Thursday, March 31, 2011

Essay on Alexander the Great

Essay on Alexander the Great

The ancient world was full of great thinkers. They led the way in knowledge, politics, and with their strategies on the battlefield. Alexander of Macedon’s father gave his son a strong foundation for strategics. When Alexander the Great was born into the world, it was forever changed by his conquering ambitions.

Alexander had unusual parents. Alexander’s parents were Philip of Macedon and Olympias of Epirus(Stewart 16). They were passionate people. Olympias was extremely stubborn and involved in the cults of Dionysus (Popovic). She was very superstitious. Olympias had a dream that her womb was struck by lightening, while Philip had a dream that he was sealing Olympias womb with a lion seal (Popovic). They took these dreams as good omens.

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Alexander was born in Macedon. He was born in Pella in late July of 356 B.C.(Popovic). His father was away at war when he received three good messages. They had won a very important battle, one of his horses won first at the Olympics, and he had a strong, healthy son (Stewart 18). Alexander did not have an extremely joyful childhood. His father was always away at war and had numerous mistresses (Stewart 18). His parents later on in their marriage became estranged and quarrelsome. His mother implanted in Alexander a bad image of his father ( Stewart 18).

As a young child Alex strived to be better than the rest. At the age of twelve a strong, fearless Alexander tamed his lifelong companion, Bucephalus, a horse no one else dare ride (Popovic). Alexander was more ambitious that his father: he was even desperate when he heard of his father’s conquests: ”My father will get ahead of me in everything, and will leave nothing great for me to do” (Popovic). Alexander believed greatly in literature and being educated . He loved works by Homer and knew The Iliad by memory. He always slept with a copy of it under his pillow (Popovic). Alex had numerous teachers and was taught in many different areas. His first teacher was Leonidas, who taught him equality and to live simply (Popovic). He was replaced by Lysimaschus, who taught Alexander to play the lyre and have a deep appreciation for the arts (Popovic). Alexander’s most revered and inspirational teacher was, however yet to come. In 343 B.C. Aristotle starting teaching Alexander and other royal boys in arts, sciences, and in the sword. “Aristotle who conquered the world with thought, was the teacher of Alexander who conquered the world with the sword” (Popovic).

Alexander was in high military positions at extremely young ages. At the age of sixteen he was in charge of the royal seal of Macedon while his father was away at war (Popovic). Alexander encountered his first battle while in charge with rebellious Maedi, a Thrachian tribe (Popovic) Alexander drove out the tribe and created a colony and a city named Alexandropolis (Popovic). Philip was extremely proud of his son for his first success. Philip declared war on Persia. In 336 B.C. Philip sent 10,000 men into Asia Minor to conquer the coastal cities (Popovic). Philip was assassinated during his daughter’s wedding celebration at Ege by his officer, Pausanias, in July of 336. Alexander was immediately declared King of Macedon, although he was only twenty years old. There were other people in line for the throne, but since Alex had the loyalty of the army he was the strongest candidate (Popovic). Alexander was only half Macedonian. Alexander executed everyone affiliated with his father’s murder, and kill those who might be in the way of him being king including his last wife Cleopatra and newborn baby (Popovic). Some said that the assassin was bribed by the Persian King, Darius (Williams).

Alexander was inexperienced however, but he held up very well in battle and was an extraordinary leader. Unlike other armies Alexander’s army had only one uniform (Williams). He treated his officers extremely well and he had mercenaries come and help his officers drill his army in new techniques. His army was always prepared and drilled (Williams). Everyone in Alexander the Great’s army had a purpose and they fulfilled it eagerly. His army was very content and controlled. Alexander was gracious to his troops. He scheduled sporting events in which he personally provided prizes for the winners and also showed plays and concerts (Williams). Alexander was a compassionate person to people who deserved it . He personally went around hospital tents and raised injured men’s spirits’(Williams). He was hard when it came down to loyalty and respect. However, if someone in his army betrayed Alexander he was cold hearted and ruthless (Williams)!

Alexander the Great’s army was very diverse. Alexander’s army had men from every province he controlled or with who he was allied. He had men from Macedon, Thessalia, Thrace, Athens, and Greek city states (Williams). Alexander divided his army unusually. He divided them up by the weapons they used. Each unit was sent into battle to do different things. They had javelins, bows and arrows, swords, some calvary, spear, chariots, and extremely heavy armor (Williams).

Alexander made advancements in weapons as well as strategies. He had long spears that spanned from twelve to twenty feet in length. When they were held up right, they hid what was
happening behind them and when held horizontally it was easier to kill the enemy in a safe range (Williams).

He had many meetings with officers. In the Fall of 337 B.C. there was a meeting of the League of Corinth, that ratified Alexander’s crusade into Persia. Alexander marched into Thebes when he was 21. In his first battle as king he defeated a tribe of Thracians. In early spring 335 B.C. Alexander went to deal with political problems in Thrace and Illyria (Williams) .Alexander fought many battles. In 334 B.C. Alexander decided on conquering Halicarnassus because it was capital of the Persian Empire and there were a few important people stationed there. Commander Ephialtes, Memnon, the supreme commander of Darius’s”(King of Persia) ,and Orontobates, Darius’ son- in- law were in Halicarnassuss and if they were disposed of it would be good for Alexander. However not every siege is easy. Halicarnassus was well defended and prepared for an attack. There were many towers ,war engines and a enormous trench surrounding the city (Williams). In 334 B.C., Alexander subdued the hill tribes of Lycia and Pisidia . At the battle of Issus, Alexander brought down Darius army. Darius left like a coward and retreated. Alexander took good care of his wife and family . Alexander, being the ambitious person he was, still went after Darius III. Alexander had more troops than Darius at the battle of Gaugamela and Arbella, therefore, Darius’ own nobles killed him, making Alexander King of all Asia . Alexander was a very persistent person. Alexander attacked Tyre, an island, with a strong navy and walls. It had been attacked before from boats. Alexander created a peninsula where an island had been (Williams). Egypt was a land of mystery and enchantment. Alexander delivered it from Persian rule and the people welcomed him as their deliverer and patron (Worldbook 342).

Alexander was a bigger than real life kind of person. He founded Alexandria . He was pronounced son of God by the oracle of Zues-Amon . Alexander was found dead from malaria and fever (Williams). Alexander affected our world by creating a truly loyal army and following. He perfected new battle formations such as the phalanx (Williams). He gave people hope and something to believe in. He grew from a soldier to a king, to a pharaoh, to a God (Williams). He connected people of all origins, backgrounds, races, and genders. They were connected through their love for him. He plowed through nations and people loved him for it. The world has never been the same since Alexander the Great died. “

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