief at the age of eighteen and a king at the age of twenty. He solely handily altered the ancient world in just over a decade and looking at his childhood in the acquiring of the throne, conquests, marriage and death, it is clear that as the name great suggest, Alexander the Great was and is still one of the greatest historical and political figures of the world. Moreover, as a leader, he showed uncommon resourcefulness both in the combination of using distinct arms and acclimating a tactic to meet the problems of his powerful and strong adversaries. Besides, though he had a short time in authority, he marks an important period in world history.
Farmer, Henry George. ““ The Horn of Alexander the Great ”.” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland: 500-03. Print.
Heckel, Waldemar. “Alexander the Great: The Invisible Enemy.” Canadian Journal of History 1 Aug. 1993. Print.
Shecter, Vicky Alvear. Alexander the Great Rocks the World. Plain City, OH: Darby Creek Pub., 2006. Print.
Was Alexander the Great Really Great
2,000,000 square miles. It would take the average man 500,000 hours to walk this distance. This translates to 20,833 days, which is equal to 57 years. In a mere 12 years, a man by the name of Alexander III of Macedon, conquered such a vast expanse of land, by the time he was 32 Alexander controlled an empire larger than any the world had ever seen. Today, around the world this man is known as “Alexander the Great”. But why is Alexander considered “great”? At first the answer seems pretty straightforward: at the age of 20 he inherited the throne of Macedon, he invaded Persia, and in less than ten years he had conquered Egypt, Iran, Persia, and parts of India.
Alexander is responsible for spreading Greek culture across the known world, he founded various cities, and some consider him a “philosophical idealist” with his policies of incorporating various races into his military and government. He was never defeated in battle and by the age of 32 controlled an empire that spanned from Greece to India.
Certainly on the basis of his military success, especially in the eyes of the many who count success as the number of dead bodies removed from a battle scene, he lived up to his title. Earning the title of “The great” is certainly no small feat, but should a man be awarded this trophy on the basis of military achievements alone? Should a man, who is responsible for the deaths of thousands, who had serious alcoholic and rage issues, be considered great?
If Alexander were a military commander only, then there would be no question, he would deserve the title, and probably many of the legends associated with him. But this is not the case, Alexander was also a king, had personal relationships, and was a member of the human race. He must also be held morally accountable and examined for greatness in these other roles he held in his life. On all three accounts (king, relationships, and man) Alexander’s positive influence was more than lacking, and for this reason should not be considered great.
The first area in which Alexander was far less than great, was Alexander’s role as king of Macedon. Alexander required thousands of troops throughout his military campaign, in document A it states that when Alexander left Macedon he brought 40,000 troops with him. This in and of itself is not necessarily a bad thing, in order to conquer Persia, Alexander needed as many troops as he could get. From a military perspective, this was ideal. However, Alexander was more than simply a military leader, he was the kingof Macedon.
Document A shows that Alexander left Macedon in about 334 BCE, this means that Alexander only stayed in Macedon as the king for a single year. When Alexander left Macedon, and took his 40,000 troops with him to Persia, Macedon was left with a weakened defense. When Alexander left for Persia he left a man named Antipater in Macedon to ensure it’s protection. Although successful in the end, it was more a matter of luck than good kingship by the way of Alexander. The military support and reinforcement required by Alexander constantly left Macedonia depleted in men. An uprising in Thrace almost destroyed what was left of the Antipater army, and during the war of Agis III, it was only the fact that Leonnatus returned with reinforcements that saved Antipater.
Alexander’s military conquests and endless search for power in Persia left his homeland and theoretically his largest responsibility with less than adequate defenses. Alexander, although possessing a vast empire, could never unite it. He was often deemed a paranoid megalomaniac, who held his empire together with frequent and unnecessary assassinations. Truly Alexander was feared and not loved, anyone who crossed him died. Cleitus, one of Alexander’s friends and generals, misspoke about Alexander’s father, and in a drunken haze Alexander stabbed him with a spear, and killed him. Alexander’s men and his friends were afraid of him, which is why, as it states in document E, Alexander’s “great” empire only lasted 10 years after his death. As king, one should not only maintain their kingdom, but name an heir to rule it afterwards, Alexander did not. This would be understandable had he died in battle (which could have happened numerous times before), however Alexander died in bed, most likely of typhoid fever or malaria, with ten days to name an heir. Alexander did not fulfill his duties as king, he abandoned Macedon, and left it close to defenseless, never named an heir, and ruled with fear and power, never truly uniting his kingdom, which inevitably led to its collapse.
Alexander was a person, although he claimed himself to be a god, and he had close relationships with other people. However, in many of Alexander’s relationships, he was anything but great. Alexander’s father, Philip, had many wives and sons, Alexander’s mother was named Olympias. There is some evidence to show that when Olympias became worried Alexander (who was even rumored to be illegitimate) would not become king, she plotted withAlexander to kill Philip, and paid Philip’s body guard to do it. Ironically enough the murderer himself, is killed by Alexander’s henchmen, almost immediately after the murder.
Later in life, Alexander killed his best friend Cleitus, by stabbing him with a spear. Paramenio was a general who had served under Philip as well as Alexander, but when a conspiracy arose that he planned to assassinate Alexander, Alexander had them both put to death. Document B references Porus, an Indian prince. Alexander allowed this prince to continue ruling under Alexander’s name after he was defeated. However, this was the last battle fought by Alexander, as his men refused to follow him further without reason. It is for this reason that Alexander allowed Porus to continue his rule. On many accounts, especially towards the end of his life, Alexander was increasingly paranoid. He ordered assassins to kill his close allies and friends based on suspicions, and he was rarely trusted and often feared. Alexander’s personal relationships failed in nearly every circumstance, and it usually ended with the murder of one of his friends, those who were supposed to be close to him. Poor ability to maintain positive personal relationships, provides yet another reason why Alexander was not truly great.
Alexander, through the lense of morality, was much less than great, in fact he was quite the opposite. Although Alexander claimed to be a god, he was in fact a man, both mortal (dying at the age of 32) and human, his parents being Philip and Olympias. Document C references Alexander’s campaign against Tyre. It shows that once he broke in, he destroyed the city- killing thousands. Those he supposedly showed mercy to, were sold into slavery, and 2,000 were crucified. This unnecessary massacre of humans was simply cruel. Another instance in which Alexander was amoral, was when his men refused to march forward into India. Instead of returning home over sea, or along the coast, he forced his men to march for miles through the desert, the same desert referenced in Document D.
During this forced march thousands of Alexander’s men died. Additionally, although the legend in document D where Alexander threw down the helmet of water, could be seen as inspirational, it could also be seen as disrespectful. Allowing the people who found the water to drink it, and then bringing the remainder of his army there to at least drink a little would have been safer, and more effective than wasting water.
Alexander’s lack of morality is noted again in Document D, where a man swims after Alexander’s head band, and Alexander kills him for doing so. Among other cruel things, Alexander almost killed Aristotle, murdered many of his close friends, and sold thousands of men and women into slavery. In spite of this, his empire still collapsed a mere 10 years after his death (Document E).
Alexander the great was known by another name, Alexander the Annihilator, anybody who stood in his path he destroyed mercilessly, and he made an example of them. In the east, Alexander is a villain, his name is “Iscandur- the killer” & “Iscandur-the destroyer of cities”. He slaughtered his way across three continents in a mere decade, Alexander was clearly a tyrant in a hurry, and one who worked outside the normal rules of human morality.
Alexander “the great” – although a military genius, was also a king, and a mortal man who had relationships. Although Alexander succeeded on the battlefield, he failed outside of it. Psychiatrist David Mallot diagnosed Alexander, not as great, but as a psychopathic goal driven killer, with a narcissistic personality disorder. Alexander the great was a power hungry megalomaniac, whose sole purpose was to conquer as much land as he could with utter disregard for human life. Alexander the great, however popular of a title, is misleading, Alexander was a ruthless tyrant, and clearly doesn’t deserve to be remembered as “great”.
Alexander the Great’s Policy of Fusion
From his conception, Alexander was destined for greatness. Born to Olympias, Princess of Epirus and Phillip II, King of Macedon, passion and purpose were the driving forces of his young life. As a young boy, in Philips absence, he entertained Persian envoys and much to the surprise of the guests instead of asking about the Persian hanging gardens, he asked about the state of the Persian army and the roads. Clearly, at his tender age, his thoughts were already set on conquering.
Years later, after the death of Philip in 336 BC, Alexander adopted Philips plans to conquer Persia and travelled across the Hellespont in order to rightfully earn his glory and write his name into the history books. In the years that followed, Alexander did just that, proving his tactical brilliance in battle and as a result, conquering the largest empire of the age. With Persians, Macedonians and Greeks under his rule, Alexander devised a policy that would ensure the smooth running of his empire.
It has been dubbed by scholars as his ‘Policy of Fusion’.
What was Fusion?!
