Alexander the Great and his 'equality'

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Re: Alexander the Great and his 'equality'

Post by marcus »

Alexias wrote:
Asander wrote:“Alexander; for the Greeks, he was the Savior.”
Saviour from what? The only thing Alexander saved anyone from was the ordinary Macedonian soldier from poverty. I think you’re getting confused between the idolisation of Alexander by the ordinary Macedonian in his army and the worship he requested from the Greek city states. They are two very different things.
And it should be remembered that many of the Greeks were far from keen on Alexander. At best they acceded to granting him divine worship because it made no difference to them; at worst they did it because they were terrified of him.
Alexias wrote:
Asander wrote:“Why do you say that? There are some facts in the ancient sources regarding Alexander that proves he didn't believed in the equal rights for men and women? Did he not permitted the women to stay, along with him, at the feast in Persepolis?”
The women at the feast at Persepolis were courtesans, it was their job to be decorative and entertaining at feasts. Treating a woman with deference and respect and granting equal political, social, legal and financial rights with men are, again, two very different things. Women had no political rights, no vote, could not hold public office, were meant to live under the protection of a man and live according to his rules - unless they wished to be seen as prostitutes. I don’t know enough to say whether they could hold property or enter financial transactions in their own right. I suggest you do some research.
I don't really need to add to that. Allowing women to attend a feast didn't make them equal with the men.
Alexias wrote:
Asander wrote:“why he did refused the water in a march and why offered his gold to a soldier who was helping his mule to carry the weight?”
You obviously haven’t heard of spin doctors. It’s the equivalent of a modern politician kissing a baby. It’s all about image.
Image indeed - and the fact that, if his soldiers didn't love him, they wouldn't follow him; and by the time they were in the Makran Desert the relationship was already very strained - Alexander couldn't afford to lose what was left of their affection.

I wouldn't want us to go too far on the "spin-doctoring" route, though. Alexander clearly did care about his soldiers' welfare, and he very clearly gained their trust and affection because he never asked them to do anything he wouldn't do himself. Pouring away the water wasn't just a calculated political move, but one born out of the true relationship he had with his soldiers.

Doesn't mean that they were his equal, though! :D
Alexias wrote:
Asander wrote:“Correct me if I'm wrong, but Alexander didn't permitted to his soldiers to leave wherever they want because he will not hold them by force? I think Weigall mentions that. And oh... there are many stories regarding Alexander that dissagree what are you saying above.”
What stories? I don’t believe we know what terms his soldiers served under and how long they signed up for, but what army can function if everyone can come and go as they please? Yes, non-combatants would have had considerable more freedom to leave, but where else were they going to find such lucrative and prestigious employment – if that is what you are talking about. I am talking about the states Alexander encountered accepting his rule as king, not people obeying his every personal whim.
The soldiers were free to leave when he told them they were free to leave. This happened at very specific times, and until 324 BC the only troops he allowed to leave were the non-Macedonians who had fulfilled the terms of their service - e.g. the Thessalians. Even in 324 he didn't allow all his soldiers to leave if they wanted to - he discharged a very specific group of veterans.

I agree whole-heartedly with Alexias, and with Paralus (although I do think he was a bit harsh in his earlier post). There are plenty of people who are making it very clear that Alexander did not believe in equality. The so-called "Opis Speech" has been dismissed quite comprehensively for about 40 years, if not longer. There is simply no evidence that he believed in equality, if by that people mean the "brotherhood of man". The only equality he envisaged was that everyone was lower than he was.

I would also caution over-use of Arthur Weigall without recourse to other books. Weigall was an Egyptologist, not a Greek/Hellenistic specialist; and although I've never read his book, everything I've heard about him suggests that anyone reading him ought to read some of the more recent Alexander literature - like, anything written in the last 40 years!

