Reasons why Alexander was great?

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smittysmitty
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Post by smittysmitty »

I'm just stating that the world would be mighty different and weird-looking to us today if Jesus was born under the rule of the Persian Empire instead of the Roman. It's just a weird thing to imagine. Perhaps some other religion could have sprang up in the West
.



What a peculiar thing to say. Of course the world would be different - and their would be nothing weird to imagine: that would simply be life!

I'm not sure what you are trying to say in reference to religion? But I think you need to recognise that Jesus was an Easterner- his religious teachings originate from the East - the brood he spread his message to were Easterners. The whole monotheist notion is indebted to the East - and quite possibly to the Persians.

Look, you might even be saying that - but your posts are a little unclear.

Anyway, time to hit the sack for me!

cheers!
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Post by marcus »

Semiramis wrote:I agree with you totally that there would've been no Islam without Christianity and Judaism.
Just for the sake of picking nits, I'm not sure we can say that at all. It might be reasonably fair to say so of Judaeism - that Islam had such a common root with the Old Testament that it might not have developed without Judaeism first ... but I'm not so sure we can say that the development of Islam depended on the existence of Christianity. After all, the Muslims reject the claim that Christ was the Son of God, merely accepting that he was a prophet.

I am no expert, so I might well be wrong - this is just how I understand things.

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Post by alexkhan2000 »

smittysmitty wrote:
What a peculiar thing to say. Of course the world would be different - and their would be nothing weird to imagine: that would simply be life!

I'm not sure what you are trying to say in reference to religion? But I think you need to recognise that Jesus was an Easterner- his religious teachings originate from the East - the brood he spread his message to were Easterners. The whole monotheist notion is indebted to the East - and quite possibly to the Persians.

Look, you might even be saying that - but your posts are a little unclear.

Anyway, time to hit the sack for me!

cheers
Well, I don't want to get into the subject of religion too much but Christianity is a Western religion. I'm not a religious person at all, but I've studied various religions of the world from a historical and cultural perspective. Whether Jesus was a Easterner or whether he even existed is an entirely different subject matter. Christianity as we know it now is a decidedly Western-based religion and at the center of the West vs. East conflicts we see in the world today - especially in the region where Alexander himself was at the epicenter.

Alexander and the various Roman emperors from Augustus during the first century to Constatine could not possibly have envisioned Judaism and Christianity developing into what it has developed into today. I guess my point is that they had an indirect role and unwittingly set big things in motion geopolitically that allowed Christianity to develop and become the dominant religion of the West. This observation has also been mentioned in books about Alexander by Paul Cartledge and Guy Maclean Rogers.

BTW, here is journalist and social critic/polemicist Christopher Hitchens' take on Guy Maclean Rogers' 'Alexnader the Great: The Ambiguity of Greatness'. This is right around when the Oliver Stone film was being released:

http://www.slate.com/id/2110188/

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Post by Semiramis »

alexanthros wrote:So dont ask me if mithraism had an effect on christianity cause the answer is OFC. And i am sure that you will agree that without Alexander mithraism might have never evovlved in Europe. And ofcource Alexander was not the only parameter on that thing either.

I am going to stress again that the main reason of Christianity's spread is Theodosius.
Hi Alexanthros and Ed,

To clarify, I am in now way denying the influence of Greek Philosophy in the shaping of Christianity. What I am doing is inviting you to consider the contribution of the Persian Empire to Christianity, which explains my references to Zoroastrianism, Mithraism or the Greek Philosophers who lived under Persian rule. Of course, I agree with you that Mithraism – despite being named the “the Mysteries of the Persians” – was influenced by Hellenism in the Roman Empire. By the way, what is “OFC”?
alexkhan2000 wrote:The truth is that there was a clear delineation between the West (Europe) and the East (Asia) at that time and Alexander represented the West. On a macro scale, Alexander's destruction and conquest of the Persian Empire cannot be overestimated. For better or worse, this achievement set the tone and structure of the West and East that lasts to this very day. I'm quite sure that the world we see today is not what Alexander envisioned but we can blame those who came afterwards for that!
Now here’s the problem. Ancient history makes so little sense if we try to force it into the iron maiden of modern day identity politics. The problem with going down this path is that divisions must be created where none may have existed, commonalities denied and suggestions cross-cultural influences must be dismissed out of hand. It can rather limit the imagination too. ;) Myself, I always end up confused as to exactly who is “us” and who is “them”.

