Alexander the Great

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  • Alexander the Great

    Main References:Adams, W. L. Alexander the Great: Legacy of a Conqueror. New York: Longman, 2005.Ashley, James R. The Macedonian Empire: the Era of Warfare under Philip II and Alexander the Great, 359-323 B.C. Jefferson: McFarland, 1998.Bose, Partha. Alexander the Greats Art of Strategy: the Timeless Leadership lessons of Historys Greatest Empire Builder. New York: Gotham, 2003.

  • Bosworth, A.B. Conquest and Empire: the Reign of Alexander the Great. Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 1988.------------------. Alexander and the East: the Tragedy of Triumph. Oxford: Clarendon, 1998.------------------, et al., eds. Alexander the Great in Fact and Fiction. Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 2000.Carney, Elizabeth. Olympias: Mother of Alexander the Great. New York: Routledge, 2006.Dahmen, Karsten. The Legend of Alexander the Great on Greek and Roman Coins. New York: Routledge, 2007.

  • Fildes, Alan. Alexander the Great: Son of the Gods. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2002.Fox, Robin Lane. Alexander the Great. London: Penguin, 1973.Fraser, P.M. Cities of Alexander the Great. Oxford: Clarendon, 1996.Grainger, John D. Alexander the Great Failure: the Collapse of the Macedonian Empire. London: Hambledon, 2007.Hammond, N.G.L. The Genius of Alexander the Great. Chapel Hill: U. of North Carolina Press, 1997.

  • Heckel, Waldemar. The Wars of Alexander the Great, 336-323 B.C. New York: Routledge, 2003.----------------------. The Conquests of Alexander the Great. Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 2008.----------------------. Whos Who in the Age of Alexander the Great: Prosopography of Alexanders Empire. Oxford: Blackwell, 2006.----------------------, et al., eds. Alexander the Great: Historical Sources in Translation. Oxford: Blackwell, 2004.----------------------, et al., eds. Alexanders Empire: Formulation to Decay. Claremont: Regina, 2007.Holt, Frank Lee. Alexander the Great and the Mystery of the Elephant Medallions. Berkeley: U. of California Press, 2003.

  • Kurke, Lance B. The Wisdom of Alexander the Great: Enduring Leadership Lessons from the Man Who Created an Empire. New York: American Management Association, 2004.Lonsdale, David J. Alexander the Great: Lessons in Strategy. New York: Routledge, 2007.Roisman, Joseph, ed. Alexander the Great: Ancient and Modern Perspectives. Lexington, Mass.: D.C.Heath, 1995.-------------------------. Brills Companion to Alexander the Great. Leiden: Brill, 2003.Saunders, Nicholas. Alexanders Tomb: the Two Thousand Year Obsession to Find the Lost Conqueror. New York: Basic, 2006.

  • Skelton, Debra. Empire of Alexander the Great. New York: Facts on File, 2005.Stoneman, Richard. Alexander the Great: a Life in Legend. New Haven: Yale U. Press, 2008.-----------------------. Alexander the Great. New York: Rougledge, 1997.Tarn, W.W. Alexander the Great. Vol. I: Narrative; Vol. II: Sources and Studies. Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 1948.Thomas, Carol. Alexander the Great in His World. Malden, M.A.: Blackwell, 2007.Wood, Michael. In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great: a Journey from Greece to Asia. Berkeley: U. of California Press, 1997.Worthington, Ian, ed. Alexander the Great: a Reader. New York: Routledge, 2003.

  • Heroes and Heroic WorshipThe Great Men Theory by Thomas Carlyle, (1795-1881):The history of mankind is but the biographies of great men.(Cf. Tseng Kuo-fan)

    Great men were just products of history (cf. Karl Marxs communist theory: the historical current cannot be rejected)

    Great men made history [created new era]

    Perhaps, both = sparkplug and fuel

  • Historical BackgroundRise of Macedonia (in the far north)359 B.C.Philip (II) = King of Macedonia, a brilliant soldier, a fine speaker, a man of much personal charm with wit, a tactful diplomat + learnt some skill [such as the phalanx from Thebes as hostage (as a young prince)

    Athens, Sparta, and Thebes -- all tried but failed to dominating the Greek world -- now all worn out

  • The Macedonians were considered the northern barbariansPhilip said, Yes, we [the Macedonians] are crude people. We call a spade a spade. [that is, not flowery]

    + appeasement atmosphere among the Greek poleis.