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Re: Alexander the Great and his 'equality'

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Alexias wrote: Er, were any miracles attributed to Alexander or did he rise from the dead? I am not even going to go there with the comparison between Jesus and Alexander – I’ve got better things to do.
I didn't make this comparison, Weigall did. I just mentioned it. Alexander considered himself to be son of God, no? Jesus believed that he was too the son of God, so what is the problem? The miracles? No one comes in this world from a virgin woman.

But nevermind, let's stick to Alexander.
Alexias wrote: Saviour from what? The only thing Alexander saved anyone from was the ordinary Macedonian soldier from poverty. I think you’re getting confused between the idolisation of Alexander by the ordinary Macedonian in his army and the worship he requested from the Greek city states. They are two very different things.
Was he not called the Savior in Asia Minor after he released the cities from persian rule? He didn't stop the persian oppression in Egipt? He was not welcome well at Susa because the people hated the persian rule? He was not ending a war, by his victory of Gaugamela, starded so many years before his birth? He was not revenging the death of so many Greeks when Xerxes invaded Greece?
Alexias wrote: The women at the feast at Persepolis were courtesans, it was their job to be decorative and entertaining at feasts. Treating a woman with deference and respect and granting equal political, social, legal and financial rights with men are, again, two very different things. Women had no political rights, no vote, could not hold public office, were meant to live under the protection of a man and live according to his rules - unless they wished to be seen as prostitutes. I don’t know enough to say whether they could hold property or enter financial transactions in their own right. I suggest you do some research.
Thank you, I will do some research. That's why I'm here, first of all.
Alexias wrote: You obviously haven’t heard of spin doctors. It’s the equivalent of a modern politician kissing a baby. It’s all about image.
Do you really think that all Alexander did was only for his image? Don't you think, even a little, that he sometimes was - regarding the episode with Eurylochus the deserter - a noble man?
Alexias wrote: The ichor quote is yet again spin. He might well have said it, but it was remembered because it proved that he was an ordinary man like his soldiers.
Thank you. Yes, and that's why I don't think that Alexander was megalomanic and really considered himself to be the son of God. All 'son of a God story' was just for political propaganda.


If you don't mind, I will like asking you three questions that will help me to finish my essay.
1. Aristotel, who was the teacher of Alexander, believed that the barbarians are animals, lower than Greeks. Did Alexander believed the same thing and his actions regarding the barbarians was just a part of his political propaganda?
2. Can you tell where this sentence comes from? All mortals should live like one, united, and peacefully working towards the common good. You should regard the whole world as your country, a country where the best govern, with common laws, and no racial distinctions. I do not separate people, as many narrow-minded others do. I am not interested in the origin or race of citizens; I only distinguish them on the basis of their virtue. For my part, I consider all, whether they be white or black, equal. Alexander The Great.
3. Did he summoned Olympias to come in Asia and visit him?

@Marcus
Yes, plenty of people are telling me that Alexander did not believe in equality, but still I have to be really sure by asking you all some questions. OK, I will give it up, I understand, but I wish to know if Alexander believed in his teacher's theory regarding the barbarians.
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Re: Alexander the Great and his 'equality'

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s wrote:Asander,
The "equality" hypothesis is often inspired by a speech that is attributed to Alexander during the mass weddings of Susa. However, it's a speech that was coined by a Greek diplomat over 2000 years after Alexander's death. If you take this fake speech
Alexias,

The fake speech is the paragraph from point no. 2?
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Re: Alexander the Great and his 'equality'

Post by marcus »

Asander wrote:
Alexias wrote: Saviour from what? The only thing Alexander saved anyone from was the ordinary Macedonian soldier from poverty. I think you’re getting confused between the idolisation of Alexander by the ordinary Macedonian in his army and the worship he requested from the Greek city states. They are two very different things.
Was he not called the Savior in Asia Minor after he released the cities from persian rule? He didn't stop the persian oppression in Egipt? He was not welcome well at Susa because the people hated the persian rule? He was not ending a war, by his victory of Gaugamela, starded so many years before his birth? He was not revenging the death of so many Greeks when Xerxes invaded Greece?
Well, the idea of Persian oppression in Egypt was exaggerated in order to make Alexander's regime change seem more palatable. Admittedly, the Egyptians didn't want to be ruled, and they appear to have welcomed Alexander; but the only real example of "oppression" was the killing of the Apis Bull by the Persians, which it seems probably didn't happen.

