Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great: Western Civilization Research Paper
Alexander the Great (Alexander III of Macedon) was an ancient Greek ruler and the king of the state of Macedon (Cummings, 2004, p.54). He was a student of Aristotle, and established a vast empire by the time he was 30 years of age. The empire stretched from the Ionian Sea to the Himalayas, and was a sign of his greatness.
Alexander won every battle and expanded his empire by conquering smaller empires whose armies were not as powerful as his. He assumed the throne after the assassination of his father, Philip II of Macedon in 336 BC (Cummings, 2004, p.54).
A well-established kingdom and a strong army were some of the reasons why he became so great. In his capacity as an army commander, politician, king, explorer and scholar, Alexander used several strategies to expand his empire that encompassed people from different ethnic backgrounds. He had immense influence on western civilization mainly because he introduced the Greek language, science and culture to the new empires that he conquered in an effort to expand his empire (Cummings, 2004, p.58).
Alexander used his powerful army to conquer the world during his time. Whenever he conquered new empires, he introduced the Greek language, science knowledge and other aspects of Greek civilization (Noble, 2008, p.95). As an explorer, Alexander discovered that the world extended beyond the Indus River.
He made this discovery with the aid of his geographers who helped him to explore new lands. In addition, he introduced certain aspects of different cultures that he felt were useful in conquering more empires and continuing his reign.
One of the main influences of Alexander on western civilization was his policies on commerce. He established roads that facilitated commerce with the western world after conquering Persia (Noble, 2008, p.96).
These roads were in existence before but inaccessible to the western world because they were under the control of the Persians. This monopoly diminished the chances of the western world of trading and conducting commerce with India, China, Bactria and many other countries that were famous for their trade acumen at that time.
The opening of these roads established trade between the west and these countries. This led to the introduction of precious metals and stones, jewelry and jade to the west (Noble, 2008, p.97). For example, Silk Road is one of the many roads that Alexander the Great opened to the western world. These roads exposed the west to other parts of the world.
Alexander combined his capacities as king and scholar to establish and develop his empires. In order to control the populations of the empires that he conquered, he adopted some of their traditions. This led to the establishment of an ideological king, a concept that ensured that the kingdom remained strong.
However, it split into three empires after his demise due to bad leadership (Noble, 2008, p.99). Alexander had a significant influence because of his brilliant thinking. He envisioned a massive empire that constituted many states under his control. In today’s context, the empire that Alexander built can be compared to the United States of America. His extraordinary ideas enabled him to conquer other empires and encompass them under his rule.
The spread of the Greek language to other parts of the world was due to the introduction of the Macedonian culture to the Persian Empire. The introduction of the Greek language led to its adoption in governing and ruling the empire. This encompassed many people under a common language and introduced the cultures, thoughts, ideas and beliefs of other empires (Spielvogel, 2011, p.96).
For example, the translation of the Old Testament in Greek introduced Christianity to the western world. The Old Testament was originally in Hebrew and was limited to people who understood that language. The translation was initially intended for Hebrews who had lived in other places for long periods, and therefore, unable to read in the Hebrew language. However, this brought the Jewish theology to other parts of the world.
This theology introduced the concept of monotheism that formed the basis of Christianity for the western world (Spielvogel, 2011, p.92). Alexander the Great influenced the establishment of religion in the west through popularizing the Greek language. The Greek language made the introduction of the New Testament possible and was phenomenal in promoting Christianity (Spielvogel, 2011, p.93).
The most influential change on western civilization was the concept of monotheism (Spielvogel, 2011, p.96). This was the basis for the founding of Christianity. It all started with the dispersion of Jews into different regions due to war and violence. Gradually, these immigrants led to the adoption of Greek as a common language. As a result, many Jews spoke Greek and started translating their literature into the Greek language. The most notable was the translation of the bible. In addition, the Hellenist world had monumental influence on the spread of Christianity to the west. For example, Paul was a Jew from Tarsus who incorporated some Hellenistic elements in his teaching. This made the teachings pleasant to many people who responded by embracing Christianity (Spielvogel, 2011, p.97).
Alexander introduced Hellenism and the Greek culture that were pivotal in the founding of the renaissance and the Enlightenment movements (Staufenberg, 2011, p.52). After his death, people became more knowledgeable than they were before his death. They became aware of the fact that the world was much larger than it was thought to be during Alexander’s reign.
Therefore, they explored more lands and travelled to many places. This marked the commencement of the modern world. History teaches that the modern world began with the renaissance because the Hellenistic period was partially responsible for civilization. This is because most of the advancements during the era of Alexander became obsolete as the empire crumbled after his death (Staufenberg, 2011, p.53).
During the middle ages, people wallowed in ignorance and retrogressed from the progress that was initiated by Alexander’s rule. Progress began again when the Turks took over Byzantium and when Christians began to migrate to Rome (Staufenberg, 2011, p.58). They introduced the culture and the civilization that was promoted by Alexander the Great.
Another aspect of Alexander’s rule that had a significant impact on western civilization was his economic policies. Alexander’s reign was highly influential to the economy of the Mediterranean basin. This resulted in enormous social and economic changes that had a positive effect on the west (Staufenberg, 2011, p.62).
These social and economic changes influenced other areas such as medicine and philosophy. For example, Alexandria was the center of medical research. Researchers learned how to carry out surgical operations and diagnose various diseases (Staufenberg, 2011, p.65). These medical advancements reached the west and formed a basis for their medical fields that are among the most advanced in the world today.
Under Alexander’s reign, there was immense spread of the Hellenistic civilization that made Greek the language that was used to conduct business. Under a common language, trade prospered and Alexandria became the center of trade. It was famous for the manufacture and importation of products.
The products that were produced by the Egyptians included silk, wine, cosmetics, cloth, salt, glass, beer and paper (Staufenberg, 2011, p.72). In the western parts of Asia, common products included asphalt, carpets, petroleum, drugs and woolens. The effect of trade on the involved regions was immense. During the years that followed the death of Alexander, the region of Judea became inhabited by Greek merchants and government officials.
Gradually, these new inhabitants began to “Hellenize” the original inhabitants of the region. In addition, there was dispersion and migration as violence erupted in different parts of the empire. As they moved to new places, they carried their civilization and brought about various changes in the culture of the inhabitants.
As a scholar, Alexander had strong interests in science, mathematics, geometry, arts and literature. It is difficult to determine in which of these fields Alexander had the greatest influence on the western civilization. The artwork created by the great artists of the Hellenistic era is similar to that of the renaissance artists that is common today (Spielvogel, 2011, p.103).
This implies that the Hellenistic period influenced the work of artists that lived during the renaissance period. For example, today’s cities are designed using a grid plan that was developed by Hippodamus of Miletus (Spielvogel, 2011, p.106).
In addition, the geometry developed by Archimedes is used in the building and construction industry. Literature from the era is still available today, and the fields of history and chronology were established during the same era (Spielvogel, 2011, p.108). All these aspects of the Hellenistic period were vital in developing the western civilization. The development of these aspects was made possible by the rule of Alexander the Great, and the western world owes its civilization to him.
Alexander the Great (Alexander III of Macedon) was an ancient Greek ruler in the state of Macedon. He assumed the throne after the assassination of his father, Philip II of Macedon in 336 BC. A strong army and a well-established kingdom were some of the reasons why he became so influential.
In his many capacities as an army commander, politician, king, explorer and a scholar, Alexander used several strategies to expand his empire that included people from different ethnic backgrounds. The most influential change on western civilization was the concept of monotheism. This was the basis for the founding of Christianity.