With Alexander, we are going back to the days when the modern meanings of the terms “Eastern” and “Western” didn’t even exist. One might say that Alexander helped Christianity spread in an indirect fashion. His conquests, years down the track, allowed the Roman Empire to get started, as there was no all-powerful Persian Empire to put a check on it.

However, I'm not sure it was ever Alexander's intention to break up or even weaken the Persian Empire, let alone to “represent the West”. :D Actually, wasn’t his initial excuse for war to “liberate the Greek cities of Asia”? After having fought the Greeks, razed a Greek city and forcing the Greeks to cross into Asia with him? :) With Alexander, of all conquerors, it’s particularly hard to argue that he would’ve recognized a division of ‘East’ and ‘West’. The fact that we are hung up on these categories says a lot about us and nothing about Alexander.

IMHO, the important thing to Alexander was that he himself was the Great King of the Persian Empire. He certainly showed interest in preserving the system that ran it. This assertion can be backed up by the facts that Alexander didn't significantly change the Acheamenid system of communication, taxation etc. He even left the obliging Persian satraps to co-rule with the Greeks. He was happy to use Achaemenid symbols to legitimise his rule - he dressed partly like an Achaemenid, tried to introduce "proper" court protocol Achaemenid style. We also have his recruitment of Persians and other Asians as the future of his army, marrying Darius' daughters, paying his respects to the tomb of Cyrus etc. etc. Had Alexander lived, it's entirely possible that a grandchild of Darius III could've ended up on the throne of an unbroken and extended "Macedonian-Persian" empire. Of course, all would be decreed to refer to it as the “Alexandrian Empire” as they said their daily prayers to Iskander, son of god. :)

We can keep asserting that such and such thing - Alexander, Christianity, my grandmother's chicken - is “Western” or “Eastern” but it amuses me to think that these labels would have made very little sense to Alexander (or Jesus). Given Alexander’s Macedonian cultural background and Aristotelian education, it would be hard to paint a picture of an Alexander who felt more kinship towards Celtic or Germanic tribes to the west of him than the Ionian Greeks in Asia. Perhaps the descendant of Perseus even felt some kinship to the Persians? ;) This Pharaoh of Egypt certainly took the son of Amun part of his coronation to heart.

If Alexander had ever been told of “Western civilization”, he would’ve most likely calmly assessed its degree of wealth and strength by going through the Achaemenid Royal archives. I would bet he would then do his usual thing – which is to march off with a giant army composed of Macedonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Babylonians, Sogdianans, Bactrians, Indians and other ethnicities I can’t even name. Then, finally, he would’ve made sure that said area was well aware of who their Great King was. :)

Take care
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Post by Paralus »

alexkhan2000 wrote:There's a lot of debate over whether Alexander really sought to "free the people of the world" and "unite them in universal brotherhood" or if he only sought personal glory and riches. Most likely, it was a combination of a little of all of the above. He certainly lived his life with an iron-like sense of mission and purpose rarely observed later in history. It was obvious that he wanted to create a fusion of nations, races, and cultures. Was this an idealistic and noble pipedream or just a matter of practicality to govern such a vast territory of different peoples and cultures?
Alexander, like the Persians he'd conquered, was busy removing and transferring populations. This was not for any "brotherhood of man" or "racial fusion". It was ultimately very pragmatic.