He wasn't welcomed at Susa because people hated Persian rule. While Susa had originally been an Elamite city, by this time it was a Persian city. Alexander negotiated the city's peaceful surrender, which was made easier because he had just shattered the Persian army and the city was defenceless. Once he left Susa he met fierce resistance as he progressed towards Persepolis, which was a much more important city.

Certainly the reason given for invading Persia was to avenge Xerxes' attack on Greece. But by Gaugamela Alexander had avenged the Greeks quite significantly, and by that time the revenge had far outstripped any offence caused to Greece by Xerxes.
Asander wrote:
Alexias wrote: You obviously haven’t heard of spin doctors. It’s the equivalent of a modern politician kissing a baby. It’s all about image.
Do you really think that all Alexander did was only for his image? Don't you think, even a little, that he sometimes was - regarding the episode with Eurylochus the deserter - a noble man?
I don't think that anyone has questioned Alexander's nobility (even if there are questions over whether he was noble all the time).
Asander wrote:If you don't mind, I will like asking you three questions that will help me to finish my essay.
1. Aristotel, who was the teacher of Alexander, believed that the barbarians are animals, lower than Greeks. Did Alexander believed the same thing and his actions regarding the barbarians was just a part of his political propaganda?
2. Can you tell where this sentence comes from? All mortals should live like one, united, and peacefully working towards the common good. You should regard the whole world as your country, a country where the best govern, with common laws, and no racial distinctions. I do not separate people, as many narrow-minded others do. I am not interested in the origin or race of citizens; I only distinguish them on the basis of their virtue. For my part, I consider all, whether they be white or black, equal. Alexander The Great.
3. Did he summoned Olympias to come in Asia and visit him?
1. Aristotle certainly held the view that there was a hierarchy of peoples - one that was held by most, if not all, Greeks at the time. Alexander would certainly have begun his campaign with that view. One has to remember that he was also a pragmatist - the Persians had governed their empire for 250-odd years, so when a Persian submitted to him it made sense to keep him within the administration of the empire. Hence the appointment of so many Persian satraps after 330 BC.

However, many of those Persians ended up being replaced by Macedonians, when they either died, or revolted against the conquerors. Many of these Persians proved not to be quite so loyal as Alexander had perhaps hoped.

2. As Alexias says, this speech is a fabrication. The only record we have of Alexander's so-called desire for harmony can be found in Arrian, 7.11.9:
Alexander prayed for various blessings and especially that the Macedonians and Persians should enjoy harmony as partners in the government.
Despite the protests of W.W. Tarn, this was not a call for universal equality, but a desire that the Persians and Macedonians should make the empire work. His drafting of Persians into the armed forces was pragmatic, especially as he had designs on further conquests which would require massive armies, and he knew as well as anyone that there was precious little (loyal) manpower left in Greece for him to recruit. He could not trust the Persian nobles to work in harmony with him, as he had recently had to execute at least three of them for maladministration and treason; and he had only recently appointed a Macedonian as satrap of Persis, the Persian heartland - even then he had chosen a Macedonian (Peucestas) who had embraced Persian culture sufficiently not to cause a riot by his appointment.

What Alexander wanted was stable government within his existing empire, so that he didn't have to keep looking over his shoulder while he was adding to his dominions. If that meant using Persian soldiers and administrators, and preventing an uprising, then he did so. It was pragmatism, rather than a desire for equality, that drove his policy.

3. I honestly don't remember whether Alexander wanted to call Olympias to Persia, but I don't think he did. He wanted to deify her, but she was too valuable in Macedonia and Epirus. Instead he summoned Antipater, who was constantly in opposition to Olympias.

