Alexander the great

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Transcript of Alexander the great

PowerPoint Presentation800 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0 Archaic Classical Hellenistic
Greek History
336-323 BC
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Greek History
Alexander the Great?
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Alexander’s Campaign
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Quintus Curtius Rufus (1st century A.D)
Plutarch Alexander (2nd century A.D)
Arrian Anabasis (2nd century A.D)
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Source Traditions
Ptolemy, courtier and later king of Egypt, the main source for Arrian’s history
The Alexandrian ‘vulgate’ (Cleitarchus?) followed closely by Diodorus Siculus and Quintus Curtius
Other contemporary authors – Callisthenes, Aristoboulos, Onesicrates…
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Arrian 2.24:
‘The rage of the Macedonians was indiscriminate, as they were embittered by the protracted nature of the siege and because the Tyrians had captured some of their men sailing from Sidon, made them mount the wall, so that they might be seen from the (Macedonian) camp, cut them down. Some 8,000 Tyrians fell…’
Quintus Curtius 4.4.17:
‘But how great the bloodshed was may be calculated from this alone, that 6,000 armed men were butchered within the city’s ramparts. After that the king’s wrath furnished the victors with an awful spectacle – 2,000 men … hung nailed to crosses along a great stretch of the shore.’
Case Study: Siege of Tyre (332 BC)
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Accession to the throne and consolidation of Macedonian power (336-5 BC)
The Invasion of Asia Minor: Alexander and the Greeks (334-333 BC)
Defeating Darius: Alexander and empire (332-331 BC)
Afghanistan and India: paranoia and imprudence (330-325 BC)
Return of the king: a new world order (324-3 BC)
Structure: Alexander’s Journey
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Programme of city foundations
Expeditionary force to Asia Minor
1. Succeeding Philip II
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336 BC: Philip the Theatre at Vergina
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Recognition by key players in Philip’s court (Antipater; Parmenio) and the Macedonians
Elimination of Rival heirs (Amyntas, son of Philip II’s elder brother), court rivals (Attalus)
Military action to intimidate Greeks and Northern kingdoms
Recognition as hegemon of the Greeks (re-enforced by object lesson of destruction of Thebes)
Panhellenic crusade of Alexander’s own
Alexander’s Accession
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“As for the size of his army, the lowest estimate puts its strength at 30,000 infantry and 4,000 cavalry and the highest 43,000 infantry and 4,000 cavalry. According to Aristobulus, the money available for the army’s supplies amounted to no more than seventy talents, Duris says there were supplies for only thirty days, and Onesicritus that Alexander was already two hundred talents in debt…” (Plutarch, Alexander 15)
2. Invading Asia on a Shoestring
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“Meanwhile Darius’ generals had gathered a large army and posted it at the crossing of the river Granicus, so that Alexander was obliged to fight at the very gates of Asia, if he was to enter and conquer it. Most of the Macedonian officers were alarmed at the depth of the river and of the rough and uneven slopes of the banks on the opposite side, up which they were to scramble in the face of the enemy…and when Parmenio advised him against risking the crossing at such a late hour of the day, Alexander declared that the Hellespont would blush for shame if, once he had crossed it, he should shrink back from the Granicus; then he immediately plunged into the stream with thirteen squadrons of cavalry. It seemed the act of a desperate madman rather than a prudent commander to charge into a swiftly flowing river, which swept men off their feet and surged about them, and then to advance through a hail of missiles towards a steep bank which was strongly defended by infantry and cavalry. But in spite of this he pressed forward and with a tremendous effort gained the opposite bank, which was a wet and treacherous slope covered with mud. There he was immediately forced to engage the enemy in a confused hand to hand struggle, before the troops who were crossing behind him could be organised into any formation” (Plutarch, Alexander 16)
Granicus 334 B.C.
