Alexander the Great also known as Alexander III, was an ancient Greek king of Macedon (356–323 B.C.). He was one of the most successful military commanders in history, and was undefeated in battle. By the time of his death, he had conquered most of the world known to the ancient Greeks. The Greek (or more properly Macedonian) Empire did not survive his death and descended into warfare and jostling for position.
|Alexandros III Philippou Makedonon (Alexander the Great,
Alexander III of Macedon) (356-323 B.C.)
By 270 BC, the Hellenistic states were consolidated into;
The Antigonid Empire in Macedonia and Greece;
The Seleucid Empire in Mesopotamia and Persia;
The Ptolemaic Kingdom in Egypt, Palestine and Cyrenaica
Alexandros III Philippou Makedonon (Alexander the Great, Alexander III of Macedon) (356-323 B.C.), King of Macedonia, was born in late July 356 BC in Pella, Macedonia, he was one of the greatest military genius in history. He conquered much of what was then the civilized world, driven by his divine ambition of the world conquest and the creation of a universal world monarchy. Arrian describes Alexander: the strong, handsome commander with one eye dark as the night and one blue as the sky, always leading his army on his faithful Bucephalus. Alexander inherited from his father King Philip the best military formation of the time, the Macedonian Phalanx, armed with sarisses – the fearful five and half meter long lances. He was the first great conqueror who reached Greece, Egypt, Asia Minor, and Asia up to western India. He is famous for having created the ethnic fusion of the Macedonians and the Persians. From victory to victory, from triumph to triumph, Alexander created an empire which brought him eternal glory. He brought Greek ideas, culture and life style to the countries which he conquered, and assured expansion and domination of Hellenistic Culture which, together with Roman Civilization and Christianity, constitutes the foundation of what is now called Western Civilization.
|Kingdom of Macedon|
There is no doubt that he was a superb military commander but also that his campaigns were blood thirsty and like all wars of conquest involved great loss of life and cruelty to the conquered peoples. However he did create a remarkable empire stretching from Greece to India and ushered in the Hellenistic Age which saw an acceleration of human development and trade and the fusion of cultures in the Mediterranean and Middle East acting as a catalyst to the development of three of the greatest cultures the world has known and three of the world’s main religions. Alexander himself was open to foreign cultures and peoples. He integrated many foreigners into his army, leading some scholars to credit him with a “policy of fusion.”
|Alexander as pharaoh on a relief in Luxor
in theTemple of Amenhotep III
He also encouraged marriages between his soldiers and foreigners. He himself went on to marry two foreign princesses; Roxana, daughter of a Bactrian nobleman (from the area of Kandahar in modern Afghanistan) and Stateira, a Persian princess and daughter of Darius III of Persia.
Indeed the captal of Bactria, now modern Kandahar, is one of no less than 14 cities which were named after Alexander in his lifetime of which the best known still extant is Alexandria in Egypt.
Alexandrias founded or renamed by Alexander the Great;
Ἀλεξάνδρεια (Alexándreia), Egypt
Alexandria Asiana, Iran
Alexandria Ariana, Afghanistan
Alexandria Bucephalous, Pakistan, on the Jhelum
Alexandria on the Caucasus, Afghanistan
Alexandria on the Oxus, Afghanistan
Alexandria Arachosia, Afghanistan now called Kandahar (a contraction of Iskandahar)
Alexandria on the Indus, Pakistan
Alexandria Eschate, “the Farthest”, Tajikistan
Alinda, Alexandria on the Latmos, previously and afterward called Alinda in Caria, present-day Turkey
Cebrene, formerly Alexandria
Alexandria Troas, Turkey
Merv, Turkmenistan, sometimes also called Alexandria
It is in this context that his Oath, made at the end of his conquests, appeared to pave the way forward and is often quoted in Greece, the photo attached displays it on a monument in Kos Town. It compares well with the modern fashion for “equality statements” and Kos Town, where it is displayed, is a town with Greek, Roman, Crusader, Ottoman and Italian remains and in recent times (1943) has had a mixed Greek, Turkish, Italian and Jewish population. Whatever Alexander’s good intentions he is mainly remembered for the scale of his blood thirsty conquests as the following year he died in the city which had seduced him, Babylon, at the age of 32, probably of malaria.
|The Empire of Alexandra the Great|
“Now with the end of the wars I wish you to be happy with peace. All the mortals henceforth to live as a harmonised people for the common prosperity. Consider the world your country with common laws which will govern the best men independently from the race.”
“I make no distinction between Greeks and Barbarians.”
“The origin of citizens, or the race into which they were born, is of no concern to me. I have only one criterion by which to distinguish them – virtue. For me, any good foreigner is a Greek and any bad Greek is worse than a Barbarian. “
“You must not consider GOD as an autocratic Governor, but as a common FATHER of all, in order for your behaviour to look like the life led by a family of brothers.”
“I, on my part, see you all as EQUAL, whether you are white or dark-skinned and I should like you not simply to be subjects of my commonwealth, but members of it, partners of it.”
These are extracts from the Oath of Alexander the Great sworn before tribal leaders in 324 BC at the town of Opis, an ancient Babylonian city, not far from modern Baghdad.
The year after making this oath on the afternoon of June 10–11, 323 BC, Alexander died in the palace of Nebuchadrezzar II of Babylon. He was just one month short of 33 years of age.
For more on Alexander and the Macedonians see;
Heracles to Alexander the Great at the Ashmolean
|Alexander the Great
Basileus of Macedon, Hegemon of the Hellenic League,
Pharaoh of Egypt, Shahanshah of Persia