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Re: Alexander the Great and his 'equality'

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marcus wrote:I agree whole-heartedly with Alexias, and with Paralus (although I do think he was a bit harsh in his earlier post).
Harsh?! I've not yet begun to be "harsh"!
Asander wrote:I'm searching for all possible theories and ideas that are not supporting the notion about Alexander's equality.
Very unlikely. You have done nothing on this thread other than to postulate Alexander as some great "socialist" and uniter of all mankind and then proceed to defend that unsupportable view at all costs.

One who genuinely asks questions seeks answers. Again, you will have little to do with answers that do not match your pre-conceived image. An image unsupported by the source material.
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Re: Alexander the Great and his 'equality'

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marcus wrote: Well, the idea of Persian oppression in Egypt was exaggerated
Exaggerated? By who?
Egyptians didn't try to revolt from the persian rule at the beginning of Alexander's march in Asia, when he moved across Dardanelles?
marcus wrote: He wasn't welcomed at Susa because people hated Persian rule. While Susa had originally been an Elamite city, by this time it was a Persian city.
You seems to deny everything Weigall says about Alexander. Are you a Greek - Hellenistic specialist? :) Why on earth the historians and some people make Alexander so controversial, I don't know.
marcus wrote: 1. Aristotle certainly held the view that there was a hierarchy of peoples - one that was held by most, if not all, Greeks at the time. Alexander would certainly have begun his campaign with that view.
Alexander met with Diogenes too, and one of the ideas of this philosopher was the idea of cultural universality. Would Alexander have begun his campaign with this view too?
marcus wrote: One has to remember that he was also a pragmatist - the Persians had governed their empire for 250-odd years, so when a Persian submitted to him it made sense to keep him within the administration of the empire. Hence the appointment of so many Persian satraps after 330 BC.
Alexander kept the local administration in many places, including Babilonia, Sogdiana, the kingdom of Porus and others. You are claiming that Alexander was a pragmatist because of that, but others (including myself) believe is much more than pragmatism. I'm sorry, but the idea of simply pragmatism regarding Alexander, is a very limited one. I have to go further, as Lane Fox says, because my essay is not a scientific one.
marcus wrote: 2. As Alexias says, this speech is a fabrication. The only record we have of Alexander's so-called desire for harmony can be found in Arrian, 7.11.9:
Alexander prayed for various blessings and especially that the Macedonians and Persians should enjoy harmony as partners in the government.
Despite the protests of W.W. Tarn, this was not a call for universal equality
I didn't know that W.W. Tarn sustains this paragraph to be a call for universal equality. Why he did sustains such a thing, if there are no source material, as Paralus says?
marcus wrote: 3. I honestly don't remember whether Alexander wanted to call Olympias to Persia, but I don't think he did. He wanted to deify her, but she was too valuable in Macedonia and Epirus. Instead he summoned Antipater, who was constantly in opposition to Olympias.
Yes, I know he summond Antipater, but I didn't know if he summond Olympias too, because I have wrote this in my essay whitout making a research and I was a little worried. Thanks.



Do you know what was Alexander's signature in his letters or official documents? He used one of his titles?
And one more thing. If I say that in his Eastern campaign, Alexander represented all Greece through League of Corinth, I am mistaking?

PS: Paralus, sit down and make me miserable.
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Re: Alexander the Great and his 'equality'

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marcus wrote: I wouldn't want us to go too far on the "spin-doctoring" route, though. Alexander clearly did care about his soldiers' welfare, and he very clearly gained their trust and affection because he never asked them to do anything he wouldn't do himself. Pouring away the water wasn't just a calculated political move, but one born out of the true relationship he had with his soldiers.
Totally agree with you. That is my point of view too.
marcus wrote: The so-called "Opis Speech" has been dismissed quite comprehensively for about 40 years, if not longer.
Can you tell me more about the arguments against the Opis Speech?