Whole poulations were bonded into serfdom to support the garrison towns of empire for example. Far from being the civilising catalysts of the transfer and spread of "Hellenic culture" these were support towns/cities for the garrison populations of the new regime. What might formerly have been their lands was taken from the local population and, if they weren't transferred as a support population of another garrison town, the former owners then obligingly supplied the labour to support the Graeco-Macedonian implant.

This, too, was no great joy for those Greeks and Macedonians so implanted. This was akin to German service on the eastern front. The overflowing joy with which these "Hellenising colonists" greeted their "settlement" in the east is amply demonstrated by the alacrity with which they departed their towns on the mere rumour of the death of the king.
alexkhan2000 wrote:Without that Hellenized Asia, the Romans, with so many other problems on their other frontiers such as Gaul, Germania, and Carthage, would have been too distracted and their resources too scattered to mount an effective campaign against the Persian Empire. Just by defeating the weakened Macedonia, all of the Middle East and Asia Minor were essentially just turned over to Rome.
That, I believe, is a huge generalisation. The idea that Rome had the entire Middle East and Asia Minor gifted into its hands “just by defeating a weakened Macedonia” does not stand scrutiny. Were that the case, Rome will have had such gifted to it after the settlements imposed onGreece via Philip IV. With respect to Germania and Carthage et al, Rome, Hannibal and all, still was able to dictate Greek “settlements” based on battlefield victories from Cynoscephalae to Pydna via Thermopylae and Magnesia-by-Sipylos.

Flamininus, having settled things to his satisfaction in Greece in 196 including the purloining of much Greek artwork, proceeded to tell Antiochus III what he might or might not do. Antiochus told him directly that he did not have such authority. He evidently felt that, the catastrophic Macedonian defeat at Cynoscephalae notwithstanding, he not been turned over to Rome. Lucius Cornelius Scipio eventually had to deal with that issue.
alexkhan2000 wrote: Alexander the Great is an idealized figure of what each one of us would like to be in our own individual ways.
Not necessarily me though.
Last edited by Paralus on Thu Sep 20, 2007 9:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by aleksandros »

Semiramis wrote:
alexanthros wrote:So dont ask me if mithraism had an effect on christianity cause the answer is OFC. And i am sure that you will agree that without Alexander mithraism might have never evovlved in Europe. And ofcource Alexander was not the only parameter on that thing either.

I am going to stress again that the main reason of Christianity's spread is Theodosius.
Hi Alexanthros and Ed,

To clarify, I am in now way denying the influence of Greek Philosophy in the shaping of Christianity. What I am doing is inviting you to consider the contribution of the Persian Empire to Christianity, which explains my references to Zoroastrianism, Mithraism or the Greek Philosophers who lived under Persian rule. Of course, I agree with you that Mithraism – despite being named the “the Mysteries of the Persians” – was influenced by Hellenism in the Roman Empire. By the way, what is “OFC”?
alexkhan2000 wrote:The truth is that there was a clear delineation between the West (Europe) and the East (Asia) at that time and Alexander represented the West. On a macro scale, Alexander's destruction and conquest of the Persian Empire cannot be overestimated. For better or worse, this achievement set the tone and structure of the West and East that lasts to this very day. I'm quite sure that the world we see today is not what Alexander envisioned but we can blame those who came afterwards for that!
Now here’s the problem. Ancient history makes so little sense if we try to force it into the iron maiden of modern day identity politics. The problem with going down this path is that divisions must be created where none may have existed, commonalities denied and suggestions cross-cultural influences must be dismissed out of hand. It can rather limit the imagination too. ;) Myself, I always end up confused as to exactly who is “us” and who is “them”.

With Alexander, we are going back to the days when the modern meanings of the terms “Eastern” and “Western” didn’t even exist. One might say that Alexander helped Christianity spread in an indirect fashion. His conquests, years down the track, allowed the Roman Empire to get started, as there was no all-powerful Persian Empire to put a check on it.

