Greatest Soldier of all time: A Look into the life of Alexander the Great
Ancient Greece became the foundation of Western Civilization. It served as the breeding ground for the development of ideas of political liberty and democratic government. Appreciation and observation of certain standards for art, science, literature and philosophy were actually rooted in ancient Greece (Cawthorne, 23). The backdrop of this very influential Greek civilization was not always a colourful hue. It was also beset by conflicts between Greek City-States, causing them to be at war with one another.
How these Greek City States evolved into an empire is attributable to one man——–a person possessing nearly deity qualities——— Alexander the Great (Gergel 40). The Makings of a Great Warrior Indeed, the result of Alexander’s conquests was no small feat. It is one of history’s most treasured accounts of a military leader, unrivalled in military skills and brilliance. But Alexander’s seemingly innate qualities were not developed overnight. He laboured hard in becoming who he was in history (Roisman 45).
Alexander the Great honed his skills and enriched his intellect through the guidance of a respected great thinker in the name of Aristotle. He thought Alexander to develop a scientific curiosity for things. He moulded him to better understand and appreciate the Greek culture, which is evident in Alexander’s love for the arts (Roisman 45). Through Aristotle’s supervision, Alexander devoted a part of his life to acquiring knowledge and skills. He nourished his mind and spirit through various works of art and literature.
He inculcated the philosophy and ideas derive from the written word and he dreamed of one day matching the skills of the heroes depicted in Iliad and Odyssey. Alexander loved heroic tales, a reason enough to appreciate why he ruled historical pages during his time. Establishment of a Great Empire Alexander of Macedon was born in 356 BC. Following the assassination of his father, Philip in 336 BC, Alexander became the ruler. This, undoubtedly, was the start of the rise of one of the greatest leader in history (Howe and Harrer 79).
Alexander of Macedon was only twenty years old when he acquired the responsibility of governing his father’s land and army. Unknown to many, Alexander is set to accomplish things beyond the wildest imagination of many. Ancient Greek is destined to become recognized around the world through the efforts of a man, they call ruler (Lonsdale 52). A true heir to his father’s throne, Alexander shared the same vision for Greece, as his father did. He acquired exceptional military skill, leadership ability and an unsurpassed desire to conquer the Persian Empire.
Alexander the Great made his mark in history as the greatest military leader ever to live. His unrivalled popularity was always the source of, at times controversy, more often, inspiration. He possessed unparalleled brilliance, which earned him the reputation of a daring and intelligent ruler. This however, did not stop him from doing more. In 334 BC, he braved to cross Hellespont and freed the Greek colonies in Asia Minor. This resulted in a domino effect of empires falling one after another. He eyed Phoenicia, and then Egypt, where he founded Alexandria.
His success came one after another. In 331 BC, he was triumphant in conquering Mesopotamia, which surrendered and submitted under his rule (Baldry 83). Alexander’s military prowess was remarkable. After defeating the king of Persia in battle, Alexander pushed on to North Western India. He continued his invasion of empires and evidently, he achieved desired results. Between 334BC and 326 BC, Alexander, together with his exceptional army, conquered the lands from Egypt to India, without ever losing a single battle (De Santis 61; Lonsdale 54).
Death of Alexander the Great: An Empire Falls Apart Alexander the Great died of a fever in 323 BC. He was almost 33 years of age when he passed away. His death had a tremendous impact on his empire. The brief period of unity that brought Greece and the Near East together had ended abruptly. As a result, his general s were unable to control the vast empire that Alexander built. This resulted to the separation of Alexander’s empire into three kingdoms. Noteworthy is the fact that one of his generals, Ptolemy, ruled Egypt, while others settled in Asia and Macedonia.
Alexander’s Life and Contributions: an Analysis Alexander the Great started early on a life destined for greatness. His brilliance exuded more than an extraordinary military skill. It depicted him as a historical figure, worthy of adulation. But his life was never smooth sailing. Once, his right to inherit the throne of King Philip was questioned, following King Philips’ marriage to Cleopatra of Macedonia. This however, did not bar him from fulfilling his destiny. As soon as he reconciled with his father, he assumed the role of a rightful heir to the throne of King Philip.