Searching for the Opis Speech, I have founded this link: http://www.helleniccomserve.com/histori ... ander.html What do you think?
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Re: Alexander the Great and his 'equality'

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marcus wrote: The soldiers were free to leave when he told them they were free to leave. This happened at very specific times, and until 324 BC the only troops he allowed to leave were the non-Macedonians who had fulfilled the terms of their service - e.g. the Thessalians. Even in 324 he didn't allow all his soldiers to leave if they wanted to - he discharged a very specific group of veterans.
When he ended the League of Corinth, did he not permitted some soldiers to go home?
Only in 324 he allowed this?
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Re: Alexander the Great and his 'equality'

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Asander wrote:When he ended the League of Corinth, did he not permitted some soldiers to go home?
Only in 324 he allowed this?
Hi Asander,

Alexander never "ended" the League of Corinth. Once he had destroyed Persepolis he had, effectively, completed the task that he set out to do as hegemon of the League, and at that point he released the allied Greeks from their service. Any who wished to carry on in his army, for pay (and loot) he re-enlisted.

In 324BC he sent home 10,000 veterans, who had been fighting for him for 12 years and who were either getting too old, or whom he felt deserved a rest. He planned to bolster his army with the 30,000 Persians he had had trained in the Macedonian manner - and it was because of this that the "Opis Mutiny" occurred.
Asander wrote:Can you tell me more about the arguments against the Opis Speech?
You need to read Ernst Badian's article, "Alexander the Great and the Unity of Mankind".
Asander wrote:Searching for the Opis Speech, I have founded this link: http://www.helleniccomserve.com/histori ... ander.html What do you think?
This "oath" is a fabrication. It is propaganda and has no historical basis.

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Re: Alexander the Great and his 'equality'

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Asander wrote:
marcus wrote: Well, the idea of Persian oppression in Egypt was exaggerated
Exaggerated? By who?
Egyptians didn't try to revolt from the persian rule at the beginning of Alexander's march in Asia, when he moved across Dardanelles?
It was probably exaggerated by the Greeks, who wanted to make Alexander look more like a "saviour" of Egypt. It is true that the Egyptians rebelled against the Persians, but it wasn't because the Persians had been particularly oppressive. After all, the Persians hadn't particularly oppressed the Greeks in Asia Minor, yet they had rebelled on a number of occasions, and many were delighted when they were "delivered" from Persian rule by Alexander.
Asander wrote:
marcus wrote: He wasn't welcomed at Susa because people hated Persian rule. While Susa had originally been an Elamite city, by this time it was a Persian city.
You seems to deny everything Weigall says about Alexander. Are you a Greek - Hellenistic specialist? :) Why on earth the historians and some people make Alexander so controversial, I don't know.
It's not that I deny anything Weigall says, it's just that his book was written in 1947, and he wasn't a Greek/Hellenistic specialist. A lot of research and scholarship has gone on since he wrote what was basically a populist book, and one should not base one's understanding of Alexander on what he says - especially without reading more recent scholarship. As for why people make Alexander so controversial, it's probably because he is! :D
Asander wrote:
marcus wrote: 1. Aristotle certainly held the view that there was a hierarchy of peoples - one that was held by most, if not all, Greeks at the time. Alexander would certainly have begun his campaign with that view.
Alexander met with Diogenes too, and one of the ideas of this philosopher was the idea of cultural universality. Would Alexander have begun his campaign with this view too?
That is, if one believes that he actually did meet Diogenes. Even that isn't agreed by everyone!
Asander wrote:
marcus wrote: One has to remember that he was also a pragmatist - the Persians had governed their empire for 250-odd years, so when a Persian submitted to him it made sense to keep him within the administration of the empire. Hence the appointment of so many Persian satraps after 330 BC.
Alexander kept the local administration in many places, including Babilonia, Sogdiana, the kingdom of Porus and others. You are claiming that Alexander was a pragmatist because of that, but others (including myself) believe is much more than pragmatism. I'm sorry, but the idea of simply pragmatism regarding Alexander, is a very limited one. I have to go further, as Lane Fox says, because my essay is not a scientific one.
I find it difficult to understand how it could be anything other than pragmatism. The war was not over, yet Alexander needed the empire to function as far as providing supplies, tax revenues, etc. was concerned. Why should he appoint inexperienced people, who didn't know the system, to satrapies, when there were Persians who knew the system and who could provide continuity? As soon as one of those satraps failed to provide the supplies demanded, he was punished. There can be no idealism or romanticism in administering an empire.