The dictionary deﬁnes fusion as: the process or result of joining two or more things together to form a single entity. In the case of Alexander, it refers to his ‘fusing’ of the Persians with the Macedonian and Greeks to create a super empire, combing the best of Persian and Macedonian Kingship. Alexander did not wish to destroy Persia and replace it with Macedonian rule, instead he took several actions to actively encourage the combination of the two cultures. His concept was simple: treat the natives as equal, not inferior, tolerate the native customs and religion and adopt some of the native customs. According to Curtius Rufus, Alexander said: “Everything is taking on the same hue: it is no disgrace for the Persians to copy Macedonian customs nor for the Macedonians to imitate the Persians. Those who are to live under the same king should enjoy the same rights”.
The nature of Kingship
The Macedonian nature of Kingship is that the King was ‘prima inter pares’- ﬁrst amongst equals. This meant that the King would not bask in splendour, he would wear the same clothes as his men and be approachable to them. (Alexander knew most of his men by name). The epitome of leading from the front, the King would play a major role in battles, earning respect from his men as they shared in the glory of victory.
In stark contrast the Persian King had an exulted status as all subjects were required to perform proskynesis before him. He was considered to be god’s representative on earth. He lived a life of luxury and was attended by ushers, bodyguards and eunuchs. Access to the court was controlled by the Vizier. His dress was extravagant and set him apart from his subjects. He wore a purple tunic, gold cloak and belt and a jewelled scabbard.
The vastly different styles of Kingship highlighted the need for a policy of Fusion.
Similarities and Differences
Philip’s policies for dealing with conquered people differed vastly to Alexander’s Policy of Fusion. For after the Battle of Chaeronea the Greek States were forced to become a member of the League of Corinth of which Philip was hegemon. From the Greek States money, men and allegiance was needed to ensure peace. Although the Greek states had ‘autonomy’ it was within the Macedonian parameters. A bit of an oxymoron really; incarcerated freedom. Strict Macedonian Garrisons and a pro- Macedonian Government were in play to maintain order and provide a tool if there was disorder. Conversely, Persians and Macedonians were encouraged by Alexander to co-exist and live together, enjoying the same rights and governed by the same rules under the same King. Wether the purpose of Alexander’s policies was ‘homonoia’, or as a practical means to rule or was an attempt to Helenize Asia- Persians beneﬁtted from his rule. In the case of Philip, the Greeks did not receive the same treatment. Lycurgus once famously said: “The Battle of Chaeronea marked an epoch for all ages. With the dead was buried the freedom of Greece.”
The purpose of Philip’s policies was entirely for the beneﬁt of Macedonia. Hamilton states that: “Philip’s policy was primarily aimed at the advancement of Macedon and for this he found Greeks useful, perhaps essential. Alexander and his contemporaries received a good Greek education and in them Greek culture was more securely rooted. But admiration for Greek culture need not imply a desire to secure the welfare of Greece…”
Was Fusion even Alexander’s idea- Persian policies!
Although it is hard to deﬁne when exactly the idea ﬁrst ‘popped’ into Alexanders head, it certainly would have manifested itself during the Macedonians stay in Babylon. Because it was from here that he had the ability to fuse the two cultures, as after Gaugamela- the Persian Empire was effectively his. At the time Alexander’s policy was considered revolutionary, the complete opposite of the Macedonian dealing with conquered people. However, as Fox suggests without the “Persian background Alexander’s own plans for government have been made to seem unnecessarily radical.” Persians in fact, had been fusing ideas and cultures for generations as “two hundred years before Alexander, they had overthrown the empire of the Medes and annexed the ancient civilisation of Babylon, but in each case they had availed themselves of their subjects’ experience.” Alexander’s policy and the policy of the Persian King Cyrus (both earned the title ‘Great’) were very similar.
In around 550 BC Cyrus expanded his annexed Median and Persian lands to include the Fertile Cresent. After conquering “He adopted a policy of toleration toward the people he conquered. For example, he allowed them to speak their own languages, practice their own religions, and follow their own ways of life. He also declared the ﬁrst Charter of Human Rights. Etched on a clay cylinder, this charter set forth Cyrus’ goals and policies. His respect for the people made Cyrus popular and made it easier for him to create a peaceful and stable empire.”
Reasons for Similarities or Differences!
Philip had no reason to fuse the Greek and Macedonian cultures as, aside from Macedonian being governed by an absolute monarchy and the Greek States being governed by democracy the two cultures were fundamentally the same. This was because Macedonia was Hellenized. Alexander on the other hand, was dealing with two tangibly different cultures and needed fusion to effectively rule over both.
There were also differences too between King Cyrus, and Alexander’s policies. King Cyrus’s policy worked. As the most important man of the nation, if Cyrus tolerated the Medes and the peoples from the Fertile Cresent, the rest of his subjects would have too. Unlike the Greeks and Macedonians, they did not believe themselves to be superior to the people they conquered. The nature of Persian Kingship ensured the stability of the empire for the next 200 years. Alexander would have known of Cyrus’s policy and could potentially have tried to mimic it, seeing as it was so effective. Without Persian Background Alexander’s own plans for government have been make to seem unnecessarily radical (Fox).
The purpose of Alexanders Policy of Fusion has been widely debated. There are several arguments.
On one hand, we have William Tarn’s utopian view of homonoia- Alexander’s desire for universalism, to create a ‘brotherhood of man’. On the other, we have the juxtaposed AB Boswoth’s view that Alexander did not really attempt to ‘fuse’ the two cultures together, instead he was really playing one off against the other. As discussed in Nicholas Ed Foster’s thesis, both Classical Historians have ﬂaws in their arguments. Tarn is perceived to practically worship Alexander and his achievements, focussing on creating the big picture of the great king, while overlooking massacres that occurred during the campaign. Bosworth does the opposite, as he focuses on the massacres and ignores Alexander’s intentions. There are other ideas surrounding the purpose of fusion, one is that it was used because it provided the practical means to rule the two peoples. Other’s argue that fusion was an attempt to spread Greek culture.
Brotherhood of Man
At the time, Alexander’s ideas were considered revolutionary. His actions completely went against the ideas of Aristotle, where captured people were barbarians, treated worse than animals. Alexander changed this completely. When he declared that all men were alike sons of one Father and when, at Opis he prayed that Macedonian and Persians might partners in the commonwealth and that the peoples of his world might live in harmony and unity of heart and mind (Tarn). According to Curtius Rufus Alexander justiﬁed his entire conquest by saying that he had hoped to annex his empire to many famous peoples. He also justiﬁed his actions around marriage by saying that his intention “was to erase all distinction between conquered and conquerer”.
Practical Means to Rule
Alexander’s Policy of Fusion is considered by some to have stemmed from necessity. Put simply, fusion was a practical way to bring Hellenic and Eastern cultures under one rulethis was the purpose of it. Due to the vast expanse of the empire, the area simply became too large to be controlled solely by the Macedonian Army. Furthermore, “By appointing Persian satraps, or in many cases simply leaving them in their previous positions of power, Alexander was able to prevent the rise of dissent from the populace.” (Nicholas Ed Foster, Thesis LSU)
Tamsin Woolf AS91397
Policy in Action:
Alexanders Policy wasn’t a mere Policy of words, it was a Policy shown in action. Alexander showed his policy in various ways, both big and small.
After entering Babylon, Alexander was quick to initiate his policy of fusion through action. His ﬁrst action, after entering the great city, was to restore the temples that were destroyed by Xerxes, including the great Temple of Bel, where he made a sacriﬁce. Much to the surprise of the Macedonians, respect was shown to Persian nobility, especially to Kings of the past. Bessus, for the murder of Darius, was paid special attention. After having his face customarily mutilated and torturing him, Alexander “had him torn limb from limb. He had the tops of two straight trees bent down so that they met, and part of Bessus’ body was tied to each. Then when each tree was let go and sprang back to its upright position, the part of the body that was attached to it was torn off by the recoil. (Plutarch)
Persians were given positions of power and included in Alexanders army. Previously considered ‘barbarians’ were made Satraps of provinces with the most signiﬁcant being Mazeaeus re-established as satrap of Babylon and Porus, being given back his rule after his defeat at Hydaspes. Alexanders elite Companion Cavalry which previously was comprised of men from the ranks of Macedonian nobility, who had proven their worth in the ﬁeld of battle now included Persian Lords.
Alexander adopted the Persian dress, wearing the diadem along with a pure white robe and sash, a compromise between Persian and Median costume. “He may have done this from a desire to adapt himself to local habits, because he understood that the sharing of race and of customs is a great step towards softening men’s hearts.” (Plutarch)
Like his father Philip, Alexander also used marriages for political reasons. Through his own marriages to Roxanne (the captive daughter of Oxyartes, a Bactrian noble), to Barsine, the eldest daughter of Darius and (according to Aristobulus) to Parysatus daughter of Artaxerxes Ochus, Alexander had linked himself with both branches of the Achaemenid Persian House. Alexander also encouraged marriages between his men and Persian women. This was demonstrated at the mass marriages at Susa which according to Hamilton: “brought to a climax his policy of fusing Macedonians and Persians into a single race.” It was at Susa that 90 of Alexanders men married noble Persian women at a mass celebration. The brides received considerable dowries.
