Alexander The Great: Alexander The Great

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Alexander the Great (July 356BC – June 323BC) was King of the ancient Greek Kingdom of Macedon. By the age of thirty he had created one of the largest empires of the ancient world. He remained undefeated in battle and is considered one of history’s most successful Military commanders. Historians’ have offered theories which could explain Alexander’s motivation to conquer so much of the known world. Some suggest that Alexander was an idealistic visionary who sought to unite the world, whereas others argued that he was a fascist whose hunger for power drove him. The Ancient Greeks were driven by love of honour (philotimaea) and their desire for greatness. They were competitive, always striving to better one another. Phillip encouraged his son’s…show more content…
Alexander was brought up admiring Homeric heroes, and was inspired by their emotional impulses. Alexander wanted to be seen as braver than brave, the mostly kingly of kings, and the greatest of all generals. Alexander wanted to identify with mythical and divine conquerors, such as Dionysus. Anaxarchus, a Greek philosopher whom accompanied Alexander at the school of Democritus, said that Alexander had better claims to be a god than Dionysus and Heracles, due to Alexander’s grand accomplishments. Alexander was inspired by Homer’s hero Achilles, and his aspiration for greatness – he even saw himself as a reincarnation of this Homeric hero. Alexander’s desire to explore west Egypt hailed from his mystical belief in his destiny, whereas others argue that it was an attempt to strengthen his position with his new subjects. Callisthenes – the official historian – said that it was due to Alexander’s “thirst for glory because he heard Hercules and Peruses had gone there before him” and he wanted to emulate these Homeric heroes. He was motivated by Homeric ideals such as personal achievement and glory, accomplished largely in warfare. Alexander’s siege of Aornus was carried out because Hercules had failed a similar attempt, and Arrian wrote that Alexander crossed the Gedrosian Desert because “no one else with an army had done so successfully” (Anab.…show more content…
Plutarch’s Life of Alexander speaks of Alexander’s father telling him “my son, seek thee out a kingdom equal to thyself; Macedonia has not room for thee” (Plutarch, 6.1). Aristotle tutored Alexander where he encouraged his ambition, and taught him that bravery in a man was an admirable quality. Alexander’s birth was associated with great signs; Plutarch writes “Alexander was born the sixth of Hecatombeon … the same day that the temple of Diana was burnt while its mistress was absent, assisting at the birth of Alexander” (Plutarch, Lives). The ancient Greek historian Diodorus Siculus said “During the twenty-four years of his [Phillip II] reign as King of Macedonia, Phillip built his own kingdom up into the greatest power in Europe … he bequeathed a military establishment of such size and quality that his son Alexander was enabled to overthrow the Persian empire … these achievements were not the work of fortune but of his own force of character, for this king stands out above others for his military acumen, personal courage, and intellectual brilliance.” Despite this, Alexander believed that his success was the work of divine forces. He called himself the son of Zeus, and likened his bloodline to that of Achilles and Heracles, modeling his behavior after them. Alexander’s success was also due to the methods
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