He had a significant influence on western civilization mainly because he introduced the Greek language and science to the new empires that he conquered as he tried to expand his empire. He influenced western civilization through art, literature, science and geometry.
These aspects were critical in developing the western civilization. He had immense influence on western civilization mainly because he introduced the Greek language, science and culture to the new empires that he conquered in an effort to expand his empire. Alexander the Great had significant influence on western civilization, and the western world owes its civilization to him.
Cummings, L. (2004). Alexander the Great. New York: Grove Press.
Noble, T. 92008). Western Civilization: Beyond Boundaries. Stamford, Connecticut: Cengage Learning.
Spielvogel, J. (2011). Western Civilization. Stamford, Connecticut: Cengage Learning.
Staufenberg, G. (2011). Building Blocks of Western Civilization. New York: Xlibris Corporation.
Political and Cultural Impact of Alexander the Great’s Conquests Essay
Alexander III of Macedonia, commonly referred to as Alexander the Great, exhibited military genius, great courage, and lasting cultural impact during his reign as a king. He was born in Pella in 356 B.C. and until his premature death at the age of 33 years in 323 B.C. Alexander the Great’s impact on the world was of great significance, and he left a legacy that is still being admired by many (Speake, 13).
General Impact of Alexander the Great on the Empire’s Status
His short-lived reign began in 336 B.C. when his father, Philip II of Macedon, was assassinated. The teachings of the famous Greek philosopher, Aristotle, greatly influenced his life. When his father died, Alexander inherited a strong kingdom and an experienced army. Coupled with his tactical ability and skills in military conquests, he was successful to conquer much of what was then the civilized world. The political and cultural impacts of these conquests lasted for centuries.
Due to many territories that he conquered, the dominion that Alexander the Great had was regarded as one of the greatest in the history of the world. Through these conquests, he managed to bring together Greece, Egypt, and the Middle East to form one culture referred to as the Hellenistic civilization. The ideals of the new Hellenistic culture tremendously changed the world even after his death. Due to Alexander the Great’s politics, individualism, philosophy, learning, and economics principles were considered to be part of the new culture.
As his biography states, during the reign of his father, Alexander assisted him in conquering Greece. This experience led to the cavalry during the Battle of Chaeronea, which was one of the critical victories for Philip. After his father’s death, due to his skills in the military campaign and the love that his army had for him, he started by conquering the Persian army.
The Persians were controlling most of the known world at that time, including Egypt. Alexander continued with his father’s pragmatic approach to leadership and all through the many battles that he fought, he did not lose even one of them. However, he was not yet contented with the victories, and he proceeded further to the east.
He continued to push as far east as Pakistan and India. In 324 B.C., because his army rejected his opinion to advance further, he came back to Babylon. Before his sudden demise two years later, he started making plans for his new empire and prospects of making it larger.
How Did Alexander the Great Impact the World?
Still, even though his vast empire started to fall soon after he died, Alexander had left a significant political and cultural impact, which was able to transform the world. For the Greeks, he had increased their territorial boundary four times.
Since many Greeks had gone with him to the campaigns in Pakistan and India, on coming back, they started to open their thoughts to the big world around them. Therefore, they paid less attention to their poleis since they saw themselves not merely as citizens of a polis, but as individuals.
As a result, many of them were no longer interested in what they were required to do to assist their polis. Increased interest in what they could carry out to gain personal wealth or happiness became more prevalent. The hunt for individual contentment resulted in the formation of other philosophies. These included Stoicism and Epicureanism philosophies.
Additionally, Alexander was also known for playing a significant role in the spreading of Greek culture across the known world (Lucas, 171). This was to make sure that the culture would continue influencing the lives of people for a long time to come. As he continued stamping the culture of the world “with a Greek character,” he formed the Hellenistic culture by mixing the Greek culture with the culture of the individuals he had subjugated.
For example, on many occasions, he compelled the Greeks and the Persians to marry one another. Moreover, he also ordered the construction of new cities, which made many people migrate to them in seeking better lives. Various professionals, such as doctors, lawyers, and engineers, came from across the empire because of the employment opportunities that had been created.
As such, Alexander the Great’s influences significantly contributed to people’s education. A number of these cities, once constructed, contained a considerable collection of various books. This resulted in more education opportunities to be created, and thus more individuals flocked these cities. As students and scholars from different parts of the world met in these cities, they were able to learn from one another.
An example is the city of Alexandria in Egypt, which was renowned for its vast collection of literary materials. Because the city had an extensive library that contained more than seven hundred thousand roles, it was referred to as the world’s center of science and literature.
Therefore, as more and more cities were built, individuals of various origins and nationalities converged in these cities. As anticipated, through contact with one another, these individuals spread their cultural ideas and embraced some other different cultural views.
What Was the Result of Alexander the Great’s Conquests?
This cultural exchange was possible because Alexander conquered most of the world and formed an empire that enabled the free movement of people from one place to another. His conquests ensured that he brought down regimes that did not permit the free flow of information. The political barriers that prevented individuals from coming into direct contact with one another were broken.
For instance, the Greeks and the Babylonians were able to see eye to eye since they were now regarded as one empire, and their different ideas no longer stayed within the confines of their nations. Due to the creation of the common culture by Alexander, individuals were now able to make long-distance voyages without the panic of entering a hostile country.
Therefore, ideas were now spreading at a faster rate than before, and knowledge was more accessible. This made renowned scholars, for example, mathematicians Pythagoras and Euclid, to start dedicating themselves in specific areas of learning.
Another outcome of the common culture created by replacing the region’s separate countries was the increase in trade activities. This is because Alexander brought down the political barriers that had previously impaired trade activities in the area. For instance, the Persians never wanted to engage with the Greek in any form of trade. Since he tore down these barriers, trade was able to flourish once again.
Trading activities also increased when Alexander’s troops traversed the empire, and they got in contact with very new products. On coming back home, they brought with them the craving for these new products. Therefore, traders all over the Middle East took advantage of the market that had been created. In addition, the introduction of a common currency all over the kingdom by the young king facilitated trade activities.
As a final point, the long-lasting consequences of the common culture that Alexander had formed were instrumental to the advancement of Christianity. Since there was a common language, the followers of Jesus were now able to spread the Gospel to different places in the region without being constrained by language barriers.
The Hellenistic culture contributed to the universality of Christianity since the disciples were now able to tell the story of Jesus to an increased number of people. Therefore, one of Alexander the Great’s accomplishments was the fact that the common language that existed in the region contributed to more people embracing the Christian faith.
Why Is Alexander the Great Important?
From the discussion above, it is evident that the conquests of Alexander the Great’s political views shaped the politics and the culture of the world. It can be said that he single-handedly created the Hellenistic culture. The Middle East region was united because of the efforts that he made. The common culture that he had formed enabled individuals of various cultural backgrounds to meet and exchange beneficial ideas. During this time, knowledge advanced.
The works of various Hellenistic intellectuals, especially those of Pythagoras and Euclid, are still significant in the current academic world. Additionally, Alexander is accredited for transforming the Greek’s way of thinking. He changed their polis-driven approach to life with the desire to seek for personal happiness.
The Greek trade thrived mainly because of his efforts. By extending the Greek culture to other regions, he kept it future generations. Lastly, the universal language that he promoted contributed to more people joining the Christian faith. Consequently, Alexander the Great made a significant contribution to shaping the culture of the world.
Lucas, Henry S. A short history of civilization. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1953. Web.
Speake, Jennifer. Literature of Travel and Exploration. New York: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2003. Print.
Alexander the Great Research Paper
Alexander III of Macedonian (356-323 BC) was a famous king in the ancient Greece, who reigned between 336-323 B.C. He was born in Pella in Macedonia to Philip II, king of Macedonia, and his fourth wife Oympias of Epirus.
