Did Alexander win in Afghanistan?

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Did Alexander win in Afghanistan?

Postby Fiona » Mon Apr 06, 2009 11:52 pm

I have a cool thing called a Google Alert, that sends me an email whenever a new post is made on the Internet about any of my chosen phrases - and one of them is Alexander the Great. This throws up a lot of interesting things, but just lately, large numbers of them have been about modern-day Afghanistan. The interesting thing is that about half of them start with words to the effect 'No-one has conquered in Afghanistan since Alexander the Great' and the other half say things like, 'No-one has ever conquered in Afghanistan, not even Alexander the Great'.
(The verb varies - sometimes it's won, or subdued, or pacified and I guess that does make a difference.)
I wonder why there is this difference of opinion among the average political blogger? Why the different perceptions? So this is my question - does the panel think Alexander won in Afghanistan, or not?
(And does anyone know of a map of Alexander's campaigns that shows the outlines of modern national boundaries on it?)
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Re: Did Alexander win in Afghanistan?

Postby jan » Wed Apr 08, 2009 5:45 am

Hello Fiona, That is such an interesting question. I have also noticed how often Afghanistan is used in that way, as if it is a great challenge to any would be conqueror of the world, especially since the Taliban has become so famous there. I notice that Steven Pressfield's last book was devoted to that subject as well.

Exactly what was the name of Afghanistan in the time of Alexander? Do you know when it finally earned the name Afghanistan?

And off the topic of Afghanistan for just a moment as it has earned all kinds of interest with respect to the difficulty to "conquer" it, did you know that the bishop of the Greek church used Alexander in a reference to the President Barack Obama recently? He used the Gordian Knot as a kind of stimulus inspirational challenge for Barack Obama to have as an example to use in meeting challenges now. It received a lot of applause from the audience who attended the gathering at the White House.

Barack Obama appeared to be quite pleased to be compared to Alexander the Great. Especially by a Bishop of the Greek Orthodox Church.

I believe that it is said that Alexander lost no battles. So surely he must have conquered Afghanistan too.
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Re: Did Alexander win in Afghanistan?

Postby agesilaos » Wed Apr 08, 2009 7:29 am

Afganistan is Bactria and Sogdiania, roughly; since these were ruled by Greeks down to the first century BC we can say he conquered them. Though it was the political marriage to Rhoxane that quelled the continuing rebellion. Try Holt's 'Land of Bones' for a modern take which looks at all the Western adventures into this 'nest of bandits' as our ambassador once described it, though the nineteenth century was a less delicate era in international relations :D
εἰ ἀποκρυπτόντων τῶν Μήδων τὸν ἥλιον ὑπὸ σκιῇ ἔσοιτο πρὸς αὐτοὺς ἡ μάχη καὶ οὐκ ἐν ἡλίῳ. Dienekas
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Re: Did Alexander win in Afghanistan?

Postby jan » Fri Apr 10, 2009 6:48 am

Thanks for telling me about Sogdiana and Bactria now. That is so interesting to me that the marriage to Roxanne had such an important effect also. I am always wondering about the inhabitants of these regions, where they all came from as well, and there are some few books that do go into great details describing the long histories as I recall now. I tend to forget many of them soon after I read them. I recall a professor from Washington State who also wrote a book that included the history of the population in not only Macedonia but other regions nearby influenced by Alexander also...I think Marcus once mentioned that book in a post.

I am curious as to whether Asians traveled into those regions much in those times. I also wonder how it is that we know so much about them, what kind of records and physical data that each tribe or village left for later generations to know.

I think I will check out Wikipedia now to see what it has to say about this. Thanks again. :)
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