Alexander the Great

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Alexander the Great

Born Late July 356 BC in Pella, Macedonia Died June,10 323 BC in The Palace of Nabukodonossor, Babylon

Alexandros III Philippou Makedonon, (Alexander the Great, Alexander III of Macedon), King of Macedonia, was born in July 356 BC in Pella, Macedonia. He was one of the greatest military geniuses in history. His father, Philip II of Macedon, was a brilliant ruler and strategist. His mother was Olympias, princess of Epirus, daughter of King Neoptolemus. Arixstandros Telmisy, a renowned dream interpreter, determined that Olympias was pregnant, and that the child would have the character of a lion.

Even as a young boy Alexander was fearless and strong. At the age of twelve, he tamed the beautiful and spirited Bucephalus ("ox-head" in Greek), a horse that no one else could ride. Philip was so proud of Alexander's horsemanship that he said, “O my son, seek out a kingdom worthy of thyself, for Macedonia is too little for thee.”

Alexander knew the Iliad by heart. He loved Homer, and always slept with a copy of the Iliad under his pillow. Leonidas was Alexander’s first teacher. He was a relative of Olympias. Leonidas instilled in Alexander the Spartan way of life which made Alexander into a militaristic machine. Leonidas was replaced with Lysimachus, who taught Alexander to play the lyre, and to appreciate the arts.

From age 13 to 16, together with the other boys belonging to the Macedonian aristocracy, Aristotle, at the Mieza temple, taught Alexander.

Alexander's actions were inspired by Dionysios, Hercules, Achilles, and Cyrus the Great. His actions were guided by the sprit of Homer, who appeared in his dreams. The Iliad was his manual of war. Like Achilles, he was a superhuman hero and warrior. He exposed himself often to extreme danger during battle. Alexander could support pain, hunger, thirst, heat, desperation and great suffering with immense patience, like Hercules.

Alexander admired the personality of Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Persian Empire, whose example and politics he imitated during the creation of his universal empire. Like Cyrus, Alexander respected the tradition and religion of people he dominated. The Iliad taught him that he could have only two epic and noble passions: furious anger and disinterested generous friendship.

Alexander is described as having an athletic frame, but not taller than ...

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... capacity to lead his men; he knew when to withdraw and to modify and adapt his policy. Alexander had imaginative fantasy of genius, which was driven with the strong romantic figures like Achilles, Heracles, and Dionysus. The only clear characteristics that emerge are his outstanding military genius and his successful politics. His achievements mark a decisive moment in World history. The Roman Empire, the spread of Christianity as a world religion, and the thousand years of Byzantium were all in part the consequences of Alexander's conquests.

Bibliography

• M.M. Austin (ed.) The Hellenistic World from Alexander to the Roman Conquest. A Selection of Ancient Sources in Translation (NY: Cambridge 1981)

• E. BADIAN, Studies in Greek and Roman History (1964)

• “Alexander the Great”, Home Page, [http://wso.williams.edu/~junterek/](1996 by Jed Untereker, James Kossuth, Bill Kelsey)

• Alexander the Great On The Web, [http://www.isidore-of-seville.com/Alexanderama.html] (2000-2003 Tim Spalding.)

• “Alexander the Great.” From History to Eternity. [http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Forum/8740/Alexander.htm] (24 May 1997)

Further Reading

• http://www.1stmuse.com/frames/

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