King Philip conquered the Greece and was set out to expand his territories. Unfortunately, he was assassinated and his young son, Alexander, took over the empire. Alexander was a great military leader, led his empire to many conquests, and was determined to accomplish his father’s vision despite the challenges that were ahead.
One of his achievements was the conquest of the civilized empires and expanding his kingdom. Alexander died young, but his contribution makes his legacy immortal (Rosellini and Serino 2003). Alexander conquered many of his neighbors like the Persian and also India. His accomplishments appear like a myth considering the difficulty of building such a strong empire.
Alexander was a great leader; this is demonstrated by the way he encouraged his soldiers to continue moving forward. He employed good strategies and logistics in commanding the army and ruling his empire. Whenever he conquered a city, he took the surviving army and added them to his troop, creating a mighty army. This can be illustrated by works of one of the eminent philosophers of the ancient era, Aristotle.
Alexander’s father was a brilliant king who ruled Macedonia from 359- 336 BC. He took up the kingdom at a time they had just suffered a defeat to Illyrians. Philip led his forces into battle against the Athenian and Theban armies and gained victory, as well as attained Greek State.
His objective was to unify the Macedonians and expand the kingdom. Alexander was educated by Aristotle of Stagira, who was one of the earliest philosophers. He received variety of teaching like doctrines of politics, literature, and learnt to play the lyre. In addition, Alexander was a fearless young man. At the age of twelve, he was able to ride one of the untamed horses named ‘Bucephala’.
At the age of about eighteen Alexander went to the south where his father had a campaign. There Philip fought one of the fiercest battles and gave his son one of the wings of the army (Abbott 2004, 162). The character of Alexander in his early life was, however, that of a naughty, proud, and uncontrollable child. Nevertheless he enjoyed complete parental love, this changed as King Philip later divorced Alexander’s mother (Abbott 2004, 162).
Alexander’s career began at twenty, following King Philip assassination, whereby the young Alexander had to assume his father’s position immediately (Briant and Kuhrt 2010). Alexander reigned for a period of twelve years, and died under mysterious circumstances at the age of thirty-two years.
Despite the length of his reign as a king, Alexander accomplished “very brilliant series of exploits, which were so bold and so romantic” (Abbott 2004, 153).
His career began with an enormous task of facing his enemies who had assassinated his father and other challenges since he was quite inexperienced and young. The first responsibility Alexander had was to stabilize his empire. Thus, he attached and killed some of his father’s assassins, causing the collaborators to flee while others chose to stay back and serve the king.
Alexander invaded the Persian in 334 BC, and with his army of approximate 42,000 soldiers formed mainly by Macedonian mercenaries, crossed the Hellespont. After his victory at the Battle of the Granicus, Alexander overthrew Darius Codomamnnus and accepted the Persian capital and its treasury of Sardia. He further went to the Ionian coast.
In the second reign, he made Babylon his capital and began oriental court. This decision caused tension among the governors of Macedonia and the Greek. They did not approve such choice. Alexander, however, did not change his capital. In the background of this pressure Alexander took up his campaign to Persia, conquering the people of the country and then taking their wealth and the surviving soldiers to his empire.
The wealth he captured from the Persians was very significant and was used to sustain the army that had been formed by Phillip. It goes without saying that Alexander understood the outstanding financial obligations to the Greek soldiers as well (Worthington 2003, 77). The success of Alexander’s army in Persian territory had motivated him to explore other places. He had learnt the weakness of his enemies and was set to exploit this useful knowledge.
The Greek cities had been taken captive by the Persians and first Alexander was determined to liberate them. This success was facilitated by the fact that his army had superior weapons like armed Cretan and Macedonian archer, shields, long spears and chariots. Alexander also took many other people with him. These people’s professions included scientists, architects, explorers, engineers and court officials. They worked with the army, for instance, they were building bridges.
The Battle of Granicus
To tackle the invader, the Persians had an army in Asia Minor, which was larger than Alexander’s. Besides this, the only line of communication was a narrow line in Hellespont where he had conquered earlier, making this as a sound strategy of the Persian generals. When the two parties met at the banks of river Granicus, the generals of the Persian were convinced that their forces were superior to Alexander’s; however, in the turn of events, the Macedonians had won (Briant and Kuhrt 2010, 8).
During the winter of 334-333 BC, Alexander invaded the Asia Minor. He succeeded to conquer the western region and made the tribes of Lycia and Pisidia his subjects. Later, he advanced along the coastal region of Perga. One of experienced Greek commanders of Persian team died unexpectedly. This news spread and Alexander took advantage attacking the rest of the region (Briant and Kuhrt 2010, 9).
Invasion to India
Prior to his invasion to India, Alexander made radical changes in the army that had conquered Persia. Some of the strategies he used were as follows: release of some soldiers, admitting new ones, and grouping solders into several troops. He led the strongest troop while his commanders took charge of the rest (Briant and Kuhrt 2010, 60). These were to help him acclimate to the different climate and topology. This time round, Alexander was able to defeat the rulers and capture their empires.
Ever since his death, there are still unresolved issues surrounding his demise. Indeed, it seems hard to accept that a young man could die of natural causes that sprung up out of nowhere. Alexander died in Babylon in 323 BC, at the age of thirty two after twelve years of rule in his vast Empire.
There have been many theories to account for his death but none has proven to be true, with some histories speculating that he was poisoned while others reckoning that he succumbed to malaria (Bosworth and Baynham 2002, 247). At the time of his death, his kingdom stretched from Macedonia through Greece and the Persian Empire to the fringes of India.
In addition, he had plans to expand his holdings. A year after his death, series of civil wars headed by his former generals led to the split in his empire into three kingdoms; Macedonia, Syria and Egypt. These kingdoms became great rivals and went into wars in spite of their common heritage, culture, and background (Abbott 2004, 189). Therefore, the vision of Alexander of establishing a strong Empire with one government was never achieved.
One of the largest contributions of Alexander is development of the Hellenist civilization, a blend of the eastern and the western cultures. Many cultures captured mingled and developed a new idea of psychology; the Hellenist and roman civilization eventually formed the bases of the current western civilization (Bosworth and Baynham 2002, 124). The Greek language was learnt in the kingdom and various Greek profound works were written at that period.
The King also built Alexandria and Pegamum Libraries, which were centre for literature criticism and compilation of anthologies and catalogues (Rosellini and Serino 2003). Alexander also contributed much in the building and control of Empires. Primarily, he used law courts, assemblies, and governors to establish his reign, a practice that has later been used in the governance in other states.
In addition, the present Greeks benefit from the work of this great king due to tourism, making it one of the biggest sectors, where visitors tour numerous places to see the monuments and other artifacts related to the events. Alexander also influenced science and agriculture.
In the field of war, they developed advanced weapons, which contributed to their military prowess. They also drew charts of the territories; these latter developed map making. Moreover, there were new discoveries. New breeds of animals and plants were introduced, while in agriculture new methods were employed, for example, irrigation channels were introduced (Abbott 2004, 243).
Alexander also created a uniform economic world, trading among the people starting world’s economy. He opened trade areas for the merchants in various regions, thus, this trade areas formed a trade route, which is known as “Silk Routes.” The trade also benefited from the release of the Persian bullion. Some of the commodities trades were silk, spices gold, foodstuff and others.
One of the monuments of Alexander the Great is located in the city founded by Alexander in 331 BC (Rosellini and Serino 2003). This was located in Egypt where visitors went to learn the culture and tradition of the Egyptians. The most famous is ‘cleopatra’s Needles,’ and a column called ‘Pompey’s Pillar’.