I should also ask what the purpose of your essay is, therefore. If it is an academic essay, then I fear that producing a non-"scientific" one is not really going to gain you much credit. If you are doing it for your own satisfaction, then you can write what you like. I'll try to be a bit kinder than Paralus was, but I do rather question why you are (a) writing the essay, and (b) asking all these questions, if you are not going to budge from your viewpoint. That's not to say that you cannot have your opinion, but I strongly suggest that you don't base it on the fabricated "Oath"!
Asander wrote:
marcus wrote:Despite the protests of W.W. Tarn, this was not a call for universal equality
I didn't know that W.W. Tarn sustains this paragraph to be a call for universal equality. Why he did sustains such a thing, if there are no source material, as Paralus says?
Because Tarn wanted Alexander to be a certain type of person, so Tarn constructed arguments and made the sources fit around his idealised, romanticised Alexander. Many of his theories of Alexander have been systematically destroyed since. Tarn (and Weigall) both wrote during and just after the Second World War, when a particular type of hero was required, and certainly not one whose actions might equate him more with the late regime in Germany. They couldn't even bear to translate the word hegemon correctly, because to give anyone the title "Leader" would have brought out echoes of "Fuhrer".
Asander wrote:Do you know what was Alexander's signature in his letters or official documents? He used one of his titles?
I don't think we know, but in letters to the Greeks he probably just wrote his name. In Asian correspondence, he probably just used his name until the death of Darius, and then he might have assumed the titles of the Great King ... but we don't know.
Asander wrote:And one more thing. If I say that in his Eastern campaign, Alexander represented all Greece through League of Corinth, I am mistaking?
Depends on what you mean by his "Eastern campaign". Before the death of Darius III, I suppose you could say that Alexander represented Greece, or at least that he claimed to. After Darius' death, it would be incorrect to say so.

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Re: Alexander the Great and his 'equality'

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marcus wrote:Despite the protests of W.W. Tarn, this was not a call for universal equality
Asander wrote:I didn't know that W.W. Tarn sustains this paragraph to be a call for universal equality. Why he did sustains such a thing, if there are no source material, as Paralus says?
marcus wrote: Because Tarn wanted Alexander to be a certain type of person, so Tarn constructed arguments and made the sources fit around his idealised, romanticised Alexander.
I want what Tarn wanted, to construct my arguments and make the source fit around my ideas. I want to describe Alexander in a romantic way, because I feel so.
Excepting the lack of informations about Alexander, the historians made him such controversial, such difficult to understand, and because of this aspects I am allowed to write about him through my own ideas. My questions had the task to reveal the arguments and theorys that stands against my own belief. Because I want to defend myself in front of my colleagues and teachers.

Thank you all for your patience and answers, they really helped me to elucidate some things and understand better some aspects. I wish you all a nice day.
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Re: Alexander the Great and his 'equality'

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Asander wrote:I want what Tarn wanted, to construct my arguments and make the source fit around my ideas. I want to describe Alexander in a romantic way, because I feel so.
Excepting the lack of informations about Alexander, the historians made him such controversial, such difficult to understand, and because of this aspects I am allowed to write about him through my own ideas. My questions had the task to reveal the arguments and theorys that stands against my own belief. Because I want to defend myself in front of my colleagues and teachers.
And there lies the truth of the matter: "I want [what Tarn wanted,] to construct my arguments and make the source fit around my ideas. The questions were not ever asked to garner real insight; they were asked so as to provide a template for the defence of an essay that is not a scientific one and based on a belief.

