Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great

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We mainly assess the history of the Ancient World by the deeds of great people. The figure of the second is also mysterious.

How could a Macedonian king create a great power? Unfortunately, it was on his personality that she kept herself, having disintegrated immediately after the death of Alexander. The king lived only 33 years, having managed to earn the glory of the greatest military leader in history.

Alexander raced through ancient history like a meteor, leaving a bright trail, but also quickly burnt out. We will try to debunk them in order to learn more about the great conqueror.

Alexander was Greek. Based on the fact that the native language of the Macedonian king was Greek, researchers believe that he was still Greek. The Greeks themselves do not want to recognize the existence of some kind of independent Macedonia. The Macedonians, who are a former Yugoslav republic, do not want to admit that their ancient kingdom had anything in common with the Greeks. In fact, both are wrong. In the time of Alexander, the Macedonians were close to the Greeks as well as the Corsicans were to the French during the time of Napoleon. But the Argead dynasty has always declared its Greek origin, considering Hercules himself to be its ancestor. There was also the Macedonian language, which was essentially a Greek dialect. But they taught the growing Alexander and literary Greek. The right to life of the Macedonian language is evidenced by the fact that even half a century before the birth of the king, Euripides wrote "Bacchantes" for the court in this language.

Alexander's father hated him. There was a very complicated relationship between father and son. Both were bright personalities. At the wedding of Philip and Cleopatra, the groom even rushed with a sword to his son, who started a scandal. But historians believe that in general, Philip took care of his heir. Even returning from his next campaign with a new wife, the tsar emphasized to his son that competition was only meant to strengthen his character and teach him to value power. The great Aristotle himself was hired to educate Alexander. An entire village with a temple was built as a school for the prince. Other noble children studied with Alexander, who eventually became his military leaders. Parents even tried to arrange the heir's sex life, putting the courtesan Kalliksen in his bed. And from the age of 16, Philip began to leave Alexander to reign in his place. The young man managed to suppress several uprisings and even fight with his father.

Alexander seized power by killing his father. By 337, Philip had practically unified Greece. But at that moment, a problem arose in his family. After the king's marriage to young Cleopatra, her family came close to power. Alexander's mother went with him to Epirus. However, the young heir soon returned to his father. Preparing for a trip to Asia, Philip decided to hold wedding celebrations. But at the entrance to the theater, the Macedonian Pausanias struck Philip with a dagger, having personal motives of revenge. Immediately, the king's bodyguards rushed to him, and the killer did not manage to escape, tripping over a grape root. Alexander's friends quickly killed Pausanias, preventing anyone from knowing the truth about who was behind the conspiracy. There is no direct evidence of the direct heir's participation in this, but the murder was very beneficial to him.

Alexander was completely under the influence of his mother. Historians unanimously call the Olympics an intriguer who strove for power with all her might. In those days, the social status of women was low, which could not humble a proud and strong woman. Thanks to her husband, she got the desired influence. Alexander, her son and heir to Philip, became the only weapon for the Olympics in the fight against other clans. The heir developed an ambivalent attitude towards his father. On the one hand, he saw his military successes, and on the other, he felt hostility due to maternal gossip. The king was married five times, each time seeking a new political alliance. With the death of her husband, Olympias returned to the court, immediately getting rid of Philip's widow and child. So the queen achieved what she wanted. But at the age of 21, Alexander went on a campaign against Persia, since then he has not seen his mother. But the new tsar limited her influence, not allowing her to come to her place and share the triumph. After the death of Alexander, Olympias continued to fight for influence, already with the help of her grandson.

Alexander created a great army. In fact, historians question the fact that Alexander created a great empire on the basis of a small kingdom. He was just lucky to be born at the right time and in the right place. It is believed that the very invincible army with which Alexander defeated the Persians was created not by himself, but also by his father, Philip. It was he who brought to the troops those tactics that his son later used with success. Philip managed to create a powerful cavalry, whose absence did not allow the Greeks to successfully fight the Persians. Alexander's father established her interaction with the infantry, which the same Persians were deprived of. The heavy infantry was reorganized and trained. Alexander received a professional army of 40 thousand people, which significantly outnumbered the combined forces of the Greeks. Some of Philip's generals still helped his son, making a significant contribution to his victories.