Moreover, Pompey was erected in memory of Pompey who was killed in the Egyptian coast after being defeated by Ceaser. One of them had fallen; they had been transported during the Augustan age from Heliopolis. These artifacts were donated to Great Britain in1878, with one located along the Thames and the other to Unites States which was set up in Central Park (New York) in 1881 (Rosellini and Serino 2003).
The shield from the battle of Granicus, it had these inscription in bronze “Alexander, son of Philip and the Greeks, from the barbarians of Asia” (Kastrom 2008, 17). Alexander had a golden sarcophagus but was melted down to make coinage by the Ptolonius XI and was replaced with another one made of alabaster. The tomb of Alexander is situated in Alexandria where many visitors, mainly the Roman rulers and other tourists flocked regularly to witness the legacy of one of the most successful leaders in history.
However, after some time, the tomb, which is located at the cemetery near Latin Quarter of Alexandria, was later closed to the public because of safety precautions. Another monument was on Mount Athons, which is a statue of a giant man with one hand holding a city and the other a bowl of waters from all the rivers in the mountain (Rosellini and Serino 2003). Primarily, Alexander had this monument placed in Alexandria city instead of Athons.
Alexander the great may have had a humble beginning in life, but his work and leadership left a legacy that will live for a long time to come. Although he died at relatively young age, he unconditionally contributed immensely to the transformation of the society by utilizing his brilliance and brevity to fight the enemies, following the assassination of his father. Indeed, his contribution spanned across, social, economic, and political spheres, not forgetting his impact in the emergence of western civilization.
Abbott, Jacob. Histories of Cyrus the Great and Alexander the Great. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing, 2004.
Bosworth, A. B. and Baynham, E. J. Alexander the Great in Fact and Fiction. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.
Briant, P. and Kuhrt, A. Alexander the Great and His Empire. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010.
Kastrom, Panagiotes. The Monuments of Athen –A Historical and Archaeological Description. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing, 2008.
Worthington, I. Alexander the Great: a Reader. New York, NY: Routledge, 2003.
Rosellini, I. and Serino, F. Monuments of Egyptians and Nubians. New York, NY: American University in Cairo Press, 2003.
Alexander the Great Biography Expository Essay
Alexander the great was born on late July 356BC in the capital city of Macedon kingdom. Alexander’s father was Philip 11, who was the honored king of Macedon and his mother was Olympias. Alexander’s mother was the fourth wife of Philip II the king among his other eight wives . The mother to Alexander the great was the favorite wife of king Philip II. Olympia was also from a royal family as her father was a king.
On the day that Alexander was born, several incidences were said to have happened in his father’s kingdom . His father received good news that his army had worn in a two combined army war. Also, he was informed that on the Olympic games that were taking place during that period, the winners were his horses.
On this same day when Alexander was born, it was marked by the 7th wonder of the world of burning down of the temple of Artemis. The burning down of the temple led to the conclusion that it was because Artemis was absent confirming the birth of Alexander. All these incidences that happened on the day that Alexander was born were later associated with the leadership quality of him in the future.
In his early childhood, there were two people who are greatly recognized by their efforts and contribution in Alexander’s life . These two people are Lanike, the nurse who used to look after him in his early childhood and Leonidas who was a relative to his mother and used to tutor Alexander when he was a young boy. Another person who had agreed to participate in tutoring Alexander was Lysimachus; both of them assisted Alexander to discover more about his social life.
When Alexander was ten years old, he demonstrated courage and ambition characters to his father, which made his father to be overwhelmed by joy.
This incidence happened when Philip his father wanted to buy a horse from Thessaly trader. Unfortunately, this horse refused to carry anyone and the king told the owner to take it away. Alexander through his intelligence discovered that the horse feared its shadow and requested his father to be given a chance to tame the horse himself. Alexander managed this successfully, and his father assured him that his intelligence would serve better a bigger kingdom than Macedon.
His father considered Macedonia kingdom very small for his son’s ambition. As a sign of joy and assurance of a brighter future for his son, Philip bought that horse for Alexander. The horse was given name Bucephalus same as “ox-head”, and his father wanted it to be his sons companion in all his journeys. A time came when this horse died of old age, and Alexander named a certain city Bucephala as away of remembering that horse.
When Alexander attained the age of adolescence, his father started making arrangement for his higher education. Philip wanted a tutor who would be of much help to his son, as he had developed high hopes for his son to become a successful leader who would enlighten people’s lives .
He ignored the requests of many tutors even for a tutor Platos who had volunteered to resign from his academy to be Alexander’s tutor. Philip searched far and wide for a tutor, and later decided to take Aristotle, who also accepted to be Alexander’s tutor. Philip the king gave them one of the temples to act as their classroom.
Philip decided to reward the work of Aristotle of teaching Alexander by building again Aristotle’s hometown, releasing all those were in exile, and completely freeing those who were enslaved. The temple in which Alexander and Aristotle were conducting the studies was in Mieza and was like a boarding school. Other children of Macedonian dignitaries were also learning together with Alexander. Most of these children were the future friends and generals of Alexander.
In this temple, Aristotle taught Alexander and the other children variety of fields. Some of the major fields that were covered by Aristotle included medicine, philosophy, and social values among others. This was to equip Alexander and his companion with wide knowledge to enable them face the future challenges of all aspects. Out of Aristotle’s teachings, Alexander developed special interests in specific fields among others. For instance, he did well in lliad.
Alexander the great has been intended to become a leader since the time he was born. Some of the qualities that showed a sense of leadership in him included, he was from a famous lineage, his physical appearances, and mental capabilities acquired through his short but productive schooling.
Alexander was the first son of Philip, and had inherited the bloodline of royalty from both the parents. His clear expression and commanding loud voice was considered to be a good attribute of a future leader. When he was a very young boy it was noticeable that he had a good speed and a unique determination.
When it was realized that Alexander is an intelligent person, Aristotle was introduced to him, to give some lessons and acquire more knowledge to better his promising future. In addition, Alexander portrayed an admirable public profile in the whole of his childhood. Everyone liked his character of courageously accepting challenges despite his status by then.
Alexander schooling with Aristotle ended when he was 16 years old. When his father was greatly involved in the war he became Lieutenancy of the Realm. At this age, Alexander showed some interests in the field of medicine by recommending the best medicines to his relatives and friends.
His first great victory was recognized at the age of 17 years, when his father gave him the authority of being the leader during the attack of allied Thebes, and Megara. Moreover, the Maedi showed some signs of rebelling the Macedonian rule, and Alexander was very quick to respond to this rebellion.
Alexander reacted furiously by crushing the maedi revolution, chased them from their territory, and colonized them through the efforts of Greeks. That is how he became the founder of Alexandropolis city. Soon after, Alexander was confirmed to have saved his fathers life in a certain campaign concerning the Perinthus city.
During this time, Philip the king had already started entrusting his young son to some complicated activities. For instance, he told Alexander to initiate an army to lead the campaigns in Greece. Alexander took this responsibility very keenly, as he considered the likelihood of other Greek states involving themselves with that matter.
Alexander made great preparations that made Illyrians to think he was about to attack them. In return, Illyrians also started to prepare to attack Macedonia, but they received a strong resistance from Alexander.
Theban garrison rebelled against the ruling of Philip the king, and the king decided to unite with his son Alexander and their army to make a journey and occupy the city of Elatea. On their journey to Elatea, they received great resistance from Athens and Thebes. During the fight, Philip the king led the right side, and Alexander the son led the left side together with the kings trusted armies.