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‘He sent Alcimachus son of Agathocles to the Ionian cities and to any Ionian towns still subject to the barbarians… he restored its own laws to each city and remitted the tribute (phoros) they used to pay to the barbarians. ‘
Arr. 1.18.2
Alexander’s edict to Priene:
‘Of King Alexander. Of those living in Naulochon, as many as are [Greek]s shall
be autonomous and free, holding the[ir land] and all their houses in the city, and also the territory, [just like] the Prieneans … I exempt the city of Priene from the contribution (syntaxis)…’
Rhodes and Osborne, Greek Historical Inscriptions 404-323 BC, no. 86
Alexander and the Greeks of Asia Minor
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Priene
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After the battle of Issos, Darius wrote a letter to Alexander. Arrian records the reply Alexander probably made:
As I have conquered in battle first your generals and satraps, and now yourself and your own force, and am in possession of the country by the gift of heaven,… you must regard me as lord of all Asia. And when in future you send messengers to me, make your addresses to the King of Asia, and do not correspond as an equal, but tell me, as lord of all your possessions, what you need.
Arr., 2.14.7-8
3. Why did Alexander invade again?
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334 – Invasion of Asia Minor and battle of Granicus (Spring)
333 – Victory over army lead by Darius at Issus (Autumn)
332 – Alexander against the cities of the Levant (including Tyre)
332-331 – Alexander in Egypt, and visiting the oracle of Zeus at Ammon
331 March inland into Mesopotamia; battle of Gaugamela over Darius’ army (September)
Timeline of Alexander’s battles
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“The most famous among these women [hetaerae] was Thaïs, an Athenian, the mistress of Ptolemy, who was afterwards king. She, partly in graceful praise of Alexander, and partly to make sport for him, as the drinking went on, was moved to utter a speech which befitted the character of her native country, but was too lofty for one of her kind. She said, namely, that for all her hardships in wandering over Asia she was being requited that day by thus revelling luxuriously in the splendid palace of the Persians; but it would be a still greater pleasure to go in revel rout and set fire to the house of the Xerxes who burned Athens, she herself kindling the fire under the eyes of Alexander, in order that a tradition might prevail among men that the women in the train of Alexander inflicted a greater punishment upon the Persians in behalf of Hellas than all her famous commanders by sea and land. As soon as she had thus spoken, tumultuous applause arose, and the companions of the king eagerly urged him on, so that he yielded to their desires, and leaping to his feet, with a garland on his head and a torch in his hand, led them the way. The company followed with shouts and revelry and surrounded the palace, while the rest of the Macedonians who learned about it ran thither with torches and were full of joy. For they hoped that the burning and destruction of the palace was the act of one who had fixed his thoughts on home, and did not intend to dwell among Barbarians. This is the way the deed was done, according to some writers; but others say it was premeditated. However, it is agreed that Alexander speedily repented and gave orders to put out the fire” (Plutarch, Alexander 38).
Alexander Burns Persepolis (and regrets it)
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King of Egypt - Alexander is hailed as pharaoh, and makes sacrifices to the Apis bull
King of Persia:
He executes Bessus (the Persian who killed Darius)
He tries to introduce proskynesis (ritual abasement)
Alexander the last king of Asia?
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“So, then, all were alike ready and willing; but only sixty, they say, were with Alexander when he burst into the camp of the enemy. There, indeed, they rode over much gold and silver that was thrown away, passed by many waggons full of women and children which were coursing hither and thither without their drivers, and pursued those who were foremost in flight, thinking that Dareius was among them. But at last they found him lying in a waggon, his body all full of javelins, at the point of death. Nevertheless, he asked for something to drink, and when he had drunk some cold water which Polystratus gave him, he said to him: ‘My man, this is the extremity of my ill-fortune, that I receive good at your hands and am not able to return it; but Alexander will requite you for your good offices, and the gods will reward Alexander for his kindness to my mother, wife, and children; to him, through you, I give this right hand’. With these words he took the hand of Polystratus and then expired. When Alexander came up, he was manifestly distressed by what had happened, and unfastening his own cloak threw it upon the body and covered it. And when, at a later time, he found Bessus, he had him rent asunder. Two straight trees were bent together and a part of his body fastened to each; then when each was released and sprang vigorously back, the part of the body that was attached to it followed after.  Now, however, he sent the body of Darius, laid out in royal state, to his mother, and admitted his brother, Exathres, into the number of his companions” (Plutarch, Alexander 43).