One of the most dubious enforced actions introduced by Alexander was the Persian court practice, proskynesis. Researcher Herodotus of Halicarnassus observed the practice: “When the Persians meet one another in the roads, you can see whether those who meet are of equal rank. For instead of greeting by words, they kiss each other on the mouth; but if one of them is inferior to the other, they kiss one another on the cheeks, and if one is of much less noble rank than the other, he falls down before him and worships him.” As part of his Policy of Fusion, Alexander believed that the action would bring Persians and Macedonians together, however instead of this, it only managed to highlight the differences between races. While Persians already performed proskynesis to their King, for Macedonians, the action was reserved only for gods.
Along with his other actions, Alexander ensured sustainability for the future and had 30,000 Iranian boys trained for the military, they were taught Greek, wore Macedonian attire and used Macedonian weapons. They were called ‘The Successors’. According to Arrian, Alexander called them his Epigoni- his inheritors. The title for the boys was apt as they would inherit the empire, and before Alexander’s death, they were obliged to him only.
Implications and Impacts
The Persian people viewed Alexander as a liberator, his actions repeatedly encouraged them to trust him. Unlike the Macedonians, the Persians did not have to do anything to be a part of Alexanders policy, instead, Alexanders actions encouraged the Macedonians to adopt Persian customs. Through sacriﬁcing to the Temple of Bel, ensuring a proper funeral for King Darius and hunting down Bessus for Darius’s murder, Alexander showed great respect for the Persian people and their customs.
Before Persepolis Alexander’s men followed their leader blindly. They would die for him. They would die for the noble cause of punishing the Persians. As Alexander started to implement his Policy of Fusion discontent began to brew amongst the Macedonian Camp. Having to live in harmony with the ‘barbarians’ who they came to Asia to conquer was something they were not prepared for. This was something they struggled with as the Macedonians and Greeks believed that they were the superior race. Furthermore, many Macedonians felt that Alexander was no longer loyal to them and thus became resentful. The strain in the relationship is shown through several events some of which are explicit reactions to fusion, while others are implicit.
Division between Old Guard and New Guard
The division of the Old and New Guard is shown through the Old Guard’s more extreme reactions to Alexander’s Policy of Fusion early on in the piece. Many of the Old Guard had fought under Philip and were used to his ways. This, combined with their distaste for the Fusion Policy and that the Old Guard felt that their actions at Battles past, had been forgotten created a divide between the young and old.
Philotas and Parmenio
In late 330 BC, in the early stages of the implementation of Fusion, a plot was hatched to kill the King. Philotas was informed to consult the King immediately, but failed to twice. Because of this he was connected to the plot and killed. Shot down by the Macedonian javelins together with his fellow conspirators (Arrian). There are several other factors that could have contributed to his death. Philotas was known to condemn the Policy. His death was a combination of Alexander’s growing insecurity concerning plots and the Macedonian resentment of Fusion.
These factors blinded Alexander into believing Philotas’s guilt. There is no hard evidence to suggest Philotas’s guilt. The only proof of it appears to be his failure to organise an audience for Cebalinus or to inform Alexander of what he had been told (Hamilton). As a result of the danger of a Parmenio ﬁlled with vengeance at the death of his son, Parmenio was murdered too. These incidents prove how adamant Alexander was to continue with his policy, using brutality for the greater good of ensuring harmony between two peoples.
Cleitus the Black was the Commander of the Royal Squadron of Companion Cavalry and a friend of Philip. In Maracanda, 328 BC, at a drinking party Cleitus and some of the older members became offended by an insulting chant. The division between the old and young is highlighted as the “older members shouted their disproval of both the composer and the singer, but Alexander and those next to him listened with evident enjoyment and told the singer to continue Whereupon Cleitus who, besides being naturally surly and having a savage temper, was by now drunk, became extremely angry” (Plutarch). In his speech, Cleitus vented all his feelings over the last few years, particularly around fusion.
“It was not right for Macedonians who were much superior to those who mocked them, even if they had met with misfortune, to be insulted before natives and enemies.”
“The dead I call fortunate; they don’t live to see the Macedonians ﬂogged by the the rods of Medians and begging Persians for permission to have an audience with their king.” (Plutarch)
… “Go, and live with foreigners, slaves who will bow down before your Persian girdle and your white tunic.” (Plutarch)
As a result of Cleitus’s comments, Alexander (who was also drunk) snatched a spear from one of his bodyguards and ran it through Cleitus.
Historically, Persians had performed proskynesis when recognising someone of higher rank than them, as they had done to Darius, they prostrated themselves before Alexander. The action was not one of worship, merely recognising someone of higher rank. For the Macedonians however, the action was something only the slavish barbarians did. For them, the action was strictly reserved for gods. Despite Alexanders attempts to prove his divinity, he was human. What added salt to the wound was that before the campaigns he had adopted the historical Macedonian form of Kingship- prima inter pares- ﬁrst amongst equals. Despite knowing this, Alexander had counted in the action to enhance his fusion policy. In 327 BCE Alexander attempted to introduce proskynesis at a drinking party.
According to Plutarch Alexander passed the cup to one of his friends, who took it, rose from his couch, turned to face the hearth, drank, and performed proskynesis before kissing Alexander and resuming his place. All the guests followed suit except for the philosopher Callisthenes, who refused to prostrate himself. One opposed to the action seems insigniﬁcant. Indeed, he was the only person to voice openly his disproval of what all the best and oldest of the Macedonians resented in their hearts. By preventing the introduction of this practise he saved the Greeks from great disgrace and Alexander from a greater (Plutarch).
Mutiny at Opis
One of the most illuminating examples of the Macedonian reaction to Fusion was the Mutiny at Opis- as it highlights the extent of the discontent between Alexander and his troops. With a previous mutiny, conspiracies and the rejection of proskynesis already under their belt, the arrival of the ‘Successors’ in Susa was the tip of the iceberg for the Macedonians. The 30,000 Iranian boys arrived in Susa wearing Macedonian clothing and carrying Macedonian equipment, performing a dazzling display of discipline and deftness before the Macedonian Army. At Opis, Alexander announced that he was releasing from the Army those who, because of old age or disablement, were no longer ﬁr for service and was sending them home (Arrian). This greatly vexed the Macedonian Army as they assumed that Alexander intended to replace them with the young ‘war dancers’ as they resentfully termed them (Hamilton).
This assumption, combined with their distaste in Alexander’s dress throughout the campaign, his appointment (or re-appointment) of foreign Satrap leaders and inclusion of Persian in the Army (including into the prestigious Companion Cavalry) lead to their response. Arrian states that: “they did not stand passively in respectful silence, but shouted to him to dismiss every man of them and carry on with his ‘father’, mocking Ammon by this remark.” A mutiny against Alexanders actions as a result of his Fusion policy is signiﬁcant because it shows just how widespread the discontent was, this discontent was not something felt only by the Old Guard.
Patterns of Reaction
Fusion- Can we trust it?!
Fusion rufﬂed the feathers of the Macedonians. It created tension which lead to recurring negative reaction. Although most Macedonians were opposed to the policy from the outset, the Old Guard seemed more offended by it and people knew where they stood. The execution of Philotas and Parmenio and the murder of Cleitus show just how important the policy was to Alexander and how seriously he took opposition to it. As time went on war weariness and Alexander’s change in status from ‘ﬁrst amongst equals’ to Son of Ammon started to take a toll on the rest of the troops, the discontent in the Macedonian Army regarding fusion became more widespread, ultimately resulting in Mutiny.
As none of the primary sources exist today, I have used all secondary sources in my report. This begs the question- can the sources be trusted? The secondary sources each used different primary sources from both the Good Tradition and the Vulgate. I used Arrian, Plutarch and Curtius Rufus. Arrian used mainly Ptolemy and Aristobulous but he also used Nearchus and Callisthenes. Plutarch used all sources, while Curtius Rufus used an unknown source, embellished with Cleitarchus who used sensational popular beliefs, rather than facts. This ultimately made Curtius Rufus less reliable than Arrian and Plutarch. However, it is highly improbable that the secondary sources used the primary sources word for word, rather they used the primary sources to back up their own conclusions about Alexander. There is also the question of what the primary sources had to gain from their writing. Although the good tradition are considered to be more reliable than the vulgate, they were all close to Alexander and potentially built up his achievements for their own personal gain.