However, I'm not sure it was ever Alexander's intention to break up or even weaken the Persian Empire, let alone to “represent the West”. :D Actually, wasn’t his initial excuse for war to “liberate the Greek cities of Asia”? After having fought the Greeks, razed a Greek city and forcing the Greeks to cross into Asia with him? :) With Alexander, of all conquerors, it’s particularly hard to argue that he would’ve recognized a division of ‘East’ and ‘West’. The fact that we are hung up on these categories says a lot about us and nothing about Alexander.

IMHO, the important thing to Alexander was that he himself was the Great King of the Persian Empire. He certainly showed interest in preserving the system that ran it. This assertion can be backed up by the facts that Alexander didn't significantly change the Acheamenid system of communication, taxation etc. He even left the obliging Persian satraps to co-rule with the Greeks. He was happy to use Achaemenid symbols to legitimise his rule - he dressed partly like an Achaemenid, tried to introduce "proper" court protocol Achaemenid style. We also have his recruitment of Persians and other Asians as the future of his army, marrying Darius' daughters, paying his respects to the tomb of Cyrus etc. etc. Had Alexander lived, it's entirely possible that a grandchild of Darius III could've ended up on the throne of an unbroken and extended "Macedonian-Persian" empire. Of course, all would be decreed to refer to it as the “Alexandrian Empire” as they said their daily prayers to Iskander, son of god. :)

We can keep asserting that such and such thing - Alexander, Christianity, my grandmother's chicken - is “Western” or “Eastern” but it amuses me to think that these labels would have made very little sense to Alexander (or Jesus). Given Alexander’s Macedonian cultural background and Aristotelian education, it would be hard to paint a picture of an Alexander who felt more kinship towards Celtic or Germanic tribes to the west of him than the Ionian Greeks in Asia. Perhaps the descendant of Perseus even felt some kinship to the Persians? ;) This Pharaoh of Egypt certainly took the son of Amun part of his coronation to heart.

If Alexander had ever been told of “Western civilization”, he would’ve most likely calmly assessed its degree of wealth and strength by going through the Achaemenid Royal archives. I would bet he would then do his usual thing – which is to march off with a giant army composed of Macedonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Babylonians, Sogdianans, Bactrians, Indians and other ethnicities I can’t even name. Then, finally, he would’ve made sure that said area was well aware of who their Great King was. :)

Take care
OFC = of course

I agree with you that there was not a west - east distinction at that time. There was a Greek - barbarian distinction. And we all know that the tribes north of Danube, Germania, Gaul, Hispania and Britannia were far more barbaric than the ones of Egypt and Persia to Greeks.

I disagree with you about the purposes of the campaign. There were 2 main goals. The liberation of the Greek cities and the revenge on Persia about what had happened 150 years ago. Isocrates have urged Philip 'tous varvarous eilotevein' (its proper for the barbarians to be slaves of the Greeks) and hat was not the case at all at that time since the Greeks were rather slaves of the barbarians (Persians) and that was what Alexander wanted to change. So unlike you i believe that Alexander wanted to weaken the Persian Empire and after the letter of Darius he made clear to everyone that his goal was to destroy the Persian Empire and to establish the universal Hellenic state Aristotle dreamed about.

Concerning the things you said about the destruction of Thebes i disagree with your perception of those incidents. The Athenians the Spartans and the Thebans had killed so much more greeks during the Peloponesian and the Theban wars than Alexander did.
And even though he won that civil war he never entered Athens with his army unlike Spartans. Thats because he respected more the school of Greece than some others...
And of course he never entered Sparta because he respected what had happened during the Persian wars.
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Post by amyntoros »