Faith as history.
Last edited by Paralus on Mon Mar 21, 2011 7:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Alexander the Great and his 'equality'

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Asander,
Asander wrote:All mortals should live like one, united, and peacefully working towards the common good. You should regard the whole world as your country, a country where the best govern, with common laws, and no racial distinctions. I do not separate people, as many narrow-minded others do. I am not interested in the origin or race of citizens; I only distinguish them on the basis of their virtue. For my part, I consider all, whether they be white or black, equal. Alexander The Great.

Perhaps you know this passage, but I don't know what is his source. Did Alexander said something like this or someone else?
Asander wrote: 2. Can you tell where this sentence comes from? All mortals should live like one, united, and peacefully working towards the common good. You should regard the whole world as your country, a country where the best govern, with common laws, and no racial distinctions. I do not separate people, as many narrow-minded others do. I am not interested in the origin or race of citizens; I only distinguish them on the basis of their virtue. For my part, I consider all, whether they be white or black, equal. Alexander The Great.
This was my very first post on the topic.
Semiramis wrote:Asander,

The "equality" hypothesis is often inspired by a speech that is attributed to Alexander during the mass weddings of Susa. However, it's a speech that was coined by a Greek diplomat over 2000 years after Alexander's death. If you take this fake speech away and look at the authentic source material, the equality notion is hard to sustain.
Asander wrote:Yes, he sold 30.000 men and women into the slavery, but later he was sorry for that and for destroying the city of Thebes; therefore, he later released or treated kindly every Theban who came in front of him.
Why was Alexander only sorry for enslaving the Thebans? What about the thousands of others he had ordered to be enslaved? Again, consider that he was merely being diplomatic when he made that statement.
Asander wrote:Why do you say that? There are some facts in the ancient sources regarding Alexander that proves he didn't believed in the equal rights for men and women? Did he not permitted the women to stay, along with him, at the feast in Persepolis?
You do know what a hetaira is right? :twisted:
Asander wrote:I don't understand, if he was a ruthless king, why did he permitted Eurylochus (who abandoned the army by tricking the law) to leave together with his woman in Macedonia; if he considered himself above all and cruel, why he did refused the water in a march and why offered his gold to a soldier who was helping his mule to carry the weight? And I'm sure there are more little stories like these.
Little stories are cute, for sure. But the big story is that the march through Gedrosia killed thousands and thousands of Alexander's soldiers. Some had been loyal to him since the beginning of the campaign. It was a march Alexander ordered when there was a better-known alternative route that proved to be safer for Crateros' men. If the sources are to be taken at face value, he risked and lose these thousands of lives mostly for egotistical reasons.
Arrian wrote: The next objective was the capital town of Gedrosia, situated in a district named Pura. The march thither from Oria occupied in all sixty days. Most historians of Alexander's campaigns have stated that the sufferings of his men on that march were out of all proportion greater than anything they had had to endure in Asia.
Alexander did not choose that route because he was unaware of the difficulties it would involve (Nearchus is our one authority for this); he chose it because, apart from [the legendary queen] Semiramis on her retreat from India, no man, to his knowledge, had ever before succeeded in bringing an army safely through. Even Semiramis, according to local tradition, got through with no more than twenty survivors, and Cyrus, son of Cambyses, with only seven - for it is a fact that Cyrus came here with the intention of invading India, but found the going so bad and the country so wild and barren that he lost nearly all his men before he could do so. Alexander heard these old stories; they inspired him to go one better than Cyrus and Semiramis, and that was the reason, combined with the hope of being able to keep contact with the fleet and procure supplies for it, why, according to Nearchus, he marched by that route.
Asander wrote:Correct me if I'm wrong, but Alexander didn't permitted to his soldiers to leave wherever they want because he will not hold them by force?
There are records of several soldier rebellions in India that ... correct you.
Asander wrote:Was he not called the Savior in Asia Minor after he released the cities from persian rule? He didn't stop the persian oppression in Egipt? He was not welcome well at Susa because the people hated the persian rule? He was not ending a war, by his victory of Gaugamela, starded so many years before his birth? He was not revenging the death of so many Greeks when Xerxes invaded Greece?
I think you should consider the role of propaganda in any conflict. He was called the saviour after he invaded and occupied these cities. Of course people were falling over themselves to flatter him and get on his good side. Terror and greed both would have been motivators here. Can you define what made Persian rule so "oppressive" and Alexander's rule so very different from Persian rule? Susa was in the Persian heartland. To this day in Iran Alexander is equated with Satan. This idea of Alexaner being welcome in the Persian heartland is baseless to ridiculously easy to disprove. Even dynasties that came after the Seleucids in the region claimed Achaemenid descent and used Achaemenid motifs to justify their claims to the throne. This actually carried on all the way into the last Pahlavi Shah. How can one take the "Revenge for Xerxes attack" meme seriously when Alexander himself was responsible for the death and enslavement of so many Greeks? What does the invasion of India have to do with Xerxes? Or the plans for Arabia?
Asander wrote:Why on earth the historians and some people make Alexander so controversial, I don't know.
It's the killing.