Alexander’s treatment of Darius and Bessus
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“From thence he marched into Parthia, where, during a respite from fighting, he first put on the barbaric dress, either from a desire to adapt himself to the native customs, believing that community of race and custom goes far towards softening the hearts of men; or else this was an attempt to introduce the obeisance among the Macedonians, by accustoming little by little to put up with changes and alterations in his mode of life. However, he did not adopt the famous Median fashion of dress, which was altogether barbaric and strange, nor did he assume trousers, or sleeved vest, or tiara, but carefully devised a fashion which was midway between the Persian and the Median, more modest than the one and more stately than the other. At first he wore this only in intercourse with the Barbarians and with his companions at home, then people generally saw him riding forth or giving audience in this attire. The sight was offensive to the Macedonians, but they admired his other high qualities and thought they ought to yield to him in some things which made for his pleasure or his fame” (Plutarch, Alexander 45).
Alexander’s Persianizing dress
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“Under these circumstances, too, he adapted his own mode of life still more to the customs of the country, and tried to bring these into closer agreement with Macedonian customs, thinking that by a mixture and community of practice which produced good will, rather than by force, his authority would be kept secure while he was far away. For this reason, too, he chose out thirty thousand boys and gave orders that they should learn the Greek language and be trained to use Macedonian weapons, appointing many instructors for this work. His marriage to Roxana, whom he saw in her youthful beauty taking part in a dance at a banquet, was a love affair, and yet it was thought to harmonize well with the matters which he had in hand. For the Barbarians were encouraged by the partnership into which the marriage brought them, and they were beyond measure fond of Alexander, because, most temperate of all men that he was in these matters, he would not consent to approach even the only woman who ever mastered his affections, without the sanction of law”.
The Persian ‘epigonoi’ (successors)
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Alexander tries to make the Greeks do proskynesis
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Marries Roxanne (a Bactrian princess).
Brings Persians into his army (trained like Macedonians).
He will later marry Darius’ daughter and makes sure that his friend Hephaestion marries another one.
Alexander, Great King, King of Kings
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In 330 key commanders Philotas and Parmenio executed for treason
In 328 Black Cleitus killed in a drunken rage
In 327 after a row about proskynesis, Callisthenes (who opposes it) is executed for involvement in ‘plot of royal pages’
Alexander in Afghanistan
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“Moreover, when he saw that among his chiefest friends Hephaestion approved his course and joined him in changing his mode of life, while Craterus clung fast to his native ways, he employed the former in his business with the Barbarians, the latter in that with the Greeks and Macedonians. And in general he showed most affection for Hephaestion, but most esteem for Craterus, thinking, and constantly saying, that Hephaestion was a friend of Alexander, but Craterus a friend of the king. For this reason, too, the men cherished a secret grudge against one another and often came into open collision. And once, on the Indian expedition, they actually drew their swords and closed with one another, and as the friends of each were coming to his aid, Alexander rode up and abused Hephaestion publicly, calling him a fool and a madman for not knowing that without Alexander's favour he was nothing; and in private he also sharply reproved Craterus. Then he brought them together and reconciled them, taking an oath by Ammon and the rest of the gods that he loved them most of all men; but that if he heard of their quarrelling again, he would kill them both, or at least the one who began the quarrel. Wherefore after this they neither did nor said anything to harm one another, not even in jest” (Plutarch, Alexander 47).
Macedonian discontent
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“After the company had drunk a great deal somebody began to sing the verses of a man named Phranicus…which had been written to humiliate and make fun of some Macedonians commanders who had been recently defeated by the barbarians. The older members of the party took offence at this and showed their resentment of both the poet and the singer, but Alexander and those sitting near him listened with obvious pleasure and told the man to continue. Thereupon Cleitus, who had already drunk too much and was rough and hot-tempered by nature, became angrier than ever and shouted that it was not right for Macedonians to be insulted in the presence of barbarians and enemies, even if they had met with misfortune, for they were better men than those who were laughing at them. Alexander retorted that if Cleitus was trying to disguise cowardice for misfortune, he must be pleading his own case.
Cleitus and Alexander argue…
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At this Cleitus sprang to his feet and shouted back, ‘Yes, it was my cowardice that saved your life, you who call yourself the son of the gods, when you were turning your back to Spithridates’ sword. And it is the blood of these Macedonians and their wounds which have made you so great that you disown your father Philip and claim to be the son of Ammon!’.