In conclusion, Alexander’s Policy of Fusion was implemented in order for Alexander to effectively govern both Persians and Macedonians. It sparked many negative reactions from the Macedonians who viewed themselves as superior. Initially the more extreme reactions were shown by the Old Guard, but with time, the whole of the army came to oppose the policy, as shown through the Mutiny at Opis. Despite the opposition, Alexander chose to continue to pursue his policy with great perseverance.
http://www.google.co.nz/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=5&ved=0CDsQFjAE&url=http %3A%2F%2Feduco.vln.school.nz%2Fmod%2Fresource%2Fview.php%3Fid %3D4300&ei=WMlpU5XECIilkQXVkIHwBg&usg=AFQjCNExDT4GSgLAlubZldzs7r8rQUMag&bvm=bv.66111022,d.dGI
Arrian. (1976) The Campaigns of Alexander, page 356 Penguin Classics
Hamilton, JR. (1973). Alexander the Great. Hutchinson & Co (Publishers) LTD page 28
Plutarch. (1973). The Age of Alexander. Penguin Classics- page 301, 283
The History of Alexander Penguin Classics pages 244,245
Does Alexander the Great deserve to be called ‘the Great’?
The greatness of Alexander III, as he was originally, has been disputed in the past. His legend has survived for thousands of years, and his name is well-known, but just how great was he? In answering this question it is necessary to define the terms ‘deserve’ and ‘great’. For these purposes, to deserve will mean to be worthy of. Great has many meanings, and will be defined as: important; grand; distinguished; remarkable in ability or character; competent; or above what is normal, with implied admiration.
Alexander, son of Philip, the king of the Macedonians, was more than most men. His achievements were admirable, and his success brilliant.
His accomplishments were grand, momentous and distinguished, having huge impact on the history of the world. Alexander’s ability was well and truly remarkable, and his overall life was incredible. He truly fits into the criteria of a great person. The small young boy, who, although outnumbered, captured the mighty Persian Empire, was more than an average person.
He may not have been the perfect man, and some may argue he had a cruel heart, but he was surely great. Alexander the Great, as he is now, was one of the greatest men ever, and truly deserves the title ‘the great’.
Alexander was a man of achievement. He had known from his childhood that his ultimate goal was to revenge the Persians for their devastation of Greece 150 years prior. And this would drive him in his campaigns. Even before he became king, Alexander had led a minor military operation, ruled the land and established a city. He was soon given greater command when at eighteen his father was assassinated, and he became king. His war would now begin – and would take him to be the Lord of Asia. After defeating local Persian governors, Alexander marched on through Asia Minor to meet with King Darius III, the Persian Emperor, at Issus. Alexander won decisively. But Darius and Alexander would meet again, at Gaugamela. The size of Darius’ army is unknown, but Alexander had only 50,000 men.
Again, Alexander was superior, and won a tough battle. With Darius fleeing, almost the entire Persian world was Alexander’s. Soon he became the Persian King, and led campaigns further east into today’s Pakistan. Spreading Greek culture to the ends of the known Earth, Alexander became ruler of a great empire. He had achieved a huge amount, all within no more than fourteen years. On top of this, Alexander constructed cities and trade routes and improved the economy and government. It is true that Alexander did level many towns, killing civilians including the sick, elderly, woman and children; but certainly he had made great achievements. An unknown source says “When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.”
Other meanings of great include important and grand – and Alexander did not fail in these areas. For someone to go down in history as great, they must have left their mark. Achieving so much certainly was something special, but Alexander did more than that. With his momentous actions he changed history, and left his stamp throughout the land. He turned the tides from the east to the west in terms of the major world powers. Before him had been Persians and Babylonians, but now Greeks and Romans would be the centre of attention. Alexander spread Greek culture throughout the known world, making a major impact on many civilizations. His vast conquering pushed the boundaries of the known Earth, and his construction of cities like Alexandria shifted the light of learning.
Although many people dismiss him for not actually constructing many cities, but rather renaming them, he did have an impact on the cities, and often improved things like trade. H. Bengston suggested that: “Neither the Roman Empire…the triumphant route of Christianity…the Byzantine Empire nor the Arabian civilization would have been created without Alexander…and his cosmogony works.” Alexander must be grouped with people like Napoleon in being a pivotal individual that shaped the world. What he did was important, grand and distinguished – and great.
Alexander had remarkable ability, and so was great in many different ways. On top of doing great things, Alexander was a great leader, and a political and military genius. His goal to conquer Persia was one that he would let nothing stand in the way of. As leader of his troops, he suffered their same wounds, being one of the last great leaders to personally take the risk of death in battle. Alexander listened to every man he had, and so became very close to his men. Some argue his ability in motivating and inspiring his men was in fact the greatest ever seen, half-defeating the opposition in nerves before a battle began. He was also remarkable with military tactics, employing strategies still used today. As the Encarta Encyclopedia put it: “Alexander was one of the greatest generals of all time, noted for his brilliance as a tactician and troop leader and for the rapidity with which he could traverse great expanses…” He succeeded politically as well, earning respect from many people. Alexander’s charisma and adoption of Persian customs gave him strong loyalty needed in order to control his massive empire. However, the greatness in his work here is questionable: often he used brutal force, sometimes killing thousands of civilians, or selling them into slavery. But overall, Alexander must be seen as great man in terms of a leader and a military commander.
There is one major area of Alexander where heated debates often occur: his character and personality. Alexander is still seen almost as the devil (‘Alexander the Accursed’) in modern Iran. His acts, especially in ruthlessly killing Persians, are still remembered with hatred. The fact that his quest was centred on revenge questions his greatness. However, many scholars see him as a good man, who believed in the peaceful co-existance of all people. The Oath of Alexander the Great says: “It is my wish…that…all be happy in peace…as one people…I…see you all as equal…” Alexander’s actions seem to be quite contradictory in some circumstances. His present-day enemies see him as a man who hated all Persians, and their culture. They claim him to be an alcoholic, saying what he did was disgraceful, and is made out to be more than it was.
But he surely did have an odd character: in a drunken rage, he murdered his friend Clitus. Alexander also seems to have been lucky in some regards – sometimes not planning very well. He appears to have been a fair ruler in Persia from some accounts, but others say he hated their culture and religion, doing as much as possible to destroy it. Fraydon Aryan says “…he murdered more than one thousand Dasturs (high priests)…destroyed the fire temples, sold the inhabitants into slavery and, overall, left more than three million dead.” Although he may not have had an admirable personality, we must look at the overall Alexander.
Now it has become clear that Alexander did achieve great things, and was great in many ways, but does he deserve to be called ‘the great’? Mustn’t it take something extraordinary to be labelled this? To deserve to be called ‘the great’, someone must be extremely great. There is no measure of greatness, but clearly we can see Alexander was one of the greatest men of all time. Conquering the largest empire ever seen at that point is extremely great. Being such a good leader, an inspirer and motivator, a tactician and military genius is extremely great. Although he may not have been such a good person, Alexander was more than most other great men. All great men have enemies, and Alexander had many – but does this make him less great? Alexander must not be dismissed because of some of his less noble deeds. He is truly deserving of the name ‘the great’, having changed the course of history, stamping his name in his time, and ours.
To conclude, Alexander was an extremely great man. He made great achievements in his short life that are hard to compare to those of any other man. He ranks among those men who shaped the world, having done such important things. Alexander was also a great man in terms of leadership and military tactics. However, he had a mixed personality, and seems to be less admirable in some of his acts and intentions. Only a few men may go down in history as ‘the great’, and only few deserve to. On the whole, Alexander was truly worthy of this title. He fulfilled many criteria of a great man, and moreover was so great that he deserves to be remembered as ‘the great’. The greatness of a man is hard to assess, but despite what Alexander may have been like, his achievements and abilities are among the greatest ever seen. According to Stelios Papathemelis, “He did not merely place his stamp on his era. Rather, he has survived – he even ‘lives and reigns’.”
Seven Ancient Wonders Of The World
Man fears Time, yet Time fears the PyramidsThe Great Pyramid of Giza lies next to Cairo.
It is today in greater Cairo.
According to the wonders of the ancient world, the pyramid of Khufu is the only pyramid included in the list of the wonders. The other two of the pyramids of Giza are excluded from the list. This is the only monument of the seven wonders to survive till today in perfect condition and managing mere escapes from fires, earthquakes and other common disasters that hold a threat to anything other large artifact stands on earth.
It today is in perfect condition despite its loss of height and its unperfected preservation of outside rock smoothness and quality. It was constructed by the Egyptian pharaoh: Khufu of the fourth dynasty. It held its purpose as his tomb, and a few years later its purpose came into use. It is the only surviving ancient wonder.
The Hanging gardens of Babylon was located on the east coast of the river Euphrates.
It is currently located 50 kms south of Baghdad in Iraq.