The fight took place for a very long time, and finally they defeated the Thebans and crushed them. As a celebration of their victory Philip the king and his son Alexander were welcomed by all the cities but received a showdown in Sparta.
Alexander and his father Philip the king had a conflict, when the king decided to marry Cleopatra Eurydice who was a relative to one of kings general. Alexander discovered that his place in kingship would be taken away from him incase Cleopatra bore the king a son .
Alexander reacted furiously to his father’s action, and fled away together with his mother and his brother. He left them in Dodona, the capital city of Epirus. Alexander extended his journey to Illyrian, and was welcomed by the Illyrian king despite that they had fought few years before.
After six months, their family friend made some efforts to reconcile the king with his son, and Alexander returned to Macedon. After one year, the Caria governor was ready to offer his daughter to Alexander’s half brother. Alexander’s friends together with his mother advised him to oppose that idea, as it would be an indication that his half brother would be the king’s heir.
Alexander was determined enough to fight against this act by sending a certain actor to stop the governor from giving out his daughter to an illegitimate son. That actor was to advise the governor that his daughter was supposed to be offered to Alexander.
At the age of twenty, his father Philip passed away as a result of assassination by Pausanias the captain . After that deadly act, Pausanius tried to escape with no success, he was also killed by people some of them Alexander’s companion. This incidence made Alexander to be proclaimed as the new king at his tender age of twenty.
After taking over the thrown, Alexander ordered all his potential rival opponents to be killed. Some of the people that Alexander wanted to be eradicated from his kingdom were close relatives. Alexander did not mind whether his rivals were relatives or not but he wanted all of them killed. His mother Olympias also took this opportunity to get rid of her co-wife. Mercilessly, olympias ordered Cleopatra and her daughter to be burned alive.
Alexander did not take the actions of Olympias of killing her co-wife and her daughter kindly. He was very furious by those actions of his mother. In addition, to ensure that his new kingdom was free from all enemies, Alexander ordered the murder of Attalus, his daughter, and grandchildren as he considered them to be dangerous in his kingdom .
The death of Philip the king made several states to be rebellious for instance, Thebes and Athens, but Alexander was quick and ready to respond to their rebellious status. Alexander’s advisors wanted him to apply diplomacy but he quickly formed an army of more than 3000 men to attack the rivals.
Gunther, John. Alexander the Great. SanFrancisco: Paw Prints, 2008.
Kishlansky, Mark, Geary Patrick, and O’Brien, Patricia. Civilization In The West. (4th ed),
New York: Pearson Long man, 2005.
Stoneman, Richard. Alexander the Great. (2nd ed), New York: Routledge, 2004.
- Gunther, John. Alexander the Great. SanFrancisco: Paw Prints, 2008 pp. 11.
- Stoneman, Richard. Alexander the Great. (2nd ed), New York: Routledge, 2004 pp. 14.
- Ibid pp. 12
- Kishlansky, Mark, Geary Patrick, and O’Brien, Patricia. Civilization In The West. New York: Pearson Long man, 2005 pp. 87.
- Ibid pp. 102
- Stoneman, Richard. Alexander the Great. (2nd ed), New York: Routledge, 2004 pp. 15.
- Ibid pp.18.
- Gunther, John. Alexander the Great. SanFrancisco: Paw Prints, 2008 pp. 20.
- Kishlansky, Mark, Geary Patrick, and O’Brien, Patricia. Civilization In The West. New York: Pearson Long man, 2005 pp. 125.
- Stoneman, Richard. Alexander the Great. (2nd ed), New York: Routledge, 2004 pp. 85.
- Kishlansky, Mark, Geary Patrick, and O’Brien, Patricia. Civilization In The West. New York: Pearson Long man, 2005 pp. 206.
- Stoneman, Richard. Alexander the Great. (2nd ed), New York: Routledge, 2004 pp. 103.
- Gunther, John. Alexander the Great. SanFrancisco: Paw Prints, 2008 pp. 121.
Alexander the Great Essay
History shows that Alexander the great was the greatest commander of his time. The evidence of his greatness is revealed by the massive conquests he made. Alexander succeeded in conquering many kingdoms, thereby presiding over the greatest empire in recorded history.
It is reported that he succumbed to a fever while planning another conquest on the expansive Babylonian kingdom. He took over leadership of Macedonia after the demise of his father and initially focused on stabilizing his reign before rolling out expansion schemes. He was an astute student of Aristotle, the great philosopher. His talents were discovered early in his lifetime, prompting his father to seek specialized education for him. Some of his most notable conquests are discussed below (Duiker & Spielvogel, 2009).
Alexander is crowned King
He exploited the weakness arising from continued infighting among the Greeks. Traditionally, they waged wars against each other to determine who was superior among them.
Phillip II, Alexander’s father was able to unite the Macedonians into a formidable force, prompting the Greeks to seek allies in neighboring tribes. After trouncing the Greeks, Philip convinced them to join in his conquest to attack Persia. He was assassinated in the process, and Alexander took over the throne. Initially, he focused his attention on quashing upheavals in Greece, before taking on his predecessors dream(Duiker & Spielvogel, 2009).
He led a united army to Persia and engaged them in a battle that almost became fatal. His troops later savored the victory, especially after capturing Asia Minor. This prompted a reaction from the Persian king, leading to a battle waged at Issus.
Despite having a numerical advantage, king Darius was beaten comprehensively by the Macedonians once more (Duiker & Spielvogel, 2009). He took over vast tracks of land stretching into Egypt. He established Alexandria as the hub of his operations, making it the Greek capital of commerce and science. He also crowned himself the grand Pharaoh of Egypt.
Babylon was his next target, leading a march into Susa and Persepolis. He captured the cities, plundering their treasury in the process. A rebel murdered king Darius in the process prompting him to declare himself the grand king of Persia. Even though he marshaled the entire coastline of the Mediterranean Sea, he desired greater lands.
He assailed more kingdoms, consequently assuming leadership over every empire his army vanquished. After making it to the present Pakistan, his troops criticized his zeal (Duiker & Spielvogel, 2009). They revolted when he informed them of his intention to take on Indian empires. On the journey back home, most of them died due to unfavorable weather conditions.
His demise ushered in the Hellenistic era, where nations attempted to imitate Greeks. Most of his followers exploited the defeat of the Persian kingdom to establish new governance systems. These operated as monarchies, a system that had been abolished by the Greeks long before. Intellectuals, administrators, merchants and soldiers exploited opportunities presented to them. Military might was employed to counter any resistance faced when setting up autocratic monarchies (Duiker & Spielvogel, 2009).
Alexander’s conquests facilitated the spread of Greek culture in enormous magnitudes. This changed the way natives associated with each other, religious practices and social lifestyle among many more. Natives were exposed to the Greek curriculum. All in all, as they spread their culture eastwards, they were also influenced by the natives of these lands. It can be said that Alexander’s main achievement outside the battle field was to facilitate the blending of various cultures (Duiker & Spielvogel, 2009).
Duiker, W. J. and Spielvogel, J. J. (2009). World History, Volume 1. 6, revised. Massachusetts: Cengage Learning, 2009
Alexander the Great’s Reign Essay
Alexander the Great is often considered the best leader in his times because he introduced a new order in the world by uniting the east with the west. He had ambitious projects that ended up restructuring the relationships of various regions in the world. However, those who lived during his reign considered his leadership mind-boggling, but an in-depth analysis reveals that he was successful in uniting the Asian region (Worthington, 2004).
For purposes of clarity, this section of the paper will evaluate the effects of Alexander’s leadership in two major ways. The first set of consequences would look at the effects in the west while another set would explore the effects of his leadership in the east. Historians confirm that the two societies that are, western and eastern societies, had a similar culture, which was influenced by the leadership of Alexander.
