Alexander the Great- The Basics 356 BCE- 323 BCE Macedonian Son of Philip II Taught by Aristotle Tolerant of non-Greeks Military genius Believed he was descended from the gods
Alexander the Great- Debates over his Character Charismatic, visionary OR cruel and unstable megalomaniac? Curious dreamer OR Paranoid alcoholic? Cold blooded imperialist OR Benign Multi- culturalist? Brilliant warrior and strategist OR Hellenic cultural ambassador? OR all of the above?
Motivation Pursuit of Glory Attain divinity and surpass heroes of myth Belief in his own invincibility (guided by omens) Pan-hellenic invasion of Persian empire to rid world of tyranny and oppression (revenge of Persian invasion of Greece150 years earlier) Personal longing to see the ocean that was believed to encircle Europe and Asia at the edge of the earth.
As a Military Commander Used strategy to compensate for fewer numbers. He never asked anyone to do something he would not do himself. He led his men into battle every time. Was almost fatally wounded many times. Refused to drink water if all soldiers could not.
Alexander’s Conquests Throne following his father’s assassination Expanded Macedonian borders north to Danube and west to Adriatic Used Thebes as an example and Athens and other Greek cities followed Moved west towards Persia through Asia Minor (Turkey) Tyre (Lebanon), Egypt, Babylon, Persepolis, Persia, Bactria (Afghanistan), Samarkand (Uzbek.) In five years, he expanded his empire east by 2500 miles.
Leadership Wears Thin Adoption of Persian dress by Alexander Married Persian dancer named Roxanne Arranged (forced) marriages of Greeks and Persians to reconcile the two cultures. Forced to turn back before India but took the long (unknown) way home via water losing many soldiers.
Alexander the Great- Accomplishments Expanded Macedonia– created an empire that covered over two million square miles. Founded 70 cities- many on trade routes thus increasing east-west trade. Alexandria in Egypt (library) Established a new coinage for trade. Diffusion of Hellenic customs over much of the Mediterranean and Asia.
Alexander the Great- Accomplishments Created a cultural and economic common market open to trade, social and cultural exchange with Greek as the lingua franca. Attempted ethnic fusion through marriage and adoption of Persian culture at home. Adapted and created new military techniques: phalanx and use of cavalry. Improved knowledge of geography and natural history.
Alexander the Great- Legacy Macedonian imperial domination facilitated cultural hegemony of Greece. Spread of Hellenism: architecture, food, science, dress… Alexander originated the concept of "one world" without racial or territorial delineation.
Alexander the Great- Legacy Inspired Caesar, Cleopatra, Louis XIV, Napoleon He is remembered in legend having been both feared and worshipped from Iceland to China. The Byzantines made him a Saint and the Mohammedans included him in the Koran. The 13 th century Malian oral history of Sundiata refers to him.
Conclusions Classical empires compared: Leadership in Classical societies: Was Alexander a great leader for the times?