These hanging gardens were built in the Babylonian empire at the time of the neo-Babylonian dynasty and built by the famous king Naboplashar’s son: Nebuchadnezzar II. Its purpose was to please the wife of Nebuchadnezzar, whom liked mountain, surrounded areas. The only remains of the gardens were the foundations excavated in more recent archaeological projects in Iraq. However the gardens were accurately reconstructed with many positive and negative arguments about the artificial structure. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were very well renowned for it’s system of water fountains, pipes and irrigation structures, which take care of the garden leaving the grass permanently green and the trees and bushes regularly watered.
The statue of Zeus at Olympia was located in the ancient town of Olympia, on the modern map; the monument is located on the west coast of Greece, approximately 150 km west of Athens.
The construction of the statue was completed in 450 BC. It was built in honor of the god Zeus. As the importance of the ancient Olympic Games in Greece became more demanding, important, and cultural, the Greeks needed a temple that was new, large, one worthy of the king of the gods. Thus they built the statue of Zeus. It was made a wonder of the ancient world due to its magnificent interior statue. It is well renowned for the statues sandals and robes which were made of gold and the temple’s Doric styled design. As the years passed, several natural disasters such as earthquakes, landslides and floods did immense damage to the structure. Later on, the inner statue of Zeus was transported to Constantinople. There it suffered from a fire and today the only remains of this temple are rocks and debris.
The Ancient temple of Artemis is located in the ancient city of Ephesus near the modern city of Selcuk 50kms south of Izmir in Turkey. It was built in honour of the divinities of hunting, wild nature and fertility: the goddess Artemis. The structure was believed to be the most beautiful structure on Earth and was built around 550BC. The temple was both a market place and a religious institution. It was a temple built of the greatest marble and consisted of bronze statues of the goddesses.
The temple was later on burned to the ground by Herostratus who wanted to immortalize his name under the name of history and existence and he was very successful. Then a law had been created that whoever spoke of him shall be executed. It was a coincidence that Alexander the great was born on the same night of destruction of the temple, and the goddess Artemis was too busy taking care of the birth of Alexander to save her temple. Though the temple was rebuilt and now named temple E, the temple which was actually the wonder is now nothing but foundations and rock.
The mausoleum at Halicarnassus is located in the city of Bodrum (Halicarnassus) on the Aegean Sea in south west Turkey. It was built as a tomb for the king of the empire Caria. It was well renowned for its extreme beauty and the finest marble of which it was built with.it is also known for its beautiful inner statues. Later on in the early 16 century, the structure faced an end. The knights of st John built a massive crusading castle and decided to fortify it. Thus they used the mausoleum to supply their material. They displaced every block from the mausoleum to build their walls. By 1522, the mausoleums foundations were also incomplete, it had been cleared.
The Colossus of Rhodes was located at entrance of a harbor in the Mediterranean island of Rhodes at Greece. In 304BC, after the people of Rhodes came to a peace agreement with the Antigonids, they collected their leftover weapons from outside their territory where the Antigonids have been trying to siege Rhodes in order to break their alliance with Ptolemy I from Egypt. They sold the weapons and collected the money and built the statue in symbol of their freedom. It took 12 years to construct the structure, and it lived for only a mere 56 years. It was broken by an earthquake at its weakest point, its knees. Around AD654, it was sold to a Jew. The statue was well known for its amazing shape of it standing on two pieces of land which were joined the major island. Each mini peninsula had a leg on it and the statue lifting a torch into the sky. The statue was a divinity: the sun god of Rhodes-Helios.
The Lighthouse of Alexandria was located on the island of pharos currently in Alexandria in Egypt. It was built in honor of the savior gods. It was necessary that they built that lighthouse because of the dangerous and rough rocked coastline of Alexandria. So they built it to save the ships from danger. It was very well renowned for its mirrors which could reflect light for over 50 miles. It was the only wonder of the seven wonders of the ancient world that had a purpose that would serve several people with an additional purpose other than religion. It was the most important of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient world.
The list of the seven wonders of the ancient world was originally compiled around 200BC.many suggestions, arguments and changes have been made to the list when finally during the middle ages the list was recompiled, even though most of the monuments didn’t even co-exist. For the ancient people and workers who built and saw the wonders being built to them was a celebration of either religion, peace, burial or afterlife ceremonies, freedom or simply the beauty of the structure like the hanging Gardens of Babylon. others had a more important and divers purposes such as the Lighthouse of Alexandria which was built in honor of the savior gods and was built to help the ancient sailors to a peaceful trip back or to the harbor. Some structures like the Great Pyramid of Giza were spectacular and complicated structures with several passageways, corridors, traps and escape shafts to confuse tomb raiders. However, every single wonder was truly spectacular and the ancient world wouldn’t have been able to support its massive reputation without these structures.
The Two Sides to Every Greek: Hellene vs. Romoi
Louis De Bernieres’s novel, Corelli’s Mandolin, is a story about time and change. The story itself explores many aspects of life such as love, betrayal, chaos, tradition, history and numerous other elements that are often warped over time. De Bernieres notes that he tried to be as true to history as possible. But beneath the layers of time, change and history there is another element of Greek culture that parallels the stories within the novel. There is a continuous theme of the conflicting forces of good and evil and the changes that occur when these forces assimilate.
This is the Greek dualistic concept of both nature and humanity. Beyond the exterior war that is the central theme of the novel, there is an interior war that takes place within each character. This war, or dualism, is the Greek notion of Hellene vs. Romoi.
The notion of Hellene goes back to ancient Greece. In spite of the political turbulence and chaos of the fourth century BC, Greece was poised on its most triumphant period: the Hellenistic age.
The word, Hellenistic, is derived from the word, Hellene, which was the Greek word for the Greeks. The Hellenistic age was the “age of the Greeks; during this time, Greek culture and power extended itself across the known world. While the classical age of Greece produced great literature, poetry, philosophy, drama, and art, the Hellenistic age “hellenized” the world. Greeks (Hellenic) were isolated and their civilization was termed classic because it was not heavily influenced by outside forces. The Romans, or Romoi, presented a chaotic element when they invaded Greek culture, an element explained in detail by Dr. Iannis.
Dr. Iannis explains the there are two Greeks within every Greek. Being a doctor, he believes that he knows this quality better than any other because no one is more truly himself or herself than when they are sick or injured. These two sides, the Hellene and the Romoi, are dualistic in nature, only coming into contact with one another when their patriotism is threatened. The characters in the novel display their dualistic faces while the war threatens their isolated island of Cephallonia.
The Hellene is the Greek that avoids excess. This Greek has a concept of limits, represses violence and seeks harmony while cultivating a sense of proportion. The Hellenic Greek is driven by reason and is the “spiritual heir of Plato and Pythagoras” (290). These Greeks love change yet assert discipline and avoid spontaneity. Hellene revels in education, disregards power and money, obeys the law, and detests dishonorable compromise. “This is from the blood of our ancient ancestors that still flows in us”, states Dr. Iannis, “but side by side with the Hellene we have to live with the Romoi” (290).
The word “Romoi” actually means Roman. Considering the conflicts between ancient Romans and Greeks, it seems fitting that the Greeks would regard the negative of the two Greek personalities as Romoi. While speaking with Corelli, Dr. Iannis states, “The Romoi are people very like your Fascists…they are improvisers, they seek power and money, they aren’t’ rational because they act on intuition and instinct, so they make a mess of everything” (290). The Romoi only obey the law when there is no other alternative. Education is only a means to get ahead in life and they are self-interested. They like getting drunk and they have no problem partaking in vicious and brutal acts. The doctor concludes, “Romoi and Hellene alike will die gladly for Greece, but the Hellene will fight wisely and humanely, and the Romoi will use every subterfuge and barbarity, and happily throw away the lives of their own men” (291).
Mandras’s character is a perfect example of the concept of “two Greeks in every Greek.” In the early stages of the novel, Mandras is like the Hellene Greek. He spends endless hours embarrassing himself in an attempt to woo Palagia. His demeanor is gentle and caring. He kisses Palagia tenderly and tells her he loves her. Other than his love for Palagia, Mandras’s only other passion is the sea, where he spends endless hours fishing and swimming with the dolphins. To Mandras, Palagia and the doctor are nothing but kind and giving individuals who possess endless amounts of knowledge that he could only dream of having. His only ambition in life is to remain faithful to Palagia and to make her proud, putting her above everything else in his life.
In the second half of the novel however, Mandras allows the Romoi to intervene. When he joins the rebel groups, Mandras discovers that he is capable of gruesome and heinous crimes. Mandras is initiated into the world of brutality when he is asked to beat an elderly man to death. He discovers that is easy to perform tasks of brutality and does so to secure his status in the Communist army. Mandras learns to read and write as a means to further his career as a Communist. He soon begins to see Palagia and Dr. Iannis as members of the bourgeoisie and realizes that they were only exploiting him because he was a simple fisherman. Mandras vows to return to Cephallonia and take revenge upon those who have mistreated him. He eventually loses all self-discipline and becomes a fat and bloated pig of man, a result of stealing food from the peasants. Mandras’s life comes to a fatalistic end when his Hellene and Romoi collide. Ashamed by his brutal attempt to rape Palagia, Mandras returns to the sea he once cherished and departs from the world of the living.