The two regions were united through the Hellenistic kingdoms but were separated after the death of the leader. Through Alexander’s wisdom, Greece was able to sustain the pressure from the Persians for a long period, which prevented the whole of Europe from being invaded. His leadership facilitated Roman conquest the taking over of Hellenistic civilizations.
History shows that Persians would have succeeded in ruling Europe if Alexander could have failed to facilitate leadership in the region. In this regard, Alexander played a critical role in supporting Athenians in their guest for power in Europe. Alexander was a very powerful leader who could bring peace to the world through his leadership style (Stoneman, 2008). The Greeks inherited his leadership style.
The Greeks passed it to the Romans and even other Europeans. For instance, the idea of regional integration was borrowed from the leadership of Alexander the Great. His kingdom was characterized by organization, unity, tolerance, and political integration, which were believed to bring about understanding and prosperity. To this extend, Alexander the great was a careful leader who valued the cultural ideals and principles.
Barber, M., & Bate, K. (2010). Letters from the East: Crusaders, Pilgrims and Settlers in the 12th–13th Centuries. Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing Ltd.
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Mattingly, D. (2007). An Imperial Possession: Britain in the Roman Empire. London: Penguin.
Odahl, C.M. (2004). Constantine and the Christian Empire. New York: Routledge.
Richey, S.W. (2003). Joan of Arc: The Warrior Saint. Westport, CT: Praeger.
Stearns, P.N. (2003): Western Civilization in World History, Routledge, New York.
Stoneman, R. (2008). Alexander the Great: A Life in Legend. Yale: Yale University Press.
Walsh, J. (2003). The Popes and Science; the History of the Papal Relations to Science during the middle Ages and down to Our Own Time. New York: Kessinger Publishing.
Walsham, A. (2008). The Reformation and ‘The Disenchantment of the World’ Reassessed. Historical Journal, 51(2), 497–528
Worthington, I. (2004). Alexander the Great: Man and God. New York: Pearson.
Film Report on Classical Movie Alexander the Great by Robert Rossen Essay
The classic film, Alexander the Great (1956), follows the life of Alexander the Great, a successful military commander of all time who had conquered most of the known world by the time of his death at only thirty-three years.
Written, directed, and produced by Robert Rossen, the ambitious film tells of how Alexander managed to create a huge empire that included Macedonia, Egypt, Syria, Persia, and Asia Minor. Some of the actors in the film include Richard Burton (as Alexander the Great), Claire Bloom (as Barsine) Frederic March (as Philip of Macedonia), Danielle Darrieux (as Olympias), and Barry Jones (as Aristotle).
The events depicted in the movie are historically accurate. As is shown in the movie, Alexander was born in Pella in 356 BC when his father, King Philip II of Macedonia, was championing a campaign to take over Olynthus. After giving birth to Alexander, Philip’s II wife, Olympias, persistently claims that he is of divine birth.
Although Philip II accuses her of infidelity, he endeavors to groom Alexander to succeed him. Consequently, he ensures that the young man receives the highest level of education in Greek cultural practices. The famed Greek philosopher Aristotle, who made him to accept that the Greeks were the most civilized, taught him history, mathematics, logic and other subjects.
Alexander’s eager to rule is aroused when his father allows him to rule the city of Pella, the capital of Macedonia. Phillip did this because he was spending too much time in the battlefield. As the first taste of power made the young man to be confident, he soon started to take his father to the wars he was fighting to conquer other areas. For example, in the Battle of Chaeronea (338 BC),
Alexander and his father managed to capture the city of Athens. This victory assures Alexander of a great future; however, Philip accuses his wife of infidelity and divorces her and this leads to a chasm in his relationship with his father because his succession is uncertain as some people in the palace thought of him as being an illegitimate child.
When one of Alexander’s friends assassinates Philip II, he ascends to the throne and claims the loyalty of all the Greeks and also assumes all the titles that had been accorded to the late king. After this, driven by a god-like conviction, he embarks on a mission to bring the all region of Asia under his authority. As much as he is not going to live for many years, the extent of his accomplishments is going to be without parallel. The depiction of these events makes the film to be historically accurate.
On the other hand, besides its historical accuracies in depicting the life of Alexander the Great, the film also has some historical inaccuracies. Since the movie is not a historical documentary, the filmmakers added some fiction to it, which makes it historical accuracy questionable. The filmmakers decided to omit some other battles and events that took place during the time, for example, the siege of Tyre.
These were avoided supposedly because of time constraints. Other historical inaccuracies in the film arise from representation that the ancient Macedonian culture was the same with that of other people like the Persians and the portrayal the Alexander’s troops defeated many of their enemies in a single conflict while historical facts show that they had to engage in several fierce battles in order to be victorious.
Perhaps the filmmakers wanted to make the changes from the facts so as to produce the film within their allocated budget, production schedules, availability of actors, and the desire to ensure that the plot supports their own artistic vision. In addition, these changes were to make the film acceptable for the cinemagoers of the 1950s.
Watching the movie enables one to learn about the specific period in history when Macedonian rule was present in huge swathes of Asia. The Macedonian Empire and the Greek culture expanded to other parts of the world because of the mighty influence that Alexander had.
In the huge territories he had conquered, the hybrid Hellenistic culture developed as the Greek culture blended with the local cultures. Even after his death in 323 BC, the areas he had conquered were still under the influence of the Greek culture for the next two hundred to three hundred years.
Through Alexander’s 11-year conquests of the known world, the movie depicts him as one of the most successful military intellects in history. The movie also enables us to learn how the Macedonian people highly esteemed their culture. For example, King Philip II was obliged to divorce his wife because of infidelity issues and Alexander was almost not considered an heir to the throne because he was not a legitimate child.
Although the lavish, historical movie has some historical inaccuracies, this does not qualify it to be a propaganda movie. Alexander the Great is an important historical figure, which the movie succeeds in portraying in his short life, yet well lived.
The film simply presents the facts on the rule of the Macedonian Empire, without attempting to sway the viewers to a particular religious or political way of thinking. The changes from the facts that the filmmakers made in the production of the movie were not aimed to misrepresent the historical truths, but they were included because of the reasons outlined in the earlier sections of the paper.
More so, the filmmakers took three years in researching and developing its screenplay. Could they have devoted this kind of effort so as to produce a propaganda film? In this regard, the filmmakers aimed to represent the life of Alexander the Great as accurately as possible to the cinemagoers of the mid-twentieth century.
The movie shows aspects of stereotyping, especially that concern women and other ethnic groups. In the film, the role of women is misrepresented as secondary and they have no place in the society. For example, King Philip II divorced his wife simply because of the rumors he was hearing without having the facts on the table.
The movie does not show any constructive dialogue between the king and the queen in an attempt to resolve their differences. The movie stereotyped other ethnic groups. It tried to over-represent the Greek culture as if it was the most important culture that existed at that time. The attempts by the producers of the film to simplify the historical facts so as to reduce its length is damaging since it takes the steam out of the beautiful plot of the story that has been developed.
The historical events and the personalities depicted in the movie reflect what is currently happening in our society. Thirst for power is making nations to fight against one another as they seek to expand their boundaries. Infidelity within marriage is a cause of breakup of most marriages today. Stereotyping the minorities or a certain ethnic group is still present in our modern society.
Brutality is also a common occurrence as people are prepared to murder their friends when they want to gain positions in government or in an organization. In addition to the older version of the film, the newer version of the film, Alexander (2004), directed by Oliver Stone is not a remake of the former and it is based on the historical book Alexander the Great authored by Robin Lane Fox.