Alexander was opposed by the greatest army of the Persians in history. Two generations before Alexander, the Persians were already weakened. In their internecine wars, they generally used the services of Greek mercenaries. And the famous army of the Persians essentially collapsed after three big battles. First, the Macedonians won the Battle of Granicus, and then Alexander twice defeated the Persian king at Issus and at Gaugamela. After that, the great Persian country ceased to exist. It turned out that the king of this country was cowardly and fled from the battlefield even before his exodus.

Alexander corresponded with ancient Russian princes from Slovensk. This myth even entered the high school history textbook. In fact, in those days there was neither the ancient city of Slovensk, nor any Russian princes. Alexander really fought north of the Danube, wanting to secure his northern borders before the Asian campaign.

Alexander united humanity and initiated a new civilization. With the campaigns of the king, a new historical era began, called the Hellenistic. Greek civilization, until then limited by the Mediterranean and Black Sea, quickly penetrated Asia, right up to India. But how great is Alexander himself in this? After all, he soon died, and the empire he created quickly disintegrated. For a long time it was said that Alexander dreamed of the unity of mankind. This myth was invented by Plutarch. Allegedly, the king considered Zeus the father of all people, who are thus brothers. Yes, and in the empire of Alexander it was planned to divide the supreme power among all peoples. Only now nothing says to prove these ideas. Shortly before his death, Alexander forced the Greeks to recognize him as the son of Zeus. But this was done to exalt the king. The Macedonians and Greeks were admitted to state administration, and the Persians were also left in some places. The tsar dealt with the conquered tribes so cruelly that there was no need to talk about brotherhood. But in general, it is worth noting that Alexander changed the traditional principles of government, borrowing something successful from the Persians.

Alexander was characterized by pride, as evidenced by his sculpture. In all the ancient sculptural images of the great commander, his chin is slightly raised, and his head is turned to the right. For a long time it was believed that this is a direct evidence of pride and even pride, which was inherent in the king. But modern scholars have questioned this interpretation. In their opinion, the sculptors simply copied the real appearance of Alexander. And this position of his head was not accidental. It turns out that Alexander had a rare eye condition known today as Brown's syndrome. In other words, it was only with this head and eye position that the commander could see normally.

Alexander was a magnanimous and generous ruler. As proof of this myth, the story is cited when the king saved the life of the family of his opponent, the Persian Darius. But there is ample evidence that Alexander was cruel even when there was no particular need for it. He sold into slavery all the inhabitants of the recalcitrant Thebes, at a feast he killed his friend and savior of life, the Black Cletes, massacred the tribe of Kassites, grieving for his friend Hephaestion. For the sake of overcoming the great Gedrossian desert, returning from India, the king did not regret the many lives of his own soldiers. Plutarch, describing Alexander's scientific curiosity, told how he studied the properties of oil. Together with his friends, the king ordered to pour black liquid on the boy-servant and set him on fire. With difficulty managed to save the unfortunate.

Alexander cut the Gordian knot. This beautiful legend dates back to ancient times. A cart was tied to the altar of the Phrygian temple of Zeus by a cunning knot. The oracles predicted that the one who can untangle this divine tangle will become the conqueror of the world. But no one was able to do this before Alexander the Great. He just took, and cut the knot. But some ancient authors refute this version. Aristobulus, a participant in the Macedonian campaigns, wrote that Alexander was able to untie the knot using his intellect. There is a version that the tsar had to partially disassemble the cart to solve a complex problem.

Alexander the Great was gay. Even in antiquity, he said that the king prefers his friends to women. It was believed that Alexander's lover was his best friend Hephaestion, as well as his favorite Bagoy. The king himself compared himself to a friend with the characters of the "Iliad" Achilles and Patroclus, who were generally considered homosexuals. But in those days in Greece, and in Macedonia, the nobility turned a blind eye to the sexual relations of men. It caused concern only if the young man stopped paying attention to women, which interfered with the continuation of the family. It is known for sure that Alexander had many mistresses and three legitimate wives - the Bactrian princess Roxana, the daughters of the Persian kings Statyra and Parysatida. The first bore him a son and heir Alexander, he also had a son Hercules from the concubine Barsina.