Megalo Velisarios is another character who reveals elements of the Romoi and Hellene character traits. The two Greek personalities are in constant balance in the giant Greek man. In the earliest events of the novel, Velisarios is considered the strongest man in Greece. While performing acts of endurance at a strongman show, Velisarios’s Romoi personality takes over when he lifts the plump priest, Father Arsenios, above his head, ignoring the fact that it is considered extremely poor form to humiliate a priest, especially in public. Realizing the error he has made, the Hellene in Velisarios intervenes and prompts him to pay a visit to the priest to offer a bottle of wine and an apology for his demeaning behavior.
Velisarios is again confronted with his inner Greek conflict when he discovers Captain Corelli is still alive after enduring the wrath of the German firing squad. The Hellene in him risks his life to deliver an Italian officer to the home of Dr. Iannis. Velisarios then risks his life again in order to retrieve the body of the heroic Carlos. The Hellene side of him shows his passionate nature and good moral values because he risks his own life in lack of personal benefits. However, the Romoi and Hellene collide briefly as Velisarios leaves Dr. Iannis’s home to retrieve Carlos, stating, “It’s after the curfew Iatre, but I’ll go if you want. On the way I might kill a German, who knows?” .
Father Arsenios is a Romaic character in the beginning of the novel. He suffers from over consumption in the extreme sense of the word. He indulges in food and wine to the point of gluttony. When Father Arsenios finds himself having to relieve his bladder while receiving offerings, he refuses to do so for fear of missing out on potential gifts of food and wine, and instead drinks consecutive bottles of wine in order to urinate into the empty bottles. Father Arsenios is somewhat self-interested and lacks the self-confidence that is common in the Hellenic side of the Greek.
When the Italian occupation begins on the island of Cephallonia, however, Father Arsenios is overwhelmed by the Hellenic aspect of his Greek character. He gains an incredible amount of self-confidence and becomes a prophet, wandering the island and preaching in the name of God and salvation. He warns the Italians of their impending doom:
For He shall take the Beast and the false prophet and the armies gathered together against us that wrought miracles before them, and He shall smite them, and the fowls of the air shall be filled with their flesh, and they shall be cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone, and the remnant shall be slain .
He continues his plight with only the interest of others in mind, and ends his own life while defending the Italian officers and speaking against their cremation. Wielding nothing but a stick, Father Arsenios shows how Hellenic and Romaic forces can assimilate as he attacks the Germans until the moment of his own death while defending the slain Italians.
Dr. Iannis and his daughter Palagia are perhaps the most admirable characters in the novel due to the fact that they possess all of the qualities of Hellene. They are respected among the members of their community for their immense knowledge and skill in both worldly matters and the medical field. When the members of Cephallonia have a dispute they call upon the doctor to resolve their problems diplomatically. Dr. Iannis makes a point to tell Palagia’s suitors that she does not have a dowry. He does this because he wants his daughter to marry for love and not money. Both Palagia and Dr. Iannis have an incredible interest in education. Dr. Iannis also makes it a point to teach his daughter the Italian language and stresses the fact that it should be a part of the Greek curriculum. Palagia finds an interest in the medical field and studiously examines her father’s volume of The Complete and Concise Home Doctor. But even the most respectable Greek can be influenced by their Romaic side, especially when their Greek nation is under attack.
Dr. Iannis and Palagia first reveal their Romaic sides when the Italians invade their island. When informed that Captain Corelli will be taking up residence in their home, the doctor informs his daughter that she must not show any kindness towards the Italians for they are the enemy. Palagia and Dr. Iannis make life as difficult as possible for the Captain. They cook extraordinary meals, taunting him with the smells. Palagia at first refuses to accept the Captain’s kindness and keeps her promise to her father that she will not be influenced by Corelli’s Italian charm. Before they know it, however, the Hellenic Greek reveals her head again as the doctor and Palagia fall in love with Corelli, eventually risking their lives to save him.
The physical characteristics of Greece are symbolic of the people who live on her land. The physical characteristics of the nation, her temperament and charm, are symbolic of the Greek character itself. Dr. Iannis writes:
Greece lies on both a geographical and cultural fault line that separates east from west; we are simultaneously a battleground and a site of cataclysmic earthquakes. If the islands of the Dodecanese are eastern, however, Cephallonia is undoubtedly western, whereas the mainland is simultaneously both without being entirely either .
The dualistic nature of Hellene and Romoi are neither split nor combined. The Hellene and Romoi intervene when necessary, providing a balance as well as a sense of what is essentially the Greek character.
“King Midas” and “Daedalus and Icarus” Comparison Essay
King Midas and Daedalus and Icarus Comparison EssayKing Midas and Daedalus and Icarus are two Greek myths. In King Midas the king receives a wish from Dionysus after doing him a favour. Midas chooses that everything he touches turns to gold. Daedalus and Icarus focuses on the main characters escape from King Minos captivity. Daedalus invents wings to escape, but his son does not follow his advice and flies too high. This causes the sun to melt the wax holding his wings together and Icarus plummets towards his death.
Both myths show some of the morals and philosophies of the Ancient Greeks. King Midas and Daedalus and Icurus convey Greek morals, such as hubris and the golden mean through their main characters.
Hubris in Ancient Greece meant over-confidence or extreme arrogance over ones ability. In King Midas, the main character, Midas, unknowingly makes a foolish decision, by wishing that everything he touches turns to gold. When his gift becomes a liability because his food is also turning into gold, he asks for the forgiveness and pity of the Gods.
Dionysus responds to this plea and tells him how to get rid of his golden touch. This shows that the Ancient Greeks only considered an act to be hubris, when the person in question was very arrogant and cocky about his ability. King Midas was foolish, but he realized that he had made a mistake. He asked for forgiveness and the Gods took pity on him. This shows that the Ancient Greeks valued humility and did not like overconfidence in the form of hubris.
On the other hand the Daedalus and Icarus myth demonstrates what happens when hubris takes over, through the character of Icarus. When Icarus gets used to his wings, he starts to fly higher and higher, towards the realm of the Gods. This results in his nemesis, in the form of death. There is a sharp contrast between the two myths concerning hubris. King Midas lived, whereas Icarus dies. The King Midas and Daedalus and Icarus myths convey through their characters, Midas and Icarus, how to deal with extraordinary skills. They stress the fact that hubris should not dictateThe King Midas and Daedalus and Icarus myths also both touch the subject of the golden mean. The Ancient Greeks considered balance essential. The golden mean in the King Midas myth is portrayed through the character of Midas.
He was already fairly wealthy, being a king, but he wanted more wealth and wished everything he touched turned to gold. Eventually King Midas realizes it is a curse to have too much of anything and asks forgiveness from the Gods. In contrast in the Daedalus and Icarus the golden mean is portrayed via Icarus. Instead of stopping in the middle and staying there he keeps going and only realizes his mistake too late. Due to the fact that he flew too high, the wax melted and he crashed to his death. This was after he was warned by his father, Daedalus not to fly too high or too low. The golden mean is an important theme in both myths and they both show how it is never good to fly too high or to want to own everything.
In conclusion, both myths use the moral lessons of hubris and the golden mean. In the King Midas myth the ending is more humorous whereas in the Daedalus and Icarus myth the ending is tragic. This shows how the Ancient Greeks believed that if you asked for forgiveness and realized your mistake, the Gods would take pity on you. If you, however, strayed from the golden mean or got into a hubris-like mind state, it could turn out ugly. Overall the King Midas and Daedalus and Icarus myths provide two examples of what the Greeks believed would happen to you if you did not follow their principles of staying with the golden mean and not being hubris.
de Blois, Lukas, and Robartus van der Spek. An Introduction to the Ancient World. 7th ed. New York: Routledge, 2007.
The Importance of Greek Mythology
Today, the ancient Greek myths still fascinate readers throughout the world. There are thousands of books written about the importance of Greek mythology in the formation of modern-time societies. There are hundreds of movies created about the adventures of Greek heroes. Apparently, the events, creatures, and people described in the ancient Greek myths were not real; however, their mythical nature does not undermine the importance of Greek mythology in defining the world of fantasies and in everyday life of people today.
Rose argues that myths were the tales which meant simply ‘words’ (1).
It indicates that the purpose of the myths was to create the fantastic presentation of the life of ancient Greeks. Furthermore, Rose suggests that “full as they are of impossible events, it needs no argument to prove that they differ widely from Thucydides’ account of the Peloponnesian War, or Hippokrates’ discussions of the effects of diet on a patient” (1). Indeed, Greek myths had little in common with the true history of the Greek people; nevertheless, those myths remain an important part of ancient Greek history as well as today’s humankind.