As much as both the versions of the films are based on the life of Alexander the Great, the newer version has more historically accurate sets, good editing, does not have erratic continuity, and is generally of better technical quality. More so, the newer version concentrates more on Alexander’s youthful life, his relationships with his parents and some of his advisors, and his conquering of Persia and India.
In conclusion, Alexander the Great (1956) depicts the events that took place in the life of the great ruler, Alexander the Great, in the vast Macedonian Empire. Because of his skills and strategies, he managed to conquer the entire known world and influenced them to adopt completely or mingle the Greek culture with theirs. The newer version of the film is considered to have a more in-depth analysis of the life of Alexander.
Alexander the Great – the King of Macedonia Essay
Alexander, the king of Macedonia or more commonly, Alexander the Great is thought to be the most significant military leader of the ancient world. His empire was vast and could not be compared to any other by size. Even though more than two thousand years have passed, his skills in battle are still discussed today.
The future great and powerful king was born in 356 B. C. Alexander was being influenced by his parents very differently, as his father, King Phillip II, was teaching him about the military strategies and his mother, Olympias, was trying to set him against his father. But from a very early age, Alexander showed to have a lot of potentials and was taught by the best teachers.
Some of the key subjects were diplomacy, politics, and war. When Alexander was thirteen years old, Aristotle was made his tutor at the request of Phillip II. The subjects that were taught to Alexander by the famous thinker were medicine, literature, philosophy but most importantly, ethics and politics. It was also clear that Alexander was an intellectual person, as he showed particular interest in sciences and literature.
When he was sixteen, Phillip II left him in charge of the Macedonian military while he went to conquer Byzantium. During this time, Thracian Maedi tribe went against Macedonia, but Alexander was able to draw them out of the home territory and after taking over, named a city of Alexandroupolis.
In 336 B. C., Phillip II was assassinated during marriage ceremonies by one his bodyguards. There is some speculation as to the true reasons and people who organized the assassination, but there were several enemies who were set against Phillip and his diplomacy (Burgan, 2006).
When Alexander became the lawful king, he took care of everyone who he thought could be a threat to his ruling. Because news of Phillip’s death has been circulating, some tribes decided to take power into their own hands. Alexander acted quickly and took matters into their own hands by making them surrender.
He then organized a congress and made sure that Greeks were on his side. Thus, in year 335 B. C., he went North and defeated Triballi and Amphipolis. Because his reputation was yet to be made, the King of Illyria, Cleitus and King Glaukias did not think of him as a threat and went to battle but were defeated.
His conquest of the North was referred to as Balkan conquest, and when it successfully finished, Alexander set out to conquer the Persian Empire. When he marched out, his army consisted of approximately 50,000 soldiers, and his fame was already known in the region.
After the Battle of Granicus, several Persian cities surrendered without a battle and Alexander proceeded further. King Darius has met with Alexander in a battle that was one of the major ones for the Persian Empire. But even though Darius had a larger army, he was defeated and forced to escape even before the battle was over. After the battle, Alexander continued to pursue Darius and eventually was proclaimed the king of Asia with ownership of Syria and almost all of Levant.
In 332 B. C., he went with an attack on Tyre and the battle turned out to be a hard one. This did not stop him, and after defeating and killing all men capable of military service, he went towards Egypt. Because he was already well known in the region, many cities surrendered, and upon his arrival in Egypt, he was seen as a liberator.
Gaza was one of the cities that did not capitulate, and Alexander was forced to fight. The defenses of the city were well equipped, and the Macedonian King had to resort to siege. After three attempts to take the city and a wound to a shoulder that was rather serious, Alexander took Gaza (Abbott, 2009).
Alexander then went on to Mesopotamia, leaving Egypt. Again, he met with Darius and defeated him. After capturing Babylon, he took Susa, Persepolis and went through the Persian Gates. This was the time when Alexander became the Great King, but he wants to conquer more lands did not die down. As he was an intellectual and well-educated person, he would always have philosophers, engineers, and historians present.
This ensured for proper recoding of the events and any possible advice. It is important to note that there were two plots against his life. The first involved one of his officers not being able to notify Alexander and so, Macedonian King killed the officer and his son to prevent any vengeance. Another plot happened during his Central Asian campaign and involved people out of his royal surroundings. In years 327 and 326, B. C., Alexander went to conquer the Indian subcontinent.
There was much fighting, and Alexander was seriously wounded several times. When the King and his army reached Hyphasis River, the army refused to go any further, as they were exhausted by the wars and wanted to return home. Even though Alexander wanted to go further, he had no choice but to turn back.
While going back, Alexander the Great has realized that many of his military leaders who were left to their own devices, misbehaved, so several executions followed. He then held a big feast between Macedonians and Persians, which was meant to unite the two nations (Freeman, 2011).
There were many more plans that Alexander the Great wanted to accomplish but his death in 323 B. C., prevented him from any more conquering. Historically, there is some controversy as to the true causes of his death, and there are descriptions of both natural causes and assassination.
By some versions he has died of either meningitis, bacterial virus or natural causes that were accelerated by his lifestyle of drinking and battles. Some historians propose that he was poisoned by the wine that he drank or the water from the river Styx. After his death, the empire that he created fell apart. In the modern days, there are differential opinions as to how to classify Alexander the Great.
There is no doubt that he was a great military leader and could organize and control his soldiers well, but the reasons for his hunger for territory and power are questioned by philosophers.
One of the most important consequences of his actions was the spread of Greek culture and contact between East and West (Heckel, 2011). Trading became much more orderly, and many cities and territories became world centers. Another important legacy is that people of different cultures and traditions had a chance to get to know each other, intermixing until the present times.
Abbott, J. (2009). Alexander the Great. New York, NY: Mundus Publishing.
Burgan, M. (2006). Alexander the Great: World Conqueror. Minneapolis, MN: Capstone.
Freeman, P. (2011). Alexander the Great. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.
Heckel, W. (2011). Alexander the Great: A New History. Malden, MA: John Wiley & Sons.
History: Plutarch’s Vision on Alexander the Great Report (Assessment)
Plutarch writes, “My design is not to write histories, but lives.” What does he mean? In what ways can his biography of Alexander be used as a historical source?
By noting that his design is to write on ‘lives’ as opposed to ‘histories’, Plutarch means that he is concerned with characters and inclinations of individuals, but not accomplishments or personal endeavors.
However, despite this assertion, Plutarch’s biography of Alexander can be used as a historical source. Conventionally, histories focus on an individual’s life from birth to death together with his/her accomplishments. Similarly, Plutarch follows Alexander’s life from birth to death dotted with some accomplishments like childhood endeavors, and thus his biography can be used as a historical source.
What, according to Plutarch, does Alexander aspire to most of all?
Alexander aimed at putting all races across the world under one government. He can be considered as the father of the one-world order. Plutarch notes that those conquered by Alexander were better off than those that escaped his conquest endeavors.
What are the strengths and weaknesses of Alexander’s character?
One of the greatest strengths of Alexander’s character is his vision, ambition, and thirst to succeed. In addition, his character is dotted with true leadership skills. For instance, he persuades thousands of men to join him willingly before walking over 20,000 miles to conquer different towns. However, his greatest weakness in character is his eccentricity. In most occasions, he behaves oddly and especially towards his death, he cannot trust the people around him.
By what means did Alexander attempt to rule?
One time when his father is away fighting against the Byzantines, Alexander, at the age of sixteen years, decides to crush a rebellion by invading towns occupied by rebels. He drives out the rebels, captures the towns, and actually names the place, Alexandropoulos, after his own name. In addition, during the battle of Chaeronea, Alexander allegedly decides to charge the Thebans’ sacred band and these acts underscore his attempts to rule.