Cutting in here, although I know the following remark wasn't addressed to me.
alexanthros wrote:So unlike you i believe that Alexander wanted to weaken the Persian Empire and after the letter of Darius he made clear to everyone that his goal was to destroy the Persian Empire and to establish the universal Hellenic state Aristotle dreamed about.
Except that after (?) the death of Darius, didn't Alexander send home the Greek participants thus officially bringing to an end the presumed Panhellenic campaign? And he didn't exactly destroy the Persian Empire - he simply defeated its king and armies and took it over for himself! I see no universal Hellenic state, only that it was all about Alexander and all about Macedonian acquisition of territories and Alexander's subsequent rule. My view, anyway. :)

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Post by alexkhan2000 »

Well, I see that like all the books about Alexander I've read, we've all got different perceptions about history and about Alexander himself. In the end, it really does seem like everyone interprets the "history" or the so-called "facts" differently. And as stated many times, that's what makes Alexander endlessly fascinating and why the debates never end...

I think what can be stated for certain is that Alexander's goals changed as he got deeper and deeper into Persia. Or was he thinking of an outright conquest of the Persian Empire and reaching the end of the world from the very start without telling anyone else about it? It really could have been either and we'll simply never know.

As far as the generalizations about Christianity, Middle East, East (Asia) vs. West (Europe), etc., sure we are generalizing, but how many other figures were there during the ancient Greek/Roman era that had the effect or impact that Alexander or Caesar/Augustus had? Also, Alexander did make a dramatic gesture when he crossed the Hellespont and landed on Asian soil. It sure seems he saw Asia as a different land than Europe.

From what I could gather of ancient history (not only during Greek/Rome eras but in the Far East like China, Korea, and Japan as well), the peoples during that time were just as concerned about nations, kingdoms, territories, races, labels, etc. as people are today. In fact, wouldn't you say they were much more tribal about all these things than they are today (although we haven't made that much progress)? As an ethic Korean who has studied the history of the Far East, I can tell you that there were very clear delineations in regards to race, kingdoms, territories and cultures for thousands of years.

Ed
Last edited by alexkhan2000 on Fri Sep 21, 2007 12:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by marcus »

alexkhan2000 wrote:Well, I don't want to get into the subject of religion too much but Christianity is a Western religion. I'm not a religious person at all, but I've studied various religions of the world from a historical and cultural perspective. Whether Jesus was a Easterner or whether he even existed is an entirely different subject matter. Christianity as we know it now is a decidedly Western-based religion and at the center of the West vs. East conflicts we see in the world today - especially in the region where Alexander himself was at the epicenter.
I think that the Orthodox Christians of the East, and the Assyrian Christians who are still practising in south-western Turkey, Syria, and the Lebanon; and the Armenian and Iraqi Christians to book, would disagree with that statement! :shock:

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Post by alexkhan2000 »

marcus wrote:
alexkhan2000 wrote:Well, I don't want to get into the subject of religion too much but Christianity is a Western religion. I'm not a religious person at all, but I've studied various religions of the world from a historical and cultural perspective. Whether Jesus was a Easterner or whether he even existed is an entirely different subject matter. Christianity as we know it now is a decidedly Western-based religion and at the center of the West vs. East conflicts we see in the world today - especially in the region where Alexander himself was at the epicenter.
I think that the Orthodox Christians of the East, and the Assyrian Christians who are still practising in south-western Turkey, Syria, and the Lebanon; and the Armenian and Iraqi Christians to book, would disagree with that statement! :shock:

ATB
Yes, and there are many Christians in Korea and China as well - tens of millions. But the official orthodox Christian religion as we now know it originated in Rome under Constantine. Until Constantine made it Rome's official religion in 313AD or so, there were dozens of different versions of Christianity all fighting each other for supremacy. Eventually the Roman Empire fell and it evolved into the Holy Roman Empire. The Roman Catholic Church became the supreme power of Europe for well over a thousand years and became as much of a political organization and psudo-monarchy as a church. The Orthodox Christians and the Protestants were essentially offshoots of the Roman Catholic Church. They essentially broke off from the Pope's central command. To this day, the Pope says the Roman Catholic Church is the one true church of Christianity and that all others aren't quite the real thing.
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Post by amyntoros »