To understand the importance of Greek mythology for modern people, it is important to take a look at the allegorical meaning of the tales. Rose suggests that Greek myths were allegories which concealed deep meaning and talked about the wisdom of the rules, the courage of ordinary people, and the eternal quest of humans to become equal to gods. Indeed, the myths convey values and cultural beliefs that have helped shape the thoughts of people all around the world. Presently, the ancient heroes such as Hercules and Achilles are still referred to as the ideal individuals by millions of people.
Children grow up watching movies and television shows about action packed adventures of ancient Greek heroes. Of course, there are many heroes of the modern type; nevertheless, none of the modern heroes are able to compete with the ancient Greeks in this regard. Today, children often dream about becoming as amazingly strong as Superman, and yet many more children are forever fascinated with the seemingly never ending courage of Hercules and are immensely impressed with his vast adventures. Why do we need to study Greek mythology?
From one side, Greek students need to know about their cultural heritage. From another side, the study of Greek mythology is included in almost every educational curricular, from elementary to college level for the detailed part it plays in our past, present, and future. It thoroughly shows that Greek mythology has an essential role for not only the Greeks but for the rest of humankind. By studying the myths of ancient Greeks, we have a great opportunity to define our own place in the history.
Even though we realize that Greek heroes and all of those incredible creatures they have to fight with were probably not real, we tend to believe in the possible existence of superpowers and supernatural things. Thus, Greek myths give us a ground to believe in things we are not likely to ever have the chance to experience. In addition, special attention should be paid to the placement of gods in ancient Greek mythology. Unlike the other mythological heritage of different countries, the ancient Greeks attributed great importance to their gods, their ultimate powers, and their ability to significantly shape the lives of mortal.
In Greek mythology, on the other hand, gods were definitely considered superior to mortals, but their superiority did not actually undermine the greatness of its people. Greeks embedded strong messages into their myths by arguing that human beings were able to become equal to gods if they were not afraid to face extremely dangerous challenges, if they were absolutely honorable in their actions, and if they lived actual heroic lives. Thus, Greek myths give modern mankind a baseline foundation to maintain eternal values of heroism.
We are infinitely inspired with the charitable deeds of Greek heroes, we remain fascinated with their life history, and we stay impressed with their seemingly endless courage in challenging the superiority of the gods. Moreover, the importance of Greek myths is not limited to just their cultural elements. In particular, the Greeks created a detailed account of the universe, the way it was created; they were the first to set the basic foundation for many sciences such as mathematics, physics, chemistry and astrology (Hard and Rose 22).
Today, the scientists may often be skeptical about getting ideas for their scientific researchers from Greek mythology; nevertheless, it cannot be denied that it was through those myths that many scientists started to question the validity of previous views on the world and universe. For example, the ancient myths include creatures with flying abilities, people able to live much longer lives, and gods able to guide destiny of mankind. The myths about creatures with flying abilities encouraged engineers to consider possible opportunities for humans to rise into the air.
Thus, the first airplanes and helicopters were designed. The ability of people to live longer lives led to the significant progress in medicine and the healthcare field. Thus, today people do have longer and healthier lives. Furthermore, the discussions on powerful gods and their ability to share the destiny of each and every individual led to the philosophical and religious debates on the place of humans in university and their powers. Thus, today we have a science of philosophy which helps every person find the answer to the eternal questions on life and death, fate and choice, etc.
Of course, all of these advances could be achieved without the ancient Greek mythology; however, it cannot be denied that Greek myths did contribute to the progress in sciences, philosophy, healthcare, and even engineering. Graf and Marier remark, “stories such as those of Orpheus, Oedipus, and Helen of Troy are generally recognized as myths – stories that belong to the cultural heritage of the West but that may have analogues in the mythical corpora of the Egyptians, Teutons, Indians, or Bushmen” (1).
Therefore, myths play important role in cultures of all nations and civilizations. Today, children are inspired with heroes who have little resemblance to the ancient Greeks; nevertheless, many of the traits of the modern heroes have much in common with the ancient Greek mythical heroes. For example, Superman is very similar to Hercules as both were humans with superpowers and devoted to their lives to making the world a better place to live. The ancient Greek myths set the foundation for the moral and ethical development of the humankind.
Without the Greek tales and fascinating myths, we would have poorer understanding of such virtues as courage and honor, wisdom and sacrifice, braveness and readiness to face the problem. It is through ancient Greek myths that we are able to define ourselves as good or bad. Even though the Greek mythology is based on fantasies, it cannot be denied that the stories convey important moral and ethical values. It is necessary to refer to the historical value of Greek myths. From one side, it is recognized that ancient Greek mythology has little to do with the real account of historical events.
From the other side, Nilsson argues that many of the Greek myths provide precise details about the life of ancient Greeks, their rules, and culture (5-6). The archeological findings of the 20th century support the validity of many Greek myths. Moreover, the Greece has numerous monuments left from ancient times for the modern visitors to attends. Without knowing our history, we are not able to understand our present, and we are incapable of judging our future. Thus, the Greek mythology helps modern mankind understand the past, present, and future better.
“Does human society evolve? Are its various features and aspects organisms like man himself that are born and grow till they are what they see today? ” (Dowden 57). Dowden asks these two questions to guide the discussion on the importance of Greek mythology in lives of modern mankind. Greek mythology is not bottomless and has its origin, meaning, and consequences. Indeed, Greek myths are fantasies; however, those fantasies are closely related to the modern societies as they continue to shape the way we live, think, behave, and believe.
Without the stories about heroic Greeks and their adventures and without the accounts on their courage and superpowers, the modern mankind would be deprived of many moral and ethical values. In conclusion, the role and importance of the Greek mythology for modern mankind is multifaceted and far-reaching. In addition to the cultural heritage the Greek myths represent, the stories written by ancient Greek writers give us an opportunity to learn more about the cultures of ancient civilizations.
Moreover, the Greek myths help modern people remember about their virtues, about the value of honor and courage, and about equality between mortals and gods. The Greek myths are not only interesting to read, they are also educational in their context. Each story teaches readers a good lesson. Every character in myths has his or her own role to play. Today, people are eager to read the books and watch the movies about the lives of ancient Greeks because the mythology continues playing an important role in our lives.
In addition to giving us a chance to dive into the fantastic world of unknown creatures and powerful gods, the Greek mythology helps us remember about our history in order to understand our present. Works Cited Dowden, Ken. The uses of Greek mythology. Routledge, 1992 Graf, Fritz and Thomas Marier. Greek mythology: an introduction. JHU Press, 1996 Hard, Robin and Herbert Rose. The Routledge handbook of Greek mythology: based on H. J. Rose’s “Handbook of Greek mythology”. Routledge, 2004. Nilsson, Martin. The Mycenaean Origin of Greek Mythology. Forgotten Books, 2007 Rose, Herbert. A Handbook of Greek Mythology. Routledge, 1991
During the campaign of Alexander the Great as the greatest conqueror of his time, his father, Philip of Macedon tried to unite the Greek city-states. During this time, Hellenistic period was born creating a major advancement on their art. It was also in this period, that a global battle in commerce and cultural influences which are apparently dominated by the Greeks. The Greek Hellenistic period span from 323 B. C. up to the Battle of Actio in 31 B. C. The Hellenistic period paved the way to many transformations of Greek art.
Though the Classical concepts in art were not thoroughly abandoned, the birth of the Hellenistic period made the artists create different and unique art concepts. The artists during this time explored and manipulated their imagination on their subject. It was also during this period that higher degree of Naturalism took place as a logical conclusion to great sculptors like Praxitelis and Lysipos whose works demanded for the art representation of the human figure.
In a Greek art (Boy Jockey), the bold expression of energy and power during great pressure was represented. The change of focus of the Hellenistic art from religious and naturalistic ideas and concepts to human expressions, psychological concern and theatrical background, paved the way to the sculptures that includes the natural physical surroundings with creative landscaping and theatrical groupings. The Nike of Samothrace is a sculpture that embraced the true meaning and understood the world through the application of certain techniques and aesthetic conventions.
The winged goddess with her outstretched wings gracefully prevents the stone from falling due to gravity. The sculpture also represented the physical human presence and the external force within it. The representation evidently speaks for the Greeks acceptance of the physical power of human being and all other external forces acting on it. The Hellenistic art in sculpture also represents human condition, state of mind and inconsequential moments of life.
It is represented through sculpture like a sleepy satyr, an old woman, a twist of torso and the swing of Aphrodite’s sandal. The statue of the beautiful Venus was contrasted by the monstrous appearance of Pan who happens to seduce her as she attempts to repel him with her smile. During this period, the statues of Aphrodite, Eros, Dionysius, Pan and Hermaphrodites were manipulated in styles and configurations to give way to the theme of eroticism. In order to represent the unique physical beauty of women and the Greek world, statues of female nudes gain popularity.