Marcus,
Marcus wrote:And it should be remembered that many of the Greeks were far from keen on Alexander. At best they acceded to granting him divine worship because it made no difference to them; at worst they did it because they were terrified of him.
Demosthenes: "Alexander can be the son of Zeus and of Poseidon if he wishes."
About Demades (one who proposed the idea): "He feared for his opponents. Lest in begrudging Alexander the heavens, they be removed from the Earth by him."
The Spartans: "We agree that Alexander be called a god if he wishes."
Marcus wrote:"Well, the idea of Persian oppression in Egypt was exaggerated in order to make Alexander's regime change seem more palatable. Admittedly, the Egyptians didn't want to be ruled, and they appear to have welcomed Alexander; but the only real example of "oppression" was the killing of the Apis Bull by the Persians, which it seems probably didn't happen."
I would say any empire is oppressive and the history of Egypt's rebellions are indication that the Egyptians could not tolerate the yolk for too long at a time. However, coming back to the bull - in her book "The Persians", Maria Brosius mentions an inscription from a relatively recent find. Here, Xerxes proclaims that he has honoured the Apis Bull in the proper way. Having come across this I have lost faith in the popular story of Xerxes slaughtering the Bull.

As I've mentioned before, there's no good reason that I can see to doubt the tablet. It's contemporaneous to the event. Either act - honouring or slaying - would have been done by Xerxes for symbolic and propagandistic value. So, there's no reason for him to do one thing and declare another. It appears Herodotus may have gotten carried away with a bit of war propaganda on this one.

Alexias,

Fantastic posts. Nothing to add. :)

Paralus,

Looks like you hadn't been too harsh after all. ;)
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Paralus
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Re: Alexander the Great and his 'equality'

Post by Paralus »

Semiramis wrote: Paralus,

Looks like you hadn't been too harsh after all. ;)
Indeed, seemingly not given this categorical statement:
Asander wrote:I want what Tarn wanted, to construct my arguments and make the source fit around my ideas. I want to describe Alexander in a romantic way, because I feel so. ..
The entire exercise was, at best, disingenuous. There are other terms for such activity on a forum....
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Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.

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Re: Alexander the Great and his 'equality'

Post by Asander »

Paralus wrote: Faith as history.
Finally you figure it out.

Yes, my essay is not a scientific one. Tell me if you really understand that. Paralus, if I want, in the future, to make a scientific essay, I will make one because I can. If I want to write that Alexander loved Roxanne, I will do that because I can. If I want to date with three women simultaneoulsy, I will do that because I can. So, what is your problem? Don't you have better things to do, I wonder?
Last edited by Asander on Mon Mar 21, 2011 8:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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