alexkhan2000 wrote:Yes, and there are many Christians in Korea and China as well - tens of millions. But the official orthodox Christian religion as we now know it originated in Rome under Constantine. Until Constantine made it Rome's official religion in 313AD or so, there were dozens of different versions of Christianity all fighting each other for supremacy. Eventually the Roman Empire fell and it evolved into the Holy Roman Empire. The Roman Catholic Church became the supreme power of Europe for well over a thousand years and became as much of a political organization and psudo-monarchy as a church.. .

Hmm, I'm a bit rusty on this, but by the time of Constantine wasn't there a western AND an eastern empire? And didn't Constantinople become the capital of all the Roman empire a couple of decades after Constantine's death? I'm not at all sure one could pinpoint the Edict of Milan in 313 as being the turning point for Christianity to become a so-called "western" religion.

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Post by alexkhan2000 »

amyntoros wrote:
alexkhan2000 wrote:Yes, and there are many Christians in Korea and China as well - tens of millions. But the official orthodox Christian religion as we now know it originated in Rome under Constantine. Until Constantine made it Rome's official religion in 313AD or so, there were dozens of different versions of Christianity all fighting each other for supremacy. Eventually the Roman Empire fell and it evolved into the Holy Roman Empire. The Roman Catholic Church became the supreme power of Europe for well over a thousand years and became as much of a political organization and psudo-monarchy as a church.. .

Hmm, I'm a bit rusty on this, but by the time of Constantine wasn't there a western AND an eastern empire? And didn't Constantinople become the capital of all the Roman empire a couple of decades after Constantine's death? I'm not at all sure one could pinpoint the Edict of Milan in 313 as being the turning point for Christianity to become a so-called "western" religion.

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Well, I'd say it became the basis of Christianity becoming a distinctly Western religion. To me, Christianity is more of a tradition and a cultural and spiritual heritage that developed over a millennia - especially the Roman Catholic tradition. The Holy Roman Empire and the Roman Catholic Church has a very long history. To me, that whole era and the medieval history doesn't interest me 1/10th as much as ancient Greek and Roman history, but I delved into it somewhat just so I can understand why things developed as they did after the fall of the Roman Empire. Well, I now very well understand why a good chunk of it is called the Dark Ages. Things only start getting interesting again with the Renaissance and really picks up with the Enlightenment.

But getting back to your point, to me, Christianity as a Western religion is something that came to being from Constantine on through to the modern age. You look at the history of the Crusades in the Middle East during the Middle Ages, the Spanish Catholic conquests of Latin America, the birth of America having the foundation in Anglican Christian puritans trying to avoid persecution in Europe, etc., Christianity shaped it all - for better or for worse. It's simply what happened. And you look at America today with the growing political clout of the far right Evangelical Christians and 80~90% of the population claiming to be Christians, its reach and power is as strong as it has ever been.

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Paralus wrote:
Alexander, like the Persians he'd conquered, was busy removing and transferring populations. This was not for any "brotherhood of man" or "racial fusion". It was ultimately very pragmatic.

Whole poulations were bonded into serfdom to support the garrison towns of empire for example. Far from being the civilising catalysts of the transfer and spread of "Hellenic culture" these were support towns/cities for the garrison populations of the new regime. What might formerly have been their lands was taken from the local population and, if they weren't transferred as a support population of another garrison town, the former owners then obligingly supplied the labour to support the Graeco-Macedonian implant.