The statues of Venus in various orientations and poses were created and displayed in halls of many museums i around the world. Among the greatest work that personifies beauty is the sculpture of Venus de Milo. Many Hellenistic sculptors were not contented in depicting the true physical appearance of their subject. They included some variation through express the inner world. These variations were characterized through the depiction of physical characteristics that deceived inner feelings and thoughts.
The most important work considered during that time is the statue of Hygea which combined the concepts of Classical Greek art in its refinement and Hellenistic aesthetic ideals on its facial expression of concern to the previous condition that existed before her. Works Cited “Art of Ancient Greece. ” Museum Quality. 29 April 2009 http://www. huntfor. com/arthistory/ancient/anc_greek. htm Green, Peter. Alexander The Great and the Hellenistic Age. Orion Publishing Group Limited, 2008.
History of Israel and the Holy Land 332 B.C. to 70 A.D.
The Period from 332 B. C. to 70 A. D. refers to the age of Hellenism under the rule of Alexander the Great, king of Macedonia. The period 332 B. C. marked the conquest of Judea by the Greeks, which subsequently imposed the dissemination of the Greek way of life, taxation, and economic activities designed to acquire economic gains. After the death of Alexander, his generals divided the empire and consequently fought over his empire. Judah fell under direct control of Ptolemy 1 of Egypt, but he did not seriously interfered in its religious affairs (Chapin, H.
988, Paragraph 1 Hellenism and the Roman conquest). However, after Ptolemy 1’s death, his successor was supplanted by the Seleucids of Syria, and in 175 B. C. Antiochus IV grabbed power. He then orchestrated a campaign against Judaism and in 167 B. C. he went and sacked the temple, (which was built in 520 B. C. ) of all its precious belongings. This utter desecration and gross violation of the temple motivated a successful Jewish uprising under the able leadership of Judas Maccabaeus.
He then established a theocratic government, which saw the rise of the Hasmonean Dynasty under the leadership of Simon Maccabaeus who was at the same time the spiritual leader,being the High Priest, and the commander-in-chief of the military. The coming of the Romans more than half a century later saw the rise of the chief priests to power and the eventual destruction of the temple in 70 A. D. in the hands of the Romans.
The Second Temple 332 B. C. to 70 A. D. The Jewish society rose to power comparable in scope to the ancient Davidic Kingdom under Hasmonean Dynasty, although both religious and political discord is soaring between the Pharisees, who were the interpreters of the written law and the Sadducees, the aristocratic priestly class who implements strict obedience to the written law. However, with the coming of the Romans in 65 B. C. Jerusalem fell in the hands of the Romans, which ended the eighty years of independent Jewish sovereignty and heralded the period of Roman domination of Israel, which began just the same period.
The Romans appointed Herod, an Idumaean, as a puppet king of Judah. His appointment as king of the Jews was subsequently confirmed by the Roman Senate in 37 B. C. He then rebuilt and magnified the platform of the temple and constructed many important buildings such as palaces, theater, citadel, hippodrome, and agora modeled after both the Hellenistic and Roman architecture. An internet article published by Planet Ware . com entitled Jerusalem, Israel cited that after Herod’s death in 4 B. C. Jerusalem was under the care of the high priests, which was under Roman Procurators (Planet Ware, Par. 2). Chapin noted that Rome granted the Jew religious autonomy as well as some legislative and judicial rights through the Sanhedrin (Chapin, par. 5, Hellenism and the Roman Conquest). The second temple played a great role in the so-called “city of the high priest” that is, referring to the prominence of the Jewish religious leaders during this time.
The Great Sanhedrin made the temple mount in Jerusalem the seat of both the religious and judicial powers vested upon them by the Roman Procurators. Their scope of authority includes religious, political, and legal authority such as trying a high priest, supervising certain rituals, and even declaring war (Chapin). This religious and judicial body was primarily composed of priestly Sadducees, which may be numbering of about seventy-one sages. The Sanhedrin’s control and judicial authority ended with the rise to power of Agrippa 1 in 41 to 44 B. C.
The grand son of Herod 1 the Great, Agrippa 1 extended the city northward by constructing the third wall. However, the fanatical sect of the Jewish nationalist movement known as the zealot challenged the Roman control of Judah in A. D. 66. This uprising brought the Roman legions to a protracted siege, which was carried out by Vespasian, the Roman commander in Judah. The revolt however was crushed by his son Titus in A. D. 70 and Jerusalem and the second temple was destroyed by the Romans (Chapin) Hellenism and the Jews (Evaluations and Commendations)
Hellenization, according to an internet article entitled “Celtic” and Medeterranean Interaction is the process by which non-Greeks were made more or less Greeks, assimilated into Greek culture if not acculturated. The article noted that the extent of Hellenization during the time of Alexander reach even further to the lands of the Barbarians (Celtic and Mideterranean Interaction). The article cited that Greeks abroad carried with them any thing that could help in advancing Greekness and they were more emphatically consciously Greeks and built cities and towns introducing urban structures and new ideas.
Chapin pointed out that despite of the strong emphasis on priestly rule and Judaism, Jewish society was greatly influenced by the Greek Hellenism, particularly cities like Jerusalem, except in their adherence to monotheistic faith. However, life in the provinces and rural areas was comparatively unchanged (Chapin). Jerusalem subtly yet speedily adopted the Greek culture particularly the Greek language, games and sports, and even the early literature of the new faith, Christianity (Chapin, Par. ). According to an internet article entitled The Impact of Hellenism on the Jews, though Hellenism was neither offensive nor beneficial yet it poses serious challenge to Judaism (Old Testament History, Par. 1). The article noted that Hellenistic culture presents serious threats to Judaism in the same way that idolatry of the Canaanites neighbor of the Pre-Exilic Israel served as a great temptation, which had caused their nation’s destruction and later Diasporas.
The impact of Hellenism on Post Exilic Israel was difficult them to resist in remaining true to their faith as Hellenism offers relief from laborious struggle for existence. Hellenism viewed life as a continuous series of social festivities, comforts, and ease. It was under Hellenistic period that public places for eating and bathing was offered to the public with customary music of strings such as the harp (O. T. History, par. 7) which today may be characterized by the restaurants and public swimming pools.
Great public libraries, potential economic opportunities, and sophisticated Greek education would have strong appeal to may nobler Jews and merchants, which made the Hellenistic way of life easily acceptable. On the other hand, conservative Jews particularly Palestinian Jews were not impressed by the social and cultural advances brought about by Hellenism, courtesy of the Greeks. These conservatives despised the Hellenized Jews on the grounds that they had compromised their religion.
An internet article entitled The Church History cited that the Hellenized Jews were forbidden in the temple rather they were directed to attend Greek-speaking synagogues to hear and understand the Torah being read in Greek as they could no longer speak nor understand Hebrew. The purpose therefore, of Hellenization was to assimilate every culture, or the acculturation of every nation’s culture under one culture, the Greek culture, is not only a brilliant idea or military strategy if indeed it can be categorized in that way, rather, it is highly advance idea designed to rule the world in utmost peace and economic prosperity.
This impact could have changed the course of history had Alexander livelonger than he had lived. It cannot be denied that the influence of Hellenism still benefits today’s generations and the idea of hellenization still dominates the society in many ways. Interpretation Hellenism was a subtle way of conquering the world. Alexander may have conquered much of the known world during his time but his military and political leadership did not live long enough to achieve what he desired, to conquer the world.
Perhaps Hellenism was intended by Alexander for a peaceful conquest. Indeed, his model Hellenistic community in Alexandria, Egypt was meant to attract the known civilizations of the benefit of Hellenization. True to his intention, the world was conquered by the Greeks not by swords and spears or by sheer military force but by festivities, by cultural and educational advancement, and by economic opportunities Hellenism offers. Today, the Greek influence still remains after thousands of years in many aspects of the social and cultural life, including arts.
Hellenization can be compared to the idea of the democracy promoted by the remaining super power of the world today. By Hellenizing the known world, Alexander can build an alliance with many countries just like the idea of democracy. In other words the same concept in promoting democracy lies in the Hellenization. It symbolized the hegemonic power of Greece under the leadership of Alexander the Great. Conclusions The history of Israel from 332 B. C. up to 70 A. D. as a monument of Greece’ rise to power, and dominance of the world, at the height of their glory, as well as the marks of Israel’s resurgence to power which they so longed, under the Hasmonean dynasty, although this period marks both rise and fall of the three nations involve, its most important contribution in human civilizations was the spread of Hellenism, which truly brought not only economic benefits, but also culturally and socially, and the developments of sports. Hellenism has brought much contribution that even the generation of today is benefiting.
The many borrowed words that help us understand meanings of the fast events are just one of the many benefits of Hellenization. Hellenization therefore symbolizes the hegemony of the Greek nation as well as Alexander’s desire to rule the world in peace and in prosperity as by acculturation and assimilation, it would have mean no boundaries or no enemies, rather it promotes unity and cooperation among nations. The blessings of democracy that we now enjoy may be compare to the blessings of Hellenism had Alexander livelonger.