    Philip, d. 336 -- political assassination?Queen Olympias

  • Alexander the Great, r. 336-323 B.C. (age 20 -- 33 d.) [13 years of reign]

    During his expedition to the east, two things were always with Alexander the Great:(1)Homers Iliad (Achilles was said to be Alexanders hero or idol), and(2)A dagger under his pillowSymbolized his passionate yet warlike nature/character

  • Similarities with Achilles, yet with wit, for instance, he used wit to tame a newly caught wild horse

  • The impetuous ambitions of Alexander the Great:1.Charging across the river to fight the Persian army without his own main army to back up;2.Whenever he heard Philip, his father, had taken any town of importance, or won any significant victory; instead of rejoicing at it altogether, he would tell his companions that his father would anticipate everything, and leave him and them no opportunities of performing great illustrious actions.

  • Alexanders conquest of Persia (334-332 B.C.)In 333 B.C., after Alexander defeated the Persian army in a battle, the Persian king sent an envoy to ask for peace, giving Alexander half of the empire + his only daughter, the heiress/princess to be wife of Alexander; yet, when Alexander read the letter to his council, his general Parmenio said that if he were Alexander, he would accept. So would I, replied Alexander, if I were you [Parmenio], and rejected the compromise.

  • In 332 B.C., Alexander took Egypt, and was greeted as the son of Zeus (that is, a living god), and built Alexandria.

    330 B.C. invaded Afghanistan

    327 B.C. invaded India (war elephant)

    323 B.C. (June 10) on his return trip, died of swamp fever in Babylon

  • Arguments:[Negative] Alexander the Great might have caused the decline and fall of the Greek polis -- by exhausting the energy of Greece; and his foundation (military power and troops) might have been laid by his father, Philip II of Macedon.

    [Positive] On the other hand, Alexander definitely witnessed the rise of Macedonia, and he has started the idea of cosmopolitanism, and the Hellenistic [cf. Hellenic] Age.

  • [Negative] Alexander the Great was opposite to Aristotle, his mentor. Aristotle loved the polis to be small, but Alexander built a big empire. Aristotle preferred the cultured Greek to rule over the foreigners, but Alexanders satrapy was highly autonomous with foreigners ruling.

    [Neutral] Arrian, a Roman historian, thought that Alexander the Great was a warrior king, and his military achievements were great. But Arrian thought that Alexanders eastern expedition was wrong, which got the eastern problems instead.

  • On the other hand, Plutarch, another Roman historian, believed that there were two broader meanings in Alexanders eastern expedition: 1. Alexander the Great was a philosopher-king; 2. The goals for expedition made Alexander a philosopher -- that he was not for his own luxurious glory or wealth, but for the peaceful cosmopolitan society of human beings.

  • [Negative] 20th century historians: A.R. Burn, E. Badian, and Ulrich Wilcken believed that Alexander did not aim at cosmopolitanism. He was only an ambitious adventurer.

    [Positive] On the contrary, W.W. Tarn and J.F.C. Fuller believed that Alexander the Great was a philosopher-king, and he was an ideal believer in cosmopolitanism.

  • Alexander as a traitorAlexander destroyed the small polisAlexanders aim in the eastern Expedition was ambitious, impetuous, adventurousConsequence: mutually affected with the east, but to some historians, the highly cultured Greeks were barbarized

  • Alexander as an innovatorAlexander united Greece and created an unprecedented empire (over 3 continents), and started the Hellenistic AgeAlexanders aim was related to the philosopher-king ideal, cosmopolitanism, and necessityHellenized the world, that is why Greek history was from Hellenic to Hellenistic then

  • Significance:[Positive] 1.Created a big empire ruling over 3 continents;2.A break-through in the idea of cosmopolitanism (including the satrapy, etc.), at least, it was a kind of fusion;3.Greek influence over the east (all the way to India; his coins were found in India), thus, Hellenistic;4.According to W.W. Tarn, Alexander the Great was a contributor or promoter of the unity of mankind

  • [Negative]1.Even though he won on horseback [by conquests], he could not rule the empire for long [soon he died, and his empire scattered];2.Alexander by draining off so much Greek man-power so far into the east, Alexander weakened Greece, and ultimately even Greek resistance at home to Roman aggression later;3.Alexander destroyed the spirit (small, exclusive, oneness, etc.) of the polis