This, too, was no great joy for those Greeks and Macedonians so implanted. This was akin to German service on the eastern front. The overflowing joy with which these "Hellenising colonists" greeted their "settlement" in the east is amply demonstrated by the alacrity with which they departed their towns on the mere rumour of the death of the king.
I do see your point and it's a point I've read in many books as well. Certainly, Alexander was a master juggler of balancing the more idealized heroic concepts of his goals with the immediate logistical problems of governing the various lands and people he had subjugated. Still, I tend to think that he was indeed driven by pothos and other Homeric idealisms to change the world in his vision (which he eventually came to see as divine), not merely conquer lands, the peoples and the riches of other kingdoms for the sake of it. Sure he had to pay close attention to the realities of maintaining order in the empire which in itself was a huge undertaking, but from what I could gather, he seemed to view that aspect of it as a necessary evil that he would have preferred to have not dealt with.

It's a testament to Alexander's multi-faceted genius that he did involve himself in the minute details of governing the empire since it seems politics did not interest him as much as campaigining, fighting battles, exploring new lands, enjoying the arts, acquiring scientific knowledge, etc. He had to get into micro political management because his generals and officers were just that - generals and officers, not administrators or governors. If Alexander wasn't interested, they were surely even less interested. They sought material riches and power; they sought the superficial things that Alexander had. They couldn't care less about reaching the end of the world or creating a new master fusion race to rule this vast empire.

Pragmatism was certainly a part of it. Alexander had to give it major attention but it's ironic that none of his generals and officers (Hephaistion doesn't count :wink: ) agreed with his way of going about it - that of adopting Persian customs, incorporating Iranian soliders into his army, appointing Persian satraps, etc. In essence, Alexander was very alone in trying to manage this empire - the Persians were more willing partners in this than the Macedonians were. Why did Alexander not appoint a successor just before his death? Surely he could have uttered a name but he didn't. He knew no one was capable of assuming his position and that they all wanted it for all the wrong reasons. He basically said, "Y'all fight over it..." He knew the empire would disintegrate. It really was Alexander's empire - not the Macedonian, not the Greek (or the League of Corinth or of Hellenism), not the Persian that Alexander assumed, not anyone else's. It could only have been sustained by him and history shows that to have been the case.

No one around Alexander really understood what he was thinking or why he would keep going and going and put himself in physical danger when he was easily the most powerful and the richest man in the world. Very, very few people today could understand that. I tell some people Alexander's story and they would just shake their heads: "Heck, I would just a buy a tropical island and kick back for the rest of my life." :lol: So, yeah, it's not hard to imagine how his officers and most of his soldiers felt about being stationed in a garrison in some remote town in what is now Afghanistan or Uzbekistan. Surely, many US soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan today must be thinking the same: "What the hell am I doing here?"

While I agree to a degree that pragmatism was a big part of it (and one that only Alexander himself was willing to pursue), I really believe there were other things driving him to do what he did. I don't think it's something that he could really speak of - "brotherhood of man" or a "new master fusion race", etc. How could anyone around him at that time grasp such concepts? Again, how many people today would understand or even want that? Such talk would have given his generals all the reasons to conspire to assassinate him since he had completely lost it. Perhaps he did mention it to Hephaistion like it was shown at the palace balcony scene in the movie, but even he was like, "Uhh... you want to do what???" My view on it is that he did indeed seek to accomplish the impossible. And, yes, he failed, but at least he gave it an earnest try. It's wholly in line with what we know of his character and ambitiousness.

Ed
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Post by Paralus »

alexkhan2000 wrote:I really believe there were other things driving him to do what he did. I don't think it's something that he could really speak of - "brotherhood of man" or a "new master fusion race", etc. How could anyone around him at that time grasp such concepts? Again, how many people today would understand or even want that? Such talk would have given his generals all the reasons to conspire to assassinate him since he had completely lost it. Perhaps he did mention it to Hephaistion like it was shown at the palace balcony scene in the movie, but even he was like, "Uhh... you want to do what???" My view on it is that he did indeed seek to accomplish the impossible. And, yes, he failed, but at least he gave it an earnest try. It's wholly in line with what we know of his character and ambitiousness.
Oh dear. Sounds like the beginning of a religion.
How could anyone around him at that time grasp such concepts?
Particularly when, outside of pragmatic concerns, he did not understand it himself? There was no "brotherhood of man". That is a wholly modern overlay.