In this narrative, what types of things corrupt?
According to this narrative, arrogance and pride of wealth are among the many things that corrupt. For instance, Philotus falls deep into his arrogance of wealth that he forgets the gentleness and grace that underscore true greatness. The same corruption leads to Philotus disrespecting the king by claiming that he is enjoying the fruits of his (Philotus) father’s labor.
How does Plutarch depict the Persians?
Plutarch depicts the Persians as superior people. Throughout the narrative, Plutarch does not paint Persians negatively. For instance, he notes that after Alexander hears that Darius’ wife and daughters have been kidnapped and they are mourning the death of Darius, he sends men to comfort them. In addition, after Alexander enters Darius’ palace, he exclaims that it depicts ‘royalty’. Plutarch also claims that Alexander picked his attendants and guards from the Persians.
What does the text suggest about the values and beliefs of Plutarch?
Plutarch is a traditionalist. He believes in men of action. In addition, he prefers character to achievements. For instance, at the beginning of the narrative, he states that he is not interested in histories, and thus he focuses on lives, which means that he cares more on how people live their lives than their conquests. Therefore, in essence, Plutarch values humanity as opposed to personal victories. In a recap, he believes that most glorious exploits do not focus on character, which is an error for historical writers.
Do you think Plutarch was using the past as a way of judging the Roman society of his day?
Yes, Plutarch was using the past to judge the Roman society of his day. By writing on the lives of historical kings like Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar, he hoped to warn the Roman society on the dangers of immoral leadership. Plutarch lived in the first and the second centuries at a time when the Roman Empire was expanding its territories across the world.
Roman society celebrated every conquest, but Plutarch held a different opinion. This assertion explains why he says that he writes about ‘lives,’ but not ‘histories.’ By reflecting on the past, Plutarch hoped to correct the present by drawing key lessons from ruling and conquering territories.
Alexander the Great’s Conquest of Persian Empire Essay
Explain the rise of Alexander the Great and the importance of his conquest of the Persian Empire and lands further east
Before the rise of Alexander the Great, Athens and Greek city-states practiced a form of democracy and strongly defended it. The people held the power and rulers were elected and respected. The Greeks sought to obey the law and rightful rulers while defending the oppressed (Thucydides, 2010). This occurred after a time period between 650-550BCE when the region experienced the rise of Hellenic tyranny.
The population was heavily divided into socio-economic classes and city-states were warring, both due to internal politics and amongst each other (Ancient History Sourcebook, n.d.). Alexander’s father, Phillip II of Macedon, had been able to establish a foothold in Northern Greece, including control of non-Greek populations and stability of resources.
After Phillip’s mysterious death, Alexander, who was his controversial heir, began a rapid acquisition of power and further dominance of Greece as he commanded his military to overtake any city states that chose to revolt during the transition of power. After establishing the command of Greece in three short weeks, Alexander the Great had the resources and opportunity to expand the conquest into Persia. The troops originally sent by Phillip II were struggling as Persia regained control of its empire. The conquest of the Persian Empire was important as it helped cement Alexander’s power and legacy while providing significant lands and resources for the newly established Macedonian empire.
Alexander was not satisfied and despite his general’s recommendations pushed further with his conquests, capturing lands as far north as Thrace, North Africa, and extended east to parts of India, reaching the Indus river. His ambition was to reach the Pacific or Indian ocean, which led to his invasion of India. However, it also created certain challenges as the empire became overextended, Alexander became self-absorbed and unbalanced in his conquests, and there were deeply rooted tensions among his military commanders and their relationship with Alexander (Freeman, 2014). It can be argued that although the Persian conquest was important for the expansion and strength of the Macedonian Empire, it also led the downfall of Alexander the Great.
Describe the impact his death had on his empire
When Alexander the Great died a sudden death in 323 B.C., one of the largest empires was left leaderless and unbalanced. The empire consisted of not just lands and wealth but had become the definition and legacy of Hellenic civilization. The Greek world underwent a social and political transformation as the previous polis system was no longer relevant as a system of governance since cities became interconnected cultural centers rather than sovereign states. Greeks who had been previously isolated were now heavily interconnected with non-Greek cultures. The death of Alexander the Great shook the empire, beginning the process of the division and undoing of his legacy as many of the conquered regions saw opportunities to relinquish the Hellenistic rule (Green, 2013).
The Macedonian empire created as a result of Alexander’s conquests was a personal mission and failed to achieve proper integration of cultures that Alexander envisioned. This is partially because he had alienated himself from so many, including the Greeks, and failed to establish a proper system of governance. There was no immediate successor to leadership either, creating a vacuum of power left behind. Alexander’s family was not in contention and the power struggle began among various of Alexander’s top generals and local governors who sought to consolidate their rule in their local regions.
These included Perdicas, a senior cavalry officer, Antigonus, satrap of Phrygia, Seleucus, an elite regiment commander, and Ptolemy, a governor of Egypt. Each proclaimed their rightful place as ruler and began individual attempts to gain control of the empire, mostly failing to do so. This period is also characterized by numerous large battles that the remnants of Alexander’s military faced led by generals fighting for control of the empire amongst each other (Freeman, 2014).
Explain the final outcome of the division of Alexander’s empire
The Hellenistic age which began after the death of Alexander was a period of monarchies as various kingdoms appeared in the expanded Graeco-Macedonian world. A Hellenistic monarch was usually a military commander, leading the remnants of Alexander’s large army. The division of Alexander’s empire split four ways. Lysimachus ruled Thrace and a significant portion of Asia Minor. Cassander took control of mainland Macedonia and Greece.
Ptolemy I established himself in Egypt, also taking control of Cyprus and Palestine as well as establishing a famous Ptolemaic Dynasty. Finally, Seleucus I ruled the rest of Asia that was left of Alexander’s conquests, founding the Seleucid Empire which included Mesopotamia, Persia, and parts of India (Freeman, 2014).
Despite the generals initially warring with each other in major conflicts such as the Diadochi Wars, things began to stabilize as each monarchy established the Hellenistic presence in their respective regions. Ptolemy I was the most successful in reestablishing the power of Hellenic influence in his region of control, attempting to implement Alexander’s vision of a multicultural world. He combined Hellenic and Egyptian cultures, religions, and thirst for knowledge building great world wonders such as the Great Library and Lighthouse of Alexandria.
Meanwhile, other generals also spread Greek culture into Persia and Asia as Greek literature and through found its way into ancient texts and religious scripture of Judaism and Christianity. There is also evidence of Hellenic architecture, statues, language, and even artifacts such as coins found throughout Asia and Asia minor during the Hellenistic Age (Mark, 2018).
This division lasted for almost two centuries until the rise of the Roman Empire, who although borrowed significant amounts of influence from the Greeks, were not as tolerant of local cultures, attempting to suppress them during the conquests of many of the same areas where the Macedonian Empire once stretched.
Ancient History Sourcebook. (n.d.). Documents of the rise of Hellenic tyranny, c. 650-550 BCE: Corinth and Athens. Web.
Green, P. Alexander of Macedon 356-323 B.C.: A historical biography (1st ed.). Berkley, CA: University of California Press.
Freeman, C. (2014). Egypt, Greece and Rome: Civilizations of the ancient Mediterranean (3nd ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Mark, J. J. (2018). The Hellenistic world: The world of Alexander the Great. Web.
Thucydides. (2010). 430 BC: Athens: Thucydides defines a polis. Lapham’s Quarterly, 3(4), 132-134.