These words made Alexander furious. ‘You scum’, he cried out, ‘do you think that you can keep speaking of me like this and not pay for it?’. Cleitus retorted, ‘Oh, but we do pay for it. Just think of the rewards we get for all our efforts. It’s the dead ones who are happy, because they never lived to see Macedonians being beaten with Median rods, or begging the Persians for an audience with our own king’.
The argument continued
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331-330 – Battle of Gaugamela (1 Oct); Pursuit and Death (July) of Darius into Eastern Satrapies
330-327 – Alexander’s Campaigns in Afghanistan
326-325 – Alexander’s Indian Campaign (army mutiny at Hyphasis, June 326)
325 – Alexander’s return across the brutal Gedrosian desert (September)
Alexander’s Eastern Expedition
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India: A Geography Lesson for Alexander
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Alexander purges officials on his return
He plans a 10,000 talent monument and semi-divine worship for his dead friend Hephaestion
He writes to the Greeks and demands that they allow all exiles return to their former homelands
And he tries to dismiss his veterans and send them home…
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“When he came to Ecbatana in Media and had transacted the business that was urgent, he was once more much occupied with theatres and festivals, since three thousand artists had come to him from Greece. But during this time it chanced that Hephaestion had a fever; and since, young man and soldier that he was, he could not submit to a strict regimen, as soon as Glaucus, his physician, had gone off to the theatre, he sat down to breakfast, ate a boiled fowl, drank a huge cooler of wine, fell sick, and in a little while died. Alexander's grief at this loss knew no bounds. He immediately ordered that the manes and tails of all horses and mules should be shorn in token of mourning, and took away the battlements of the cities round about; he also crucified the wretched physician, and put a stop to the sound of flutes and every kind of music in the camp for a long time, until an oracular response from Ammon came bidding him honour Hephaestion as a hero and sacrifice to him” (Plutarch, Alexander 72).
Hephaestion dies and becomes a hero
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A short time before his death [early 324 BC], Alexander decided to restore all the exiles from the Greek cities, partly for the sake of gaining fame, partly wishing to win for himself many personal dependents in each city, to counter the revolutionary tendencies of the Greeks. Therefore, the Olympic games being imminent, he sent Nicanor of Stagira to Greece bearing a decree about the restoration, which he ordered to be proclaimed by the victorious herald to the crowds at the festival [August 324 BC]:
‘King Alexander to the exiles from the Greek cities. I was not responsble for your exile, but, with the exception of those of you who are under a curse, I shall be responsible for your return to your own native cities. I have written to Antipater about this, so that if any cities are unwilling to take you back, he will force them to do so.’
When the herald had announced this, the crowd showed its approval with cries of joy; all the exiles had come together at the festival, being more than 20,000 in number. (Diod. 18.8.1-5)
Alexander’s Exiles’ Decree
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Alexander forces 80 officers to marry Persian noblewomen. Only Seleucus keeps his wife after Alexander’s death.
He also appears to have decided to be god.
He may even have written to the Greeks demanding that they worship him!
Alexander’s final acts
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The End of Alexander
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Alexander has been accused of making some very bad military decisions:
disbanding his navy
charging into battle at Granicus and Gaugamela
continuing to fight on to Afghanistan, India
Alexander’s military expeditions resulted in death on an unprecedented scale (V. Hanson, Wars of the Ancient Greeks):
More than 200,000 deaths on the battlefield
Conservatively, 250,000 + civilians slaughtered
Alexander the Great?
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The Beginning of the Hellenistic World
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“Anyone who belittles Alexander…must base his criticism on a comprehensive view of his whole life. But let such a person, if he must insult Alexander, compare himself first with the object of his abuse; himself so mean and obscure, confronting him, the great king with his unparalleled worldly success, the undisputed master of two continents, who spread the power of his name over all the earth. Will he then dare to abuse him when he knows of his own littleness and the triviality of his own pursuits, which even so prove too much for his ability”.
Arrian’s answer to Alexander’s critics
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499-480
336-323