What is in line with what we know of "his character" and ambition was the confrontation at the Beas. Alexander bothered with the minutiae of imperial administration? This was a fellow who hung around long enough to settle the dust, rest the troops and hand off to others the day to the day boredom of administration. The fellow always looking to the next military challenge.

Another phrase that Ptolemy should have used in the Stone movie was "means to an end; means to an end". This was the embraced Iranian elite: a means to an end. It most certainly saved the bleeding of Macedonian senior staff.

That only Alexander’s general staff sought “material riches and power” is much in line with the Pollyanna image you hold of the invader and conqueror. The riches and power of the Persian Empire were just as alluring to the Macedonian king, make no mistake. In the rudest possible terms, Persian riches enabled the bankrolling of recruiting, training and engaging the army of further conquest. Persian Darics enabled the bankrolling of the Macedonian response to the Spartan uprising. Persian riches enabled the invasion of India.

Alexander, in my view, did not appoint a successor because there would not be the need for one. He was it. It was not one of those things that betook his interest – the urgings of his general staff aside. The reason his empire fell apart after his death was due, in large part, to him. The process had begun before his death. With Cappadocia still to be pacified and Thrace virtually independent the King, so “in the minute details of governing the empire”, was planning further conquest and adventure in Arabia.
Paralus
Ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας, ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοὺς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τὰ ὅλα κατειργασμένους;
Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.

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alexkhan2000
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Post by alexkhan2000 »

Paralus wrote:
Oh dear. Sounds like the beginning of a religion.
Do I sense some sarcasm here? I suppose you're one of those types who has to make snide remarks about opinions or interpretations that are different from yours?
Paralus wrote:
There was no "brotherhood of man". That is a wholly modern overlay.
And how do you know this? You know what Alexander was thinking and what really happened back then?
Paralus wrote:
What is in line with what we know of "his character" and ambition was the confrontation at the Beas. Alexander bothered with the minutiae of imperial administration? This was a fellow who hung around long enough to settle the dust, rest the troops and hand off to others the day to the day boredom of administration. The fellow always looking to the next military challenge.
I'm not sure what you're getting at here. His pragmatism has everything to do with attention to detail.
Paralus wrote:
Another phrase that Ptolemy should have used in the Stone movie was "means to an end; means to an end". This was the embraced Iranian elite: a means to an end. It most certainly saved the bleeding of Macedonian senior staff.
Alexander was an adroit politician who understood human nature and could be quite ruthless when necessary. Did I say he wasn't and that he was only this dreaming idealist? I can believe that he knew what he was doing.
Paralus wrote:
That only Alexander’s general staff sought “material riches and power” is much in line with the Pollyanna image you hold of the invader and conqueror. The riches and power of the Persian Empire were just as alluring to the Macedonian king, make no mistake. In the rudest possible terms, Persian riches enabled the bankrolling of recruiting, training and engaging the army of further conquest. Persian Darics enabled the bankrolling of the Macedonian response to the Spartan uprising. Persian riches enabled the invasion of India.
I stated quite clearly that Alexander was as much of a realist/pragmatist as he was a dreamer/idealist. He himself was a fusion of both and couldn't have gone as far as he did if he wasn't. What's with the lecturing? Tell me something I don't know.
Paralus wrote:
Alexander, in my view, did not appoint a successor because there would not be the need for one. He was it. It was not one of those things that betook his interest – the urgings of his general staff aside. The reason his empire fell apart after his death was due, in large part, to him. The process had begun before his death. With Cappadocia still to be pacified and Thrace virtually independent the King, so “in the minute details of governing the empire”, was planning further conquest and adventure in Arabia.
Once again, your view is your view, not anyone else's.
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