Alexander was very religious. Before he began to defeat the Persians, the king really actively made gifts to the gods. But he soon began to dismiss them. This is evidenced at least by the violation of the ban on visiting the Delphic Oracle. Mourning the death of his beloved friend Hephaestion, Alexander generally equated him with a younger deity, created a cult and laid a couple of temples in his honor. In Egypt, the king declared that he was the son of Ammon-Ra, thereby confirming his divine essence. The desire to deify himself in Greece itself did not always find understanding, and the renunciation of the usual gods shook the trust of soldiers and generals in him. Alexander essentially disowned his father, to whom he owed a lot.

Alexander's empire rested solely on military strength. Such a huge power existed not so much thanks to the army of Alexander, as to his well-thought-out domestic policy. The tsar abandoned the usual principles and dogmas, each time re-analyzing the emerging circumstances in search of an optimal solution. It is no coincidence that many of the principles of governing the Persian Empire were borrowed. Alexander gave up the idea of ​​making Asia a province of his Macedonian kingdom. He brought the local nobility closer to the court, gave her places in the army and in power.

Alexander did not wear a beard. In those days, the Greeks, and the Macedonians, preferred to grow a beard. But Alexander himself abandoned this tradition, which sharply distinguished him from the crowd. There is a simple explanation for this - nature denied the general the lush facial hair. He simply did not have the opportunity to grow a beautiful beard. As a result, the vain ruler introduced a fashion for a clean-shaven face.

Alexander the Great was slender and tall. We really want the ancient hero to have an athletic, well-built body. But even by Macedonian standards, the king was short — only 150 centimeters tall. But he was stocky and wiry.

Alexander died a natural death. The reasons for the death of the great king are different. The naturalness of the reasons is questioned - Alexander was only 33 years old, he was in his prime. The Persians defeated by him believe that the commander was punished by the sky for opening the grave of Cyrus. The Babylonians believe that Alexander's forces were undermined in the famous gardens of Semiramis while planning new campaigns. The Macedonians themselves who returned home said that Alexander was ruined by drunkenness and debauchery. And the Romans believed that the king was simply poisoned, due to the slow-acting Asian poison. It is no coincidence that on the way from India, Alexander lost consciousness for a day, lost his strength and voice. According to another version, the king was so tired of the campaigns that, along with unrestrained drunkenness, and even against the background of malaria, his stomach ulcer worsened. Her symptoms corresponded to what happened to the king. In any case, in 323 BC. Alexander died in Babylon.

Alexander has no heirs left. It is generally accepted that the king left no heirs behind him. In fact, he had two sons, they were just too young to somehow influence their own destiny, and even more so to rule the empire. Alexander, the son of Roxana, was considered the legal heir. He was born a month after his father's death. The baby was immediately proclaimed king and co-ruler of his uncle. But the heirs, of course, had no real influence. Philip Arrideus was also mentally retarded. Regents ruled on behalf of this pair, while Alexander's generals gradually gained strength. Alexander himself was assigned to one party, then to another. In 317 BC. his uncle was killed. Gaining strength, Cassander got rid of all the boy's patrons, imprisoning him in a fortress, in fact, under arrest. But other diadochi remembered the heir, wanting to win him over to their side. Then the matured Alexander IV, along with his mother, was killed by the order of Cassander in 309 BC. Hercules, son of Barsina, became the subject of political games in the search for a new heir in 309. The young man was formally put at the head of the army of Polyperchon, which attacked Macedonia. Cassander, who ruled there at that time, promised to enter into an alliance with Polyperchon in exchange for the life of another heir. And in 309, Hercules and his mother were strangled. So the 400-year-old Macedonian royal dynasty was interrupted.

Watch the video: Alexander the Great conquers Persia. World History. Khan Academy (August 2022).