It was proven when King Philip die and Alexander managed to rule over his father’s loyal subjects and lead them to conquests that later on brought them glory and honour. Alexander earned for them a reputation that is tantamount to priceless. Gaining recognition as a superior army, backed by a ruler whose brilliance is well-known, they conquered land, empires and expanded their power and influence. Alexander established his empire and manifested his power and influence throughout history. His desire to conquer Persia was no small feat. It enabled him to make his mark as a magnificent military leader and a brave one at that (Baldry 76).
As a ruler, Alexander the Great made various decisions and policies that merited recognition, while some solicited controversy. An example would be the cultural influence of proskynensis. This is a Persian culture, where it is strongly encouraged to kiss the hands of people regarded as social superiors. The Greeks abhorred this practice, thinking that it is only meant for gods and goddesses, and by implementing it, Alexander was stepping up to the level of deities (Renault 34). Indeed, Alexander the Great has raised his status as a ruler.
By attaining what his father Philip failed to achieve, Alexander the Great created an image of himself that is nothing short of spectacular. By strategically conquering one empire after another, he has expanded his sovereignty, and made both enemies and allies alike acknowledge the fact that he is a superb military leader who bows down to no one. The importance of Alexander the Great can be deeply felt long after he was gone. Although his empire broke apart, putting his efforts of unification to waste, his conquests had a lasting effect. This is attributable to the fact that Alexander the Great was an agent of change.
Indeed, he has espoused ideals and beliefs that influenced the Greek’s culture whether or not it was to their liking (Renault 34). Regarded as a magnificent military leader, Alexander the great was always one step ahead, in many respects. He encouraged the Greek soldiers, merchants and even government officials to settle in the conquered lands. This became the reason for the proliferation of the Greek culture long after his death. Through settling in the conquered land, the Greeks, by having contacts between the peoples of the Near East, became agents of spreading the Greek culture.
Ultimately, Greek culture influenced the conquered lands’ inhabitants and soon, the transfer and absorption of the Greek culture followed. The Greek language became widely used in the Mediterranean world. People belonging to the upper-class of the society learned and adapted the Greek literature, appreciation for the arts, ideas and customs. This can be considered one of Alexander’s finest works. To be able to spread the Greek culture and assimilate it into the daily lives of the people living in the conquered lands of Alexander the Great.
This symbolizes the unending tale of his heroic acts and the legacy he so desired to leave. During his conquests, Alexander the Great acquired great deal of knowledge. His travels gave him an opportunity to learn about plants, animals, geography, astronomy and philosophy. Many of the philosophers and scientists that accompanied him saw opportunities for a learning experience. Alexander advocated educating one’s self through discovery of principles and gathering knowledge (Green 27). It is more evident when he founded Alexandria. Outstanding scientists and scholars were invited to work at the library of Alexandria.
Many of the discoveries made still influence modern science. Alexander the Great looked into the future and linked it to the past. This is exactly what he did when he encouraged the spread of the Greek culture. It marked the opening of a new stage of civilization, more prominently termed the Hellenistic Age. The Hellenistic age provided for the avenue to lessen the discrimination between Greeks and Non-Greeks, evident in the Hellenic age. This is where the recognition of Greek culture in the Mediterranean world stemmed from (Mercer 60).
The conquests of Alexander the Great proved fruitful and spawned a lot of changes in Greek civilization. The widespread acceptance of Greek culture by conquered lands elevated Alexander the Great as a ruler, a military leader and a brilliant king (Mercer 60). References: Baldry, H. C. Ancient Greek Literature in its living Context. Thames and Hudson Ltd. , 1968. Cawthorne, Nigel. Alexander the Great. Haus Publishers Ltd. 2004 De Santis, Marc G. “At The Crossroads of Conquest. ” Military Heritage. December 2001. Volume 3, No. 3: Gergel, Tania. Alexander the Great.
Penguin Group, London, 2004 Green, P. Alexander of Macedon, 356-323 B. C. Berkeley, University of California Press, 1991. Howe, George and Harrer, Gustave (editor) Greek Literature in Translation. Harper and Brothers Publisher, 1924. Lonsdale, David. Alexander the Great. New York, Routledge, 2006. Mercer, Charles, The way of Alexander the Great. I Books, October 5, 2004. Renault, Mary. The Nature of Alexander. Pantheon Books, 1975. Roisman, Joseph (ed. ) Brill’s Companion to Alexander the Great. Leiden: Brill Academic University of California Press, 1991. 46-55, 97.